Data, data, data. It’s ALL about Data.

Remember that episode on the Brady Bunch where Jan is jealous because Marsha keeps winning so many awards? “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” It was more than Jan could stand. (catch the line here starting at 1:26 Well, this post has nothing to do with the Brady Bunch, except instead of everything being all about Marsha, it’s really all about data.


I was in California a week ago visiting with some friends and they asked what I did for a living. I haven’t always found it easy to describe what I or my company does to someone not in the biz. Start talking about enterprise storage systems, SAN, NAS, replication and deduplication and to most people you have a real snoozer on your hands. (No offense to those who find those terms stimulating). I didn’t have this problem when working in the auto industry. Everyone loves a good car story. But, SCSI (pronounced “scuzzy” J) to most people sounds unappetizing.


Since that weekend, I have been trying to rethink how to describe what I do, or what NetApp Inc. does, to make it interesting at a party or to the passer by at an airport. Being that I have been working in marketing for the last 12+ years, you’d think that it would be easier by now. But, most of the people I am targeting for marketing purposes are customers or prospective customers. Folks who speak geek. The average person is a stranger to the data storage industry. Though this may be true, I realized they’re not strangers to the benefits data storage brings to their lives. And that is where I started from. The conversation all starts with data. And lots of it. And, no, I’m not talking about the Star Trek android character, Data.


I’m talking user and machine generated data, gobs of data. Gazillions upon bazillions of bits of data. Pictures, email, music, video, news articles, magazines, books, credit card transactions, airline tickets, science experiments, x-rays, MRI images, ultrasound, online banking, tax preparation, legal documents, voice mail, texts, video surveillance, radar, animation, Hollywood film production, seismic data, and engineering simulations. It’s all on demand. And it’s all stored forever!? At least forever as long as my life measures forever.


So, how do you store all of that data? How do you manage or access all of that data? How do you protect it from disasters or mistaken deletions or hardware failures? How do you gather information from all that data? How can you store it more efficiently using less disks and fewer human resources? After all, data is growing wildly and every analyst seems to be increasing their predictions for the amount of data needing to be stored. Is it doubling every year? Probably something close. And consider the more smart phones that get into the hands of teenagers! Look out.


What is NetApp’s relationship to all of this data? In short, we make the world’s leading computer systems and software solutions that help our customers store, protect, manage, access, and retain their valuable data in the most efficient and flexible way possible. We partner with leading technology vendors to deliver fully integrated solutions that simplify the deployment of technology into their environments. Our customers include businesses large and small such as banks, internet service providers, music vendors, automakers, universities and colleges, law firms, and science labs. These organizations rely on our technology to keep their businesses thriving and to accelerate their own innovation. They rely on technologies from NetApp that enable an agile data infrastructure.


And what’s my role at NetApp? I help deliver the message.


Let us know what you would like to learn about NetApp Inc. We’d love to get your opinion and feedback.


Thanks for sharing.  I too have a hard time describing to the non-tech or g33k speak people what it is I do.  This certainly will help the next time I'm faced with the question.


Thanks for the comment, Nick. I'm glad this article helped. Sometimes, I find it easier to be in the weeds than to come up and look at the field. I have to remember the average consumer looks at the fields I work in from an airplane.

santhosd Netapp Alumni

Nice post ... This is a same situation I find it all time and had lot of hard times explaining what I do .. I take an example of Bank data and it does convey what I do... Now I know lot of examples that I could use to relate my Job .. Very nice ..