Partnerships and NetApp are an ever changing kaleidoscope of storage characters -So how long can they work with their biggest competitor on joint sales efforts?
Long term commitment has never been a strong point of NetApp, as can be confirmed by looking at the shattered partnerships with Dell, Hitachi, and many of their integrator partners. NetApp's Brendon Howe now thinks that their partnership with EMC / VMware will be a long term success for their customers. See below
"The partnership will definitely have its sales side. "We see no end in sight for pursuing joint sales opportunities," said Howe, downplaying the suggestion that this creates an awkward situation with VMware's parent company and NetApp rival EMC."
NetApp is usually very protective about its account information, but in this case they are giving EMC all their customer contact information. So it should come as no surprise to see EMC sales growing in the NAS accounts that NetApp introduces to VMware sales reps. I would expect that sooner or later NetApp will have to file for a divorce from VMware to protect it's accounts.
Looking into a CIO's crystal ball for guidance may leave him with some questions .... Where will this divorce leave NetApp customers who have a VMware installation? EMC probably won't support NetApp equipment. I suspect that NetApp won't support VMware on their platforms after a divorce. Looking at a strategic time frame this may leave a CIO with some concerns in the 3 to 5 year time frame.
Recently some of our customers are asking us to help them with their NetApp VMware support, I think it may have something to do with our long term commitment to customers and their high availability infrastructures.