By Jason Benedicic, Principal Consultant, ANS Group, NetApp A-Team Member
I’m excited to announce that I have recently been invited to join the NetApp A-Team, a group of NetApp advocates like myself who are dedicated to sharing the good news about NetApp while providing valuable feedback to the engineers and product managers that drive NetApp innovation. I’ve seen several other companies try to do this, but no one so far has been able to match the tight-knit, focused, and well-run group that is the A-Team. It’s an honor to officially become a part of the family.
For me, this is the culmination of what has been a career-spanning journey with NetApp. Since the early 2000s, I have used NetApp technologies to help my customers solve their toughest IT challenges, and I’ll be the first to admit, I have become a full-blown NetApp devotee in the process.
When I was first acquainted with NetApp, I worked at company that specialized in X-Ray crystallography, which was used for mapping out protein binding sites and other interesting things for drug discovery. The company needed to store thousands of images, which back then, amounted to several terabytes of data. Since you couldn’t buy terabyte hard drives at the time, the only option was NAS storage. NetApp was, as their slogan at the time implied, “fast, simple, and reliable,” and fit our needs perfectly. And so my journey with NetApp began.
Fast forward a few years later. I was working at a software development company for the oil and gas industry. They had a lot of data center equipment around the world, and we were doing a refresh in our Cambridge headquarters. It was a huge project for us, with massive implications for end users. To make the transition as simple and painless as possible, I suggested that we use NetApp. We installed FAS3020s along with some rack-mount servers with NearStore for backup. We were able to keep our user base going while providing increased capabilities and accelerated time to market for developers.
Today, I work with a NetApp partner, ANS Group, where I started as a consultant on NetApp installations and expansions. Over the six years that I’ve been with the company, my role has evolved and expanded, and I am now a Principal Consultant, which means I’m not only working with customers, but with our own business needs as well. As a cloud services provider, I’m always looking for ways to improve our own infrastructure to better serve the needs of our customers, and NetApp is an integral part of the way we do it.
When the market is flooded with startups and competitors, there are several reasons why I’ve stuck with NetApp. The “reliability” piece of NetApp’s early slogan has never gone away, and the ONTAP software continues to be rock-solid. NetApp’s ever-evolving partner ecosystem and integration with third parties means that I can offer more flexibility to my customers. And in addition to having a killer hardware portfolio, NetApp continues to grow on the software side, giving my customers more flexibility in how they can deploy ONTAP in their environments. The direction that NetApp is headed with increased automation, the predictive analysis capabilities, and APIs for technologies like SolidFire enable me to improve service to my customers without having to expend more IT resources.
As part of the A-Team, I get exclusive insight into the future of NetApp and the roadmaps for future products. It not only gives A-Team members a chance to provide valuable feedback, but it also enables us to help our companies strengthen our own solution offerings ahead of the competition. Looking forward, I can say with confidence that I will continue to use NetApp in the future, and that my journey with NetApp is far from over. NetApp has its sights firmly fixed on the future of data, and there has never been a better time to be a NetApp partner. There’s a lot of value in the rich ecosystem, the partner integration, and of course, the simplicity of NetApp. I encourage you to go out and learn more about what NetApp can do for your business.
Jason is a Principal Consultant at ANS Group based in Manchester, UK. He works with customers and the ANS technical team to design IT solutions that meet a variety of needs, including backup, virtualization, and cloud storage. Jason is also a key contributor to ANS Group’s own IT strategy and design, building and managing the infrastructure that supports the company’s cloud services and professional services offerings.
Outside of the technology industry Jason enjoys all forms of gaming, ranging from classic table top to online RPGs. He runs a successful raiding guild in World of Warcraft. Jason is also a keen cyclist and is currently training for a 64-mile event later this summer.