NetApp’s $870 million acquisition of SolidFire was much discussed news after Dell and EMC merger in the year 2015. This acquisition solidifies the future roadmap for all-flash storage. We have seen flash industry has grown quite significantly in the year 2015 and is predicted to be considered as the primary storage option replacing hard disk drives in 2016.

The upward trend of all-flash storage array business was one of the major reasons of this acquisition. This all-flash business was first driven by startups that challenged large storage vendors with high-performance solutions. This resulted in dropping flash storage prices. All large storage enterprises started feeling the heat and responded with acquisitions of some startups or via creating their own flash technology.

I believe NetApp was not very comfortable with flash to date, even though they tried building their own all-flash solutions. They always tried to compensate their expertise on all-flash with the inorganic approach. EF540, based on the SANtricity software acquired from Ingenio in 2013, and the recent acquisition of SolidFire are the true examples of this case. Their internally built, much-delayed FlashRay product finally made it to market in late 2014; however it supposedly struggled before being significantly refreshed it in June 2015.

SolidFire product is very strong with service providers, and cloud style infrastructure buyers. This is the market place where NetApp always wanted to get it. This acquisition will definitely fill the hole in NetApp’s portfolio and will help NetApp in the long run. “This acquisition will benefit current and future customers looking to gain the benefits of webscale cloud providers for their own data centers,” said George Kurian, chief executive officer of NetApp. He also mentioned “SolidFire combines the performance and economics of all-flash storage with a webscale architecture that radically simplifies data center operations and enables rapid deployments of new applications. We look forward to extending NetApp’s flash leadership with the SolidFire team, products and partner ecosystem, and to accelerating flash adoption through NetApp’s large partner and customer base.”

I am very hopeful and optimistic of this acquisition as with SolidFire, NetApp will now have all-flash offerings that address each of the three largest All-Flash Array market segments. And with the All-Flash market on the rise this acquisition will prove to be a game changer. I wish all the very best to NetApp and SolidFire team

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Anupam Bhide | Calsoft Inc.