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Make it rain: NetApp sets up Cloud Infrastructure biz unit

Stuffs portfolio with CI, flash and converged solutions

By Chris Mellor

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NetApp is setting up a Cloud Infrastructure business unit, giving it FlexPod, SolidFire and StorageGRID, and hiring a cloud services hotshot to run it.

Brad Anderson is said hotshot, a NetApp outsider, coming in from being President and COO of Gravitant, a cloud services brokerage company, which IBM bought in November 2015. Before that he was President of Dell's Enterprise Products Group from 2005 to 2012, and prior to that, the general manager and SVP of HP's Industry Standard Servers unit from 1996 to 2005.

NetApp CEO George Kurian sang Anderson's praises: "Brad understands how to focus an organization to evolve rapidly in response to a dynamic market and has a track record of turning multiple emerging products into multimillion- and billion-dollar businesses."

The Cloud Infrastructure BU will focus on a portfolio of offerings that help customers build cloud infrastructure, hence converged infrastructure solution FlexPod, SolidFire and StorageGRID coming under Anderson's responsibility, plus joint Fujitsu effort nFlex.

He does not get either the E-Series or the ONTAP arrays though.

A NetApp spokesperson said Joel Reich, EVP product operations, "leads our Storage Systems and Software business unit which delivers a portfolio of offerings that helps customers modernize their IT environments with new solutions to accelerate their applications and business outcomes.

"Storage Systems and Software also delivers core storage engineering, operations, and pricing, forecasting and product analytics shared services to all business units. This does include ONTAP and E-Series."

Kurian said the new BU and Anderson showed NetApp's "serious commitment to establishing a leadership role in helping customers build their next-generation data centres with our best-in-class converged infrastructure and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions" – meaning mostly or largely on-premises private cloud and service provider offerings.

Converged infrastructure means FlexPod and hyper-converged infrastructure means the SolidFire-based offering. We dare say Anderson will be working with SolidFire founder Dave Wright. He is now the company's VP of technical strategy, having been VP and GM for SolidFire inside NetApp.

Anderson will also be a colleague of Anthony Lye, another outsider hired by NetApp in March last year, to run NetApp's Cloud Business Unit, which has public cloud and hybrid/multi-cloud data services and partnerships in its ambit.

The Cloud BU has become the Cloud Data Services BU.

The NetApp spokesperson said: "Anthony leads our Cloud Data Services business unit to focus on a portfolio of offerings that helps customers harness the power of public and multi-cloud solutions, enabling modern data management applications and services.

"Cloud Data Services also delivers engineering shared infrastructure services to all business units. CloudSync, AltaVault and NPS (NetApp Private Storage for cloud) are all included in this group."

We understand Lye's product set also includes ONTAP Cloud, Cloud Control, Azure NFaaS, and NFS with AWS. He has a more public cloud focus than Anderson. ®

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