NetApp channel chief talks up SolidFire acquisition

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NetApp’s (NASDAQ:NTAP) EMEA channel chief says his firm’s acquisition of SolidFire creates “huge opportunity” for the channel as NetApp continues on a path to offer more services in addition to the hardware it sells.

“We see the acquisition of SolidFire as a huge opportunity for NetApp and our channel in the coming year, especially with SP and advanced enterprise customers,” says Alfred Manhart, head of NetApp’s EMEA channel (pictured).

He says that SolidFire’s scale-out block storage has “unique characteristics that accelerate automation, DevOps, or web-based business models”.

“It really is a next-gen solution that benefits current and future channel partners looking to offer “webscale cloud provider”-type services,” says Manhart.

He says that while hardware sales created the bulk of the firm’s revenues in the first decade of the millennium, its partners’ business success would be dictated by the services they provide.

“Value creation rests no more with resellers and distributors only. Instead, we see a more complex setup of different partners collectively serving customers in a given vertical, delivering consulting, applications, infrastructure, co-location services, and management/hosting. We are building programs and partner expertise to help the channel tackle this complexity,” he says.

He also says that NetApp was committed to speeding up time to market.

“Another thing we are committed to is accelerating time to market. Speed, especially for building and rolling out applications, is a key differentiator for flash vendors. It’s a great value message that partners can sell to ISVs and innovation-minded customers,” he says.

Manhart says that the firm was continuing with technical and services enablement for cloud and flash.

“Looking further ahead we traditionally launch a significant portion of our channel updates in August at the beginning of our fiscal year Q2,” he says.

He adds that these updates will reflect the channel shifting towards services.

“The challenge is to bring in partners and enable them to deliver value and contribute revenue in a time of increasing project complexity. We want to lead this behavioural change towards the modern way of doing channel business,” says Manhart.


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