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NetApp’s expanded VMware partnership highlights common focus on multicloud support

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During the recently concluded VMware Explore gathering in San Francisco, NetApp Inc. and VMware Inc. announced a partnership expansion that will include new customer-driven initiatives for migrating enterprise workloads to multicloud architectures.

The partnership expansion followed many years of collaboration, a point that was noted during keynote presentations at the event by VMware executives.

“It was great seeing a day one VMware keynote with NetApp mentioned with the same relevance as AWS,” said Keith Norbie (pictured), senior director of worldwide partner solutions and sales acceleration at NetApp. “I really monetized and took advantage of some of the advantages that NetApp had with VMware back in the early days. They were dominant to the point where the ecosystem was trying to catch up.”

Norbie spoke with theCUBE industry analyst John Furrier at VMware Explore, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed how NetApp has expanded its portfolio though acquisitions and partnerships, an ongoing commitment to enterprise cyber resilience, a changed landscape for global system integrators, and the pending purchase of VMware by Broadcom Ltd. (* Disclosure below.)

Cloud and on-premises priorities

The extension of NetApp’s partnership complemented an agenda for the cloud data services company that has been focused on hybrid and public cloud support, along with artificial intelligence solutions. NetApp and VMware will be working together to certify and support VMware Cloud and NetApp Cloud services on the three major provider platforms for AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

“For us, it’s a combination of cloud and on-prem priorities within our partner ecosystem,” Norbie said. “The data ops buyer is different from the data center ops buyer. NetApp focuses relentlessly on how we reach them.”

In April, NetApp expanded its platform with the acquisition of Instaclustr Pty. Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. The purchase of the open-source database-as-a-service player was another in a recent series of acquisitions the company has made, which have included CloudCheckr, Fylamynt and Spot. These have broadened NetApp’s portfolio to encompass cloud cost control, automation and security as the company has continued to extend its enterprise reach.

“We’re trying to be as relevant as we can in data management, whether it’s pipelining data management or storing data management, that’s why we’re there,” Norbie said. “No one architecture is going to solve every problem. Our message is that we have a full portfolio across hybrid/multicloud from any one buyer perspective.”

Cyber resilience and partnerships

Although NetApp’s message revolves around a comprehensive portfolio of enterprise services, the company remains fully committed to its core charter for storage and cyber resilience, according to Norbie.

“For us, it’s about cyber resilience; it’s one of the key foundational parts of our hybrid cloud offerings,” Norbie said. “We have a cyber-resiliency solution that isn’t just our snapshot technology, but also some of the discovery data governance. If you look at the full perimeter and look at how you have to secure that and be able to block, remediate and bring back a site, those are complex sets of things that no one person owns.”

The growth of cloud ecosystems has resulted in changes for the global system integrator sphere of influence. Cloud-native firms are creating more alliances, a trend that has not gone unnoticed by NetApp in this post-pandemic era.

“What emerges is an interesting tapestry of all different kinds of partner types,” Norbie said. “We recognize that across the traditional GSIs you see these cloud-native partners emerging.”

One of the most intriguing alliances is looming for VMware itself. The virtualization giant has been targeted for acquisition by Broadcom for $61 billion, presumably over the course of the next fiscal year.

As a key partner with VMware, NetApp will draw on deep relationships it has cultivated with both players, seeking to take advantage of new innovation that will likely result from a marriage of the two key companies.

“We’ve been in business with Broadcom for a long time, whether it be the switch business, the chip business and everything in between,” Norbie said. “We’ve got a very mature relationship with them, and we have a great relationship with VMware. What you’ll see is a settling into the new things announced here at the show and things you haven’t heard, but ultimately these solutions have to come forward.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of VMware Explore:

(* Disclosure: NetApp Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither NetApp nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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