NetApp: Developed Reliable Software Installations 70% Faster

Customer Profile:

NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that deliver outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs.


WiX made it difficult for NetApp to build software installations for their NetApp ApplicanceWatch PRO solution, and also lacked critical functionality needed to meet installation requirements.


NetApp switched from WiX to InstallShield in order to develop reliable software installations 70% faster.


NetApp® creates innovative storage and data management solutions that deliver outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs. Their NetApp ApplianceWatch PRO solution enables IT teams to maximize the performance and availability of their NetApp storage.

“Moving from WiX to InstallShield was an easy choice. InstallShield makes it simple to build, compile, and customize our MSIs, and it doesn’t have the steep learning curve you get with WiX.”

Rajesh Rajashekar, Software Developer, NetApp

to InstallShield® from Flexera Software in order to more rapidly build reliable software installations for NetApp ApplianceWatch PRO. NetApp’s development team is now able to save significant time over WiX using InstallShield’s exclusive out-of-the-box tools and technology support. InstallShield technical support staff also gives NetApp the peace of mind they couldn’t get with WiX.

Installation Development Challenge

When NetApp released the initial version of their NetApp ApplianceWatch PRO solution, they used the open source installation development tool WiX to build their installer. However, it had been a struggle. “WiX is extremely difficult to use, especially if you aren’t already an expert in Windows Installer and XML,” says Rajesh Rajashekar, software developer for NetApp. “Building our initial installation with WiX took way too long. And WiX lacked many of the tools and technology support we needed.”

NetApp also were concerned that WiX didn’t have any technical support staff to provide assistance. “Not being able to call technical support whenever we encountered an issue with WiX was frustrating,” says Rajesh. “Plus as an open source tool, they have a fairly unreliable release schedule. We couldn’t count on them to stay current with the latest technologies.”

Why NetApp Chose InstallShield

So when NetApp began development on the 2.0 release of NetApp ApplianceWatch PRO, they decided to switch from WiX to InstallShield. Rajesh says the decision was an easy one. “InstallShield makes it simple to build, compile, and customize our MSIs, and it doesn’t have the steep learning curve you get with WiX. We were able to build installations 70% faster with InstallShield.”

When selecting InstallShield, NetApp found particular value not only in the product’s out-of-the-box tools and advanced functionality, but also in InstallShield’s technical support staff that were always one call away:

  • Out-of-the-box tools: InstallShield is loaded with out-of-the-box tools like the Project Assistant, Dialog Editor, and Automation Interface that make it easy for NetApp to build, compile, and customize Windows Installer (MSI) projects and setup.exe files. With InstallShield, NetApp experienced none of the pitfalls and steep learning curve they had with WiX.
  • Automatic installer localization: A single InstallShield project can automatically localize installer dialog text into 35 languages – no manual translation needed. NetApp was able to build one setup file that contains all the localized versions of their installer. At run time, the installer will choose a language automatically based on the target system locale.
  • Customization tools: InstallShield includes significant functionality for customizing installations that WiX doesn’t, including the InstallScript programming language. With over 445 predefined functions, InstallScript enables script-based customization of any part of the installation, including the user dialog sequence, file transfer, error handling, reboot, and even uninstallation.
  • Nightly build integration: InstallShield includes the Standalone Build that enables NetApp to follow Agile Software Development best practices by automating and integrating installation builds with their product builds. Each night, NetApp can use InstallShield to automatically rebuild their installation projects so that they incorporate any changes made that day to the product.
  • First-class technical support staff: InstallShield’s support staff is always available to assist NetApp whenever they require it. Any critical issues NetApp encounters are quickly resolved by knowledgeable installation development experts. “It is important for us to know that whenever we need help, InstallShield has support staff available to assist. With WiX, we were always on our own,” adds Rajesh.

In the future, NetApp is also considering plans to take advantage of InstallShield’s support for Microsoft® App-V. NetApp works closely with Microsoft in order to provide solutions for Hyper-V environments, and InstallShield makes it easy to deliver their solutions to end users as virtual App-V packages.

Benefits to NetApp from Using InstallShield

NetApp has realized three main benefits from switching from WiX to InstallShield:

  • Significant time savings: Rajesh estimates that NetApp can now build their installations 70% faster with InstallShield than with WiX.
  • Reliable installations that meet complex requirements: InstallShield provides NetApp with the tools they need to meet even their most complex installation requirements.
  • Lower end-user support costs: By using InstallShield make their solutions easy to install, NetApp estimates that they have cut installation-related end-user support calls by up to 80%, which translates into significant cost savings.

“We are very happy with choosing InstallShield over WiX,” Rajesh concludes. “InstallShield gives us the tools we need to build our installations today, and we know it will continue to innovate to meet our installation needs down the road.”

About NetApp

About NetApp NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that deliver outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs. Discover our passion for helping companies around the world go further, faster at

About InstallShield

For over 20 years, InstallShield has been the gold standard for building Windows software installations, used by virtually every major software company in the world. More developers trust InstallShield to give their software a flawless localized installation experience, keeping their end users happy and support costs down. Learn more at


About Flexera Software

Flexera Software is the leading provider of strategic solutions for Application Usage Management; solutions delivering continuous compliance, optimized usage and maximized value to application producers and their customers. Flexera Software is trusted by more than 80,000 customers that depend on our comprehensive solutions — from installation and licensing, entitlement and compliance management to application readiness and software license optimization — to strategically manage application usage and achieve breakthrough results realized only through the systems-level approach we provide. For more information, please go to: