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CRN Exclusive: NetApp CEO George Kurian On Keystone, Clouds And Competition

NetApp's Data Fabric has moved from vision to reality, particularly with the new Keystone consumption pricing, and no other vendor can manage data across on-premises data centers to public clouds as tightly as NetApp does, Kurian tells CRN in an interview at the NetApp Insight 2019 conference.

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This past financial quarter saw a year-over-year drop in NetApp revenue. That was big news given that NetApp's growth in the past few years has been actually very good. How should people think about NetApp in terms of its future growth? I know you don't want to talk specific numbers. But why should people not be concerned about NetApp and its future?

We're well positioned along multiple dimensions for the data-centric era. We have the industry-leading portfolio of technologies for the data center. You saw our results with the Gartner Magic Quadrant. You saw leadership positions in all of the different technologies that customers need for data management in the data center. We are also uniquely positioned in the public cloud in a way that no one else is, and our margins and business models are extraordinarily strong. We generate more than a billion dollars of cash a year, operating margins are strong, gross margins are up. We really have to go back and focus on our top line and execute better, and we're doing that.

What have you done to execute better since the last fiscal quarter results?

We're paying attention to detail. We've made some changes to our leadership team. You should expect that we bring in new leaders that will accelerate the changes that we need to see. And so we're just, you know, follow through, follow through, follow through with the core of execution.

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