Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Network Attached Storage: NetApp versus Microsoft Windows Storage Server ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Network Attached Storage: NetApp versus Microsoft Windows Storage Server
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: ilusha-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 20 Nov 2006 07:24 PST
Expires: 20 Dec 2006 07:24 PST
Question ID: 784217
The Network Attached storage market is split as following between
Windows Storage Server and Network Appliance (NetApp):

In the price range of $5K-$25K: Windows Storage Server: 50% NetApp 25% Others:25%
In the price range of $25K - $100K: NetApp 45%, EMC 50% Others: 5% Windows: 0% 

I need to have a comparison between the NetApp ontap operating system
feature set and the microsodt storage server feature set. I need to
know both which features are existing in one OS that are not in the
other, and also if the same feature exists in both which one is
considered better or more usable.

Also I would like to know what are the three main reasons customers
who purchase NetApp prefer NetApp filer as their NAS over windows
storage server, and the same vice versa the three main reasons people
who buy Windows Storage server prefer it over NetApp.

Subject: Re: Network Attached Storage: NetApp versus Microsoft Windows Storage Server
Answered By: leapinglizard-ga on 20 Dec 2006 00:02 PST
Dear ilusha,

Please find below the results of my research. I have addressed each part
of your question in order.

Features unique to NetApp Data ONTAP

* frequent data snapshots

    Another big plus of Data ONTAP is that it was created specifically
    for NAS applications and offers the greatest range of high-end
    features, such as advanced mirroring and snapshots. You can
    use Data ONTAP, for example, for hundreds of data snapshots and
    point-in-time copies every hour if you require it.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Which NAS OS? (February 15, 2005)

* headless NAS appliances (blades)

    Our results strongly suggest that, as rated by Storage readers,
    NetApp has the most compelling total NAS product line from top
    to bottom. This is especially true for standalone NAS because
    our survey included gateways and NAS blades.

SearchStorage: NAS: The top products on the market (May 22, 2006),289483,sid5_gci1187602,00.html

* dynamic virtualization

    The newest edition, Data ONTAP 7G (Grid), adds dynamic
    virtualization and removes some of the administration from disk
    configuration at the physical level.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Dell, Microsoft Unify Storage (December 6, 2006)

Features unique to Windows Storage Server

* integrated iSCSI SAN management

    The Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003 is a new Microsoft
    storage platform that allows NAS server and iSCSI SAN storage
    to be managed from one console, said Bala Kasiviswanathan,
    group product manager for storage at Microsoft.

    Microsoft was able to create the software as the next member
    of its Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 after acquiring the ISCSI
    assets from String Bean Software last March.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Dell, Microsoft Unify Storage (December 6, 2006)

* text indexing

    Unified Data Storage Server 2003 includes capabilities born
    in Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, including single instance
    storage, full indexed text search, Windows SharePoint Services
    and distributed file service.

InternetNews: Dell-Microsoft Pairing Yields Hybrid Storage Server
(December 6, 2006)

* transparent redundancy elimination

    SIS is a background process which searches for duplicate files
    on a disk volume and replaces them with pointers to a single
    copy. In the event that a user modifies a SIS managed file, SIS
    automatically creates a writable copy of the file for the user.

    The beauty of the solution is that users do not need to be
    retrained to take advantage of SIS. From their perspective,
    they have no knowledge that the copy of the file they see in
    their file share is actually a pointer to the original copy. SIS
    does a byte level analysis of every file in a volume and creates
    a unique hash to identify each file.

eWeek: Microsoft's Single Instance Storage vs. Deduplication (January 25, 2006)

Comparative advantages of NetApp Data ONTAP

* high-level administrative tools

    This means more time managing data as opposed to managing systems
    and disks.

    "Administrators no longer have to worry about how many disks
    are attached to a volume and program for backups, and so on,"
    said Kannan.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Dell, Microsoft Unify Storage (December 6, 2006)

    "I'm really pleased with it," says Mitchell, a systems
    administrator at Atlanta-based TRX Inc., a provider of
    transaction processing and data integration services to the
    travel industry. "Basically, it allows me to manage the data,
    not the devices."

SearchStorage: NAS: The top products on the market (May 22, 2006),289483,sid5_gci1187602,00.html

* feature-rich control environment

    On the downside, however, some criticize Windows Storage Server
    as being little more than a server with a browser console.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Dell, Microsoft Unify Storage (December 6, 2006)

* advanced SAN management

    Windows Server 2003 R2 includes new SAN management capabilities,
    but these are rudimentary. Storage Manager for SANs (SMfS)
    allows basic management of devices through Microsoft's Virtual
    Disk Service (VDS), meaning that the tool can be used in a
    heterogeneous environment as long as each device supports VDS.
    Microsoft's aim here is not to compete in the high-end SAN
    management space, but to make SAN a more accessible technology ?
    to make SANs more approachable to the middle of the market. SMfS,
    says O'Neill, is "Definitely focused on entry SANs, iSCSI SANs
    and users that have small deployments."

Enterprise Storage Forum: Microsoft's Storage Ambitions (February 15, 2006)

* superior mirroring and and remote replication
    In the midrange, NetApp's product features were very highly
    rated by users. In fact, the NetApp product received scores
    higher than 7.0 for three statements in this category. They were
    "This product's snapshot features meet my needs" (7.11), "This
    product's mirroring features meet my needs" (7.03) and "This 
    product's remote replication meets my needs" (7.03). No other
    product had as many 7.0-plus scores in the features category.

Comparative advantages of Windows Storage Server

* straightforward configuration

    In our Clear Choice Test of Microsoft's latest version of
    its file-pinching network-attached storage software - dubbed
    Windows Storage Server R2 - we found it to be fast, difficult to
    misconfigure, highly efficient and a useful storage operating
    system for both local drop-and-add NAS boxes and branch-office
    storage devices.

NetworkWorld: New version of Windows NAS makes the grade (March 20, 2006)

* strong support for Active Directory and CIFS

    The first consideration is what operating systems are being run on
    the servers that will use the storage. If they are all Windows,
    then the selection of a NAS product needs to focus on the CIFS
    protocol used by Windows and the use of Active Directory for
    security controls.

SearchStorage: NAS in the small to midsized business: Selecting a NAS
system (September 6, 2006),289483,sid5_gci1214425,00.html

* tight Windows integration

    The key to WSS 2003 is convenience combined with enterprise
    muscle. WSS drops into a Windows network like a cheese head into
    Green Bay.

InfoWorld: Microsoft injects more smarts into Windows Storage Server 2003
(February 2, 2006)

* powerful backup automation
    Overall, we found this version of Storage Server contains several
    features especially suited to branch operations, including sparse
    file management, reduction of redundant files and an extremely
    proficient backup mechanism.

NetworkWorld: New version of Windows NAS makes the grade (March 20, 2006)

Three principal reasons to prefer NetApp Data ONTAP

* processing speed

    For example, Data OnTap GX running on the company's FAS6070 file
    server scales up to 6 petabytes at a high rate of speed.

    The Data OnTap GX operating system is designed to work with
    data-intensive applications, such as those used in seismic
    processing, chip design and simulation and digital entertainment,
    said Rich Clifton, vice president and general manager of NetApp's
    networked storage business unit.

    "This is for the environment where people are assembling very
    large quantities of compute power, and very large Linux farms to
    be able to crack difficult scientific and technical workloads,"
    Clifton said.

Enterprise Storage Forum: NetApp Puts High Performance OnTap (June 12, 2006)

* enterprise scale

    Microsoft's target has always been the high-volume middle of
    the market, and that hasn't changed with its latest offerings.

    "They find the market too small to just go after the very largest
    installations," says Peter Pawlak, lead analyst for server
    applications at Directions on Microsoft. Although the enterprise
    is an important constituency, Pawlak says, Microsoft strives to
    "make it cheap enough and simple enough to get into midrange
    systems, where there is a lot of volume."

Enterprise Storage Forum: Microsoft's Storage Ambitions (February 15, 2006)

* high security

    Further, security concerns continue to plague the Windows OS. Due
    to its ubiquity, it is a magnet for hackers. Thus when security
    of data is a factor, GuardianOS and NetApp come out ahead. Data
    ONTAP, in fact, is designed with security in mind. The microkernel
    of the OS contains all the key features required for backup,
    replication, WORM, etc. With all the software embedded into it,
    there is no need to load additional software modules that could
    compromise security.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Dell, Microsoft Unify Storage (December 6, 2006)

Three principal reasons to prefer Windows Storage Server
* low price

    As Microsoft's success in low-cost NAS demonstrates, 
    lowering storage costs will help the company expand the market
    downward. O'Neill says this may shake things up a bit, saying he
    expects Microsoft to be "majorly disruptive on price, particularly
    in the SMB space."

Enterprise Storage Forum: Microsoft's Storage Ambitions (February 15, 2006)

* innovative outlook

    NetApp's answer to clustered file systems from company's like
    Isilon and Ibrix is the technology it picked up through the
    Spinnaker Networks Inc. acquisition three years ago. However,
    it's only just announced that the new operating system, dubbed
    Ontap GX, has been installed at several customer sites and will
    be generally available "some time in the future." It's hard to
    blame customers for looking elsewhere.
    [...] Nobody thinks Microsoft will hurt NetApp at the high end,
    but any plans that NetApp has for addressing small and mid-sized
    businesses are surely a dead duck once Microsoft gets its act 
SearchStorage: NetApp under attack at SNW (April 7, 2006),294698,sid5_gci1179210,00.html

* ease of use

    "To perform an Exchange server migration from direct attached to
    networked storage takes 30 steps, which is too long and complex
    for most small companies," Young said. HP's new low-end array,
    which starts at $5,000 for 1 terabyte, will be based on Microsoft
    Windows Storage Server and will enable this kind of migration
    in less than 10 clicks, she said. "Even I can do it."
    Users will be able to move data without taking applications
    like Exchange down and manage the migration from an application
    view. "They are used to working in Exchange and SQL -- they
    understand that view," Young said.

    Commenting on NetApp's StoreVault product, she said: "They made an
    SMB version of Data OnTap [NetApp's storage operating system],
    it's easy to understand if you already understand storage,
    but it's still too complex for the general IT administrator."

SearchStorage: HP touts storage appliance for small businesses (July 25, 2006),289142,sid5_gci1204087,00.html

I have found it an interesting challenge to answer your question.


Subject: Re: Network Attached Storage: NetApp versus Microsoft Windows Storage Server
From: xof711-ga on 21 Nov 2006 15:04 PST
Network Appliance's Data
NetApp's NAS operating system has a long track record in the
enterprise and can be configured for WORM and iSCSI functionality

PRO: Thin-provisioning capabilities optimize storage; cloning lets IT
managers efficiently and safely test patches
CON: Cannot manage mixed storage networks with a single appliance.


Here is a PDF on the ONTAP Software Overview.

Here are the Top 10 Benefits of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2

Hope it helps...


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy