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NetApp and Pure show strong results on flash storage and cloud

NetApp records healthy year-on-year revenue increase with flash showing out well, while Pure Storage sees incredible earnings for its flash products over 12 months

NetApp has recorded strong second-quarter results, with revenues of $1.52bn for the three months to 26 October, an increase of 7% year on year.

Meanwhile, Pure Storage’s third-quarter results show revenue of $372.8m, which equates to a remarkable 34% year-on-year rise. But despite its stellar revenues, Pure is still running at a loss.

A notable subtext to NetApp’s results is the contribution of all-flash storage systems, with a run rate (projected earnings for the year) of $2.2bn, which is a 29% increase on the equivalent period last year.

That figure would have been unthinkable about five years ago, when NetApp’s relationship to flash was somewhere between frosty and uncertain. At the time, NetApp executives had long declared solid state only suitable for cache and then went though a series of flip-flops on plans for flash arrays.

It is to the company’s credit that flash is now such an integral part of its offer and that it is showing so healthily in IDC’s tracker of external storage systems shipped. At the last count, it was in second place for market share at 13.5%, behind Dell EMC with 29%.

Five years ago, things weren’t so different, with NetApp showing similar market share back then – 13% on revenues of $748m for the third quarter of 2013. What is notable is that the company’s slowness in adopting a flash strategy did not seem to harm it.

Pure Storage’s performance is also outstanding, with a 34% year-on-year rise in revenues testament to the current importance of flash storage to the mainstream.

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Pure’s portfolio is based around its solid state-equipped FlashArray range, which it said earlier this year will now also contain NVMe flash capability with NVMe-over-fabrics connectivity to expansion shelves.

Like NetApp, Pure has also made a push towards the cloud, with announcements this week of its Cloud Data Services that see it offer native cloud instances of the Pure Storage environment, plus replication and backup target capabilities for hybrid cloud operations.

NetApp’s cloud-oriented offerings this year have included Cloud Volumes in AWS and GCP, Cloud Volumes Ontap, Azure NetApp Files and Saas Backup for Microsoft Office 365.

And although Pure posted a gross profit of $249m, expenses (R&D, sales and marketing costs) reduced that to an operating loss of $27.2m.

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