The One Thing NetApp Does, Knocks It Out the Ballpark: Evolution of Storage #OOW13

In their ongoing coverage of Oracle Open World 2013, John Furrier and Dave Vellante spoke with Patrick Rogers, NetApp VP of Product Marketing and Alliances, in theCUBE. The three discuss the role of storage in driving innovation, cloud solutions and the importance of open source to enterprises. As Vellante notes, NetApp focuses exclusively on storage. Rogers’ insights reveal why this focused approach continues to be productive.

Rogers explains that the most important feature in the industry is software, quipping: “Our products are nothing more than software wrapped in sheet metal – it’s all about the software.” Going forward, he believes IT managers will no longer simply build and manage IT infrastructure, but act like service providers themselves. He adds, “If you believe in this model, that the IT model can be a broker of services, you’ll need to extend across public and private cloud.” And, the aim of NetApp software is to make this reach possible.

Furrier asks for Roger’s thoughts on the appeal of OpenStack. Rogers suggests the underlying trend is open source technology, noting that Oracle uses MySQL. Undoubtedly, he argues, open source will continue to be relevant at the enterprise level. Rogers says that NetApp works closely with the open source community.

Furrier also observes that storage is changing to include cloud offerings saying, “At the end of the day, it’s a cloud operating system.” According to Rogers, companies need to be able to run their data in the cloud and NetApp makes it efficient to do so. Rogers explains, “Our software can run inside a VM in a cloud” and “You can have amazon web services with NetApp private storage.”

Furrier predicts that storage will be the fabric of the cloud, “more than the cloud guys themselves.” He has observed storage driving innovation in the cloud, and not the other way around. Rogers feels that NetApp has a particular offering in this space, noting: “You can take multiple discreet storage systems and drive them into a complete multiple storage pool. So, we think that in and of itself is groundbreaking and distinguishes our cloud services from what other vendors are doing.”

Vellante inquires about NetApp’s singular focus, relative to the diverse offerings of other leading companies. As he puts it, “You guys do one thing really well – storage. But, you live in a heterogeneous world.” In this environment, Rogers acknowledges that NetApp’s strategy is different from others like RedStack. Net App brings a very simple application to clone and provision new applications. In essence, NetApp reaches the application owner directly and says, “we’re going to make your job easier.” The value proposition for customers, according to Rogers, is that it makes it “easier for the app admin or vm admin to do their job from a data protection and vision and monitoring perspective.” Additionally, NetApp allows for scalable growth and the creation of storage virtual machines across the storage pool.

NetApp also provides for more efficient use of IT assets. Rogers describes this as a “really big advantage” when “You’re using your storage layer far more efficiently than if it was in silos. You can add capacity without ever having to take the complex down.”