NetApp is partnering 3PAR with a unfied storage product that sticks a V3070 V-series box onto a 3PAR block-serving InServe array product, what 3PAR calls utility storage.

The InServ serves block storage via either Fibre Channel or iSCSI. It has no file-serving capability. Up until now 3PAR has partnered with OnStor, Ibrix and PolyServe where customers desire file serving as well as block-based storage. Now it has added NetApp to its file-serving partners.

Customers get files from the NetApp V3070 which assembles the files from blocks it gets from the InServ array. Apparently salespeople were feeding the message up the NetApp hierarchy that they could get incremental sales by selling into 3PAR accounts.

But NetApp has iSCSI block access and supports Fibre Channel too. Yet 3PAR has made progress selling its block-based InServ against this; both 3PAR and NetApp sell into enterprises. What NetApp is saying here is that 3PAR has emerged from its market niche and become a force to be reckoned with in the enterprise storage market. It's also saying that it is resigned to being a file-serving resource in 3PAR accounts.

For 3PAR this is terrific news. It has the welcome accolade of being recognised by and courted by NetApp as a partner. Pillar Data should be so lucky.