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NetApp CEO George Kurian: Dell, HPE Are ‘Doing What We Did In 2014’

Joseph F. Kovar

“I think [Dell and HPE are] doing what we did in 2014. So, ‘Welcome to 2014’ is our response. We are way further ahead than any of those alternatives. And we’ve learned from what we did then, and we’ve progressed much further,’ NetApp CEO George Kurian tells CRN.

NetApp Not Just A Storage Vendor 

NetApp has been the leading independent branded storage vendor for years, with only companies like Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise enjoying higher storage market share due in part to sales accompanying their non-storage system sales. That independence, combined with an early realization that business users will eventually look to the cloud as a way to store data in a flexible, scalable fashion, enabled NetApp to be the first major storage vendor to invest in taking data to the cloud.

But NetApp has gone further than storage in the cloud. The company has acquired a number of cloud-native but not storage-focused technologies aimed at giving it a competitive edge not only on the storage side of the cloud, but also on the management side in hybrid multi-cloud technology. Among these technologies are Spot for compute instance management, CloudCheckr for multi-cloud visibility and management, Data Mechanics for managed Spark platforms and CloudJumper for virtual desktop infrastructure.

Leading the charge is NetApp CEO George Kurian, who in 2015 took the reins at NetApp as the company was struggling to overcome falling revenue and product mistakes. He has since applied his operations experience to turn the company into the cloud force it is today.

Kurian, in an exclusive interview with CRN, said NetApp remains a strong provider of storage technology but today is so much more than that. “As we continue to pursue more and more opportunities, I think it would be important for us to lean into where customers are headed,” Kurian told CRN. “And I think it doesn’t mean that the places we’ve come from are less important. It just says that the places we’re headed are more expansive than the places we’ve been.”

Kurian also said that, while competitors HPE and Dell have been making moves to tie their storage infrastructures to the cloud, they have been slow to do so and risk being left behind. “I think [Dell and HPE are] doing what we did in 2014,” he said.

The storage industry and the cloud are rapidly changing, and NetApp is at the forefront of that change. Here is a look at the company and its changing role in both businesses

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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