NetApp brings new price point to its entry level AFF market with AFF C190

The new product, sold only through the channel and available as an Express Pack, isn’t bringing NetApp down into the SMB space, but is rather aimed at customers with predictable environments.

Jeff McCullough, NetApp’s vice president of America partner sales

Today, NetApp is announcing the AFF C190, their new entry level all-flash solution, which, for the first time, brings NetApp down into the sub-$20,000 space. A channel product, it is available as an Express Pack, with set low prices and turnkey configurations. The company is emphasizing however, that this isn’t intended to bring them down into the SMB space where they would be competing with new partner Lenovo.

“We are excited about getting into a new price category and bringing AFF to whole new set of customers, with our cloud connectivity, and 3-1 efficiency guarantee,”  said said Jeff McCullough, NetApp’s vice president of America partner sales. “And partners can sell it through an Express Pack, priced competitively on the street. This product opens up a whole new kind of conversation.”

The AFF C190 becomes NetApp’s new entry level all-flash offering.

“The AFF A200 and A220 were our entry level products before – entry level for NetApp,” McCullough said. “These represent a big part of our Express Pack portfolio, the preconfigured solutions we sell through partners that take the complexity of pricing and configuration off the table. They are pre-priced for partners solely, and partners own the entire sales process. They don’t need NetApp to help them with a discount. This is why the Express Packs have been an explosive growth category for us.”

McCullough said that the C190 opens up a green fields opportunity for them.

“It is a new entry level product, which brings some great economics and features to a price category we haven’t really gone after before,” he stated. “It lets us address customers who may not have thought they could afford NetApp at this price point, as well as partners who didn’t think they could sell at this price. It also brings our full-featured AFF portfolio to a price point below $20,000  with a decent front-end margin for the partner.”

McCullough also emphasized, however, that this doesn’t mean NetApp is positioning itself for the SMB market.

The AFF C190

“The target market is IDC price brands 4 and 5,” he said. “NetApp goes after the mid-size customer and up. We don’t go after the S component of SMB. We don’t go after the sub 5k or even the sub 10k market. This new category is for customers who need high performance storage for application modernization, because it’s a fast and easy way to drive performance improvements. It’s the same market as the A200, but it focuses on the features that matter for this customer set. With some customers who have very fixed requirements, expansion in terms of disks and shelves is not a priority. This is a good fit for customers who want to start small and fit within the profile of the capacity offered. The  A200 is for those who expect to grow. Both of them, like the whole portfolio, has the cloud integration capabilities. If a customer wants to go to Amazon, partners can sell Cloud Volumes ONTAP, which lets them keep the customer. It opens a window to deploy cloud and manage hybrid. That’s a big differentiation in this space.”

McCullough also emphasized that the C190 won’t be competing with the NetApp-powered products that it will be selling through their new partnership with Lenovo.

“The Lenovo relationship is very much centred around two primary models,” he said. “One is pure OEM where they use our IP in their products. These are Lenovo products with their management infrastructure. But it’s their job to go sell it. This market is more targeted to SMB. We found the amount of overlap is pretty minimal, and think of this business is very accretive to NetApp.”

The other engagement model is resell on larger products more strategically defined opportunities, which isn’t relevant to the C190 at all.

“We think of the C190 as targeting customers who are buying other competitive platforms in these price categories that we haven’t gone after,” McCullough said. “With this launch, we make it clear we are going after this market, with flash price at the price of disks. And we will do it with really strong front-end margin. Everyone’s mileage will vary, but we’ve been modelling and we think partners will see margins in the 20 point range – although we can’t dictate pricing to partners.”

The AFF C190 will ship the first week of July.

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