NetApp's new CEO talks about hybrid cloud, customer challenges

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EMC isn't the only enterprise storage company going through dramatic changes. In June, former storage high-flyer NetApp announced that CEO Tom Georgens had left the company and was being replaced by long-time insider George Kurian, who had previously served as executive vice president of product operations.

In this installment of the IDG CEO Interview Series, Kurian spoke with Chief Content Officer John Gallant about the reasons for the leadership change and how he plans to deal with the financial and product migration issues NetApp has faced. Kurian explored NetApp's 'data fabric' strategy and talked about how the company is positioning itself as the best provider of hybrid cloud solutions.

He also discussed NetApp's flash and cloud storage strategies and talked about how the competitive landscape is changing for established and emerging storage providers. Kurian also explained how the company is encouraging long-time customers to move up to NetApp’s next-gen products.

A great number of our readers are, or have been, NetApp customers. George, what can you tell them about the change in leadership that occurred a couple of months back? What drove that?

First of all, Tom has done many good things for the company. He was the reason I came to NetApp and I respect all of his contributions.

We are a company in transition in an industry in transition. The IT landscape is going through fundamental change, as many of your readers are well aware. To adapt to that changing landscape we have changed the portfolio of technologies we offer customers, changed the way we bring those capabilities to market, the ecosystem of partnerships that we are developing. We have made good progress in the adoption of those new technologies but there is work to be done to further accelerate that progress across the world. The board perspective was that getting a new leader to help accelerate those changes and make faster progress across our customer base was something they were looking for.

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