back to article Sun sues NetApp, take three

Sun Microsystems continues to sick its legal squad on NetApp, waving another fresh batch of patents the Java king feels have been unjustly violated. This time at issue is NetApp's storage management software that it acquired with the purchase of Onaro in January. Sun claims NetApp's Onaro SANscreen and NAS Insight software …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Smitty Werben Jueger Man Jenson

    I say...

    we just give Dave and Jon each a 5th of whiskey and toss them into an arena with miscellaneous blunt objects before this devolves into some boring Peewee Herman-like "I know you are but what am I!" crybaby fest.

  2. Dunstan Vavasour
    Thumb Up

    Parallels for other Free Software

    Rather than sitting watching and eating popcorn, we *should* be interested in this volley of suits, and we should be cheering for Sun.

    Remember that this is a defensive suit - NetApps made their position quite clear when they sued Sun in East Texas. They are scared that the capabilities inherent in ZFS will hit their market share, and they are probably right (look, for example, at NexentaStor which is an appliance based on Solaris/ZFS). While the NetApps appliance was revolutionary when I first saw it in ~1996, its unique selling point is no longer unique. They have developed and improved their product set, but not fast enough, so they appear to have arrived at the point where they think their product set needs the assistance of litigation to remain competitive. This is sad.

    Whatever feelings one might have about WAFL, and the rights and wrongs of SW patents, NetApps completely undermined their moral stance by filing in East Texas. Whatever they may say, actions speak louder than anything else, and they filed in the chosen jurisdiction of patent trolls, rather than the jurisdiction where either they or Sun are based. NetApps aren't a bad company, but in this instance they have done a bad thing, and having won against Microsoft, Sun are returning fire.

    Please, NetApps, see sense and call a halt. You are in the wrong, and you will lose

  3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Dunstan Vavasour

    Dunnie seems to have forgotten that this is not freeware and trying to invoke sympathy amongst the Linux crowd with the title "Parallels for other Free Software" on behalf of the Flip Flop King will be fun to watch. There was nothing free about ZFS until Sun got word NetApp were looking into it, then all of a sudden Sun declared it was opensource and free to all. Despite trying to paint itself at worst as the software equivalent of Robin Hood doesn't really wash when Robin has an army of very active lawyers, is bigger than the Sheriff, and has a history of trampling all over the common people with a salesteam that spent years trying to defend against any Linux turning up in their accounts. I'm also curious as to what legal qualification allows him to calmly discount the need for proper legal process and just assure us of NetApp's guilt.

    As regards East Texas, the NetApp lawyers were simply doing their job. As Sun Tzu used to put it, you pick your battlegrounds and force your enemy to fight at a disadvantage. Sun knows this, I think if Dunnie checked he'd find that Sun's legal beagles have filed in East Texas before for the same reasons.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ZFS is free for all to use

    And however entertaining all of this is, the fact is that ZFS is available for everyone for free, and it's awesome. No wonder NetApps is terrified of ZFS, and felt the need to use the Texas patent-troll court to give itself the best chance of winning.

    You'll see why NetApps is terrified of ZFS here:

    ZFS: The Last Word in File Systems:

    And using ZFS as a Fileserver isn't difficult either:

    It will be interesting to see the outcome of all this suing, but I understand that the usual outcome in these situations is some sort of cross-licensing deal.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

    EMC, Dell, IBM, HP continue to take market share from NetApps and Sun while they bicker in the sand pit.

  6. Nigel Kneale


    ...that NetApp only sued in the first place because Sun sent them threatening letters demanding millions in royalties for use of Sun payments and NetApp wanted a ruling confirming their rights.

    Then Sun draped itself in the Free Software flag, brushed over the fact that it backed SCO's lawsuits, and the rest is history.

  7. gizmo
    Paris Hilton


    Sun basically gives all their high end tech away for free, yet some of you clowns still beeyotch about it. What miserable little lives you must have. NetApe comes in, grabs up enormous amounts of free tech and bundles it all up in a proprietary package, and yet some of you same clowns take their side in this issue. Sun would have released ZFS whether the NetApes filed suit or not. Don't get me wrong, I am sure Sun, like all tech companies, are looking out for themselves first, but NetApe seems to be filing this suit to stop the release of some pretty nice technology instead of innovating to compete on their own merits. That my friends is pathetic and they will deserve any damaging ruling they get for wasting time and money on this kind of ill conceived assault.

    Paris cuz she always gives it up for free.

  8. alice train

    What it comes down to..

    I just replaced about $500k of NetApp kit with $25k of ZFS on whitebox. There you have it!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What have you been smoking?

    Dunstan and Matt, I can't believe what I just read. Are you really so out of touch with reality? ZFS is certainly open source freeware. Witness the fact that it is now included in FreeBSD and Apple's MAC OSX without licensing or paying a penny to Sun. It was released as open source as part of OpenSolaris and that had nothing whatsoever to do with NetApp looking into it. NetApp made it quite clear what it was about when they offered to settle everything if ZFS was not released as open source.

    While one may claim that venue shopping is a normal part of the process, it always needs to be tempered with perception. Since NetApp and Sun are both California companies, the fact that they filed in East Texas simply telegraphs that they feel that their case is weak and unlikely to win in California. As far as I know, the only time Sun has ever filed a suit in East Texas is this case, when it filed its counter-suit. Of course, Sun shamed NetApp into re-filing in California.

    Nigel, you will notice that the letter NetApp published is clearly in the middle of a series of letters, hardly convincing evidence that NetApp was being threatened by Sun first.

    Also, Nigel, you do realize that Sun in no way "backed SCO's lawsuit", that is a total fabrication. SCO had licenses that Sun needed to release OpenSolaris and paid for them, that's all. As it was, Sun took a lot of flack for the length of time it took to release OpenSolaris, would you have preferred they wait a couple more years?

    The proof is simple. NetApp filed first and Sun would drop their suit if NetApp drops theirs. Sun has publicly stated that it will not sue any open source project over its patents unless it is sued first. What more evidence do you need?

  10. Rik

    sun vs. netapp -no winners in Open-anything.

    This silly duel is going to hurt Sun, Netapp, shareholders,....

    Sun has been thru' this before many moons ago when Microschite tried to steal Java,... and where did that end up for anyone -just a bad taste in the mouth -there's no winners!

    ...sure, and I've already said

    " If it wasn’t for (Free)BSD and Sun’s NFS there would be NO NetApp, as well as many other corps.

    -and what had NetApp given back freely/openly for public use. wafl ?

    ….that’s what I thought -about as much as Micro$oft."

    Somebody mentioned Linux?, Sun has helped Linux countless times but still

    NFSver4 is pathetically broken in the Linux kernel -is that Sun's fault ? no.

    Now Sun's ZFS is fairly free right, its already been ported to Apple's OSX, and FreeBSD, OpenSolaris -is a given.

    Now, how about looking at a "FreeNAS" and ZFS combo storage solution eventually...? mmm..a drop-in replacement for NetApp Filers' anyone?

    -that my friends is right around the corner.

    NetApp should be pouring their profits' into R&D, and focusing efforts into harnessing/embracing ZFS. -now they'll be spending it in court.

    Sun is going to win -but they'll be no winners.

    So, welcome to the machine, and the not-so Open source world afterall.

  11. Rik

    and the Logo's just keep get bigger

    ...besides all the Java logo's,..

    "The Network is the Computer, (and the Storage), and the Computer is the Network, (and the Storage), (and the Storage) is the Network and the Computer, and the ....."

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like