Kaushal Veluri, Director of Channels & Alliances, NetApp India & SAARC, shares insights into NETAPP’s developments over the last year.
From an overall storage growth point of view, how was the calendar year 2018 from a global and India market perspective?
Global IT spending is continuously increasing. According to a report by Gartner, India’s Data Center Infrastructure Hardware spending projected an increase of 2.6% when compared to 2017, totaling up to US$2.7 Billion in 2018. Companies are now consciously moving towards hybrid cloud infrastructure and AI-driven solutions to simplify management of applications in order to accelerate digital transformation.
We believe data is the lifeblood of an organization and in order to attain its true value, organizations must understand how to harness power of this data with its seamless movement across environments. Through our solutions, we are enabling our existing customers, who have been using traditional storage solutions, to move into the application of flash arrays, hybrid cloud and hyper-converged infrastructures to handle mixed workloads. In fact, the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.3% in 2019 to total $206.2 billion, up from $175.8 billion in 2018, according to Gartner.
How was NetApp’s performance for this calendar year from a global as well as India perspective?
Globally, NetApp is transitioning to a data management company from a pure-play storage company. We now have many new offerings ranging from flash solutions to hyper-converged infrastructures. We have recently concluded NetApp Insight at Las Vegas where we announced a host of products and partnerships.
India is emerging as a top hybrid cloud market with 30-40% enterprises adopting Hybrid cloud. From NetApp India’s perspective, India is a large market to be counted as one of the top five in Asia-Pacific and we see Asia-Pacific as a region of increasing opportunity.
According to IDC’s worldwide enterprise storage tracker we are typically the #2 vendor. We have also been recognized as a leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays, for the third year in a row and our latest HCI solution has been named an Evolutionary Disruptor in the market by Gartner.
What activities did you undertake that differentiated you from your competitors and helped you increase market share?
NetApp is a cloud infrastructure technology solutions provider to enterprise customers on one hand and on the other hand, it also helps them to set up hybrid cloud by working with cloud providers like Netmagic or Sify. We partnered with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud andwe are today the only player to have partnered with all the leading hyperscalers in the world.We have modernized the IT architecture with Cloud Connected Flash, Powerful AI and high-performance applications with the world’s fastest enterprise all-flash array, the AFF A800 end-to-end NVMe.
Recently, we have been recognized as a Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays, for the third year in a row, based on our ability to execute and deliver. Additionally, the company has improved its position compared to the previous year.
Currently, there are several players who are addressing the same geography and segments as us, yet we remain the only player who have identified data management as our core expertise. Our positioning is unique and focussed- we are the data authority in the Hybrid Cloud world.
How was the channel growth for NETAPP? What all the channel programs have you rolled out in the year?
At NetApp, we want our channel partners to be data champions. We are in a process of educating our channel partners continuously, so that they can confidently talk to the customers. They should know where the data is stored – whether on-premises, on cloud or on hybrid infrastructure, how to manage and analyze the data and finally be able to get useful insights from it. Our channel partner ecosystem is based on three aspects – innovation, skills and revenue. We ensure that the technical knowledge of our partners is up-to date.
To achieve this, we do webinars regularly and training sessions on a quarterly basis. We have created a Unified Partner Program and Partner Demand Centre that delivers tools and incentives to accelerate growth and build a presence in growing markets. The Unified partner program is designed to help our partners grow new capabilities for tomorrow. We also have a ‘Partner Academy’ wherein we go across multiple cities and spend half a day with the partners informing them about the company’s new developments and how they can grab on the new opportunities. As part of this Academy, we also conduct one-hour free-flowing discussion with partners. In India, every year we organise Xcelerate – NetApp’s flagship Partner Summit where we share our vision of helping partners and customers through the digital transformation journey.
How was your customer acquisition growth? What were the customer engagement programs for the year and what was the outcome?
Earlier this year, Nova Techset Pvt. Ltd., suppliers of prepress services for scientific, technical and medical (STM) and academic publishing adopted NetApp’s solutions to meet customer demand for seamless data migration and use of applications. With ONTAP, Nova Techset has migrated to hybrid cloud for better performance, automated storage and reduced operational overheads. With Nova Techset continuing its data journey, NetApp continues its commitment to help customers change the world with data.
To empower its APAC customers and partners, we also launched a Data Visionary Engineering Centre (DVEC) in Bangalore in May 2018. The DVEC has enabled customers to learn more about latest industry trends, flash storage, hybrid cloud and modernized data centre technologies.
During the NetApp Insight held at Las Vegas in October 2018, new solutions across hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments were announced such as NetApp Cloud Insights, Azure NetApp Files, Cloud Volumes Service, Cloud Volumes ONTAP, NetApp HCI, SaaS Backup for Microsoft Office 365, and NetApp Data Availability Services. These solutions enable customers to deliver data-driven business outcomes for applications. We are focused on Flash, HCI and hybrid cloud solutions and through these we help our customers meet their business requirements and face challenges pertaining to given circumstances. Today’s CIOs are mainly concerned about whether to store their data in private/public/hybrid cloud and efficient data management. And NetApp, with its data fabric strategy, is effectively helping customers to manage their data across hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Which verticals embraced your solutions maximum and why?
The year has seen some dramatic shifts as digital transformation has become a key criterion across industries. For NetApp, the drivers of growth in the enterprise segment have been the banking and financial services (BFSI) sector followed by IT/ITeS, whilst growth in the government segment has been primarily driven by the partnerships to promote various Smart City initiatives.
According to the Digital Evolution Index 2016 by the Fletcher School, Tufts University, India now ranks amongst the “breakout countries” as far as digital adoption is concerned. With the rise of millennials, globalized audiences and growing digitization, these verticals have witnessed the highest demand in adoption of new technologies.
What are products did you roll out in the year, what was the adoption rate of those new products?
We nowfocusing on building innovative services and solutions. On the products front we have added products that run across hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments like NetApp Cloud Insights, NetApp ONTAP AI and Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform. On the services front we are proud to be the only player working with all the biggest hyper-scalers like Google, AWS, MS and Alibaba.
We have a large portfolio of products but, the key solutions that stand out in the market are: –
- NetApp Cloud Volumes: We have partnered with Google Cloud Platformto help customers deploy workloads such as video rendering, databases and high-performance computing. It offers customers a fully-managed, cloud-native file storage service that’s integrated with GCP and combines the reach of NetApp’s world-class data services. With help of Google Cloud’s leadership, we enable our customers with secure and scalable cloud infrastructure, application development services, analytics and machine learning.
- NetApp ONTAP AI: It is the combination of the NVIDIA DGX-1 supercomputers, NetApp AFF storage, and Cisco networking supercharges your AI/DL environments. With NetApp ONTAP AI proven architecture, our customers will be able to reduce overall costs while accelerating AI innovation and productivity. It helps in eliminating the guesswork with a validated reference architecture that detangles design complexity.
These new data products and services bring to life NetApp’s vision to empower customers to innovate in the cloud, in any form, to improve business outcomes in the face of a rapidly evolving technological landscape.
What kind of revenue/ market share growth did you achieve this year?
We have given a consistent and strong performance over the years. This year’s Q2 results reflect the clear differentiation of our technology and the strength of our business model. Our net revenues grew 7% year-over-yearin Q2 2019. Our customers’ growing commitment to NetApp and value of our Data Fabric strategyare helping us deliver strong results in the industry.
We are very well positioned in the market; our solutions and services are recognized by leading research agencies and organizations. Some of them are:
- Recently attained the #1 Spot for All-Flash Arrays vendor and the Fastest Growing Top 5 AFA Vendor as per IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker CY 2Q18
- NetApp is #1 in hybrid-cloud data services with partnerships across all the biggest clouds i.e. Azure, AWS and Google Cloud
- According IDC’s global storage report in Q2 of 2018, NetApp is the third largest storage vendor We are also recognized as a leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays, for the third year in a row
- Our latest HCI solution has been named an Evolutionary Disruptor in the market by Gartner