“Software Defined” – Been There, Done That. Part 1

By Zev Rubenstein, NetApp Data Protection Product Marketing Manager


A Software Company In A Hardware Company’s Clothing

There has been a lot of talk lately about “software defined storage” (SDS) and “software defined data center” (SDDC). Maybe it’s the NetApp blue blood in my veins, but at least when it comes to the storage layer, I don’t see the big deal about “software defined”. That is how I’ve always defined NetApp storage.

And it’s not just me. At his first corporate all-hands meeting around 11 years ago, our former CFO, Steve Gomo, called NetApp “a software company in hardware company’s clothing”.  The fact is, NetApp has always stood out from the rest of the storage pack. Until very recently all the other hardware vendors were only about “speeds and feeds” in the storage unit itself – all of the “intelligence” was separate.  For example, basic data protection – backup, async and sync replication – all require off-array solutions.  (Did I hear you say “what about
snapshots”? Well, NetApp was first; and first to have storage-efficient ones; and remains the only major storage vendor with snapshot technology that does not impact performance.)  Need WORM (write once, read many) storage for compliance? Sorry, you need a separate storage device.


Not surprisingly, our competitors have all been talking about “unified storage” the last few years. But it’s easier said (via slideware) than done (in real code).


Our Heritage is Software-Defined

NetApp’s uniqueness has always been to put as much intelligence as possible inside our operating system, Data ONTAP. That vision leads to many of our competitive advantages: unified storage across protocols and workloads, integrated data protection, deduplication, secure tenancy, compliance (WORM) storage, virtualized storage containers that enable thin provisioning, cloning – all of these things not only are on-board, but they work together seamlessly. Think about it – our compliance storage (SnapLock) not only works seamlessly with our data protection and thin provisioning, but it even supports deduplication and compression1! That is only possible thanks to our long-standing heritage of “software defined” storage – every new feature is designed with interoperability in mind.


Stay tuned for Part 2 and the rest of the story.



1 – See this NetApp Play by Play to learn how we enable that magic