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NetApp is closely watching the development by IBM, which is a long-term OEM customer of NetApp's, of a unified storage platform that could compete with that of his company, Georgens said.
IBM has aspirations to offer unified storage products, and there is a desire in that company to build the technology internally, which might not be good news for NetApp, he said. "But I think there's a lot of satisfaction among IBM's customers with our products," he said.
Both Georgens and Parrish confirmed that NetApp has no plans to take products from its March acquisition of Engenio to the channel, but will instead maintain Engenio's OEM strategy.
But while NetApp will not compete with its Engenio OEM partners for sales of that product line, it will work with its direct and indirect sales team to sell more NetApp technology, particularly its V-series of storage virtualization appliances. to customers of its OEM partners, Georgens said.
He also said that, while NetApp could see an uptick in smaller acquisitions going forward, it would pursue large deals such as Engenio on an opportunistic basis. "Compared to where w were, we have to greater appetite to do deals, or lesser appetite to do deals," he said.
Looking forward, NetApp expects revenue for its first fiscal quarter of 2012 to be about $1.5 billion plus or minus 3 percent, or about 26 percent to 34 percent higher than in its first fiscal quarter of 2011. The company also expects earning during the first fiscal quarter of 2012 to be between 31 cents per share and 36 cents per share, down slightly from the 38 cents per share it reported last year.
Parrish declined to discuss any upcoming major changes in NetApp's channel program. However, she did say that NetApp will look for ways to help get its partners to focus more on helping customers architect their storage infrastructures rather than just selling solutions.
"MDFs (market development funds) and rebates for the rest of the year will be focused on helping partners drive architectures," she said. "Channel programs traditionally focus on solutions, or on being a one-stop shop. We want partners to be focused on architecting solutions."