Another NetApp executive jumps ship

Why would an executive who was running a very successful division of a growing company jump ship? According to this press release NetApp’s storevault product was a very successful product.

“Last year, NetApp StoreVault S500 took top honors. As it turns out, the StoreVault went out on top — earlier this year the vendor announced it was folding its small and medium business StoreVault division into its FAS storage unit.

At the time, NetApp said combining the product lines would allow it to expand the StoreVault platform into remote and branch offices as an extension of it core product line. “

It seems odd for an executive to leave while his product is on top, and there is so much growth within the company, but here is the press release I saw yesterday.

“Krishnan joins Cupertino-based Parascale from five years at Sunnyvale-based NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP), where he was most recently general manager of the company’s StoreVault business unit that focuses on network storage appliances for mid-market businesses.

He was also general manager of NetApp’s Storage Management Software business, overseeing the company’s core management products. “

I never understood the product positioning of Storevault or its pricing model. NetApp is a high priced enterprise storage vendor, and selling a low priced solution never made sense to me. Perhaps others felt the same way. Sales folks will always sell to their commission schedule, and since Storevault was a low priced solution it was probably very hard to get sales to ramp up unless the commission schedules were enormous. But for most of its life it was only sold through NetApp’s convoluted channel, making selling the product even harder.

A Network Appliance solution provider working with that vendor’s StoreVault S500 entry-level storage array moved quickly to take advantage of a couple potential opportunities only to cry foul when he said he was thwarted by the vendor in pursuing those opportunities.

Ron Robinson, president and CEO of Innovative Technology Data Storage, an Atlanta-based storage solution provider, has been engaged with NetApp in a long-running battle over whether the vendor and its direct sales rep, who focuses his sales on NetApp’s FAS line of midrange and enterprise storage appliances, is unfairly preventing competition from Robinson selling the vendor’s entry level StoreVault line.

Robinson also accuses NetApp of violating its own dealer registration policy in the case of another customer who had been purchasing from a local solution provider but who was interested in making a deal with Robinson.

I hope Mr Krishnan learned a thing or two at NetApp and will apply his experiences to creating Parascale into a long term successful company.

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