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

“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.

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So how are things with you and NetApp? 

We have really seen good success over the last several quarters. You’ve seen us grow revenue at an accelerating [rate] over several quarters through COVID. Both our enterprise business, where product revenue last quarter was up 9 percent, as well as our cloud business, which is accelerating at a really good rate, have driven overall revenue growth into double digits. And that’s a basis for continued alignment with where customers are headed.

How do you define NetApp? 

NetApp is a company that helps our customers move their digital businesses forward with data as the cornerstone asset.

I ask because most people still think of NetApp as just a storage vendor. Yet NetApp, with acquisitions like Spot, CloudCheckr, Data Mechanics and CloudJumper , is more than storage now, right? 

A lot more.

Talk about that metamorphosis.  

I think we’ve seen customers use applications and data to build their digital businesses. And they do that using modern cloud architectures, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud architectures. We started our journey to move beyond storage systems with cloud storage, first as an extension of customers’ data centers, and then as a way to deploy cloud-native applications, both for primary storage as well as for all kinds of advanced data services—data privacy, data security—that complement their storage landscape. We then built out a leadership position in cloud operations with Spot that complements our storage offerings with compute management and optimization. Our Cloud Insights [cloud infrastructure monitoring tool] now allows a customer to deploy an entire infrastructure on NetApp that’s dynamically optimized to the needs of the application and provides performance reporting monitoring so that you can truly look at your entire landscape in an integrated way. And then with CloudCheckr, you can optimize your estate, both storage and compute, for cost so that you don’t have to waste cloud resources on less-than-useful applications or on idle applications. So we feel really, really good. And you’ll see us continue to push forward far beyond our storage heritage.

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