More Is Different* (40 years later)

Today’s economy uncertainty and everlasting change in the way we do business and bring value - drives companies and organizations to check their strategies, goals and the paradigms built on. Many of them run periodic internal strategic workshops that often turn into strategic goal updates, based on emerging business paradigms. From there grows new organization structure and to support it, new processes and tools are being implemented.


If that is so, why shouldn’t we expect similar change with our IT paradigms as well?  

Starting from our IT infrastructure – storage and compute power, going through mission critical application that makes the business go on.


Relational database systems have been the core of our business applications for almost 40 years now. They include the need to “Normalize” data into formal structures, to keep those formal structures in a well-defined matrix. As well as to keep guessing upfront what info and what queries to create to support the business dashboards. For all of that we keep our IT infrastructure fast and strong enough (Bandwidth, Volume, CPU power) to support those business applications needs. All of that is the main goal of every IT organization.


Since Internet revolutionized the way we share information, enormous amount of unstructured data, almost no limit to its volume, is being constantly generated. System to system communication defines a trail of data – log files, transactions, queries and request, which is dramatically growing to volumes that were considered imperceptible not long ago.


This new era creates new challenges that keep IT vendors sleepless – new and faster Infrastructures were built, with more CPUs, more bandwidth and more memory chips, application became more complex, more functions were created and added. Experts gain more experience. BUT the basic theory of processes based on Relational Database Systems, and the way we query them didn’t change until recently.


Converting this huge amount of data into valuable knowledge and business advantage requires a new paradigm. The possibility to “normalize” huge amounts of data into relational DBs becomes impossible. With that the IT environment installed at many Data Centers, supporting those systems can’t keep tracking the demands, and will eventually stop supporting the business needs. We need a new kind of infrastructure, both HW and SW that will be agile enough to support the increasing data growth rate, an infrastructure that will support the organization nonstop needs, one that will enable new paradigms.


For 20 years now, NetApp is known for its out of the box thinking and breakthrough technology: Snapshot, RAID DP, Unified SAN & NAS, DEDUPE, revolutionize use of FLASH and more. This technology was translated into business advantage for the ones who implemented it, and was imitated by other vendors.


Now to promote new emerging paradigm, NetApp came up with a new fresh Technology – Cluster Mode, an Agile Data Infrastructure, adjusting to the new business challenges that IT need to support, such as:


  1. Intelligent infrastructure that communicates with the application installed upon it, handling backups and business continuity, simplifying management efforts and extremely shortening  Time to Market for new services and applications, or when introducing private or public cloud infrastructure.
  2. Always on – technology that enables transparent data movement between nodes, provides nonstop applications data availability, even during maintenance, upgrades period and the ability to move data from fast infrastructure to a faster one, as needed. This is a major breakthrough from the known Silo architecture and even from the cloud infrastructure as we know it today. This kind of technology enables scale up and scale out with almost no limitations, which will keep business services up all the time.
  3. Unlimited capacity that grows as you go – our new technology can scale up the storage infrastructure over a number of nodes, and combine several storages and disk technologies as just one pool. It allows to get an infinite volume that meets the business needs of the organization. NetApp Cluster Mode offers direct access of many users, to large data storage volumes, quickly, simply and securely. 


In addition NetApp offer additional solutions to overcome security and system management challenges such as:


  1. Security and protection technologies – Disk data encryption, data access management, storage network encryption, embedded Anti-Virus system and more.
  2. Management suite which simplified the management efforts and provides the infrastructure real time analytics, for both physical and virtual environment. NetApp offers automation engine as well as integration with the leading orchestration vendors. We help IT manager to stay focus on what really improves the organization business growth.


Some of the new paradigms and technologies demands even more aggressive capacity and performance, for that our E-Series product line was set. E-Series provides one of the densest and fastest solutions that can be found, with our solution partners from the Analytic, HPC and Content fields, NetApp provide a set of solutions for different challenges in the Big Data world. Our solution offers simplicity and efficiency, stand for the stricter SLA, with Enterprise level support. The E-Series solution clearly provides business advantage when dealing with huge amount of data.


NetApp is leading and coporating with academics and with the Industry Standard Institutes, on the field of new data and information technology and on Smart Infrastructure.

Looks like the argument made on the original Prof. Anderson document - “More Is Different”, that we need new ways to understand our universe’s fundamentals and complex events, is equally true when we discuss new ways our IT need to support our business… indeed More Is Different, even after 40 years…




* The title ”More Is Different” was taken from Nobel prize winning Prof. Philip Warren Anderson paper, published 1972. The paper discusses Reductionism is not always the way to understand our universe’s fundamentals, and that we need to embrace new ways to explore and understand more complex events.


More is Different – Broken Symmetry and the nature of the hierarchical structure of science.
Science, New Series, Vol. 177, No. 4047. (Aug. 4, 1972), pp. 393-396