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NetApp, Inc. (), formerly Network Appliance, Inc., is a proprietary computer storage and data management company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It is a member of the NASDAQ-100. It was ranked on the Fortune 500 for the first time in 2012.



NetApp was founded in 1992 by David Hitz, James Lau[1] and Michael Malcolm.[2][3] At the time, its major competitor was Auspex. In 1994, NetApp received venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital.[4] It had its initial public offering in 1995. NetApp thrived in the internet bubble years of the mid 1990s to 2001, during which the company grew to $1 billion in annual revenue. After the bubble burst, NetApp's revenues quickly declined to $800 million in its fiscal year 2002. Since then, the company's revenues have steadily climbed.

In 2006 NetApp sold the NetCache product line to Blue Coat Systems, Inc.. On August 19, 2009, Dan Warmenhoven stepped down as CEO and was replaced by Tom Georgens.[5]

Major acquisitions

  • 1997 - Internet Middleware (IMC): IMC's web proxy caching software became the NetCache product line (which was resold in 2006).
  • 2004 - Spinnaker Networks: The technology Spinnaker brought to NetApp was integrated into Data ONTAP GX and first released in 2006.
  • 2005 - Alacritus: The tape virtualization technology Alacritus brought to NetApp was integrated into the NetApp NearStore Virtual Tape Library (VTL) product line, introduced in 2006.
  • 2005 - Decru: Storage security systems and key management.
  • 2006 - Topio: Software that helped replicate, recover, and protect data over any distance regardless of the underlying server or storage infrastructure. This technology became known as ReplicatorX, and has since been abandoned.[6]
  • 2008 - Onaro: Storage service management software which helps customers manage storage more efficiently with guaranteed service levels for availability and performance.
  • 2010 - Bycast: StorageGRID Object based storage.[7]
  • 2011 - Akorri: Cross-domain analysis and advanced analytics to help customers manage, optimize, and plan performance and utilization across their data center infrastructure.
  • 2011 - ESG(LSI): Purchased the Engenio external storage systems business of LSI Corporation (NYSE: LSI), a publicly held company headquartered in Milpitas, California, in an all-cash transaction for $480 million.


The line of NetApp filers was the company's flagship since the very beginning. A filer is a type of disk storage device which owns and controls a filesystem, and presents files and directories to hosts over the network. This scheme is sometimes called file storage, as opposed to the block storage that has been traditionally provided by major storage vendors like EMC Corporation and Hitachi Data Systems.

NetApp's filers initially used NFS and CIFS protocols based on standard local area networks (LANs), whereas block storage consolidation required storage area networks (SANs) implemented with the Fibre Channel (FC) protocol. In 2002, in an attempt to increase market share, NetApp added block storage access as well. Today, NetApp systems support it via FC protocol, the iSCSI protocol, and the emerging Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol.

The filers use NetApp's proprietary operating system called Data ONTAP which includes code from Berkeley Net/2 BSD Unix and other operating systems.[8] Data ONTAP originally only supported NFS, but CIFS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel (including Fibre Channel over Ethernet) were later added. Today, NetApp provides two variants of Data ONTAP. Data ONTAP 7G and a nearly complete rewrite[8] called Data ONTAP GX, based upon grid technology acquired from Spinnaker Networks. In the near future these software product lines will be merged into one OS - Data ONTAP 8, which will fold Data ONTAP 7G onto the Data ONTAP GX cluster platform.

In 2006, NetApp launched a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) product for magnetic tape data storage virtualization.

In 2007 NetApp introduced its own deduplication technology: NetApp Dedupe, available for all current models of NetApp filer.


The Decru Datafort storage encryption device can encrypt NFS, CIFS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel storage. The series also includes a lifetime key management appliance to store and safeguard the encryption keys.


NetApp has technology partnerships with a number of leading IT vendors, such as BMC, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, SAP AG, Symantec, Apple and VMware.

The company s latest () partnership, billed as "Imagine Virtually Anything", involves collaboration with Cisco and VMware to offer customers an end-to-end Secure Multi-tenancy Design Architecture that provides enhanced security in cloud environments.

In addition to NetApp's technology-alliance partnerships, the NetApp Partner Program helps resellers, distributors, Service Providers and Systems Integrators create new revenue opportunities by leveraging NetApp solutions to help their customers solve business problems.

Principal competitors

NetApp competes in the data-storage devices industry.[9] NetApp ranks second in market capitalization in its industry, behind EMC Corporation and ahead of Seagate Technology, Western Digital, Brocade, Imation, and Quantum.[10] In total revenue, NetApp ranks fourth behind EMC, Seagate, Western Digital, and ahead of Imation, Brocade, Xyratex, and Hutchinson Technology.[11] Note that these lists of competitors do not include companies with significant storage businesses, such as Hewlett Packard, IBM, Hitachi, Dell, Oracle, and Fujitsu. According to a recent (06.2010) IDC report, NetApp is a third company in network storage industry "Big 5's list", behind EMC and IBM, and ahead of HP and Dell, with largest annual revenue growth (47.4%).

Work environment

NetApp also has a long history of making "Best Places to Work" lists. The company ranked first on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2009.[12] This is the seventh consecutive year NetApp has earned a spot on the list, placing in the top 50 each time. NetApp also earned top honors in the "Best Companies to Work for in Research Triangle Park" competition in 2006. Other previous distinctions include making ComputerWorld's "Top 100 Places to Work in IT 2005", "Best Places to Work" in the Greater Bay Area in 2006 by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, and the 8th spot on the 2006 list of "Best Workplaces in Germany" by Capital Magazine. NetApp Canada was ranked #2 by the Great Place to Work Institute[13] on the 75 Best Workplaces list for 2010.


Equipment used by Syrian surveillance

In November 2011 during the 2011 Syrian uprising, NetApp was named as one of several companies whose products were being used in the Syrian government crackdown. The equipment was allegedly sold to the Syrians by an authorized NetApp reseller.[14]

Legal dispute with Sun Microsystems

In September 2007 NetApp started proceedings against Sun Microsystems, claiming that the ZFS File System developed by Sun infringed its patents.[15] The following month, Sun announced plans to countersue based on alleged misuse by NetApp of Sun's own patented technology.[16] Several of NetApp's patent claims were rejected on the basis of prior art after re-examination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.[17]

On September 9, 2010, NetApp announced an agreement with Oracle Corporation (the new owner of Sun Microsystems) to dismiss the suits.[18]


NetApp was fifth in Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For 2010",[19] and third in the "25 Best Global Companies to Work For" list by Great Place to Work Institute in 2011.[20]

See also


Further reading

External links

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