It was a surprise move and the first thing that came to my mind was “Who is Talon Storage?” I have seen that name appeared in Tech Target and CRN last year but never took the time to go in depth about their technology. I took a quick check of their FAST™ software technology with the video below:
It had the reminiscence of Andrew File System, something I worked on briefly in the 90s and WAFS (Wide Area File System), a technology buzz word in the early to mid-2000s led by Tacit Networks, a company I almost joined with a fellow NetApp-ian back then. WAFS DNA appeared ingrained in Talon Storage, after finding out that Talon’s CEO and Founder, Shirish Phatak, was the architect of Tacit Networks 20 years ago.
Technology Belt and Road and Bridges, and Ramps, and Links
When NetApp® Data Fabric surfaced 5-6 years ago, it was a fresh technology framework for the hybrid cloud. Public cloud was all the rage back then, and only the courageous few would call out for Hybrid Cloud. NetApp® was indeed a visionary calling for a data singularity across premises – public and private clouds – and touting its strong relevance in data management.
Since then several vendors have claimed Data Fabric narrative, each a version of its own.
- Tibco® Data Fabric
- Talend Data Fabric
- Cloudera® Big Data Fabric
- Datera Elastic Data Fabric
- MapR® (acquired by HPE) Data Fabric
- Many more
And this has diluted the strength and potency of NetApp®’s Data Fabric narrative.
Just like China global economic Belt and Road development strategy, NetApp® has diligently been building many key solutions and technologies that link and connect both sides in hybrid clouds. Here is a list of NetApp® Cloud solutions today:
|Cloud Volumes ONTAP
|Azure NetApp Files
|Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud
|Cloud Volumes Service for AWS
|Cloud Backup Service
|Cloud Kubernetes Service
|Security & Compliance
Developments on related technologies such as
- Fabric Pools for data tiering
- NetApp® Data Availability Service (NDAS) for backup
- NetApp® Trident Persistent Volume storage orchestration for containers and Kubernetes
- Acquisition of Stackpointcloud
- more …
are all part of NetApp® strategic push as the data management platform and framework of choice for hybrid cloud.
Escape the gravity
NetApp®’s stock (NTAP) has taken a beating in the past 6 months. From the heady heights of high USD70.00s about a year ago, it is now languishing in the mid-35s, losing more than half. The Data Fabric narrative, which has brought NetApp® thus far, is not bringing in the concrete sales in the cloud, and not convincing the market that it is making strides extending the ideals of Data Fabric. NetApp® is continuing to build their cloud business rocket to escape the gravity of on-premises enterprise storage and services, and link up with the public cloud space stations up there in the orbit.
In addition to ONTAP Cloud Volumes and Cloud Volume Services, NetApp® also introduced Keystone, a pay-as-you-go consumption-based model geared for the cloud oriented end users. All part of its plans to connect its relevance to the cloud.
And this Talon Storage acquisition is adding on the NetApp® hardening concrete to bring data to customers where the data is processed, regardless of data locality. The roads, bridges, ramps, links, connectors are part of NetApp® initiatives.
The road to stitch the fabric is difficult
NetApp® cloud data revenues are tepid. Reported in Blocks & Files NetApp® Q3FY2020 numbers annualized recurring revenue was just USD83 million. It is not bringing new strong numbers to offset its slowing business. Given the circumstances, NetApp®’s business still very much rely on pure play storage and data management and hybrid cloud is its arena. But the good thing is hybrid cloud will continue to dominate the market for next to 3-5 years, and NetApp® is positioning to capture a good piece of that.
The question is “Will double stitching the whole Data Fabric ecosystem enough to propel NetApp® into the years?” The more connections the better; the concrete in its Data Fabric works, the stronger its position will be. This Talon Storage acquisition is just one of their building blocks.
Lastly, check out this video interview with Anthony Lye, NetApp® SVP and GM of their Cloud Business Unit with Stephen Foskett of GestaltIT and see where NetApp® is playing to win. The sponsored piece is on GestaltIT page.