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IDC MarketScape: NetApp a Leader in Scale-Out NAS (File-Based Storage)

Jeff Baxter
Jeff Baxter

The exabyte-scale data future is here. Complex new data pipelines from cutting-edge applications, machine-generated data, and IoT endpoints are all flowing into massive unstructured data repositories. NetApp built the network-attached storage (NAS) industry over 27 years ago and we’ve continued to innovate into this new era of scale-out NAS for unstructured file-based data management at speed and scale across the hybrid multi-cloud.

So we were gratified to receive a wonderful holiday present just at the close of 2019 – validation of being named a Leader in scale-out NAS via the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Scale-Out File-Based Storage 2019 Vendor Assessment.

NetApp a Leader in Scale-Out NAS (File-Based Storage)

Source: IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Scale-Out File-Based Storage 2019 Vendor Assessment" by Amita Potnis, December 2019, date, IDC # US45355019. See complete disclaimer at the end of this blog.

Each vendor was evaluated on a specific product in their portfolio, and for most of those vendors, it was a specific hardware platform. What distinguished NetApp, however, is that the evaluation was for NetApp ONTAP. ONTAP is the software that powers file-based storage across our portfolio that includes All-Flash AFF, hybrid flash FAS, and software-defined ONTAP Select.

We agree strongly with the IDC MarketScape’s assertion that “support for hybrid cloud and multicloud capabilities are a must for any storage platform, especially FBS. As customers strategize infrastructure road maps with cloud-first strategy, it is imperative that file-based storage solutions offer the flexibility of deployment on-premises as well as in the public cloud.” We couldn’t agree more. In fact, the same ONTAP evaluated here powers NetApp Cloud Volumes Service and Cloud Volumes ONTAP. A choice of how ONTAP is deployed, whether on-prem or in the public cloud, enables our customers to operate seamlessly in a hybrid multicloud today and in the future. And that ties neatly into how the IDC MarketScape sees our strengths:

NetApp's FBS offering is a very well-established offering in the market with worldwide adoption across several workloads and use cases. NetApp has an extensive and loyal customer base that is well skilled in the use of ONTAP and may lead to adoption of ONTAP in the public cloud.

Of anything in this statement, I most appreciate the “loyal customer base”. Both because it’s true, and because we truly do have an amazing group of customers that we put first every day when deciding where to innovate next. Our customers have told us a few key things that the IDC MarketScape echoed in their “advice for technology buyers”:

  • Our customers are embracing the cloud with cloud-first and hybrid multicloud solutions. Every day we’re helping storage architects become data visionaries, managing their data anywhere it needs to flow, both on-prem and in hyperscalers. As the IDC MarketScape put it “traditional vendors must up their ante in offering their FBS solutions across on-premises and private/public cloud deployment locations.” With ONTAP available on-prem and in Azure, AWS, Google, IBM, and many others, we couldn’t agree more.

Another way we keep customers first is by being honest about our challenges. Never trust a vendor who claims they’re perfect – a strategic relationship with your data management supplier demands openness. To wit, here’s what the IDC MarketScape said were our challenges:

NetApp's overall success in the FBS space and its execution on its expanded portfolio has been the company's highlights. IDC's interviews with several NetApp customers have indicated that given the scale of the company's offering, on occasion the wait to get appropriate customer support is longer than expected.

I have to say, if we’re going to be criticized, I’ll take it in a form that highlights our expanded portfolio and scale of offering. NetApp certainly does a lot more today than even a few years ago. But even with that, we certainly don’t want our customers to wait. Let me highlight a few improvements that we’re already been hard at work on over the past year.

We welcome customers to always call-in, but the best customer support call is one you never have to make. Each release of ONTAP has improved on the already impressive resiliency of the previous release. In fact, we’re confident enough to offer a new availability guarantee. We released a new Active IQ Unified Manager that provides real-time analytics powered by the Active IQ cloud-based intelligence engine to gauge the health of your ONTAP system. And with the recent release of ONTAP 9.7, we’ve made it even easier for IT Generalists to manage their ONTAP-based system according to best practices with minimum clicks and effort. Finally, when and if you do need customer support, we’ve recently revamped our SupportEdge program to more tightly align our customer needs with the right level of service – including our new SupportEdge Expert service for our highest level of technical support with direct routing to level 2 support and expedited access to NetApp global support experts.

NetApp essentially invented the NAS market in 1992 and ever since has been a global leader in file-based storage in both execution and technology. Our customers’ success is our success. And NetApp ONTAP’s scale-out NAS future is backed by the massive sales, engineering, and support structure of a long-term commercially successful company and our extensive global partner ecosystem.

NetApp ONTAP scale-out NAS leverages the massive ONTAP ecosystem, with a significant innovation lead and vision for aggressive future innovation. Every day, we’re future-proofing our customers’ investments by allowing them to build their own unique data fabric weaving on-prem All-Flash AFF, hybrid flash FAS, and software-defined ONTAP Select to AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and more. Integrated replication, backup, tiering, and caching support ONTAP on any endpoint. We’re proud to be the leader for cloud-connected flash across the hybrid multicloud for scale-out NAS and across our entire portfolio.

Want to get more details on the scale-out NAS market? Download an excerpt of the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Scale-Out File-Based Storage 2019 Vendor Assessment to learn how NetApp ONTAP can help you solve your data challenges.

"IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Scale-Out File-Based Storage 2019 Vendor Assessment" by Amita Potnis, December 2019, date, IDC # US45355019.

IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT suppliers in a given market.  The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. The Capabilities score measures vendor product, go-to-market and business execution in the short-term. The Strategy score measures alignment of vendor strategies with customer requirements in a 3-5-year timeframe. Vendor market share is represented by the size of the circles. Vendor year-over-year growth rate relative to the given market is indicated by a plus, neutral or minus next to the vendor name.

Jeff Baxter

Jeff Baxter is Vice President, Product Marketing at NetApp. In this role, Jeff leads the team responsible for core product & solutions marketing at NetApp. Previously, Jeff has held a variety of technical and strategy roles at NetApp, including serving Sr. Director of Product Management for ONTAP, Chief Evangelist for ONTAP, and Field Chief Technology Officer for the Americas at NetApp.

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