Is NetApp charting a new course? If so, why?

“The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent.”
Mark Twain

03/03/2005 Hitz – we can double our revenues in storage and remain a focused vendor
Hitz: EMC is putting together something that is very different to a storage company. VMware is by far the most interesting of their acquisitions and gets them into the realm of a systems company … VMware makes the systems guys, like IBM, very nervous as it places an abstraction layer between the OS and the underlying hardware so that multiple operating systems can run on the same server. So there are plenty of sparks flying between those two. It’s a reasonable strategy for EMC. They are the No. 1 storage company but still have to grow.We’re small enough that we can double our revenues in storage and remain a focused vendor. We’re not interested at all in going EMC’s route. Our growth rate in storage is roughly double EMC’s … In the long run, we would love to be No. 1 in storage and then move into new areas. But because we are small, we can stay focused and innovate faster.

NetApp locks down Decru for $272M
(Jun. 16, 2005)
Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) plans to acquire storage encryption startup Decru Inc. for approximately $272 million in cash and stock, reflecting the increasing role security is …

NetApp buys VTL provider Alacritus (Apr. 07, 2005)
Network Appliance Inc. today announced that it will acquire virtual tape library (VTL) and continuous data protection (CDP) software-maker Alacritus, for approximately $11 million …

It seems that NetApp is taking some detours on the hardware only roadmap that they were talking about in March. Have they decided to become a systems company like EMC? Are they afraid that Dual Core technology and 1TB disks will erode their market? Will they remain focused on storage with these new acquisitions? Why would they be changing their course so radically in only a couple of months?

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