NetApp has admitted it is cannibalising its disk business for flash because it believes it is best for customers.
Speaking to CRN at its Partner Executive Forum in Lisbon, the vendor's vice president of pathways and operations EMEA, Thomas Ehrlich, explained the rationale.
"The number one thing we are going after is flash," he said. "We are cannibalising our disk business because it is our true belief that for customers buying now, the best investment you can make is in flash. There are very few parts left in the market where it makes sense to buy disks."
He said that the move to flash forms part of a wider transition to "mode two", which is important for partners to get to grips with.
"In the old model, you sold something for £36,000 and you made £36,000 in turnover. In the new world, you are basically getting £1,000 a month for 36 months. This is dramatically changing your business model. It really is a new world, and you just have to find your way in it," he explained.
NetApp said partners delivered $4bn (£2.76bn) in revenue in its financial year ending in 2016, and 81.5 per cent of all EMEA business was done through the channel in the same period.
As part of the vendor's change in focus, Ehrlich said that this changing technology, combined with new regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in Europe, are leaving customers uncertain about their IT systems.
The GDPR came into force last month, and is a new regulation designed to unify all data protection regulations within the EU.
He explained: "In light of these regulations, customers are unsure, and I can see the market is kind of dividing. Mid-sized to large companies are really jumping ahead, then we have the smaller companies which, when it comes to digitalisation and IoT, don't have time to upgrade their IT.
"They just want to scale their IT. They look at their core business and just want to get rid of everything else. So there may be a chance for traditional resellers to become SIs, working with companies to help them. I can see a huge chance for this in the market."
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