Re: Nothing special about it??
Nothing special about it. NetApp was cool 5 years ago. In case you hadn't noticed, the storage world exploded in that time. There's a lot of options that can take NetApp for one hell of a ride, thanks.
An enterprise storage product that is mature in serving all major protocols
(and FYI, retrofitting enterprise NAS on other systems is insanely hard, which is why nobody's done it).
Funny, others seem to be doing just fine at it. Maybe your assertions are based on dated knowledge.
With no downtime for pretty much any operation, including things that would mean major downtime for other systems.
Some other systems. Old systems. Shitty low end SMB systems. Some legacy stuff from other fossils that haven't grown up in the past five years. But there's a hell of a lot out there that is perfectly okay with doing all sorts of major changes without downtime. *shrug*
With the best application integration tools on the planet.
Let's agree to disagree.
The best heterogeneous fabric management system in the world (OCI).
I'm neutral on this. More testing required. Mind you, a storage fabric isn't the only way to do scale out, scale up storage. At least, not fabric in the same way NetApp goes about it. But I'm willin gto be convinced on this point.
Amazing automation (WFA).
*shrug* Automation is increasingly table stakes for enterprise storage. Enough do it that it's really not making me excited.
Granted. But performance from almost everyone reached way the hell better than "good enough" some time ago. We're well past worrying about that. Now it's about driving down latency, heaping on the features, building for failure and driving down cost.
Define "insane scalability". Almost everyone has scalability. Is it rational to think about going to hyperscale with NetApp? The cost of that alone turns most people pale. NetApp is hugely, hugely, hugely expensive and thus is left out of conversations where "insane scale" would be a serious consideration.
Netapp is a great tier 0 storage platform, especially for legacy workloads. If I had a workload that I know wasn't modern and designed for failure, needed life-or-death class reliability and I needed to know I could scale it up to a moderate-sized array, NetApp would be in my top five companies, no question.
But the number of these tier 0 workloads out there is diminishing. New applications aren't written in in legacy Win32-style monolithic single points of failure. Scale is increasingly cognate with price sensitivity in today's storage market and so I am not sure exactly how scalability helps the NetApp marketing pitch. It just focuses the mind on what that much NetApp would cost and immediately starts one thinking about alternatives.
Technology that literally keeps the lights on (part of the control chain of many power distribution systems).
Or deployed in life or death situations. By the most paranoid organizations in the world.
See above: great tier 0 storage for legacy workloads. No question. That's why it's still relevant for this refresh cycle. But it isn't the only storage capable of performing here...and increasingly competitors are earning their stripes as being reliable on this level. Even as virtually everyone is moving away from the requirement for this kind of storage.
Is that what NetApp wants to be? The mainframe of storage? Because that's what I was warning about in my article: that slow fade to niche, maybe, ultimately, complete irrelevance.
NetApp's reliability is a huge plus...but it's not enough to make it more than a point consideration for specific niche workloads.
That's the storage foundation behind the largest companies in the world.
Actually, the storage foundation behind the largest companies in the world is either OCP-style home-rolled storage (Google, Facebook, etc) or EMC. NetApp has a few wins as primary, but mostly NetApp serves the purpose of being a credible second-string provider used to threaten EMC during negotiations and you know that.
The damning thing is that many startups are eating your lunch as regards to playing "beat EMC over the head and drive down margins". See: EMC versus Pure Storage as one example.
That's nothing special?
Not overly, no.
I'd love to see what you consider special. Must really be something.
Go to VMworld. It really should be renamed "storage world". You'll see all sorts of lovely things there. Marvelous and entertaining things. Storage to wow and amaze. Storage to run screaming from. Storage and compute that works together. Storage, compute and networking and automation and orchestration and NFV and hybrid extensions and more that work together all in one SKU.
Maybe you should buy one or two. Incorporate their fresh thinking into your company after you buy them, instead of driving them out. Maybe you can bring to their products the level of QA and testing that makes your products so stable and reliable while gaining a much needed DNA infusion.
What I find impressive doesn't exist yet. I'd link you to a much newer, more comprehensive article but sadly, that one hasn't been published yet. (Written, but not out the door, quite yet.)
I'm rarely impressed by the past. Having the ultimate solution to fighting the last war is as irrelevant as the development of the F-22 Raptor. Just who exactly did the US expect they would be fighting with those things, hmm? That cold war wet dream was sure useless in clearing out a bunch of entrenched resistance fighters from hastily constructed bunkers in the middle of the desert.
That is how I see NetApp. Not just the technology - that can be excused - but the corporate culture. The best and brightest laser focused on solving the last war's problems, completely ignoring the one currently being fought or the one brewing on the horizon.
Alas, I feel that conversation may be falling on deaf ears.