NetApp’s EMEA boss Alexander Wallner has told the assorted throngs at the NetApp’s annual EMEA Insight conference in Berlin that the storage vendor does not see cloud providers as an immediate threat.
Wallner said that adapting to the cloud has enabled the Sunnyvale-based company to build “more flexibility and elasticity” into its architecture.
“From my perspective, we’re the only former storage, now data management, provider that decided very early on to lean into the cloud. We never saw the cloud as a threat. We don’t perceive [cloud providers] as our enemy, either. Instead, we understood early on that it is beneficial to our customers that we interact with them on the cloud and support them.”
NetApp and Microsoft have announced that NetApp’s enterprise network file system (NFS) is to be available in Azure as a service.
Wallner added that while interest in the cloud “is everywhere”, most customers are clueless as to what they should be spending their cash on. As a result, it is crucial for vendors such as NetApp to keep customer options open when it comes to cloud.
“Most of our customers do not have an idea of how their cloud strategy will evolve over the next three years. Most of them don’t know what their applications will look like three years from now. It is key for customers to decide on a data management plan that is open, which will enable them to develop in whichever direction they need to. Our task as an infrastructure provider is to provide an open architecture”, he said.
Wallner said that hybrid clouds were not something mentioned in polite conversation anymore. It was better to talk about multi-cloud environments because hybrid cloud gives the impression that customers have to choose from only one cloud provider.
“The reality is that there is nothing that customers fear more than having a vendor lock them into the cloud.”
He added that NetApp had a fair bit to do to sort itself out in a very uncertain market.
“When you looked at the data market five years ago, life was pretty easy for us. We had a good architecture on storage systems. Now, the transformation we’ve been through in the last five years has seen the picture change completely.”