NetApp Gets Into The MSP Game Via Spot, CloudJumper
Joseph F. Kovar
NetApp has been taking a cloud-first approach by tying its cloud infrastructure technologies to Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform, Jeff Treuhaft, general manager of Spot PC, tells CRN. And that approach, he says, fits the needs of MSPs who have already engaged with Spot and CloudJumper technologies.
Does Spot PC compete with or partner with any of the other virtual desktop providers?
You know, in my first eight months of the market development that we’ve done around Spot PC while I’ve been leading the group, 90-plus percent, maybe even 95-plus percent, of who we’re quote, unquote, competing against is the marketplace’s version of DIY. Meaning, nobody does what we do as a managed service, really, certainly not at a fixed price like we’re doing it. But what we encounter time and again is that customers have used some tools, sometimes they’re trying to just use the Microsoft toolset for Azure Virtual Desktop, sometimes they may have bought some software licenses from somebody else to do something related to a virtual desktop. And sometimes they’ve had homegrown tools that engineers have built inside the MSP to do some of this stuff. But what’s happened is as they have fully shifted to the cloud, what has worked is, AVD is a great primitive and Microsoft has a lot of tooling around it that can be very effective. But you still have to be the glue. And so even if you didn’t write your own software before, now you’re writing software, and now you have to maintain that software, you have to keep it bug-free, and you have to iterate it as Microsoft changes all their services. So where a lot of our business is coming from are the people who have been a DIY shop for a long time. And it worked out for them in that era. But as you move to the cloud, you integrate all these different services, it was taking more and more time just to get to the point where you can issue a desktop. And we allow them to get to the issuance of a desktop in minutes or hours as opposed to days or weeks. And then we maintain that environment, the back end. We automate the maintenance of that environment. So as Microsoft services change and meander over time, we’re handling that. We’re accepting that responsibility on behalf of our MSP partners. And so that’s what we really compete against. I’m sure as we continue to grow up I’m starting to see some [VMware] Horizon and some Citrix stuff, but we don’t really see many of the other names that have been in the marketplace for a while.
When you think of NetApp’s business because of the strength of the OnTap storage OS, they’ve cultivated relationships with the Global 5000. Even say, the Global 1000, which are some pretty large companies and large organizations, all of them have a ton of NetApp experience. And so we’re now getting pulled in by the broader NetApp organization into conversations with some of those large customers who have long been huge customers of some of those bigger vendors. But this whole shift to the cloud-first model has changed their thinking a little bit about how much they really need to control. And if they can get compliance, if they can get the security and the networking configurations that they need, it’s instructive for them to think about a different model because it really saves them resources. Many of them have had attrition because of COVID. They’ve lost staff over the last three years. And it’s made it more and more difficult for them to hold on in this environment. … I think they’re coming out and asking us some more about what Spot PC is and how it can work for them because of that.