Rolling the Dice on NetApp Innovation

NetApp Data ONTAP had a prominent presence at the NetApp Insight show in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, then moved on to Dublin, Ireland, and finishes its run in Macau, China this week.  Primarily a training event for Sales Engineers, the event is expected to host 5,000 attendees worldwide.

The ONTAP presence is pervading the shows, with a booth staffed by product team members, a Video Demo station on the show floor, an Expert Partner Forum on the first day of the show, and a total of 27 sessions spanning the 4 day conferences.  The pervading theme of ONTAP at these shows – ironically hosted within two renowned gambling cities – is that in fact you are not ‘rolling the dice’ when you deploy Clustered ONTAP, but can do so with the confidence and expectation of valuable new benefits.

Clustered Data ONTAP is the latest evolution of the NetApp storage operating system, enabling market-leading capabilities in non-disruptive operations and scalability.  Existing, and new NetApp customers have a well-trodden path to get trained-up and ready for the move to Clustered ONTAP, beginning potentially by attending an Insight event, but then spanning other training resources, technical documentation, formal enablement tools and if needed, hands-on deployment assistance.

(Partner) Academy Awards

The other important NetApp events going on at this time is Partner Academy, with Clustered ONTAP innovations being promoted at these events as well.  The Academies are also primarily targeted at NetApp channel partners, and are smaller and more business-oriented events that this year span 16 cities across North America.  Hundreds of partner reps and sales engineers have been attending each of these day-long shows, with an agenda filled with info on product and solution news, discount/rebate program updates, customer success stories and best practices. Also in attendance are about a dozen key NetApp technology partners including Intel, Cisco, Brocade and Fusion-IO, who staff booths during breaks and are available for questions.

Clustered Storage Management Innovation

The OnCommand management software products make NetApp storage the best solution for physical, virtual, and cloud environments.  They deliver traditional element management as well as monitoring, alerting, and even advanced analytics for both our 7-mode and now Clustered ONTAP environments.

OnCommand Unified Manager 5.1 provides automation and management at scale for larger environments.  This release supports customers building larger Clustered environments from a few up to hundreds of nodes.  OnCommand System Manager 2.1 is the easy-to-use element management GUI, and this newest release extends its capabilities around Clustered ONTAP as well as increasing performance with an easy to use wizard for creating Flash Pools

As customers adopt Clustered storage and consolidate multiple workloads onto the same platform, there’s an increased need for workload optimization and fast troubleshooting. NetApp has two products in this area: OnCommand Insight provides a single view across large heterogeneous storage environments.  And OnCommand Balance lets admins quickly troubleshoot performance issues, optimize VM performance, identify misaligned LUNs, and predict performance problems also across multi-vendor storage.  The Balance 4.1 release delivers storage and virtualization performance analytics with Clustering support.

NetApp and Amazon Web Services

NetApp announced a deal with Amazon Web Services to enable hybrid clouds for shared customers.  It speaks to the growing demand for more economical public cloud storage, while at the same time ensuring control and risk mitigation for corporate data.  The solution makes it simple to bridge on-premise NetApp storage environments with hosted Amazon capacity.

At the business level, this deal speaks to how NetApp is out-innovating the storage industry by getting NetApp gear embedded into the rapidly emerging public cloud, and thus benefitting from that growth vector.  This is in contrast to other storage manufacturers with offerings based on their own equipment who compete with public cloud service providers – their approach being to stoke fear around the more open alternatives, and offer proprietary storage clouds as allegedly more secure, but definitely more expensive alternatives.  For NetApp, the channel is our strategy, so creating our own hosting service is not an option.

To learn more about Clustered ONTAP, the AWS deal, or any NetApp product or go-to-market innovation, come join us in Macau next week, or for real-time updates that don’t require a passport, monitor our Twitter feed at