TECH::Jurassic IT – Is NetApp a dinosaur?

Google “netapp dinosaur” and you get some… interesting articles.

You’ll find quotes like:

“a business in stagnation”

“obsessed with Data ONTAP”

“ONTAP showing its age”

I always find it funny when someone says a software company is overly obsessed with their own OS. I assume Apple is too obsessed with iOS, Microsoft too obsessed with Windows, etc.

But I digress…

Jurassic IT


Calling a company a dinosaur is essentially implying that company is doomed for extinction. It’s suggesting that the company is slow, plodding, unable to get out of its own way.

It’s also an AWFUL analogy, if you know your dinosaurs.

There are essentially two types of people that know dinosaurs better than anyone else: paleontologists and parents of small children.


I have a two year old son. So that makes me an expert*. 🙂

* On the internet, you can call yourself an expert at pretty much anything without repercussion.


Dinosaurs lived on the planet roughly 165 million years. Humans have lived on Earth for around 200,000 years. Data storage? Maybe 70-75 years? (Punchcards count!)

It’s a little silly for a human to mock how long dinosaurs lived on Earth, just like it’s silly for any storage startup to call NetApp a “dinosaur.”

As for extinction, the implication is that dinosaurs were so stupid and plodding, they offed themselves – and it’s supposed to be some sort of analogy to what NetApp is doing to themselves. However, that’s not at all the case with dinosaurs (nor NetApp).

For the entirety of those 165 million years, dinosaurs were at the top of the food chain. They evolved over the course of time to adjust and adapt to their environment. The general consensus from scientists is that a catastrophic world event took the dinosaurs out – an Ice Age, a meteor shower, Deccan traps… but it’s not like the dinosaurs decided that they weren’t going to change and avoid extinction.

Plus, let’s think a little more on extinction – dinosaurs aren’t really extinct, Their descendants are birds and reptiles. So the whole notion that a dinosaur is destined for extinction and that using it as a metaphor for a company is based on false pretense.

Slow and steady

Another implication of calling a company a dinosaur is that they are slow to innovate (evolve) and so big that they can’t get out of their own way. Which, in the world of dinosaurs, is more fallacy.

Sure, the brontosaurus was massive and slow.


But what about the velociraptor? Or the ornithomimids, which were the fastest dinos (and small) and ran faster than Usain Bolt in his prime?

There were definitely dinosaurs out there that were agile, fast and able to maneuver as their surroundings dictated.

Tiny brains?

The notion that dinosaurs were kind of stupid? Yeah, that’s accurate.

But implying that a company that’s been around nearly 30 years, contributing to new SNIA and IETF standards every year, filing hundreds of patents, evolving with products like All Flash FAS and adding value to the storage industry is somehow “stupid” is just intellectually dishonest.

NetApp is a dinosaur

When you think about it for awhile, the critics are right – NetApp is a dinosaur. A massive, fast, deadly, top of the food chain, evolving dinosaur. They face the same challenges the rest of the storage industry faces, just like Earth faced when whatever world event wiped out the original dinos.

And guess what? People kind of love dinosaurs.


Jurassic World is setting box office records (it surpassed Avengers 2 this weeked) and is showing us all just what dinosaurs can do. My son’s favorite animal on Old MacDonald’s farm is a stegosaurus. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but that’s kids for you.

I’ll take being called a dinosaur any day.

3 thoughts on “TECH::Jurassic IT – Is NetApp a dinosaur?

  1. Cool Text
    Just one thing: punched cards were invented for controlling of fabric weaving machines in the 1800s and used by IBM (then etc corp) in the 1900 people counting. So they are more than 70 years, rather 115 years, old 😉
    Long live the mighty dinasours.


  2. Pingback: Why Is the Internet Broken: Greatest Hits | Why Is The Internet Broken?

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