NetApp Ramps Up Cloud Opportunities
The past year was significant for NetApp in its march to transform from a traditional storage company to a supplier of data-center infrastructure, ranging from hyperconverged systems to a multicloud platform and services provider.
Offering multiple routes to market through a mix of traditional partners and those who offer managed digital and cloud services has played a key role in that transition with new recruitment efforts that include the company’s new Cloud First partner program, which now has 71 partners, up from about 15 when the company first launched it in 2017.
NetApp’s partners have a growing portfolio of NetApp cloud services to offer in 2019, following the recent rollout of its Cloud Volumes enterprise file service in the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure clouds, with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in preview, along with tiering services for its capacity-based, native cloud storage service – Cloud Volumes OnTap – and container support for its Trident open-source container platform.
Jeff McCullough, vice president, NetApp Americas partner sales, has guided the company’s recruitment and incentive efforts. He talked with Channel Futures about NetApp’s new portfolio and alliances.
Channel Futures: At NetApp C3 [the company’s Channel Connect Conference], you launched new incentives for partners specializing in cloud capabilities and for leading with cloud. What was the key focus?
Jeff McCullough: We’ve moved to focus most of our benefit dollars around the things that matter, like growing cloud, growing hyperconverged and growing flash. And we’re doing that because those are the three biggest growth areas of the market. When you look at where the dollars are moving, it’s happening in cloud storage and it’s happening with hyperconverged, although converged also continues to be a growth segment of the business. The traditional converged segment with FlexPod also continues to do well. And then finally, flash — where our cloud-connected flash platform has taken us to the No. 1 position [according to IDC in October].
CF: Can NetApp keep that momentum going in flash storage?
JM: While that’s great, it’s just a data point for one quarter. Our success is measured over time and we’ve delivered consistently in terms of taking share and growing in the flash segment over many quarters. We’ve got more customers, both net-new customers and our existing customer base, making that pivot over to NetApp flash and taking advantage of its transformation benefits for their on-premises data centers. And if you consider the NetApp OnTap environment, which is the biggest storage operating system in the world, that is now available in the cloud. We offer a nice road map for customers to move to the cloud or to move applications and workloads to the cloud and really be able to deliver excellence in the world of hybrid.
CF: The rollout of volume of Cloud Volumes [NFS/SMB file service] is a whole new area for many of your partners — at least in that respect. How have you prepared partners for Cloud Volumes?
JM: Enablement is one of the big parts of our partner investment area. In June at C3, one of the things we added was …