I wanted to write this blog for a while now and what better time than when NetApp is turning 20.
In my opinion, the customers care a lot about the company’s “story” rather than just the product. The “story” doesn’t only mean the history of the company, but also the philosophy and the things that they prioritize.
NetApp’s story is quite compelling, it’s all about innovation.
Starting from an idea by Dave Hitz and James Lau on a cocktail napkin in a restaurant to NAS to thin provisioning on Flexvols to something as new as Flexpod, it’s has always been about innovation.
Before NetApp, people were spending insane amount of money to do network storage on UNIX servers (using NFS invented by Sun).
When you innovate, you should know the problem that customers are trying to solve (I like to call it “Meaningful innovation”) and that’s just what NetApp did by investing in NAS. While innovation sounds good, it can make things complicated for the end-users. I meet customers almost every day and one of the things that I have heard about NetApp from a lot of customers is that it is simple to use and that’s why the V-series is so popular; you have the ease of use, which NetApp offers with any storage at the backend. How do you innovate so much, introduce new things every now and then and still keep it simple to use…well, that’s innovation too.
NetApp figured as early as in the 90s that having the same OS (Data ONTAP) for all the hardware platforms will make it easier for the customers to innovate in their environment. So, they don’t have to invest in a new hardware to try out the new features released by NetApp.
Innovation grew along with NetApp and is not a teenager anymore, so watch out for more!
Happy Birthday NetApp!