Mount the application stack

NetApp on Thursday announced plans to acquire Instaclustr, a developer of a platform for delivering fully managed open source database, pipeline and workflow applications as a service. With the acquisition, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp said it aimed to take its technology to an even higher level above its traditional storage focus.

The acquisition is expected to close in 30 to 45 days, subject to regulatory approval. NetApp declined to discuss the value of the acquisition.

NetApp’s acquisition of Instaclustr, with its ability to run open source cloud and on-premises databases, is part of what has become NetApp’s centerpiece of cloud optimization for customers, said Anthony Lye, executive vice president and general manager of NetApp for the public. cloud services.

[Related: NetApp CEO George Kurian: Dell, HPE Are ‘Doing What We Did In 2014’]

“We help customers manage on-premises storage to the cloud,” Lye told CRN. “Our OnCommand Insight is now a multi-tenant cloud monitoring platform. And we optimize storage to compute with Spot.

NetApp’s acquisition of Instagram is the latest in a series of acquisitions by NetApp that have shifted the vendor from a focus on storage to one on optimizing data and applications in public clouds and on site.

This comes just a month after NetApp acquired Fylamynt, which brought CloudOps automation to its Spot portfolio of cloud-native services.

NetApp in June 2020 acquired Spot, which develops technology to manage and optimize compute instances on public clouds.

Since then, NetApp has expanded the Spot portfolio to include its Ocean Kubernetes DevOps technology; its acquisition of CloudJumper, which allowed it to better manage virtual desktop infrastructure and is now known as Spot PC; its CloudHawk security technology, now known as Spot Security; and its acquisition of Data Mechanics for Apache Spark analytics optimization, now known as Ocean for Apache Spark.

NetApp’s move to optimize hybrid multi-cloud environments above the storage layer is paying off, Lye said.

“A few years ago, our goal was to reach $1 billion in ARR [annual recurring revenue] by fiscal year 2025,” he said. “Last week, we said at our investor conference that we expect $2 billion in ARR by the end of fiscal 2026.”

For NetApp, the goal is to bring all of its “goodness” to broader platforms, Lye said.

“A lot of customers tell us that they like our tools and that we have these cool services,” he said. “But they ask us, what else can we do for them? So we have Spot PC, which allows us to run their virtual desktop infrastructures. We have Data Mechanics, which provides customers with a fully managed Spark service. Instaclustr will integrate seamlessly with everything we do. »

Customers have alternatives to Instaclustr, but they don’t offer the functionality that NetApp can offer with Instaclustr, Lye said.

“So for the ability to work on different open source projects and multi-cloud environments, Instaclustr can be a very valuable service for us.”

Lye said NetApp wants to be part of platform-as-a-service and not just infrastructure-as-a-service.

“We want to change because more decisions are made by application teams than by IT teams,” he said. “IT teams used to say they needed a data center, servers, storage, and on top of that, virtualization, Linux, and databases. The last people involved in decision-making were the application team. Now I want to reverse the trend and let the application choose the infrastructure. We can do this not only at the storage, compute, and network level, but also at the application level. Customers don’t want to deal with infrastructure.

NetApp’s acquisition of Instagram is another brilliant move, said John Woodall, vice president of NetApp engineering and enablement at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solutions provider and longtime NetApp partner. .

“In my opinion, NetApp is accelerating its transition to more automated application pipelines and a DevOps perspective,” Woodall told CRN. “They go up the application stack. Instaclustr integrates well with the Spot portfolio. Customers really understand how Spot works with apps.

Instaclustr allows NetApp to move toward more open-source, cloud-native database applications, and helps it do more at the application layer and not just at the infrastructure layer, Woodall said.

“It has big ramifications for making applications more cloud-aware,” he said. “Antoine [Lye] clearly goes deeper into the application and database stack, and makes NetApp more aware of applications, typology, cloud, and even security. That’s another story for NetApp. It’s indicative of the transition to operating as a service-centric enterprise and hybrid cloud capabilities. »

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