It’s ‘become a really, really big space’ – Blocks and Files

Interview B&F is talking to Anthony Lye, NetApp EVP and GM of its cloud business, about making Data Fabric vision a reality with ONTAP services available in three major public clouds.

But it has allowed customers to run their virtual datacenters in the public cloud in a manual and time-consuming way, he tells us.

Lye said he wants to have NetApp provide CloudOps services to customers so they can manage their virtual datacenters as automated app infrastructure platforms.

And, of course, the company isn’t the only one in the game. “It would be nice if I was the only one who thought of it. But I’m not. I think CloudOps is becoming a really, really big space. I think you look at VMware, you need to look at ServiceNow. I think you have to look at IBM – it got Turbonomic. ServiceNow acquired Lightstep, VMware developed Tanzu. Obviously you have to look at the public cloud itself; see the entire FinOps movement. ”

Is Tanzu something in CloudOps? B&F thought Tanzu was just a way to run cloud-native apps within a virtual machine.

Lye replied: “That’s not a bad description of what it really is. But VMware, I think, wants to be the platform for modern applications because it’s the platform for legacy applications.”

And a platform is more than just a VM that contains microservices.

NetApp apparently chose to buy into CloudOps expertise rather than build it in -house and acquired eight companies.

How will they know which cloud ops companies to take? “A lot of our data comes from customers. We talk a lot with analysts, Gartner, Forrester and GigaOm,” Lye said.

He mentioned the SREs (Site Reliability Engineers) and said: “I am obsessed with that person. I’ve done time and motion studies, like watching them work … I’m trying to build a cockpit for that person really.

He cites high-tech marketing guru Geoffrey Moore’s analogy from Crossing the Chasm. “We are in the early adopter phase now. And in the early adopter phase, people see CloudOPs – CICD – as a competitive advantage. So they are willing to buy point solutions and incorporate them all.

“But what happens to successful things is they cross this chasm. And now they have been adopted by the early and late majority. ”

Larry Ellison, Oracle
Larry Ellison

But point products are not enough. “When you go back to every product in the technology industry that crossed the chasm, Larry Ellison would always say, ‘Suites always win.'”

People don’t want to handle the cost of marriage and “that’s what I’m building. I’m building an integrated suite that puts a set of independent solutions to the point. “

NetApp has a good three to five year lead over storage competitors in the CloudOps market and strengthened as Dell, Hitachi Vantara, HPE, and IBM began their operations.

Lye thinks the total addressed CloudOps market is approximately $ 11 billion and growing at a mid-twenties CAGR. He said: “I joined five years ago [and] the business was up from less than a million to last quarter’s $ 469 million. We revealed on the day of the financial analyst that almost half of that business is now CloudOps.

“And we didn’t start with CloudOps until two and a half years ago.”

George Kurian, NetApp
George Kurian

Why? He discussed this with NetApp CEO George Kurian.

“I keep telling George, ‘There’s another part of the cloud that’s really big, that we’re not serving’.”

Lye said that “he goes to talk to all my friends on the apps. And they’re literally going, storage? No, not interested in storage.”

He asked them what their interest was.

They are said to be deploying applications on the infrastructure. “They walk me through a set of steps. And those steps always start with computing. And then compute, the wizard, selects storage partners.”

Storage should be a feature of computing, but it is also secondary.

Lye says: “I sit behind other people in a decision, and I don’t want to do that. The main things are that you specify the price, performance envelope, more computing, and storage, and network. And if you can see all of those things together … you can do things in applications that no one else can. “

An important starting point was the purchase of Spot, the cloud broker that optimized (lowered) effective cloud prices, in June 2020.

Spot NetApp
Spot Ocean graphic

Contacts on Lye’s app also said: “I’m spending too much money. Everyone who applies to the world usually says that the freedom of this cloud is wonderful [but] I got a sticker shock. When my people choose the application, these are the things they need to use, they choose something and then double it. Because they don’t want to have any issues. So they always overprovision. ”

Here’s the killer point: “And customers will say, isn’t there a tool that can listen to my application and select all the infrastructure it needs? And we went out and looked around and found the Spot. And I bought Spot. “

Does Lye think the CloudOps opportunity on its own could be a billion-dollar-a-year business?

He said: “Yes, there is no doubt. Everyone does it.” But that doesn’t mean the on -premises world will disappear, far from it.Lye said there are some things the public cloud can’t do, such as overcoming the gravity of data and providing low latency processing for machines that are in place.

“If you run a car manufacturing plant, and these robots do all this process, they’re not making web service calls to Amazon. Nothing can be built. There are tons and tons of low latency requirements. And there are tons and tons of data center requirements that are unreasonable for the public cloud.

“What you see is that the data that is being generated in these on -premises environments is growing very fast. And so really the on premise business for us, is a growth opportunity. It’s not the high double digit cloud, but it’s growth.

NetApp’s public business cloud prevents what is within its scope of business. “The more I can show customers how committed we are to the public cloud, the more confident they will be in buying an app on-premise. Because I gave them symmetry, I gave them flexibility. Yes. No one else has done that. “

What Lye also did was help NetApp become a major hybrid multi-cloud data storage services business and then took a step back and built the $ 235 million run rate CloudOps business. It is now building the CloudOps suite, under the Spot brand, and it provides the opportunity to sell to new, non -NetApp storage customers. That’s extra revenue for NetApp and it could also lead to additional on-premises sales of NetApp storage products. Other major storage companies with hybrid cloud approaches should be taking notes.

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