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Storage Companies Have a Condescending Approach Towards Mid-Size Businesses: Syed Masroor

By Ershad Kaleebullah, Computerworld
October 17, 2012 02:50 PM ET

Computerworld - NetApp India is at the forefront of storage innovation. The company is now aggressively targeting the mid-size business tier in India with new offerings. We talk to Syed Masroor, head-technology and solutions organisation, try to understand NetApp's vision and how competition is failing to tap the mid-size businesses storage market. We also probe him about the storage trends the company is seeing in India.

What are the opportunities for storage that you see in the mid-size segment? How does NetApp intend to tackle this?

Number one thing about storage is that it is a fundamental part of a datacentre. I remember those days were the high flying days of Sun Microsystems and Scott McNealy once said, "Storage will always remain a peripheral". He meant to say that storage will basically connect to the backend and is a dumb device and server will always remain the primary component. But we (NetApp) firmly believed that the entire datacentre will revolve around the storage system. And we are right today.

Oracle was and still is a big partner for us. When we moved into the SAN world, Microsoft became a huge entry point. We were the pioneers of Unified Storage. It is surprising that Hitachi introduced Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) just last year and we are saying that unified storage is passe. We are talking about bigger things now.

In a typical datacentre, today, are customers buying storage? Maybe. Maybe not. They are looking at storage virtualisation and reducing footprint. Are they buying desktops? Not really. Everybody has a portable device and they are looking at BYOD solutions.

Could you give a use case where using NetApp's storage solution has helped a mid-sized company in reducing costs?

Storage companies have a condescending approach towards mid-size businesses. A mid-size enterprise typically runs applications like VMWare, Citrix, SQL, Exchange, Oracle, SAP etc. All that data is critical. Does that customer not need high class storage which gives high performance, gives high efficiency and does disaster recovery (DR)? He does. So NetApp actually doesn't make multiple products. We have the FAS and V series of storage solutions. These systems are different in terms of capacity and processing power but are unified in their operating system.

Aditi Technologies from Bangalore bought NetApp FAS 2000 series from us. What do they run? They have SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint implemented on top of HyperV making them one of the first customers in India to do so. All this is running on a FAS 2040 storage system. See, if you look at storage, people have a general opinion that it is a dumb device. Also, it is an expensive proposition for customers, considering the fact that you can pick up a 3TB hard disk from Croma for much less. However, what we provide is an 'intelligent system'. We've included stuff like application integration and efficiency. So what happens is all the applications are directly integrated into the storage like their backup and DR. At the same time we also provide features to make multiple copies of databases efficiently, to do DR and take snapshots. And, adding to that is great algorithms for caching which in turn provides high performance.

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