NetApp has a strong working relationship with VMware, despite counting VMware’s parent EMC as its storage archrival. So NetApp CEO Dan Warmenhoven didn’t know what to make of the news when he heard VMware swapped CEOs from founder Diane Greene for former Microsoft exec Paul Maritz last month.
“When I first read the news about the change I was a bit shocked,” Warmenhoven said during NetApp’s earnings conference call Wednesday.
The next surprise for Warmenhoven came when he received a phone call from Maritz hours later. “I really want to thank Paul,” Warmenhoven said. “He placed a call to me before 1 p.m. the day he was announced as the CEO, and I’ve got to imagine that was a very busy day for him. When we did connect, he actually reaffirmed every part of the relationship we had prior, and even took some very visible actions to strengthen the relationship so we were very, very pleased. I think it’s going to be terrific.”
Warmenhoven called Maritz’s reaching out “very pragmatic,” considering there is a large pipeline of customers looking to implement VMware and NetApp storage. And with Microsoft entering the server virtualization market, VMware needs all the friends it can get. “He’s facing some significant competition coming up on the horizon, and he’s not about to jeopardize any close relationships he has,” Warmenhoven said.
Maritz has been doing a lot of reaching out in his early days as VMware CEO. Besides talking to VMware storage and server partners, he had to apologize to customers this week for a VMware bug that locked up their servers.