I still think there is a stigma around value versus low-cost expectations – it’s the most highly discounted industry. The industry needs to be held accountable for that.
What’s your focus for the New Year?
For us, it’s an iteration of the same – we will consistently drive to be the number one open systems storage player in the market. For my part of the business, we’ve already shown our relevance by being channel aggressive, so we will continue to define relationships where we can be mutually beneficial to each other. I can’t manage hundreds and hundreds of resellers effectively, so I’d rather do a good job with a few, not a bad job with everybody.
Will the state of the market affect how you approach sales?
If anything, it brings more relevance to how we approach the market – we have been born out of tough times and were nearly brought under by the tech wreck. One of the challenges Tom Mendoza [NetApp vice-chairman] has spoken about with our leadership is that many haven’t been through the tough times with our organisation. That’s the test of our leadership and our culture. The good news for us is that we hired our entire headcount for this year at the beginning of the year. We will have more value to offer when belts are tightening – we’re about using less storage, having better TCO, so all our value propositions play to a recessive market anyway. I think more doors will open for us.
What’s the next big thing in the industry?
There are cycles around consolidating and expanding. The things that are really starting to drive from a technology point of view are these massive social networking offerings, particularly for data storage, which is driving more requests for information and storage information. This high density capability will start to become available on a user-pays model. I don’t think cloud computing has a true definition yet, but the next most logical big thing will be utility-based computing. And to me that’s whatever delivery mechanism you choose that gives you access to that piece of software and you pay on a usage basis.
Computing power will be about the value of the applications and managing that. You’ll get the PC on a zero-dollar plan.