PlexiStor is a powerful acquisition for NetApp because the entire industry is moving to adopt NVMe to take advantage of NVDIMM, 3D XPoint storage, and other technologies that make storage start to perform like memory, Woodall told CRN.
"Storage is starting to look like memory going forward thanks to NVMe," he said. "NVMe lets the host talk directly to flash media."
NetApp and other vendors have already started shipping storage featuring the NVMe storage protocol, Woodall said. However, PlexiStor brings NetApp the intellectual property to take NetApp into the future.
"PlexiStor has software that eliminates the flash abstraction layer to connect the host directly to flash," he said. "NVDIMM and 3D XPoint memory need NVMe to take advantage of their performance. Over time, all manufacturers will add more NVMe technology, and eventually move to adopt it for externally attached storage … NVMe will also eventually extend to fabrics."
Given that FlexPod is the only converged infrastructure that is seeing revenue growth, NetApp's acquisition of Immersive Partner Solutions is also important to NetApp, Woodall said.
"Immersive is the kind of toolset to let customers and partners more effectively manage their FlexPods," he said. "With converged infrastructure and hyper-converged infrastructure, you will see the need for tools to manage the stacks become more important."
The acquisitions, and the revenue growth enjoyed by NetApp in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2017, point out a spark that has been missing in NetApp for years, Woodall said.
"We're seeing an invigorated, growing NetApp," he said. "This is something that customers, partners, and even competitors have been looking for. A strong competitor makes everybody stronger."