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Motley Fool  Jul 24  Comment 
VMware is important to EMC, but so is the amount of cash that EMC could create with a spin off.
Cloud Computing  Jul 24  Comment 
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Cloud Computing  Jul 23  Comment 
Datalink (NASDAQ: DTLK), a leading provider of data center infrastructure and services, has been ranked top-performing partner in the Americas for FlexPod and clustered Data ONTAP based on revenues during NetApp’s...
Forbes  Jul 21  Comment 
One of the more annoying aspects of being a customer of a big company is the supplier's economic power. After all, that big company has high overhead and unless you have a supplier willing to give you a better deal, you will face a stark choice:...
Motley Fool  Jul 17  Comment 
NetApp's revenue has stagnated as customers tighten IT budgets and look to the cloud. Can NetApp adjust its strategy and live on, or will it succumb to this technological shift?
Telecom Ramblings  Jul 16  Comment 
In a flurry of activity this week, the cloud exchange Equinix introduced this past March has brought in a flock of new participants. With the MicroSoft Worldwide Partner Conference underway, most of the announcements of course had to do with...
Motley Fool  Jul 15  Comment 
NetApp has struggled this year, but it could get better on the back of innovation and solid adoption of its products.
DailyFinance  Jul 15  Comment 
New Cloud-Integrated Solution Enables Direct, Secure Connections Through Azure ExpressRoute -- Unlocking the Power of the Hybrid CloudSUNNYVALE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/15/14 -- NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) today introduced NetApp Private Storage...
SeekingAlpha  Jul 11  Comment 
By Bret Jensen: Getting much tougher to find deep bargains in a market that has rose some 40%, including dividends, over the past year-and-a-half. My own feeling is the overall market is slightly overvalued here especially with the Federal Reserve...




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Network Appliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) sells hardware and computer software and services used to store and manage large amounts of data. Its customers range from small and medium businesses to Fortune 10 companies. Network Appliance's flagship product is a piece of hardware that can store hundreds of terabytes of data (1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes). The company's hardware is technologically more advanced than traditional storage devices (such as local hard drives) because it automatically optimizes storage space with its internal operating system and uses networks to connect to a company's computers that are far away. Corporations and government agencies are demanding large data storage capacities because of an explosion of electronic information from scientific and population growth. In addition to high storage capacities, these institutions also demand products that keep their data safe, especially in a world where more and more confidential information is transferred through computer networks. NetApp sells software packages, such as data reduction services and disk-to-disk backup software, along with its core hardware product, to address this demand.

Furthermore, to help NTAP meet all of its customers' needs, it has partnerships with many industry leaders such as Cisco Systems (CSCO), International Business Machines (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), Symantec (SYMC), among others.[1]

Business and Financials

For fiscal year 2010 (NTAP's fiscal year ended April 30, 2010), NTAP posted total sales of $3.93 billion, a substantial increase from the previous year's sales of $3.41 billion.[2] Furthermore, it was largely able to keep its total costs the same as 2009, enabling NTAP to increase its operating income from $47.2 million in 2009 to $488.4 million in 2010. As a result, its net income increased to $400.4 million in 2010, compared to $64.6 million in 2009.[2]

Business Segments

NetApp's product line can be divided into hardware and software, sold to both small and large enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations. The company's intercore business is its network-based data storage hardware.

Products Segment (Hardware) (60.6% of 2009 net revenues)[3]

  • FAS family: NetApp's flagship Fabric-Attached Storage device is a piece of hardware, used to store a company's data, that has its own operating system, disk arrays and built-in data management software. The device is used to keep all of a company's data together in one location, while making sure the data is accessible and stored efficiently. This lets a company avoid spending money on buying expensive memory disks and wasting time tracking down scattered pieces of information.
  • V-Series: A V-Series device is a piece of hardware that centralizes the data located on storage devices purchased from other data management vendors. This also makes sure the company's data is accessible and stored efficiently, and is especially valuable when the company's data is dispersed on storage devices purchased from many different companies.

Software Software entitlements and maintenance (17.3% net revenues)[3]

  • Data protection: NetApp sells software that protects confidential data from being lost, destroyed, or stolen. It does so through encryption, disk-to-disk back up, and data reduction. The security of a company's data has become critical because all kinds of confidential information is stored electronically.
  • Storage management: NetApp also sells software designed to make enterprise data management less complex, for example, by letting a company migrate large amounts of data to a centralized server and accounting for duplications. As a result, the company saves money by hiring less IT personnel and avoiding costly situations in which data is lost or mishandled.

Consulting/Services (22.1% net revenues)[3]

In addition to its products, NetApp also provides consulting services, such as helping a company use its IT software to maximize storage space, as well as technical support.

Key Trends and Forces

As companies and government agencies produce more and more data, they demand high-capacity data storage hardware

The growth of information that is transferred electronically creates high demand for hardware and software like those sold by NetApp: by some estimates, the growth rate of data needed to be stored has reached 100% a year. Sources of this growth include scientific advancements (such as genomic data in the field of bioengineering), higher standards for products/services (such as new categories of financial data kept by banks), and population growth (such as social security data). NetApp's products store hundreds of terrabytes of data efficiently using its built-in data mangement software. At optimum levels, a NetApp NAS system reduces the required raw data storage space by 80% in comparison to standard storage devices. Furthermore, since NetApp systems centralize all of a company's data, they make information more accessible in comparison to traditional hardware. For example, an employee in New York would be able to access changes to a document made by an employee in Hong Kong. Effective data management lets a company spend less time/money on IT and increases the productivity of the company's employees.

Increased physical risks to devices storing confidential data lead to greater demand for data protection hardware

More and more pieces of sensitive information, ranging from social security numbers to credit card numbers, are being stored electronically. In light of this trend, geopolitical events such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters such as hurricane season (both of which threaten to damage servers where data is physically stored), and laptop theft pose a challenge to the security of sensitive data. NetApp sells hardware devices and software packages that help companies minimize the cost of recovering from such calamaties. Therefore, as the value of a company's data increases, so does the company's demand for data protection products.

IT software vendors such as NetApp are especially vulnerable to the market volatility that affects their group of customers

While high-end data storage products improve the handling of a company's data, they are not an essential component of the company's business. Many companies see no need to purchase expensive, high-end data storage devices or spend money upgrading their preexisting data management systems. This is especially manifest during times of recession, since IT is an easy place for companies to save money. NetApp is also vulnerable to slow-downs in consumer spending in the media/entertainment and telecommunications industries.

Competitors

NetApp competes in the high-performance networked storage market. It competes against several large corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ), International Business Machines (IBM), and Sun Microsystems (JAVA), that have business units in the data storage market. In addition, Dell (DELL) is a competitor through its reseller partnership with EMC (EMC) (see below). In comparison to these corporations, NetApp is more focused on data storage technology, letting it develop hardware that uses raw storage space more efficiently, and complementing the hardware with more software packages. To compete with larger corporations, NetApp offers discounts to attract retailers. Smaller competitors in the high-performance market segment follows. In addition to the following companies, NetApp competes against venture capital-backed companies that also focus on developing advanced data storage technology.

  • EMC (EMC) - EMC is one of NetApp's most serious competitors, with business segments in information storage, content management and archiving, and RSA information security.
  • Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD) - Brocade sells data storage products that focus on storage area networks, a specific method of inputting data for storage that is subsumed by NetApp's hardware.
  • Data Domain Inc. (DDUP) - Data Domain specializes in data management technology, such as dedupliation and archiving services, as well as recovering data from disasters.
  • QLogic (QLGC) - QLogic sells data storage devices mainly to original equipment manufacturers.

References

  1. NTAP 10-K 2010 Item 1 Pg. 5
  2. 2.0 2.1 NTAP 10-K 2010 Item 6 Pg. 36
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 NTAP 10-K 2009 Item 7 Pg. 44
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