NetApp CEO Tom Georgens says the cure for stagnant revenue is an expanded product portfolio.
NetApp’s earnings report Wednesday night showed almost no revenue growth over last year, and its forecast called for more of the same this quarter.
NetApp’s revenue of $1.54 billion for last quarter was roughly the same as a year ago, and its $929 million in product revenue decreased three percent year-over-year. OEM revenue fell 22 percent – mainly because IBM ended its N Series partnership – to $119 million, and products sold under the NetApp brand grew only two percent to $1.42 billion.
For this quarter, NetApp forecasts revenue in the range of $1.56 billion to $1.66 billion. The midpoint of that range would be slightly down year over year. NetApp executives said their revenue this quarter would suffer from the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange, particularly the Euro.
Georgens said he expects recent product rollouts and the vendor’s cloud and flash strategies to kickstart sales.
“We have dramatically expanded the NetApp portfolio at a pace unprecedented in our history,” he said. “We have a lot more to sell today than we had six months ago.”
Georgens pointed to product rollouts over the last three months and claimed “We have never had a stronger portfolio of innovate solutions.” The new rollouts were Data Ontap 8.3, Cloud Ontap, FlashRay (limited release) all-flash system, and StorageGRID Webscale object storage, along with the acquisition of SteelStore cloud backup from Riverbed.
NetApp Wednesday made SteelStore generally available, and will add Amazon Machine Image (AMI) options for SteelStore in the coming months.
Georgens described NetApp’s cloud strategy as weaving “disparate data elements of the hybrid cloud into a single architecture” to give customers a consistent way of managing and protecting data regardless of where they store it. “All of these innovations support our vision of a fully operationalized hybrid cloud,” he said.
He said Cloud Ontap completes that strategy. Cloud Ontap is a software only version of Data Ontap that runs in a public cloud. “We’re not viewing it as a point product,” Georgens said of Cloud Ontap. “It’s part of a much broader strategy to ultimately create seamless data management across the entire enterprise.
Georgens said the addition of Metrocluster software for DR a key feature for Ontap 8.3. The Metrocluster software allows synchronous replication across four data centers for high availability. Georgens said lack of that feature had held customer adoption of Clustered Ontap. “Certain segments of our market have used that to compete effectively,” he said.
Georgens did not give an update on when FlashRay would be generally available, but laid out NetApp’s positioning for its three all-flash arrays. “EF [E Series flash array] is all about performance, FlashRay is around performance with efficiency and all-flash FAS is around network storage for business applications using premium features available in Ontap but with the speed of flash.”
When asked about rival EMC recently buying out most of Cisco’s share from their VCE joint venture, Georgens said “the underlying relationship there has been problematic for some time.” He said NetApp’s relationship with Cisco is growing stronger. NetApp’s FlexPod is a reference architecture consisting of NetApp storage and Cisco servers and networking. That’s a slightly different model than the packaged Vblocks consisting of EMC storage and Cisco gear sold by VCE.
Georgens said FlexPod shipments last quarter were up 50 percent year over year.
“We’ve seen deeper and deeper engagement with Cisco around more and more strategic matters around products, co-development and co-marketing,” Georgens said. “We’re very, very very closely aligned with Cisco’s strategic initiatives going forward.”