NetApp dissolves global centre of virtualisation excellence

Australian facility's job was done, says the big blue staple

Fabulous Melbourne, former home of NetApps virtualisation think tank

NetApp has dissolved the “global centre of virtualisation excellence” it created in 2010 and ran from its Melbourne, Australia, office.

The centre was established after the vendor won some colossal deals in Australia, believed to be at the nation's dominant telco Telstra and financial services outfit Suncorp. Both bet big on NetApp in the years preceding 2010, so big that the company developed a fair bit of what we would now call private cloud IP to build the rigs they required. The results eventually became part of the “NetApp Dynamic Data Centre”.

The work done on other Australian sites helped NetApp to get over the line at a shared services agency called CenITex in the Australian State of Victoria. The deal was a biggie – 50 petabtyes with prospects of up to 200 – so the presence of the centre meant that the State Government could say working with NetApp was bringing high-tech jobs to Victoria rather than just being an exercise in writing cheques for a US vendor. NetApp did likewise, trumpeting the economic contribution the CenITex deal and the centre of excellence represented.

The Reg has now learned the centre has now been dissolved.

In a statement sent to us by NetApp, the company says the centre was formed because “In 2010, NetApp Melbourne was in the processes of deploying multi-petabyte storage infrastructures at multiple customer sites simultaneously. We saw the need for repeatable ITIL aligned processes, and intellectual property to be more standarised and less bespoke than we were previously doing. On the back of several large tender wins, the Centre of Excellence was established to build out the IP required.”

“Over time this IP was used for deployments outside Australia and the initiative went from a local one, to a global program of work. Local staff then reported offshore and helped build NetApp’s go to market offering called ‘NDDC' or the NetApp Dynamic Data Centre. Australian staff, as part of this global team, trained over 450 NetApp staff worldwide to deliver business value to customers as they transitioned from legacy to virtualised environments.”

NetApp tells is NDDC “remains a framework used to deliver large-scale deployments and managed services organisations.”

But the centre of excellence is no longer needed “as these functions are now imbedded across most NetApp processes. Many of the original team members now support our NetApp Data Fabric to allow customers to embrace Hybrid Cloud.”

NetApp never named a headcount number for the centre and declined to respond to our question about where it does the kind of work the centre conducted.

Telstra and Suncorp remain NetApp customers. CenITex, however, all-but collapsed amid allegations of deliberate evasion of proper procurement probity, some of it fuelled by nepotism inside deals. CenITex morphed from being a shared services agency to a services broker. NetApp's fate at the project is unclear, but CenITex's 2013/2014 annual report [PDF] mentions “consolidation of all legacy storage area networks …. onto a NetApp platform,” an effort that “... marked the end of a two year journey that has seen over a petabyte of storage migrated and consolidated to a single vendor platform.”

That's a long way short of the the hoped-for 50 petabytes-plus sale NetApp talked up when the deal was done in 2010. ®

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