Earlier this week, NetApp announced it would acquire the startup SolidFire for $870 million, giving NetApp a foothold in the fast-growing market for scale-out flash storage.

So what does this mean for NetApp customers?

It seems that NetApp is starting to wave the white flag and realize that it no longer is able to look internally to find the answers. Earlier this year, NetApp’s all-flash FAS8080 EX left a lot to be desired when it ranked 5th in IOPS and 16th in IOPS/$ in its SPC-1 benchmark testing.

In my opinion, NetApp’s flash strategy is to buy companies, slap a NetApp logo on their arrays and hope things work out alright. NetApp doesn’t seem to have an answer for the all-flash arrays and hybrid storage arrays such as companies like Nimble Storage, which offers a fully integrated hybrid flash solution. The Nimbles and Tegiles of the world are going directly after NetApp customers to gain market share, and they are gaining quickly.

This SolidFire acquisition may stop the bleeding for a little bit, but I don’t believe it will save NetApp by any means.

Two questions I have moving forward are:

  • How well can NetApp integrate its architecture with that of an all-flash array-like SolidFire?

  • Will both parties mutually benefit from this buyout or did SolidFire just sign up to be First Mate of the Titanic?

How do you think that this merger changes the landscape of all-flash and hybrid storage arrays in the market?

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