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CRN Exclusive: NetApp CEO George Kurian On Flash Storage Momentum, Software-Defined Storage Moves, And The Growing Cisco Partnership

NetApp customers have the option of going software-defined storage either as part of hardware or virtual appliances or on the cloud, but they still like to have fully configured storage arrays with support from one vendor, Kurian tells CRN.

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Can you see a day when hardware will be a small, declining part of NetApp's business?

It's hard for me to predict when that will happen. I think that is dependent on customers wanting to buy hardware and integrate software separately from each other. I think today if you look at our midrange and entry systems, as well as some of our high-end all-flash systems, they are using industry-standard [hardware] technology. Customers still want to buy them from us because of the benefits of having a single vendor to support and service both hardware and software. But who knows down the road? I think we will allow customers the broadest range of choices, and let the market decide how it wants to procure the technology.

But if you think about our core differentiation, we are already a software company at heart.

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