NetApp is changing the “whole shebang” and is launching a formal new name, logo and Web site, says company co-founder Dave Hitz.

Writing in his blog at the NetApp Web site on Sunday, Hitz proclaimed the data storage and technology firm is formally changing its name to NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) from Network Appliance as part of what he called a new brand identity.

NetApp is based near Silicon Valley and has a large, growing campus in RTP. Under the headline “NetApp is a Well-Kept Secret. Time For That To Change,” Hitz spelled out numerous reasons for the change. NetApp faces keen competition in the storage space from EMC and others. Hitz is a vice president with the company.

“Today, NetApp is launching a new ‘brand identity,’ he wrote. “This includes a new logo, a new tagline, new messaging framework, a completely reworked corporate website – the whole shebang. We are even changing our legal name from Network Appliance to NetApp.”

The changes come at what has recently been a tough time for NetApp stock. Two analysts downgraded the stock from “buy” ratings in January and a third initiated coverage at “market perform.”

NetApp shares traded near $40 a share last spring before plunging to a 52-week low below $20 a share in January. The company has a marketing value of more than $7 billion.

The stock has taken a beating even though analyst firm IDC reported last week that NetApp is gaining market share and growing faster than its competitors in several areas such as storage area networks (SAN) and so-called network-attached storage, or NAS.

NetApp will host its annual analysts day on Tuesday.

In his blog, Hitz pledged the company would spend “millions of dollars” to increase the awareness of the company.

“Before we spend all that money, it only makes sense to get very clear about what — exactly – to tell people in all of those advertisements and customer programs,” he explained. According to Hitz, “less than 10% of potential customers list NetApp” when discussing solutions for storage and data management.

“Think about it: Everybody knows about EMC, but only a third of them choose to buy from EMC,” he added. “Ten percent of people know about NetApp, and almost all of them choose to buy from us. Apparently, pretty much everyone who knows us likes us. Just imagine how well we could do if the other 90% knew what the 10% know!”

Hitz certainly is familiar with NetApp’s products, strategy and marketing, having helped launch the firm in 1992.

“The brand launch is not about driving more change; it is about introducing people to what NetApp has matured into, after fifteen years of successful growth,” he said.

“NetApp has been a well-kept secret for too long, and we intend to change that.”