NetApp founder: Confusion about the cloud is ‘bogus’

Dave Hitz - Founder and EVP, NetApp - Structure 2011Enterprises that express unwillingness to use cloud services are probably already using the cloud — they just don’t realize it. So said NetApp founder and EVP Dave Hitz at GigaOM’s Structure conference on Wednesday. Hitz cited a survey which reported that 10 percent of respondents said their organizations would never use the cloud, with another 26 percent were sitting on the sidelines while waiting for those services to improve.

But those results are bogus, Hitz said. As one example, he said that when he goes to approve his assistant’s time card, he ends up in a payroll system in the cloud. “But people will say, ‘Payroll is not a mission critical application.’ To which I say, try not paying your employees and see how long your company lasts,” Hitz said.

But it’s not just mission critical applications like payroll that are powered by the cloud; In the case of NetApp, Hitz said policy management applications, the consumer-facing website and even the company’s blog are all cloud-based. Hitz said it reminded him of the days when he would visit customers and they would say they didn’t have a PC strategy. And yet, all of their employees would have computers in front of them.

That is, just because a company hasn’t built a strategy around usage of a new technology doesn’t mean it’s not already using it. For organizations, however, it’s important that they embrace and understand those technologies. “You have to get your arms around it,” Hitz said.

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