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When NetApp became a public company on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 1995, Internet users numbered close to 45 million—a mere 1.5 percent of the nearly 3 billion Internet users recorded in 2014. That in turn is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the 25 billion things that Gartner predicts will be connected to the Internet by 2020, generating huge volumes of data.

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To celebrate NetApp’s 20th anniversary as a public company, vice chairman Tom Mendoza will be joined by customers and employees to ring the Nasdaq opening bell on January 26th, 2016. To commemorate this milestone, we spoke to a group of NetApp employees—who have been at the company for decades—to share their memories with us.  

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We’re very excited about the news that NetApp has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a founding Gold Member with NetApp’s own Cloud Czar – Val Bercovici – elected to the governing board. Introduced earlier this year, the CNCF focuses on development of open source technologies, reference architectures and common format for cloud native applications or services.

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The day we went public—Nov 21, 1995—also happened to be my birthday. It was before the Internet bubble—a time when all you needed to go public was a couple of quarters of profitability and a solid growth story. We had raised $12 million in two rounds of financing (with Sequoia Capital being the lead investor) and were fortunate to have Don Valentine, their legendary founder, as our chairman. He felt the "why" was an important question to ask when going public. We were growing from $16 million to $43 million that fiscal year, had created a new category in data storage called Network Attached Storage (which was being measured by the Gartner Group), and had sales momentum in the United States and a few countries in Europe. We believed that an initial public offering (IPO) would allow us to dramatically expand our global presence so we could grow fast enough to dominate that segment. Five years later, we were $1 billion in revenue and had one of the best performing stocks on the NASDAQ

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Later this month, Tiscali will be on stage with NetApp at Insight Berlin to discuss how teaming with NetApp helped this Italian telecommunications leader provide customers with a secure path to the hybrid cloud. Insight is NetApp’s annual technical conference for storage and data management professionals.

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