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By | Chris Mellor 7th September 2009 09:05

Fancy winning a million quid from NetApp?

Only new customers with virtualised environments need apply

One lucky new customer could get a million quid's worth of NetApp gear, if they reduce their storage usage by half in a virtualised environment using NetApp kit.

This is the UK version of a marketing initiative announced in the US at VMworld last week. Both follow on from a NetApp storage usage guarantee programme.

The winning customer has to be a new NetApp UK customer and the storage has to be implemented into a VMware, Citrix or Microsoft virtual environment. As part of the £1 million challenge, a NetApp-appointed analyst will independently benchmark, measure and publish the results. There's more information here.

NetApp didn't use to do this sort of thing. It had Innovations Awards for its customers' use of its kit, but these were relatively low key celebrations. Its marketing stance, compared to the more energetic marketing of EMC, was more one of long-suffering and stoical disdain.

This quiet, almost high-minded marketing approach has now changed. The company got itself a new logo and then, in a significant shift in its stance, it sidestepped EMC's refusal to benchmark its storage systems by benchmarking an EMC Clariion array itself. Of course, it saw its own FAS systems score higher than the Clariion on the same benchmark. What a neat trick.

This was thought to be a one-off, but if anything, NetApp's competitive marketing strategies have become even more aggressive. Signs of these changes include Brian Pawlowski becoming chief technical officer in August, Val Bercovici working and blogging energetically, aggressively even, in the competitive arena and joining the office of the CTO. Jay Kidd has become the chief marketing officer. Eric Brown, the quietly-spoken, discreet and reserved VP for corporate relations, left to join Carol Bartz at Yahoo!. And, of course, Tom Georgens has become CEO. NetApp has become louder.

In rapid succession we have had a 50 per cent storage saving guarantee, the extension of that to virtual environments, the addition of a 35 per cent savings guarantee if a NetApp V-Series head was put in front of competitor's storage, and now these million dollar guarantee challenges.

If million dollar and million pound challenges get it the paper and online column inches it wants then NetApp will reckon that's money well spent.

Huh! The Register doesn't want anything to do with such cheap tactics. Er, hang on, we're writing about it now. Oh no....! ®

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