back to article ONTAP isn't putting NetApp ONTOP

NetApp's third quarter results were poor but NetApp revenues have been flat or falling for a couple of years now. Management doesn't seem to view this as a deep-set problem requiring deep-set answers. In the earnings webcast, NetApp's management said the Q3 revenue fall was due to foreign exchange (FX) and sales execution …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would argue they are not OnTap centric enough. The reason I never sell E series is because it doesn't do what NetApp does so well, and right now the same goes for FlashRay (although that's not even aimed at the normal all flash market). Fair enough, the data access layer of OnTap may not be ideal for all scenarios, but the software stack they have is second to none in the industry, and many of our customers will happily use OnTap if it means fully automated private cloud, no backup tapes, no D2D nonsense, and no backup software while removing the load from the network through no longer streaming backups all night, and using ODX accross protocols for copy and move. NetApp makes IT feel like the future while most other vendors remain completely unchanged, and those that tick the boxes of integrated backup for instance, seem to do so very badly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In our environment we are getting rid of all the FAS stuff mostly due to maintenance costs and initial cost to meet our performance requirements, and replaced them with Oracle ZFS appliances for most of our semi high performance hybrid needs.

      We actually have quite a few E-Series which do pretty well in what we needed them for- Block mass storage. Other than that we bought a Pure for our VDI and the bulk of our vmWare we also use the E series acting as a slow/bulk tier for vmware

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I would guess you were trying to do legacy streaming backups on them? They aren't designed to be used like that so will always disappoint in that situation.

  2. chrismevans

    The Inflection Point was some time ago

    NetApp has been on a downward trend for some time - I posted on this last year.

    http://blog.architecting.it/2014/04/14/has-netapp-reached-a-strategic-inflection-point/

    However, the bigger picture is as Chris Mellor states, an obsessional focus on Data ONTAP. NetApp missed the opportunity to diversify like EMC; even acquisitions were used just to bolster the ONTAP message. EF550/560 is up against tough competition in a crowded market - it doesn't stand out. FlashRay is too little too late. "Cloud" products are simply just ONTAP in a different form.

    NetApp needs to diversify away from storage management to data management and do it sooner rather than later.

  3. Nate Amsden

    i wonder

    Given the state of FlashRay if NetApp can't make progress fast enough on it, given it is a whole new platform that is not related to Ontap if they don't throw in the towel and acquire some startup to provide the technology(while quietly smothering FlashRay with a pillow in the night). I don't know who they should acquire if anyone I haven't been playing too close attention to the storage startups in recent years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i wonder

      Flash ray is almost exactly where they wanted it to be, only dual controller and multi system is really missing for the envisaged workloads. Other stuff is planned but was never seen as urgent from what I've been told.

  4. Martin0641

    I just bought a Pure FA-450 and a FA-405...

    And I can say firsthand that the out of box experience is vastly superior to both EMC and NetApp.

    They seriously packed a 6 in 1 screwdriver into the kit so I would have everything I needed to get it up and running, and the system was up within 15 minutes of finishing the HW install, provisioning iSCSI with full dedupe and compression running by default - no RAID quibbling or setup required.

    Its because of products like this, and their soon to be announced next-gen all flash scale out product that people will wet their pants for (I've seen it) that companies like EMC and NetApp are having a hard time, you don't need 50,000 employees to make these things (EMC just fired about 10k people and thus are down from 60k employees).

    Those companies are paying for buildings, parking lots, and more than one crusty behind the times engineers. They didn't stay hungry, efficient, and lean - they went big, went corporate, and went home.

    I've seen the X-Brick...guess what...its 550k for 11.5TB RAW and puts out ~960MBps with 4k sectors...I got them to max it out with I believe 64k sectors and it hit 1160MBps. Mind=Blown on that one, my FA-405 was under 100k and blows the doors off it. Sure you can chain more than one X-Brick together, apparently you can stack like 32 of them...at a cost of like 16 million dollars....

    This is a car and horse buggy situation.

    Two things happened. One, technology marched, it always does. Two, the C level asshats at EMC and NetApp decided to see how long they could milk selling people racks and racks of disks because the margin was higher than selling them 10U of flash. They literally created their own competition because the market saw, and had time, to create whole companies to exploit the intentional market gaps left open by those two companies as they tried to convince everyone to buy their old crap. Its their fault that the tech isint as seasoned and widespread as it could be, they simply didn't want to cannibalize their own market segments just because the tech advanced. That would be real engineering work advancing & customizing and shrinking their footprint, but they want to sell you expensive widgets with shiney nameplates on them.

    You can either tell customers that the 5 million dollar array they just bought can be matched by a new product at 1/8th the cost or you can pretend that tech does not exist and keep selling high priced junk. They would rather sell you a rack of metal struggling to give you 100k sustained IOPS than admit that a single SSD can give over 100k IOPS, and a fusion IO card can give over 5 million, so just buy this synology rather than our array because as a business you likely don't even need that level of performance and thus tech has commoditzed our lower performance their simply by advancing.

    Do you or do you not think that some young internal engineer came up to them and said: if I put all flash in a VNX it outperforms the VMAX, what do you think? I think that PowerPoint went to marketing and finance and it was DOA. No way were going to offer something at 1/8th the price with 8x performance...bad business.

    I'm going to reward forward pushing tech companies with my purchasing powers, not entrenched interests. Companies like Pure are the reason that job titles such as SAN Engineer are dissapearing or having their scope GREATLY expanded because the field is evolving, we no longer need a dedicated person to keep the magic working at the smaller scales - tech has advanced...teir 3 admins can handle most of those duties now. People who get excited over big iron spinning disks remind me of my audiophile uncles that squeel over oxygen free pure copper audio cables - fangirling at the what was cool when they were coming up and failing to keep with what makes the most sense based on what we as a species are capable of...now.

    1. zbmwzm3

      Re: I just bought a Pure FA-450 and a FA-405...

      I agree with you that Netapp has been caught flat footed. I also think it great and all for your pure flash arrays, but they are still too expensive for the density you get. Pure is going for a specific market whereas Netapp has multiple markets it's after. Specifically I'm thinking if you're dealing with multiple PB's of data, it's not likely that you're looking for a flash array.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just bought a Pure FA-450 and a FA-405...

      I think we need the experts now more than ever. Your obsession with IOPS more than demonstrates this. There are a great many cases where NL-SAS (you probably incorrectly call it SATA) is a far better option than SSD. Video encoding for instance needs throughput and low IO which 7200 rpm drives are ideal for. With Flash, SSD is actually one of the slower ways to use it. PCIe has considerably higher IO potential thanks to significantly higher bandwidth of the PCIe 3 bus compared to SAS. Pure are good at marketing, they are good at a very specific market segment, but they don't compete with the big boys on enough points as to keep them well away from enterprise solutions.

  5. zbmwzm3

    or cluster-mode, but that's not something they can admit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worse than that...

    If you think that the title SAN Engineer is going away, that's only part of it. All of the silo's are beginning to disappear, driven mostly by Hyperconverged players like Nutanix, SimpliVity, VSAN, etc. These are the players that will drive change in the industry, not just all-flash, which, quite frankly, still has limited use cases.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's Simple

    Market is the same size with more competitors trying to get a slice of the pie. It's as simple as that. That said,

    Lot of deals in the 50-100k range in mid-market, channel driven. Most of the new entrants only deal with the channel.

    Netapp's primary challenge is they've disarmed one weapon they had. Their channel partners. netapp have elected to work with fewer of them on larger deals believing that most of the MSB workloads will be moving to the cloud. That belief is actually true, however, it's not happening on this sales cycle.

    I find some of the ontap comments completely ignorant. Yes, it's ontap in the cloud which would allow an enterprise complete control of its data with the same processes it uses today, never mind the data mobility aspect of it. That's a great story!

    In any case, netapp's problem is its MSB strategy. It's not what it used to be and that's the difference.

    1. zbmwzm3

      Re: It's Simple

      Yeah it is a good story because that's all it is, a story.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's Simple

        I've been a netapp reseller for 15 yrs. I know what's real and what's marketing. I suggest you educate yourself.

        1. zbmwzm3

          Re: It's Simple

          I'm on the other side of the fence not as a reseller but as a engineer. From my point of view it is coming down to cost and features. With more competitors having similar or even better features than Netapp it's starting to show up on their balance sheet. As a short lazy example Raid-DP is getting long in the tooth. They are doing work with Ontap 8.3 for better implantation with the cloud and that will help bridge the gap for some SMB, but I don't know for how long or how successful it will be. I hope it works great because it's to my benefit. I'm actually still waiting for cloud storage to become much cheaper since I'm dealing with over a 100PB's. If Netapp can reduce maintenance costs and reduce the cost of the new capacity based licensing that will help(at least in the short term). The whole 7-mode to C-mode has been difficult so I can understand that some businesses decided to go in a different direction at that point and it's perfectly logically that they at least look at their options. So no, no it's not SO SIMPLE. I'll leave you with a quote from "The DUDE" who said. "You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the new kids on the block will capture chunks of the SMB market, but they are definitely not ready for the enterprise. But, let's see what happens the next 5 years and then things might have changed. On the other hand, the big giants can always buy the smaller ones, and thus ride the way.

    Also, I get very very suspicious when I read overly optimistic reviews. That smacks of SMB, and simple environments.

  9. iStore

    NotApp

    NetApp’s topline revenue growth has been flat for the last 2 years and is expected to DECLINE in their current fiscal year, which ends April 30, 2015. That will mean 3 consecutive years of flat or negative growth. Put another way: In a Scale-Out NAS market with a 16% CAGR, NetApp is flat or down for 3-straight years. Oof.

    Contrast that with Isilon’s growth. Isilon has grown revenues from $200M in 2010 (the year EMC acquired the company) to $1.3B in 2014. That’s over 5.5X growth in 4 years, including 26% Y/Y growth in 2014 on a $1B number (compared to 25% Y/Y growth in 2013 – which means Isilon actually accelerated growth in 2014 over 2013). The industry is moving to Scale-Out NAS and it is increasingly choosing Isilon. It is not choosing NetApp, or, as I like to think of them, NotApp.

    NotApp's CEO blamed it on “sales execution issues,” among other things. I actually agree with that – his sales team isn’t winning deals. They are getting their heads kicked in by XtremIO in the AFA space – and by Isilon in the File space.

    Get this, though: Their operating margin is healthier than ever. So, topline revenue is down, margin is up. What does that say? Personally, I think it means that they're losing when it's a competitive deal – but when they do an un-contested deal or an un-contested refresh, they do so on their terms at their price points. Customers doing deals with NotApp and not introducing competition are leaving a ton of money on the table.

    NetApp is the Blackberry of the storage industry. They’re still alive, they have a decent product and a huge install base of largely loyal, happy customers. But they are confused, lost, no longer strategically relevant, losing share all over the place and their ultimate demise is not a question of if, but when.

    1. StorageEngineer

      Re: NotApp

      >>> The industry is moving to Scale-Out NAS and it is increasingly choosing Isilon.

      >> It is not choosing NetApp, or, as I like to think of them, NotApp.

      Your post shows two things:

      1. You are praising Isilon for your own interest

      2. You are hating your competition for your love with Isilon!

      Scale out NAS sounds like old story! Who knows, after NetApp Isilon is next to get impacted! Why do you think Tucci acquired DSSD, XtremeIO, Scale IO, Pivotal? Data domain/Isilon will be history soon and those new acquisitions (DSSD, XtremeIO, Scale IO, Pivotal) will be the growth segment. Boy gotta admire the Joe Tucci and his business sense!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tom Georgens = Mr optimistic

    I wonder if they really believe the story that 40 deals slipped and thats what the problem is at NetApp.

    Ill raise a couple of things

    1) 7 mode to Cmode. Disruptive upgrade which is what NetApp has been able to beat up it's competitors for years now. Customers may as well test the market given 7 mode to cmode is a complex upgrade

    2) Features. It has taken nearly 3 years for NetApp to get close to feature parity between the OS' meaning the time taken to close a normally easier sale is significantly more complex and harder to get across the line

    3) All the Core NetApp principles are disappearing. CMode isnt exactly simple compared to 7 mode meaning most of the messages that have been so successful have either disappeared or it's competitors have neutralized.

    4) NetApp's Flash Strategy is wishywashy. EF is Fast but no Features, All Flash FAS is WAFL with SSD. We all know WAFL is optimised to write to disk in the same way VNX and HUS is.

    5) FlashRay has been promised for 18 months now and the first version is a single controller with limited features and only available in BETA.

    No wonder Georgens is saying its a sales issue. If i was a NetApp sales person, I'd be confused as all hell on what to sell too. If he wants to hang anyone out to drive it should be the NetApp Product Development Teams.

    1. mtuber

      Re: Tom Georgens = Mr optimistic

      4) NetApp's Flash Strategy is wishywashy. EF is Fast but no Features, All Flash FAS is WAFL with SSD. We all know WAFL is optimised to write to disk in the same way VNX and HUS is.

      Well, after reading this I stopped reading any further. That was enough for me because clearly this statement shows a complete lack of understanding of how wafl writes to disk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tom Georgens = Mr optimistic

        Really, if all flash FAS was so great why build flashray. Give me a break and ease up on the coolaid, the market knows your comments hold no water. 10 years of integrating spinnaker has destroyed all the advantages NetApp had.

  11. CheesyTheClown

    NetApp simply lacks agility

    I recently bought a REALLY low end NetApp 2552, it's extremely heavy and extremely pretty. It's also EXTREMELY slow and EXTREMELY clunky.

    I am absolutely amazed about how almost every other solution (other than EMC and IBM) that I've evaluated has much better configuration options. NetApp's documentation and naming is so poor, it's just not even worth talking about except as a joke.

    The command line and web management tools for NetApp are just not very good. Simple tasks aren't simple. Keeping volumes organized is a mess. Fiber Channel configuration is bad. iSCSI configuration is worse. FCoE configuration is so fantastically ugly, it should be taken out and shot.

    They have no real tools for troubleshooting.

    I find it so completely humorous that NetApp actually is so bad that you actually need to take a class or two before it starts getting untangled. There are 10,000 ways to do things wrong, but, especially since Cluster Mode came around, it seems like there's no real way to do things right.

    Their hardware architecture is so completely old news that in a hardware solution where they should have taken development of their own converged adapters seriously years ago, they are just a PC in a different box running generic Q-Logic stuff.

    If you need performance for price and you want manageability, use software based storage solutions. But don't just slap the junk together. Get proper servers with proper power redundancy. Use Cisco C3150s for near-line and C240s for online storage. Use multiple 40Gbs VIC adapters and manage them using System Center or another orchestrator.

    If you REALLY need to use something else, good luck with that. HP's automation tools are a bit sad right now. Dell's are um... we'll not talk about that. Lenevo might not be too bad in time once the documentation is handled properly. It might take a generation or two to get there.

    I think that NetApp's biggest problem is that they've grown so big that they no longer understand what data centers need from a storage provider.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NetApp simply lacks agility

      Well let me see.

      1) You recently bought a 2552 which means this happened the last 6-7mos

      2) You've evaluated alternatives and found that they were better

      3) Their HW is old news according to your statement and "junk"

      Yet, you STILL bought a 2552. Most people I know evaluate first and buy after.

      Anyone reading this post will have to question the real intent of the post...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No innovation

    No innovation

    1) Storage mgmt tool is so poor. Browser or gui lack of many stuff. Never improve at all since 5 years ago til now. Still have to rely on typing stupid keyboard command.

    2) Upgrade 7mode to Cmode required new landscape and h/w, a bunch of knowledge curve change.

    Huge money involved.

    3) Every 5th year maintenance price will increase very high.

    4) Technology is very old consider the high price storage.

    5) Every single feature required separate license. Cannot transfer license to new environment when upgrade of h/w.

    6) The promise of maintain customer investment was just a sale gimmick. Maintenance cost is indeed very high.

    7) FAS series now is either entry or high spec, took out the middle spec level. Forcing customers to go high model.

    8) Migration to new box even on 7mode is painful. No simple tool to help with the transition.

    1. eb2015

      Re: No innovation

      What a BUNCH of FUD.

      I won't even address the "no innovation" claim, why dont you browse out to www.netapp.com and take a peek at what we've been up to for the last few years. Not to mention we have been handing the industry Certified Validated Solutions based on the Flexpod stack(sold a few of those since 2011), something all the other vendors are still catching up to doing (not to mention vBlock falling flat on it's face). I find it amusing that there are new storage vendors still doing "copy on write" based snap shots? what year is this again?(XIO ring a bell anyone?)

      1. Obviously you have never heard nor used OnCommand Systems manager and the new c-mode cli is super slick which allows you to drop in different commands at any place in the cli structure.

      2) Not really an upgrade as much as a technology shift for the better, it further removes data silo's which all the other vendors have yet to address completely. It also provides a better mode of High Availability.

      "Huge money involved" all the fly by night vendors base out at about 150k to start and many lack the enterprise level features that OnTap provides. The adage goes, you get what you pay for...

      3) Every Vendor has maintenance cost, is there a point you are making here?

      4) Cisco's IOS is old, yet it is still predominate in the networking world, I guess when something works and its solid, we should just mock it for its integrity?

      5) Again all vendors have different licensing agreements, NetApps licensing depends on how you purchase it and many times incentives can be used to negotiate down the costs. Remember, the features that are offered in the OnTap and Snap Manager line are often sold as separate systems by other vendors. Recover Point, SRDF, Data Domain, VPLEX are all different boxes with different interfaces with different OS's. OnTap offers all the same functionality, one box, one system.

      7) FAS, AFF, (OnTap Based) EF and E-Series (SanTricity Based) have models that can fit into any environment and price point.

      8) I suppose you should mention that to all of the enterprise level accounts that I have done installs and migrations for successfully. Any migration with any vendor is never easy, and if someone tells you it will be seamless, they are most likely a snake oil sales man.

  13. thegreatsatan

    The blackberry of the storage world

    Netapp had it all at one point, but the failure to truly innovate or adjust to the changing storage landscape has harmed their long term prospects. The storage space is highly competitive. One need only to look at the success that many of the new storage startups have had during the same period that Netapp has fallen. Taking a strong look at an architecture that simply cannot keep up with the future of data might be a good start if they want to remain relevant in the changing data economy.

  14. Mark Burgess

    Clearly the entire market is getting more competitive, 5 years ago one of the big six (EMC, NetApp, HP, IBM, HDS and Dell) was the only real choice for most organisations. Today the market is much tougher - you have to add at least half a dozen start-up vendors to this list, some workloads are moving to the cloud and there are shrinking budgets since the recession.

    The net result is that it is far more difficult for the likes of NetApp and EMC to sell their products and there is also downward pressure on margins. EMC's answer has been to acquire additional products (Data Domain, Isilon and XtremIO) which in the short-term increases their revenue, but does result in a single product for every use case. I do not believe that it is sustainable outside of the enterprise space and because they have so many products their "Swiss army knife" mid-market solution the VNX currently looks very "long in the tooth" compared to FAS. I would assume that sales of the VNX over this period have gone down much further than FAS.

    The start-ups have done well by focusing on price, performance and simplicity, but they have two problems:

    1. They do not make any money, as they are subsidised by VCs, so their business model is not sustainable (unless they are acquired which is their objective)

    2. They cannot match the features and use cases that FAS or the EMC portfolio can

    There is no doubt that NetApp has gone through a lot of pain moving from 7-Mode to Clustered Data ONTAP and that has put them back a few years, but at least they have now come through that and they have a platform that they can build on over the next decade - if only EMC put the same investment into their existing products rather than focusing on acquisitions.

    For me what NetApp needs to do is focus on simplicity and affordable converged infrastructures - this is not FlexPod with Cisco UCS, but FlexPod with simple commodity servers at a price that is affordable to almost any sized organisation.

    As for FlashRay personally I would rather see the IP that has gone into it ported into FAS and E-Series and I am sure we will at least partially see that. As far as I know FlashRay is in no way a ground-up flash design and instead it is a massively optimised version of ONTAP - which is no bad thing as "ground-up designed for flash" is just marketing. Today the EF series can easily hold its own from a price performance point of view with the likes of the EMC VNX-F and the All-Flash FAS with XtremIO and Pure - I really believe that outside of the enterprise space the ground-up All-Flash array is no longer sustainable.

    Ultimately what we need is:

    1. The fewest number of platforms to support all use cases

    2. Ease of deployment and management

    3. Value for money at point of purchase, additions and upgrades with list prices that are not massively over inflated

    NetApp is in as good a position if not better than any of the start-ups and the market leader EMC to deliver on the above.

    It will be interesting to see how all this pans out in the next few years - at the end of the day all we can do is just make our best guess possible.

    I wrote a lot more about all of this at:

    http://blog.snsltd.co.uk/is-there-another-storage-platform-as-feature-rich-as-netapp-fas/

    http://blog.snsltd.co.uk/does-the-all-flash-array-really-make-sense/

    http://blog.snsltd.co.uk/what-is-next-for-storage-in-2015/

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I started at NetApp back in 2005 Dan Warmenhoven and Tom Mendoza used to rave with passion how the storage business was a "two horse race", with NetApp due to eat EMC's lunch at some point in the near future. We were first to market with iSCSI (threw in a license with every install) and ONTAP 7 mode with FlexVol's was all the rage. Spinnaker was in the bag and the future looked bright. Converged "scale out" storage was not too far away.

    I think there were around 1500 people back then. Not exactly ground floor, but It was exciting being part of a growing, dynamic organisation.

    EMC soon cut our grass in the iSCSI market. They also quickly outgrew NetApp's core business, file based storage. It didn't matter - we were the good guys - we had the "real" converged storage that did block and file, and our snapshots simply rocked (and still do I might add).

    The "two horse race" thing lasted for another couple of years at the all hands meetings. Tom Mendoza would wrap them up and leave everybody with a lump in their throat. We were going to win.

    It was probably around 2008 when the "two horse race" thing was forgotten. Sure, there was always lots of internal back slapping about how NetApp was taking it to EMC. For mid-range storage, the technology was leaps and bounds ahead of anything they had to offer. But NetApp couldn't market. EMC were always there, winning deals, spreading FUD and outplaying us at every turn. The Data Domain thing was probably the ultimate humiliation for Dan and Tom. We even had the Data Domain CEO speak at our all-hands meeting and tell us how psyched he was that they were joining NetApp. Once again, EMC outplayed us at the last minute.

    Don't get me wrong, things were great at NetApp. It kept growing at a cracking pace, everyone was making money - the product rocked and for the most part customers were really happy. There were rumblings when Tom Georgens and Jay Kidd joined that Tom was the chosen one to take the reins from Dan when he retired. He'd been one of the few (maybe the only?) CEO's ever to go from startup to billion dollar plus businesses. But I guess he was looking forward to slowing down a little, and enjoying the success that he'd created. Dan was awesome.

    Middle management started spread. NetApp went from an extremely flat org structure to a much more "vague" cloud of dotted lines and indirect reports. Wankers with MBA's started to multiply. All of a sudden, TLA's proliferated ever increasing meetings about some bullshit metric or another, and they started focus on keeping our customers happy wasn't always number one anymore.

    Every acquisition bar E-series was a flop. The obsession with Cluster Mode killed innovation for about 3 years while engineering finally was forced to made it work after about four years of doing fuck knows what with spinnaker.

    NetApp began to miss their numbers. I distinctly recall the first time in happened. Tom Mendoza actually teared up during the all hands when they announced it, and finished off with something like "I'm not sure if I wanna do this anymore". Stirring stuff. Dan Warmenoven stepped down. Tom Georgens stepped up.

    Some of my former colleagues from Sun started to see familiar signs. Awesome products witha management team that really has no idea where it is headed.

    Over the subsequent years, the "realignments" began. The first one I saw was a "last in first out" kind of affair. Horrible to go through, but hey, were all adults and it happens. The next couple started to target people. Fair enough - gotta get rid of that dead wood. There was a strange consistency evident in all of this though. No middle or senior management ever got the tap on the shoulder. Nobody with direct reports ever took responsibility for the missed numbers.

    NetApp had become a place where middle management was a place to hide in endless meetings while pursuing vague quarterly strategies created by the latest batch of dickhead MBA's.

    The product is solid. Some still industry leading features. There's been some awesome moments. FlexPod was pure genius. Every tier 1 vendor is playing catchup there. Kissing Cisco's ass paid off for a while.

    The real problem lies with the strategy and execution. That and the market has shifted. NetApp should have bought Pure/Nimble/whatever when they had the chance - but then again with their track record in acquisitions that could have been a disaster. Instead there's the home grown debacle called FlashRay.

    The company focuses more on getting high rankings in the Great Place to Work surveys than innovating and winning.

    The story isn't over - NetApp's got a lot of life left in it yet. It will be interesting to continue to watch from the sidelines and see how it unfolds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was at Data Domain when the whole NetApp / EMC thing went down. I remember attending an all-hands where Dan W (and I believe Tom G and Tom M both attended, although the details are kind of fuzzy, so I could be wrong on that) spoke to us all and told us how great it was we were going to become part of the NetApp team.

      I remember thinking to myself, I can't believe Joe Tucci at EMC isn't making a play. IIRC, shortly after that is when they started bidding.

      Excitement was high that if somebody was going to acquire Data Domain, people wanted it to be NetApp, but I thought sure that was a pipe dream for NetApp because there was no freaking way their pockets were as deep as EMC's. Sure enough, they were outbid and EMC got us.

      I couldn't have cared less one way or the other since I was a post-IPO employee and didn't have much equity in the company. But I was surprised when, after the acquisition closed, they left us pretty much alone, at least at my level. I have a friend over there now, however, who says the place is very solidly EMC now - no shred of Data Domain's culture left.

      Friends of mine over at NetApp at the time told me people were crushed NetApp didn't get Data Domain. It sounded like some people definitely viewed it as a solid defeat at the hands of the enemy.

      Interesting times...

      1. StorageEngineer

        It seems spinnaker acquisition sucked the juice out of NetApp. On top of that they could not acquire Data Domain. Again Tucci played Data Domain card nicely here.

        If you ask me, NetApp needs Tucci to grow out of this mess.

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