‘Leapfrog’ VDI Move: NetApp Acquires CloudJumper

“This allows NetApp to leapfrog everyone in this space,” said CloudJumper President JD Helms, who becomes vice president of Modern Workspace for NetApp. “CloudJumper is the only born in the cloud, multicloud capable product. NetApp is going to continue to invest and drive our products forward.”


NetApp Wednesday provided itself with the cloud software muscle to “leapfrog” virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) competitors with its acquisition of VDI superstar CloudJumper.

NetApp said the deal boosts its NetApp Virtual Desktop Service, allowing it to solve the “most challenging” VDI problems across AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud..

CloudJumper President JD Helms (pictured), the driving force behind the CloudJumper Cloud Workspace orchestration and management software, said the deal means more “margin” and bigger opportunities for partners.

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“This allows NetApp to leapfrog everyone in this space,” said Helms, who becomes vice president of Modern Workspace for NetApp. “CloudJumper is the only born in the cloud, multicloud capable product. NetApp is going to continue to invest and drive our products forward. This is great news for our partners, customers, NetApp shareholders and the CloudJumper team as a whole. It is the definition of everybody wins!”

Helms, who had built an experienced MSP sales team, said he expects an aggressive NetApp Virtual Desktop Service channel sales surge as a result of the deal.

“We’re going to be very aggressive,” he said. “NetApp already has an existing cloud sales organization within their cloud data services group. We are going to pick up the experience and heft of that organization. They are going to pick up our team as subject matter experts and continue driving forward. NetApp believes in the CloudWorkspace solution we have built and the multicloud strategy.”

NetApp, which has been ranked the top VDI storage vendor by market researcher IDC, has staked out the number one position in the VDI storage market, said Helms.

“NetApp is the best VDI storage platform to run on,” said Helms. “NetApp has deep product sets within analytics and data protection. All of this is going to come together over time as a complete vertically integrated stack. NetApp has the best possible solution – not just the lego pieces but a true vertically integrated stack and solution for partners and customers.”

For partners, the deal immediately ups their VDI game with a full stack NetApp solution, said Helms. “This deal gives partners bigger product depth and more margin,” he said. “What you are going to see are integrated bundled solutions.”

Helms took the helm of CloudJumper five years ago and transformed it into a Cloud Workspace orchestration and management software company. With its born in the cloud software as a service platform taking hold the company has grown by seven fold in the last five years.

Helms has brought on board an all-star MSP team that has driven big sales growth for partners. That team includes Chief Operating Officer Frank Picarello, former COO of MSP powerhouse TeamLogic IT; Director of MSP Programs Mike Celayeta, a former vice president of technology alliances for TeamLogic IT; and Vice President of Strategic Alliances Robin Brandl, former business development manager for VMware.

VDI is experiencing a massive surge in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s not just coronavirus,” said Helms. “This is bringing up the whole issue of business continuity. Coronavirus is eventually going to fade. That will eventually be in the rear view window. The question is how do you handle the next situation whether it is a hurricane or a natural disaster. Whatever happens you need the ability to burst in the cloud.”

Ultimately the deal is going to provide partners with the financial backing of a $6 billion storage leader with deep channel, product and development resources, said Helms. “CloudJumper was a great little company,” he said. “But given the choice between a little startup or an established Silicon Valley powerhouse who would you choose?”

Helms said he is looking forward to working closely with the NetApp team to drive more VDI opportunities for partners. “This is a little surreal,” he said of the blockbuster deal. “We were focused on growing our business and doing the right thing for our partners and customers. This is an extension of that. When you focus on doing the right thing good things happen. I see a very bright future. It’s exciting to see all the additional products and resources that NetApp is making available to us. It’s all about combining that with the power that we bring to the table and delivering the best possible outcome for partners.”

Jed Ayres, the CEO of IGEL, the maker of the first Linux operating system green-lighted by Microsoft for use with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), said the CloudJumper deal is the first of many that are going to come as the largest technology companies move to get into the VDI game in a bigger way.

“This is the beginning of a massive pivot to get a billion knowledge workers on to an architecture that allows them to work at home,” he said. “The largest tech companies in the world have to build this into their solutions.”

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated VDI sales momentum, said Ayres. “With Covid 19 work from home and desktop as a service is becoming the pervasive architecture,” he said. “Technologies like CloudJumper make it easier to get to these cloud based workspace solutions- specifically Azure and WVD. This kind of technology is becoming table stakes. Just like Office 365 is ubiquitous WVD will become the defacto way to consume Windows and Windows applications.”

The CloudJumper deal puts NetApp ahead of competitors to where the “puck is going,” said Ayres. “It’s a visionary move by NetApp CEO George Kurian and his team,” said Ayres. “They see where the market is going and they are way ahead of the curve in terms of their relationship with Microsoft, what they are doing with Azure and now what they are doing with VDI.”

VDI has always been a powerful technology solution for verticals like hospitals and finance, but in recent years it has become “more secure and easier to deploy with higher fidelity to support a full knowledge worker,” said Ayres. “The concept of an anywhere Workspace delivered from the cloud is now a reality,” he said. “This is all about any application on any device delivered anywhere. VDI is the miracle product that can deliver on that any, any, any model and do it in a way that is secure.”