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NetApp Cloud Lead Anthony Lye Departs For Palantir

Joseph F. Kovar

‘The people [at NetApp], the applications and my role were a once in a lifetime opportunity. I loved and love NetApp. I am very proud of what I accomplished. I leave the company better, the business, the product and the people I brought to the company are things I will forever be proud of,’ says Anthony Lye, who this month left as head of NetApp’s public cloud business Unit.

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Anthony Lye, who powered NetApp’s growth in cloud services and helped transform the company from its legacy focus on storage, left the company this month to join Palantir Technologies.

Lye, who joined NetApp almost five-and-a-half years ago and left as executive vice president and general manager for public cloud services, built and led that company’s public cloud business unit, and took the lead in several significant acquisitions that added a wide range of non-storage cloud services that turned NetApp into a public cloud services leader.

Lye, in his new role as global head of Palantir Apollo and the product-led growth business unit, is now focused on looking at how to deliver things like the Apollo continuous delivery system as a service for clients and partners, and build new consumption models for Palantir Foundry, an open architecture connecting data, analytics, and business teams to a common foundation.

[Related: NETAPP CEO GEORGE KURIAN: DELL, HPE ARE ‘DOING WHAT WE DID IN 2014’]

Lye told CRN via LinkedIn that Denver-based software firm Palantir is a special company and is close to the applications space where he came from.

“It was just too good an offer,” Lye said. “The people [at NetApp], the applications and my role were a once in a lifetime opportunity. I loved and love NetApp. I am very proud of what I accomplished. I leave the company better, the business, the product and the people I brought to the company are things I will forever be proud of.”

NetApp, in response to a CRN request for more information, confirmed via email that Lye departed from his role at NetApp effective July 11.

“During his time at NetApp Anthony and his team of cloud business leaders and technical experts have made significant contributions to NetApp, enabling our Cloud business to grow from less than $1M ARR (annual recurring revenue) to more than $500M ARR and driven several scalable and successful M&As to create the CloudOps category where we are positioned as the market leader,” said a NetApp spokesperson. “Anthony and the cloud team were instrumental in the breakthrough technical and business model innovation we have accomplished with the hyperscale cloud providers, building unique solutions.”

Lye leaves a legacy of public cloud services that not only touched cloud storage, but also cloud compute, applications, and virtual desktop infrastructure that changed NetApp into a leading cloud company.

Among the acquisitions Lye led were:

* Instacluster, acquired in April 2022, a developer of a platform for delivering fully managed open-source database, pipeline and workflow applications as a service.

* Fylamynt, acquired in February 2022, a developer of CloudOps automation technology it says lets businesses securely build, run, manage, and analyze cloud workloads with little or no code.

* CloudCheckr, acquired in October 2021, offers complete AWS cloud management in one platform, proactive security monitoring across AWS services, as well as cost allocation tools and support for channel partners looking to grow their AWS business.

* Data Mechanics, acquired in June 2021, a cloud analytics and big data technology developer.

* CloudHawk, acquired in June 2021, a developer of cloud security technology.

* Spot, acquired in June 2020, a developer of technology to manage and optimize compute on public clouds by looking for the lowest-cost spot instances of compute.

* CloudJumper, acquired in April 2020, a developer of technology to build a single management platform that combines VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) with the underpinning storage and data services infrastructure that delivers high-performance, easily-managed virtual desktops across public clouds.

Lye leaves quite a legacy at NetApp, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering and NetApp enablement at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime NetApp channel partner.

“He is the guy that came into NetApp, a storage vendor, but wasn’t a storage guy,” Woodall told CRN. “He was a cloud and services guy. He had the vision to take NetApp down the path to make cloud part of its portfolio. With Lye, NetApp was able to differentiate itself and stake a solid position in the hybrid multi-cloud world.”

Lye was in a unique position at NetApp as he had to learn about NetApp while NetApp had to learn about him, Woodall said.

“Eventually, NetApp found a balance between its cloud business and legacy storage,” he said. “Today, analysts and customers look at NetApp differently. He drove native cloud integration beyond the cloud marketplace into both IaaS and PaaS, and shifted NetApp from a storage vendor to a data services and data management company.”

NetApp should be in a position where it can continue to develop its cloud services capabilities despite the departure of Lye, Woodall said.

“If you asked me one or one-and-a-half years ago, I would’ve said NetApp has big shoes to fill,” he said. “But when I look at today’s NetApp leadership team and their background in cloud and software, they can continue to leverage what Anthony started.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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