NetApp’s Rich Clifton leaves me with more questions than answers from this interview. But it is worth reading and remembering that NetApp has a record of leaving its partners in the cold. So keep that in mind when you read about the IBM relationship and the Kazeon relationship. As previous posts on this blog have suggested NetApp views long term relationships much as Paris Hilton does. But Paris is much more interesting.
We had the opportunity to talk with Rich Clifton, NetApp’s VP and GM networked storage business units. The topics ranged from the IBM relationship to tiered storage, maximising IOPS, storage intelligence in the network and de-duplication. What became apparent is that there are several strong lights underneath the NetApp bushels.
TechWorld: How is the IBM relationship working?
Rich Clifton: It’s meeting our expectations in terms of what’s happening in the overall market. It seems to be going along fine.
Comment: NetApp and IBM are learning how to work effectively together. This is taking time to accomplish and it’s too early to say if the IBM channel is selling lots of NetApp product. IBM is not like a reseller needing a standard channel program set of carrots and sticks to perform. Nor is it a Dell with a single direct sales channel to market, a highly effective but one trick pony. IBM is far more than this and tuning the relationship on both sides is necessary before performance happens. It’s a little like a SAP implementation in that lots of groundwork is necessary before the results flow through. That is the impression I derived from Rich Clifton’s comments.