Another first was the excellent NetApp Directions event held at the IndigO2 (O2 Arena) last week. For some reason I had it in my mind that this was going to be a difficult place to get to. How wrong I was. It's easy. Definitely on my 'Great Places to go to Work' list.
As for those that had to stay to get to the event on time, they had the best commute to work ever. By cable car across the Thames. And on a sunny day. Which is unusual for London at this time of year.
The theme for the event was NetApp Directions: The power of the Data ONTAP, Any Cloud, Endless Possibilities. A new format Multi-EMEA-City event, and the IndigO2 was perfect. Big stage, loads of seating, lots of breakout area possibilities, all on one level and a coffee bar ! For the presenters it was a new format too. We decided to dump the PowerPoint slides. Electing to use just one graphic to present the big themes of the day. Themes such as Hybrid Cloud, Software defined Storage, drivers for business & technology, the challenge of virtualisation and non-disruptive operations.
I chose Non-Disruptive Operations. Non-Disruptive Operations describes a set of features in Data ONTAP 8.2 which introduces the construct of the Storage Virtual Machine, or SVM. The SVM allows the physical resources it owns to change, and the key thing is that they can change without any client or host disruption.
It was unsurprising that the response from the audiences was that these days it is almost impossible to negotiate any form of planned outage time due to the changing operational nature of business. I discussed this with 7 groups on the day and in 4 of the groups there were companies experiencing 6 month planning cycles in order to schedule and plan outages. While many others experienced months of similar 'planning grief' - as one person put it. The common mantra was that this was unacceptable to both IT and business functions. The whole issue of both planned and unplanned downtime was doing nothing to bring IT and the business together. After all, IT should be in a position to enable the business - 6
months of planning does not enable this!
Many described the issue of reducing the risk and impact of managing planned downtime. This is where the features available in the SVM environment play a key role in eliminating maintenance planning and downtime.
We discussed features such as Data Motion for volume. Data Motion enables the movement of data volumes from one aggregate to another in the cluster, either on the same or different cluster nodes. The other key difference is the virtualisation of interfaces through the Logical Interface or LIF. The LIF virtualises the physical interface while the LIF Migration feature allow changes in connectivity to the data on the same or other nodes in the cluster. Finally the Relocation of entire Aggregates between high availability controller pairs.
These features under the SVM in Clustered Data ONTAP are, without doubt, a business enabler allowing IT to make necessary changes to the data location and connectivity without effecting application availability. The audience offered many instances where non-disruptive operations features would apply, such as lifecycle management, load balancing/rebalancing and many hardware break/fix scenarios.The view was also that in cloud environments where service level management is a priority, such features are becoming a mandatory requirement.
The business benefits derived from the elimination and control of unplanned outage are tangible and measurable in hard currency and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to intelligently manage risk, changes the relationship with the business.
My Summary - a great event, so look out for NetApp Directions in your area. Check out these links for more information on the NetApp Directions Roadshow: