NetApp could eliminate Triangle jobs in global restructuring

NetApp, a major technology employer in Research Triangle Park, could lose scores of Triangle employees in the company’s second major corporate restructuring announced this year.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based data storage provider said Thursday that it plans to lay off about 6 percent of its total workforce of about 10,700. That announcement comes nine months after the company announced a 12 percent trim in February.

It’s not clear how many NetApp workers will lose their jobs in North Carolina or how many were cut earlier this year in the first round of layoffs. The company doesn’t provide site-specific details and does not disclose how many people it employs at its regional facilities and satellite offices.

NetApp is reevaluating unprofitable and struggling units and focusing on business lines that are growing, such as flash arrays, next-gen data centers and hybrid cloud solutions. NetApp’s RTP facility focuses on product development, marketing, field operations, research and development, and customer support.

“We are committed to RTP and our facility here is a key asset for our business going forward,” spokeswoman Judy Radlinsky said by email. “The mission of staff in the two global labs at the RTP site – to develop the innovations our customers need – continues to be a vital part of our corporate strategy.”

NetApp’s announcement was not unexpected.

“Overall, I’m not surprised that NetApp is laying off more staff given the increased competition from public cloud providers, competitive threats from other enterprise storage rivals, as well as sluggish sales from NetApp,” technology analyst Timothy Feeney at the Morningstar firm said by email.

The company will likely have to forgo collecting financial incentives it was awarded when it initially announced its hiring plans here. From 2008 through 2015, NetApp created 761 jobs and received $10.5 million in financial incentives under its performance agreement with the state, said David Rhoades, spokesman with the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Rhoades noted that NetApp has not achieved its target of 1,001 new hires.

NetApp was slated to receive more than $35 million incentives, pegged to three separate expansions, if it met all its investment and hiring targets.

Radlinsky said the company has met hiring targets through 2014, but fell short on its third grant job creation commitment in 2015 and expects that to be the case for 2016. In 2015, NetApp eliminated 500 jobs company-wide.

“Given the state of the industry,” she said, “we defaulted on the job creation target for 2015, and don’t foresee an opportunity to meet the growth projection terms of this contract for this current calendar year.

“We will work with the state to determine the appropriate next steps,” she said.

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski