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CRN Exclusive: NetApp's Dave Hitz Talks Software-Defined Storage, Outlines How Challenging It Would Be To Acquire The 'New NetApp'

The co-founder and executive vice president tells CRN that NetApp's unique position in managing data across on-premises and public and private cloud environments would make it hard to acquire the company without destroying its value.

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At NetApp Insight, there was almost no mention of NetApp hardware. I know NetApp says it is a software company, but there was always some mention of hardware. What's going on?

From the very beginning, we described ourselves as shrink-wrapped, or tin-wrapped, software. We modeled ourselves after Cisco. Cisco also described themselves that way. ... When you look at all of the stuff that we have, to spend time talking about hardware is sometimes missing the point. Yeah, we've got small, medium, large Ontap hardware or FAS hardware that runs on Ontap, but Ontap runs in so many places. It runs on that hardware, it runs in Microsoft [Azure], it runs in Amazon, it runs in [Ontap] Select on anybody's VM [virtual machine]. The hardware's not really the point these days.

You look at the specs, and you figure out what you want. It's important to have hardware, but it's not what customers derive value from.

So we're learning that. I think in the past sometimes we've talked too much about it. Maybe we over-corrected. You're right. We didn't mention it at all.

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