NetApp Insight 2015 Day Three: Focus on the Data Fabric

Dave Hitz


During yesterday’s keynote, NetApp EVP of Operations Joel Reich shared an interesting analogy involving the thread count of a fabric and data storage. With fabric, a higher thread count is a sign of higher quality and comfort. The same could be said of NetApp’s vision of a data fabric. Robust, reliable, connections between multiple end points in a hybrid cloud create a durable data fabric, which makes users more comfortable when using cloud services. As more connections are made, the data fabric becomes even stronger, providing more options for data movement and greater freedom to choose among cloud providers.


A Data Fabric Demonstration

A demonstration followed Joel’s talk, in which an Oracle database was migrated from one public cloud to another in a matter of seconds. This near-instantaneous transfer was possible because no data was actually transferred—in essence, the migration was accomplished by moving data pointers from one cloud to another using NetApp Private Storage for Cloud.


The Oracle database was then backed up to a public cloud, via NetApp AltaVault, and then transferred to another cloud (nondisruptively) using the AltaVault Cloud Agility feature. Finally, additional storage nodes were added to the database (you guessed it, nondisruptively) as the database performance meters showed a steady increase in IOPS, from tens of thousands to well over 1 Million!


What the Future Holds

In today’s keynote, cofounder Dave Hitz articulated NetApp’s vision for the future of the data fabric. Over time, Dave stated, data fabric connection end points would be expanded to include ever more cloud providers and platforms. Through a common architecture, these systems would be able to easily transfer data using a simple user interface.


Dave then demonstrated this capability with a crowd-pleasing demo that showed the Oracle backup set from yesterday’s session being migrated to a beta Cloud ONTAP instance running on the Microsoft Azure cloud service. This was all accomplished with a simple drag-and-drop from the NetApp Cloud Manager user interface.


Navigating Cloud On-Ramps and Exits

These sessions validated the current capabilities and future direction of a NetApp-powered data fabric, and they also answered an important question – why is it necessary for a data management company to provide the ability to move data seamlessly between clouds? Won’t the cloud providers take care of this?


The simple answer is that public cloud providers make it easy to put data into their clouds, but getting it out is far more complicated, especially when applications are active. It turns out that cloud providers are not very interested in making it easy for you to re-platform applications and move data to a competing service.


The bottom line is this: If you’ve chosen, or are considering, a public cloud storage provider, you would be well advised to have an exit strategy for a myriad of reasons, including dissatisfaction with service levels, corporate purchasing mandates, or a major change in your provider’s strategy (such as shutting down operations). A data fabric powered by NetApp makes this possible today, and promises even more capabilities in the future.


For more information on everything NetApp Insight, tune into the Tech ONTAP Podcast for daily recaps.