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The Dynamics of a Relationship

After his no more tiers gaffe and I will still maintain it was a bit of a gaffe; Georgens has redeemed himself in my eyes with his statements on the IBM relationship, smart guy seems to really understand the OEM dynamic.

Lifted from Chris’ excellent article at the Register

“The desire by their [IBMs] internal groups to develop their own products makes the positioning very, very complicated. And are we happy with the positioning? No. On the other hand, our engagement with IBM’s customer facing groups, the people who actually have to put solutions in front of customers, that relationship is actually exceptionally strong. So I think that an approach to storage from a pure platform perspective and basically creating SAN products and NAS products and unified products in a very, very hardware point of view is interesting, but it’s just recreating the fractured product line that’s given us an opportunity to gain share … IBM has introduced products that are competitive with both Engenio and with the NetApp offerings over the years, yet this business still continues to grow, it still continues to be robust.

I think that [IBM] internal groups are looking to compete and develop competitive products and if they truly are competitive and they truly can compete with our feature set both from a hardware and a software perspective, clearly demand will shift in that direction. But if we continue to out-innovate them and have a higher development gains and introduce products to market faster, then we’ll preserve the business. It’s no different. It all comes down to innovation and execution excellence. And it’s been that way for the last five years and that’s the nature of the OEM business.”

It really represents the dynamic that I see being played out as an IBM customer; deep down IBM don’t really want to sell the NetApp stuff but whilst the NetApp stuff is better than theirs, they’ll take the margin and revenue. But there’s no¬†illusion, if SONAS and v7000 can really gain a foothold; IBM will be off.

As a customer, it’s really interesting seeing this play out and if at the end of the day, IBM end up with viable, thriving and credible storage story of their own; they are going to owe NetApp big time for giving them the space and the time to do so. But Georgens’ confidence in his own product and its ability to keep its place in the IBM portfolio speaks volumes.

Now Val, about this roadmap you keep promising?

One Comment

  1. Amusingly the title on the Register article is titled “Engeno and OEMS”

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