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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.

Does this mean storage will be less of a core focus of NetApp? 

Storage will be an important part of NetApp, but like all companies that are progressive and growth-oriented, we have multiple growth engines in our portfolio. In the enterprise storage business, we have leadership positions in all-flash storage and now increasingly object storage. We have undisputed leadership in hybrid cloud and public cloud storage. And we’ve built a leadership position in cloud operations. So I feel really good about our innovation portfolio and look forward to serving even more customers in more ways going forward.

Do you think the definition of NetApp next year or the year after will be different from your definition today? 

It should be. As we continue to pursue more and more opportunities, I think it would be important for us to lean into where customers are headed. 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.

Dell recently introduced its Apex multi-cloud services and Project Alpine. HPE has GreenLake and is now coming out with Electra. These are all aimed at bringing Storage as a Service to the cloud model, similar to what NetApp has been doing. Do you see competitive pressures from these companies? Is it changing the landscape at all? 

I think they’re 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. Clearly, the native services that we have with the hyperscalers are one example of that, but I also think the way that we built an application-centric infrastructure that allows customers to deploy an application that’s now dynamically optimized, not statically, is light years ahead of where competitors are.

 
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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