NetApp has taken a swipe at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for planning a rival flash storage event in Berlin at the same time as its Insight technical conference, claiming it is "not sure it is helping [HPE's] reputation".
NetApp Insight is taking place in Berlin this week, attracting more than 4,000 NetApp customers and partners. Evening entertainment was provided for delegates last night – in the form of a Brazilian carnival-themed party – and a finale event is planned for tomorrow, giving them free time tonight (Tuesday).
HPE has planned its own flash storage event to be held this evening, offering a shuttle bus service from Insight to its event across the city. The evening gathering will see speakers including Tim Berners-Lee join HPE execs on stage.
When questioned by CRN about the competitive landscape in the storage industry, NetApp's vice president for global accounts and pathway ecosystem in EMEA Thomas Ehrlich alluded to HP's arrival in Berlin.
"They need to make sure they watch how they look," he said. "If they want to coincidentally plan meetings when we have meetings, I am not sure it is helping their reputation. I wouldn't do it.
"I don't want to talk about desperateness, but we see two moves from our competition [HP's split and Dell's EMC buy] that [are] not really sharpening their focus on storage. Neither the Dell-EMC move nor the split of HP, in my view, shows that from a technology perspective those two are going to focus more on storage. At the same time, we see 4,000 partners and customers [here] tell us that [our] storage is different."
HP was not immediately available to comment on NetApp's claims.
When questioned further about how HP's flash offering measures up, Ehrlich said: "To be very honest, I don't see them [as being] very relevant in that space. They have taken an okay technology and put flash in front of or behind it.
"They seem to have found a very aggressive price point. We think we have way better technology at the same price point. And the rest I leave to the customers. Should there be the impression in the market that NetApp, because we were a bit conservative, are favouring disk [over flash] – we don't."
Ehrlich was equally unimpressed with the prospect of Dell's planned takeover of EMC.
He suggested the deal – which is worth $67bn (£44bn) and is due to close next year – could limit customer choice.
"I think you must be very creative to interpret this move as one which will create a lot of value and that is going to create a lot of margin for whatever party," he said. "This move is bringing a certain brand and set of servers to a certain set of storage. The reality we see in the market is that customers don't really like that. Customers want to be very, very free on the decision for a server.
"A lot of customers want to go away from servers – they want to move to services. I don't check and I don't want to know what this new company is going to do, but if this new company would focus on tighter bundles of certain servers and certain hardware and certain software, I am not sure that every customer out there wants to have only a VMware hypervisor, only on a Dell server, only on EMC storage."
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