I think most would agree that NetApp is struggling right now. I believe that the real question is whether this is an isolated execution thing or is NetApp the "canary" in the legacy storage environment (coal mine).  

Back "in the day" (meaning 15 years ago) I hated competing with NetApp. They had a new architecture and product set, good economics, and their single platform offered simplicity, flexibility and unified new features. At the time, it was hard to compete because we always had three different products and NetApp sold a single, unified solution.

Then the world changed; technologies like data de-duplication, flash, and scale out NAS,  evolved so rapidly that adding features to a single aging platform became almost impossible. The advantage shifted to the players with a broad portfolio (of acquisitions). One could easily argue that the model of "a specialty storage platform for every need" became the new (2010) model for storage.

NetApp is clearly in the toughest spot in the market today as other companies have acquired so many new storage properties. With broader portfolios most other players simply have more near-term strength. 

I say "near-term" because this current weakness just might turn out to be a long-term advantage for NetApp. Yes, they need a complete refresh of their platform but they have two big things in their favor. First, they only have ONE platform to "re-invent" (not 5 or even 10) and second, they are hitting the crisis point early in the disruptive cycle.

Ultimately, by feeling the pain early, NetApp has a better chance for long-term success.


Note: If you don't get the Canary analogy go here.

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