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NetApp can't keep up with FAS3200 demand


If you want to buy a NetApp FAS3200 storage system, you may have to wait a while – especially if you want it with Flash Cache.

NetApp executives Wednesday said the vendor has received about four times as many orders as expected for the systems that launched last November, and sold out of them because of supply constraints. The failure to fill orders cost NetApp about $10 million to $15 million in sales last quarter according to CEO Tom Georgens, causing the vendor to miss Wall Street analysts’ expectations with $1.268 billion of revenue.

Georgens said orders of Flash Cache I/O modules were especially greater than expected, and a shortage of those components limited sales.

Georgens said “we have not resolved these problems yet,” and forecasted lower sales revenue for this quarter than expected as a result. Georgens said the time customers have to wait for FAS3200 systems varies, and would not confirm if the lead time was as long as six weeks as one analyst on the NetApp conference call suggested.

 “We’re working like mad to close this gap,” Georgens said. “It’s disappointing to be having this conversation. I can’t tell you with full confidence that we’re going to clear this up. I can tell you with full confidence that we’re working on this night and day. … Overall, in terms of constraints, it’s primarily in the I/O expansion module, certain semiconductor components along the way.”

Georgens also said NetApp is unlikely to follow competitors into large acquisitions. He said NetApp would pursue acquisitions that bring it into new markets or add features that would strengthen its current products. Since EMC outbid NetApp for Data Domain in mid-2009, NetApp has made two smaller acquisitions, picking up object storage vendor Bycast and storage management software vendor Akorri.

There has been speculation that NetApp would acquire a data analytics vendor such as ParAccel or Aster Data to counter EMC’s “big data” 2010 acquisition of Greenplum. However, Georgens said it is unlikely that NetApp will go that route.

 “I think there are more attractive adjacent markets for us to pursue,” Georgens said. “Partnerships are available in data analytics. That’s how we’ll go after that, as opposed to being in the analytics business ourselves.”

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