While profit for surged by 69% in the first quarter year over year beating analyst expectations, the stock fell as investors had become accustomed to cloud players beating and raising expectations. In addition to NetApp, other cloud
saw profit taking as a result of F5's earnings.
While we are bullish on storage and cloud networking stocks, we felt it was worth reviewing NetApp's position in the industry. In an
we highlighted how cloud computing is transforming the data storage space with all major players are making significant investments to grab the cloud opportunity.
NetApp, a large player in the cloud computing space, competes primarily with EMC,
in the data storage market. We currently have a $64.48 Trefis price estimate for NetApp's stock, about 15% ahead of the current market price.
F5, which provides network optimization solutions, is a niche player in the cloud space. The firm is the market leader in application delivery controllers (ADC) which helps network managers control traffic and improve software performance.
With the rapid adoption of cloud computing and virtualization, a large amount of work is shared between virtualized infrastructures. As optimization has become increasingly important in a cloud environment, and firms are making significant investments to acquire or develop optimization solutions.
, a storage optimization firm that helps companies use their storage capacity more efficiently in virtualized environments.
Less-than-expected growth in F5's first-quarter revenues indicates that analysts' forecasts for the cloud computing firms might have been a little too aggressive or investors were looking for a reason to take some profit. Below we show our forecast for the growth in the total storage market, one of the major drivers for NetApp.
Total data storage has seen tremendous growth in the past growing at an average rate of more than 50%, and we estimate that total data storage will continue to observe meteoric growth going forward driven by increased personal consumption as internet penetration grows rapidly.
We believe the earnings miss for F5 is a firm-specific event and was due to, as the firm said, "certain sales deals not closing in late October". We remain optimistic for NetApp as cloud as a concept gains increasing popularity and foresee its large scale adoption and believe a few surprises (like F5's) do not indicate any long term threat to the cloud industry on the whole.
However, a slightly lower growth in total data storage due to slower adoption of cloud and virtualized storage solutions could result in noticeable downside to our
. To show sensitivity, if you drag the trend line in the chart above 10% lower by the end of the forecast period, this results in about a 7% price estimate decline.
Drag the trend line in the chart above to see the impact of various storage market scenarios on NetApp's stock value.
Our complete analysis of NetApp's stock is
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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.