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Enterprise storage has come a long way since the days of the basic mainframe and individual hard drives. Centralized storage, and in the last decade or so, cloud storage, has become the norm, with a landslide of enterprises and organizations looking to save on either space of data security spending. And, perhaps the most versatile tool to implement said strategy was, and still is NetApp.
Not a new player in the market, NetApp celebrated 25 years of providing storage solutions last year. Having made data management a multi-faceted operation, with a vast number of data types eligible for storage, it seems as though the data management giant has been the undisputed king of the software-defined storage realm.
However, cloud storage is not dominated by one company or the other, and with the right technology and customer engagement, even the smallest company can create a major upset. This raises the question of what the future holds for the enterprise storage giant, and how the world will respond to new, technologically charged competitors, with respect to NetApp.
Following are some of the challenges faced by NetApp in the present, which are projected to intensify in the future. To balance the equation, we will also discuss ways NetApp can overcome said challenges and continue being the premier storage option for enteprises worldwide.
The data-intensive workloads that most companies go through on a daily basis requires technology such as flash-based arrays and dedicated public-cloud storage options. Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google are consistently innovating and bringing new services to the forefront.
A company whose sole business is enterprise storage may not benefit from the introduction of new technology in the broader front, since they do not have that versatile a range of products. However, technology attracts customers, and the more advanced the technology that backs a certain offering, the more customers it can hope to attract.
An example of such technology is the flash-based arrays that we mentioned earlier. While a lot of the competitors were testing out the new tech, and getting customers acquainted with it, NetApp wasn’t. Granted, they did get back on track very quickly, but this behavior can become very risky in the future.
For the most part though, the company is already innovating considerably, and last year, became the second largest user of all-flash arrays. This behavior spells good news, since it shows that the company is ready to adopt innovation and innovate themselves.
In terms of new offerings, NetApp is already ahead of many a peer, and is predicted to continue to do so. However, there has been a period of uncertainty in the past for NetApp, when the company was unable to hold mature products revenue based on yearly data. This apparently is in the past for them, and the company has been able to level out the mature product revenue.
Additionally, better management of operational expenses, combined with a more streamlined product has led to the service being more affordable than ever, with all the features included. This is a major step in the right direction, since the shift to more affordable enterprise solutions that are already integrated with the best in the technology world, is already happening, and will only intensify in the future. Fortunately, NetApp has adapted to this just in time.
Technology, just like buyer preferences, is an ever-changing concept, with newer innovations sometimes shifting the preferences of global adopters and audiences. Innovation has a hand to play in this, since sometimes a radically different product will get preferred over a more technologically capable one.
The product roadmap that NetApp has at the moment may support it for the next few years even, but sooner or later the product will have to be revamped and updated regularly, with modifications to the product roadmap. This will keep the product in line with market shifts in the future, while also maintaining a strong user base that keeps growing with each new feature launch.
NetApp has always enjoyed a stable and developing sales partnership with Cisco, which will prove to be another stabilizing factor for NetApp, due to the rapid integration of Cisco tech with each new iteration, due to the mutually beneficial track the partners have been on lately.
For the future, the company needs to cultivate further partnerships that would benefit its own bottom line.
Despite the past hiccups, it does look like NetApp is on the right path now since the second half of 2018. For IT professionals looking to expand into data management to expand the professional repertoire, or companies looking to store data in much more efficient hands; NetApp training can prove to be quite beneficial. Especially since the cloud continues to expand as a medium and data storage becomes more of a headache for companies, it will pay dividends to be proficient in NetApp usage.
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