NetApp Growth Focused On All-Flash Storage, Hybrid Cloud Technologies

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NetApp's move away from legacy storage technologies towards strategic technologies, such as flash storage and the cloud, continue to pay off.

The company's CEO George Kurian said new releases during the company's second quarter of fiscal 2018, which included the company's first hyper-converged infrastructure offering and a strategic relationship that will make NetApp's NFS technology a native part of the Microsoft Azure cloud, signal that NetApp still has plenty of room to grow.

"We are undoubtedly out-executing our competition on all fronts ... It seemed particularly exciting to see our cloud strategy pay off with our expanded relationship with Microsoft Azure and the industry's first Azure enterprise NFS service," Kurian said during the company's earnings conference call.

[Related: NetApp Expands Cloud Capabilities With NFS On Azure, Adds IBM Watson To Support Services]

Unlike competitors who continue to offer technology that puts data in silos, NetApp is helping customers utilize their data across their entire infrastructure from on-premises storage to the cloud, Kurian said.

"No one matches our expertise in data management (and) open ecosystem approach," he said.

That shift is reflected in NetApp's sales of its strategic product sets including all-flash storage, converged infrastructure, hyper-converged infrastructure, and hybrid cloud which together now account for 69 percent of total product revenue, up 23 percent over the same period last year, Kurian said.

That includes a 60-percent year-over-year growth in all-flash array sales across NetApp's All Flash FAS, E-series, and SolidFire technologies over last year to an annual run rate of $1.7 billion, Kurian said. This strengthens the company's position as the second-largest flash storage vendor, he said, citing IDC numbers.

During the analyst question and analyst period, Kurian said in response to an analyst question that flash storage sales have a lot of room for growth considering that only about 10 percent of NetApp's installed base has moved towards solid-state storage.

"We have a good opportunity ahead of us as flash becomes more and more affordable compared to disk," he said.

The new NetApp HCI hyper-converged infrastructure offering is poised for big sales, Kurian said. However, he said, NetApp HCI was only released last quarter, and so it is too early to discuss actual revenue. "We are excited by the demand we've seen with the product," he said. "It has exceeded our expectations."

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