Alexander Wallner, NetApp's VP and general manager for EMEA, has taken a swipe at competitors who aren't using cloud to its fullest capabilities.
Speaking to CRN at NetApp's partner conference in Seville, Wallner claimed that the storage vendor's recent transition into a cloud-led company has not only turned around the company's fortunes but that it has also attracted the support of the three large public clouds in AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google - the only storage vendor to do so.
"We don't talk about features and functionality anymore. What differentiates us is our approach to the cloud and it differentiates us massively from HPE, Dell EMC and Pure because you can deploy our platform on all major cloud providers and build a cloud data management framework. That is a capability that nobody else has," he said.
Wallner added that although NetApp's competitors may "embrace" the cloud, their platform architecture suggests otherwise, adding that NetApp's flash and hyperconverged infrastructure is based on its ability to connect to the cloud.
"All of the big competitors somewhat embrace the cloud but from an architectural perspective they cannot deploy their architecture in the cloud. For example, if you see what Dell EMC did with the kernel - that's not a solution, it is a hardware-based play. The cloud is not a hardware-based play, it is software-based."
NetApp argued that its recent Q4 results "marked a great finish to a strong year", with revenues up 11 per cent to $1.64bn.
CEO George Kurian was equally bullish about NetApp's cloud play on the Q4 earnings call (a transcript of which can be found here), arguing that its competitors "are struggling to adapt to this new era of hybrid cloud and without any semblance of a cloud strategy or cloud integration; they continue to fall behind".
Wallner acknowledged that there will always be comparisons between NetApp and its competitors, but that the only thing that matters is the connection to the cloud which is "fundamental" to customers.
"You can always argue ‘Is our solution better than the Pure one, is it fast, or not so fast.' My message is: [that] might be the case once, but not after that. But it doesn't matter, because what is key and fundamental to the customer is the connection to the cloud.
"For example, if you deploy an AI solution and have a superfast flash platform, that is cool but you need the connection to the cloud because AI is an off-premise and on-premise play. So if you have an on-premise flash solution that locks you on-premise, you don't win anything. It's like buying a Ferrari without wheels - you cannot drive it."
We pull out the key information from Big Blue's quarterly results
Telford-based firm moves into the Nordics with Getac
Desktop 3D printer shipments see first ever year-on-year decline
Wholesale AI integration should not mean ethical principles are compromised, Satya Nadella tells Inspire conference