NetApp unveils new RTP data center; plans to hire 150

05/30/2014 4:56 PM

05/30/2014 4:57 PM

NetApp unveiled a new data storage center Friday at its Research Triangle Park campus and announced plans to hire 150 people to manage and maintain the facility.

Executives with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company touted both the energy-efficiency and user-friendliness of the center. NetApp’s first such facility in North Carolina was the first data center to be EnergyStar certified and this new facility is 18 percent more efficient, said Richard Clifton, a senior vice president with the company.

“The most important cost is not the building but the cost of running it, and that’s what we are most excited about,” he said.

Duke Energy built NetApp its own underground substation to power the company’s RTP operations. “Something very catastrophic would have to happen for us to lose power,” said Landon Lundberg, a facility engineer with the company.

NetApp, with more than 1,600 employees, is one of the Triangle’s largest employers, and Friday’s event coincided with the company’s 15th anniversary of being a tenant in the park.

The company has received nearly $8 million in state incentives since 2006 for multiple expansions, and NetApp could ultimately end up receiving more than $35 million in state and local incentives if it meets all of its investment and hiring goals.

This latest expansion comes about a year after NetApp announced that it was laying off an undisclosed number of employees in RTP.

The company offers a variety of storage strategies for its customers, including a combination of on-site and cloud-based approaches called the “hybrid-cloud.” Clifton said the architecture used in the new RTP center reduces costs while allowing the company to be more flexible in responding to its customers needs.

NetApp’s primary competitor is EMC Corp. NetApp has traditionally relied on manufacturing partnerships with other vendors, such as IBM and Amazon, for a portion of its revenues.

But revenue from those partnerships has been declining, and fell 26 percent last year. Last week, IBM announced that it plans to dissolve its original-equipment-manufacturing, or OEM, partnership with NetApp in favor of selling its own products. IBM accounts for about 2 percent of NetApp’s revenues, according to Bloomberg.

OEM partnerships accounted for 9 percent of NetApps revenue last year. Thomas Stanley, a senior vice president with NetApp, said the company will continue to do a limited amount of business with IBM.

“NetApp expects change and evolution with its strategic partnerships to maximize both joint and individual opportunities in the market,” he said in a statement.

NetApp partnered with Cisco to build the new RTP facility. The two companies plan to share the technology they developed with customers and other partners. One of those partners is Fujitsu.

Robert Moroni, a Fujitsu account executive who handles the NetApp relationship, was on hand Friday to tour the data storage center. He said the efficiency of the data storage center is impressive.

“I liken it to a high-tech battleship with computers in it,” he said.

NetApp is working with Wake Technical Community College and N.C. State University to help it recruit employees for the new positions. Ten interns from Wake Tech are helping to operate the new center.

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