NetApp CTO Bregman Departs In Wake Of Reorganization

Mark Bregman has resigned from NetApp as its chief technology officer in a move that a couple of the storage company's top channel partners said seems to reflect its recent reorganization into three separate businesses.

Bregman has served since the fall of 2015 as NetApp's senior vice president and chief technology officer.

News of his departure was first reported by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

[Related: Q&A: NetApp CTO Bregman On Data Fabric, Big Acquisitions And 'Weeds' In The EMC Garden]

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A NetApp spokesperson on Monday confirmed Bregman's departure via email to CRN, saying he "has decided to pursue interests outside of NetApp. We wish him well and thank him for his contributions."

NetApp, in a follow-up email, said the company has no plans to hire a new CTO because of the company's recent reorganization into three business units.

"Due to the realignment of engineering resources behind the three new business units, we are not planning to fill a CTO role," the spokesperson wrote in that email.

NetApp did not provide additional information on Bregman's departure. Bregman did not respond to a request from CRN for additional information by press time.

NetApp early this year reorganized its business into three business units.

The company's storage systems and software business unit, led by Joel Reich, executive vice president of product operations, includes the company's storage arrays. The cloud infrastructure business unit, under Senior Vice President and General Manager Brad Anderson, focuses on converged and hyper-converged infrastructure, NetApp SolidFire all-flash arrays, and NetApp StorageGRID object-based storage. The cloud business unit, led by Senior Vice President Anthony Lye, focuses on developing NetApp's Data Fabric technology.

Bregman did not give advance notice to NetApp channel partners of his departure, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and one of NetApp's top channel partners.

However, Woodall told CRN, despite some reports and tweets to the contrary, it doesn't appear that Bregman left because of any issues at NetApp.

"NetApp is a company with very good financials, and a very good product strategy," he said. "For instance, the company's Cloud Volumes technology is now in all three of the top hyperscale cloud providers. NetApp is stronger than any time I have ever seen it. And it has an exciting roadmap."

Instead, Woodall said, Bregman may have left because the CTO position is not as relevant as it was before.

Woodall said that NetApp's reorganization early this year into three business units has given the company three strong technology leaders.

"Does it make sense for a company like NetApp with a broad focus on storage, the cloud, and software, to have a single CTO in overall charge of the technology direction when each business unit has their own strong leaders," he said.

Glenn Dekhayser, field chief technology officer at Red8, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time NetApp channel partner, told CRN he thinks Bregman's departure is related to the reorganization.

"It probably makes more sense to have three 'CTOs' instead of an over-arching CTO," Dekhayser said.

This especially makes sense given that the three business units, while in sync with NetApp's overall vision, are not necessarily in sync with each other, Dekhayser said.

"The Cloud business unit is releasing something every two weeks," he said. "It's cloud-based technology. The don't need to prepare and deliver a full software package to customers. But the Storage Systems and Software business unit releases a new version of OnTap every six months. These technologies are related, but putting them in three separate business units gives them more agility. NetApp doesn't need to led the Cloud business unit be held up by the cadence of OnTap."

Both Woodall and Dekhayser said they were unaware in advance that Bregman would be leaving, and have not heard about where he might be going.

Both also said that Bregman was a strong technologist and had a strong channel focus.

"In a perfect world, he will end up in another company where I can work with him," Woodall said.