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.”
NetApp is looking to recruit both partners and employees now that it has got its mojo back according to UK managing director Nick Thurlow.
NetApp hosted its Partner Executive Forum in Tallinn this week and told the assorted throngs that it has emerged from a difficult period with a refreshed product portfolio and a focus on the hybrid cloud.
Part of the transition saw Thurlow’s return from Arrow after a five-year exile.
The vendor, led by CEO George Kurian, had been carrying out a restructuring which was being given the thumbs up by its partners. Now it wants to say that after a few challenging years the company is back.
NetApp has changed dramatically and has got its mojo back, claimed Thurlow. This is all because George Kurian is “driving a wind of change through the company.”
NetApp had earlier in the week revealed that its channel business now accounts for 82 percent of all revenue in EMEA.
Despite NetApp talking up its new hyper-converged solution and hybrid cloud offering, Thurlow stressed that storage remains key to the vendor’s future and the outfit still wanted to flog lots of storage.
NetApp is rubbing its paws with glee as its rivals lock their customers into their cloud services.
The company told its Insight technical conference in Berlin that there was gigantic opportunity for it to help customers who are struggling with rival tech firms who make it hard to leave their cloud services.
The storage vendor said many cloud offerings may look good on paper but become problematic and this gives it and its channel the chance to better serve those customers.
Joel Reich, NetApp’s senior vice president for product operations told a media press conference that cloud providers were using techniques that hark back to the 1970s.
“Most service providers will be glad to help you get into their cloud, but they’re not that helpful in trying to help you get out of their cloud. If you were to look at one of the popular backup applications for cloud, it costs little to archive your data in something like Amazon Glacier, but it costs exponentially more to get it out.”
This goes back to proprietary computer operating systems where it was someone’s goal to actually try to lock you into that proprietary operating system, Reich said.
Lock-ins were used by some cloud providers means customers have a hard time moving between services if and when a provider’s technology, price or strategy changes.
He said such tactics are actually a great selling point for his firm because customers really don’t want this lock in. They want to make the right choice for their business, not one that is based on one set of technologies that a particular cloud vendor has in play.
IDC said that the storage market ended well. In the last quarter, worldwide enterprise storage systems revenue grew 7.2 percent year on year to amount to close to $10.6 billion.
And capacity shipments rose by 43.7 percent compared to the same quarter the previous year to represent 99.2 exabytes.
Eric Sheppard, a research director at IDC, said spending on enterprise storage grew in most markets worldwide with factors including demand for midrange systems using flash memory and systems designed for hyper scale data centres.
EMC was the top dog in fourth quarter, with a 22.2 percent market share. That company was followed by HP (13.8%), Dell (9%), IBM (9%) and Netapp (7.2%).
A report said
that integrated infrastructure and platforms – that is to say vendor systems containing servers, disk storage, networking kit and systems management software – grew by 38 percent in the third quarter of last year.
IDC said vendors turned in revenues of $616 million in the quarter, a year on year growth of 38.2 percent for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in the quarter.
Eckhardt Fisher, research analyst at IDC, said the growth is linked to fast spreading adoption of business intelligence systems and the perceived benefit to enterprises that brings.
The market leader for the integrated infrastructure division saw VCE as the leader, followed by Cisco-Netapp, and then HP.
Cisco grew its share by close to 163 percent for the quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2013.
VCE also took prime position in the integrated platforms sector, followed by Cisco-Netapp and HP. But here HP belonged strongly – growing by 271 percent in the quarter.
The entire market for the third quarter shipped 238 terabytes – up 63.5 percent compared to Q3 2013.
The external disk storage market posted a decline of 3.5 percent for the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year.
IDC, which released the data today said the total disk storage market – including internal disks – produced $7.4 billion in revenues – and that’s a 5.6 percent fall compared to last year.
Total disk storage system capacity amounted to 8.4 exabytes, growth of 16.1 percent year on year.
Despite the decline, IDC believes there is still strong demand for virtualised departments including integrated infrastructure. IDC said the reason fr decine includes reduced US government spending, more us of storage efficient technology, investment in public cloud capacity and price pressure.
The top five vendors total disk storage were EMC, HP, IBM, Dell and NetApp. HP saw a drop over the same period of 10.2 percent, IBM of 11.2 percent and Dell of seven percent. NetApp, however posted an increase of 5.9 percent.
Although PC sales fell off a cliff last year, makers of external disk storage seem to have had a rather good year. According to IDC’s latest disk storage report, revenue increased 4.7 percent in 2012, with a 2.3 percent year-on-year increase in Q4.
Worldwide sales totalled $24.7 billion last year, and total disk capacity shipped during the year surpassed 20 exabytes, up 27 per cent over 2011.
“FICON attached array sales and network attached storage (NAS) both helped drive the factory revenue increase during the quarter as companies invested in storage required to support mainframe environments and to deal with the continued growth in unstructured data,” said Eric Sheppard, IDC storage research director.
The open networked disk storage market grew 2.6 percent year-on-year in Q4 to hi $5.7 billion in revenues. EMC maintained its lead with a 30.7 percent revenue share in Q4, trailed by IBM and NetApp with 15 per cent and 11.6 percent respectively. HP and Hitachi tied in fourth position with market shares of 9.3 and 8.8 percent respectively. However, HP and Hitachi were the only players in the top five to lose share in Q4 2012.
In the total worldwide disk storage systems market EMC reigned supreme with a 24 percent share, followed by IBM and HP, in a statistical tie for second spot with 16.2 and 16 percent respectively. Dell and Netapp ranked fourth and fifth.
Enormous distributor Avnet has teamed up with both Cisco and NetApp to open up integration services based on FlexPod and ExpressPod architecture to resellers in EMEA.
FlexPod and ExpressPod are data centre design architectures built with virtualisation and the cloud in mind. The idea behind Avnet’s programme is to give partners access to these technologies on a basis that will let them roll out as fast as possible. Included is pre-sales support, single order capability, assembly and testing, and ship completion and tracking. Avnet’s Cisco, NetApp and VMware teams will offer additional support.
Avnet says that by partnering with three top market players it has landed itself in an advantageous position for the region.
The programme will be available in every EMEA country where Avnet has distie rights for Cisco and NetApp – which includes the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In a statement, Cisco’s EMEA director for data centre and virtualisation, Ed Baker, said that the opportunity presents resellers with a “great way to position new services and increase customer relevance”.
NetApp’s VP for partners and pathways EMEA, Thomas Ehrlich, said the potential for the technologies is “immense” because the flexibility of the architecture pays off for resellers and customers.