NetApp, Inc., formerly Network Appliance, Inc., is an American 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 headquarters in Sunnyvale, California
NetApp was founded in 1992 by David Hitz, James Lau, and Michael Malcolm. At the time, its major competitor was Auspex Systems. In 1994, NetApp received venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital. 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. On June 1, 2015, Tom Georgens stepped down as CEO and was replaced by George Kurian.
NetApp competes in the data-storage devices industry. In 2009, NetApp ranked second in market capitalization in its industry behind EMC Corporation and ahead of Seagate Technology, Western Digital, Brocade, Imation, and Quantum. In total revenue of 2009, NetApp ranked behind EMC, Seagate, Western Digital, and ahead of Imation, Brocade, Xyratex, and Hutchinson Technology. According to a 2010 IDC report, NetApp ranked third in the network storage industry "Big 5's list", behind EMC and IBM, and ahead of HP and Dell, with the list's largest annual revenue growth at 47.4%.
Main article: NetApp filer
NetApp FAS3240 (second from bottom) with three DS4243 shelves on top
The line of NetApp filers has served as the company's flagship product from 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 which major storage vendors like EMC Corporation and Hitachi Data Systems have traditionally provided.
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, Spinnaker Networks technology, and other operating systems. Data ONTAP originally only supported NFS, but CIFS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel (including Fibre Channel over Ethernet) were later added. In the past, NetApp provided two variants of Data ONTAP. Data ONTAP 7G and a nearly complete rewrite called Data ONTAP GX, based upon grid technology acquired from Spinnaker Networks. In 2010, these software product lines were merged into one OS - Data ONTAP 8, which folded Data ONTAP 7G onto the Data ONTAP GX cluster platform. Data ONTAP 8 has two distinct operating modes - 7-Mode and Cluster-Mode.
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.
On April 7, 2014, NetApp was notified by the US Department of Commerce "that it had completed its review of this matter and determined that NetApp had not violated the U.S. export laws", and that the file on the matter had been closed.
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. The following month, Sun announced plans to countersue based on alleged misuse by NetApp of Sun's own patented technology. 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. On September 9, 2010, NetApp announced an agreement with Oracle Corporation (the new owner of Sun Microsystems) to dismiss the suits.
NetApp was listed amongst Silicon Valley Top 25 Corporate Philanthropists in 2013.
NetApp's work environment has received acknowledgement. The company ranked first on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2009 and fifth in 2010. 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 on the 75 Best Workplaces list for 2010. It was third in the "25 Best Global Companies to Work For" list by Great Place to Work Institute in 2011. NetApp was ranked third in Great Place to Work's 2013 "World's Best Multinational Workplaces". It received #41 on the 2013 Best Places to Work and 2013 Work Life Balance Award by Glassdoor. In 2014, NetApp ranked #2 on Business Insider's list of "20 Most Flexible Employers in America".