By George Kurian, Executive Vice President of Product Operations, NetApp
As cloud deployments evolve and fragment into an era of interconnected clouds, IT’s changing role as the architect and accountable broker of services is more critical to success than ever. Therefore, IT organizations must choose a strategic approach to cloud deployment powered by the tools and technologies to make that strategy a flexible and an efficient reality for their organizations.
More and more, we find customers struggling with a fragmented cloud architecture – with different applications and different pieces of business intelligence and data sitting in different systems in different parts of the world. Not only does this render these customers unable to extract value by easily correlating information, this type of disunited, chaotic IT architecture is also particularly costly to support and operate. Rather than achieving the speed they were hoping to reach, customers face an enormous amount of inefficiency from these fragmented, disparate IT silos and business processes. A poorly architected cloud strategy also places organizations at much greater risk, because they become progressively more dependent on the service providers that house mission-critical data beyond the organizations’ control.
At NetApp, we believe that a successful cloud strategy must have as its cornerstone a strategy and associated architecture that we like to call the “Unbound Cloud™.” Our strategy delivers a simple, consistent, and flexible IT architecture that enables CIOs to deliver the right service to the business from the right cloud, consistently and efficiently each time.
The cornerstone of the NetApp Unbound Cloud strategy is delivering systems that combine unified scale-out technology innovation with the industry’s best data management. We take advantage of flash technology for performance efficiency and use advanced storage virtualization techniques to provide consistent, rich data management capabilities across the broadest range of storage environments. By driving this consistency and integration in data management across clouds, we give IT the benefits of simplification and standardization. This, in turn, gives businesses the benefit of speed, and it empowers them with the ability to capitalize on and realize the value of the data in their systems.
Like all great strategies, the theory behind the Unbound Cloud is both simple and practical: Help customers implement IT architectures that deliver the benefits they want from a cloud. These include flexibility and improved time to service, as well as speed to deliver new capabilities and efficiency.
Turning our Unbound Cloud vision into an efficient and realistic business reality requires extremely powerful and sophisticated technology. For many of us at NetApp, our passion for resolving this juxtaposition of technology sophistication with elegance of delivery serves as the foundation for all of our innovations.
Again and again, we see that both enterprises and service providers want to embrace the economics and the competitive advantages of cloud architectures, and they want to build them using our software and hardware systems. Delivering upon this promise is the foundation of today’s launch of the FAS8000 enterprise storage systems, which include the new FlexArray virtualization software, and the latest release of the clustered Data ONTAP® operating system.
The FAS8000 platform provides customers with the benefit of the industry’s leading data management capabilities, and it combines that with scale-out innovation to provide a flash-optimized, cloud-ready set of hardware platforms and systems. This enables customers to improve the flexibility and the efficiency of their IT architectures.
FlexArray virtualization software expands the data management benefits of the Data ONTAP software operating system from managing only NetApp® storage systems to also managing third-party storage systems; this truly delivers software-defined storage capabilities to our customers. Clustered Data ONTAP release 8.2.1, which is delivered on the FAS8000 series, continues to improve upon the cornerstones of the clustered Data ONTAP value propositions, including a universal data platform, nondisruptive operations, expanded efficiency of the solutions we offer, and improved seamless scalability benefits for customers.
With the FAS8000 platform and clustered Data ONTAP, customers now have the ability to make operations – particularly the protection and management of critical information—consistent and efficient, regardless of where they put their data. And with FlexArray virtualization software, customers can further enhance their ROI by making legacy storage cloud-ready.
To realize the agility promise of software-defined storage, the storage infrastructure must be architected in a way that separates the software management of storage resources from the underlying pooled hardware resources. We’ve achieved this with clustered Data ONTAP and FlexArray. We are helping customers today to define resource characteristics in software, provision storage resources based on policy and service levels, and deploy those resources across multivendor environments.
With NetApp’s latest shared storage infrastructure and unified scale-out innovations, CIOs and the IT organizations we serve now have the architectural framework to transform themselves into brokers of cloud services with greater control and dexterity than ever before. They have the capability to demand that service providers step up and deliver the service and consistency they need – without accepting the compromises that create fragmentation. The result is, quite simply, innovation without chaos, and the realization of the business benefits and competitive advantages the cloud can offer.