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Confessions of a NetApp Advocate

By Jesse Anderson, Post-Sales Systems Engineer at Dynamix Group

 

My name is Jesse, and I’m a NetApp Advocate. What does it mean to be a NetApp Advocate? It means I talk about NetApp so much someone at NetApp noticed and gave me a title. My company is a relatively new NetApp partner, so I actually find myself in the interesting position of advocating for NetApp not only with our customers, but with our internal teams as well.

 

Everyone always wants to know why I like NetApp so much. And the answer for me is really simple. It comes down to three things: Innovation, Service and Support, and Culture, which all work together to deliver solutions that are good for our customers, and great for our relationships with those customers.

 

Innovation

NetApp is constantly pushing the boundaries of what we can do on the storage platform. And as a NetApp partner, we gain a huge advantage by leveraging the entire range of products in the NetApp portfolio to solve our customers’ problems. As we continue to grow our partnership with NetApp, these are a few of the products I’m most excited about introducing to our customers:

 

  • EF550 Flash Array: With massive amounts of throughput and high IOPS, the EF550 flash array is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in terms of performance, reliability, and speed. NetApp has been innovating in flash longer than many of its competitors, and few others can come close to the IOPS or performance of NetApp’s EF550 or FAS8000 series systems. And unlike flash offerings from other enterprise storage vendors, NetApp doesn’t nickel and dime you for extra features and functionality—it all comes in the box.
  • FAS8000: The FAS systems are one of the main reasons I choose NetApp time and again. You can do so much more on a FAS system than you can with similar products from other vendors. You want file based storage? Carve out an aggregate. You want block storage? Carve out another aggregate. To get the same functionality from other vendors, you’d need multiple devices with different licenses. FAS is all about simplicity, versatility, and efficiency—everything our customers love.
  • E-Series: At Dynamix we do a lot of E-Series because it’s great block storage. It’s easy to use, and dynamic disk pools are a cool thing. Another NetApp Advocate, Brian Mitchell (aka @NetAppGeek), wrote about the E5500’s impressive 12GB/s of sustained bandwidth and up to 400,000 sustained IOPS, as well as its unique performance boost called "Software XOR". You can read more about it on his blog, Geek ONTAP. Bottom line is it works really, really well, and NetApp sells a lot of it. How much? I borrowed this image from one of Brian’s Tweets which I think says it all:

 

 

  • Clustered Data ONTAP: It’s easy to see why Data ONTAP is as popular as it is. And the latest releases of clustered Data ONTAP give you even more features that let you do more with less. Deduplication is a huge bonus to any environment, and support for multiple protocols like FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, and SMB/CIFS on a single unit makes it very flexible for customers. It’s the ultimate no-downtime, scale-out and scale-up architecture.

Service and Support

A lot of people underestimate the value of support. When you buy a piece of equipment today, you could have it for the next 3-5 years. So you want to be sure you’re partnered with someone that’s going to be easy to work with and willing to help you get the most out of your investment over time.

 

You don’t want to have to call different numbers for hardware and software for every single product. You don’t want to have to jump through hoops or transfer case numbers. You just want to talk to the person who knows your environment inside and out.

 

My recent experience with NetApp Support was phenomenal. I called about an E-Series product that didn’t have support enabled yet, and the person I called helped me anyway. Within an hour we had the issue resolved and the system was up and running. No shenanigans.

 

Culture

A great company with a great culture uses the success of its technology and its influence to do good in the world. When NetApp asked me to shave my head to help fight childhood cancer, I didn’t have to think twice. Earlier this year I joined the other NetApp Advocates to participate in the NetApp Boston St. Baldrick’s event. The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for life-saving childhood cancer research and funds more in childhood cancer grants than any organization except for the U.S. government. Over the years NetApp has raised nearly six million dollars for St. Baldrick’s, and the NetApp Advocate Team is proud of the $5,500 contribution we added to this year’s pot.

 

Here’s a group photo of some of the other advocates and yours truly sporting freshly shaved heads:

 

Left to right:  Adam Bergh (@ajbergh), Ryan Beaty (@rnbeaty), Chris Maki (@CHRISMAKI) and me (@sockeyes51)

 

A great company also brings in great people to work with them—not just for them. The best thing about being a NetApp Advocate is that I get to meet a variety of NetApp customers, partners, and internal experts who are willing and eager to share their storage expertise. I’ve learned so much from my fellow advocates. (By the way, we call ourselves the A-Team – cool, right?) They’re all out there on Twitter, and some of them even have their own blogs where you can read their take on the latest technologies.

 

Now I know what you’re thinking: Have I been drinking the Kool-Aid or what? Well, maybe. Who doesn’t like grape Kool-Aid, after all? But for the record, I don't get anything for pushing NetApp over any other product line. My company doesn't pay me any more or less for anything I recommend, NetApp doesn't give me anything for my participation, and I know my wife is tired of hearing about it.  I advocate for NetApp because I believe in its products and its people, period.

 

What are some of the reasons you like working with or for NetApp? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Editor's Note:

Follow the NetApp A-Team on Twitter -

Adam Bergh ‪@ajbergh

Chris Maki ‪@ChrisMaki

Dan C. Barber ‪@dancbarber

Glenn Dekhayser ‪@gdekhayser

Mike Burris ‪@harleyguytx

Jorge Pazos ‪@jpazos

Michael Cade ‪@MichaelCade1

Ryan Beaty ‪@rnbeaty

Sean Luce ‪@seanluce

Jesse Anderson ‪@sockeyes51

Comments
NetApp Employee on ‎2014-08-15 12:58 PM

Great article Jesse. My two cents, it's the NetApp culture and values such as candor, integrity and one team.