NetApp is accelerating the move of its portfolio beyond on-premises storage, revamping its go-to-market strategy with programs like Keystone while continuing to emphasize its ONTAP storage operating system and flash arrays. It is all part of NetApp’s multi-year journey into what its executives call a cloud-led data centric software company that spans on-premises and hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. The company’s executives laid out their strategy at their Industry Analyst Summit last week, while updating products and its go-to-market programs.
NetApp’s transformation includes deeper integration with public clouds, Keystone as-a-service program, and Astra cloud-native storage. None of these are new developments, although NetApp did add wrinkles to them while refreshing ONTAP last week.
CEO George Kurian refers to a “new NetApp” built around multi-cloud technologies and flash-built storage devices, and that transition has fueled 4 straight quarters of year-over-year revenue growth. The company is charging hard into public cloud services and cloud-native software. But one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that NetApp’s ONTAP storage OS remains its flagship. One NetApp exec called ONTAP the foundation for its on-premises and cloud strategies during the Analyst Summit, and another referred to ONTAP as the “crown jewel.”
ONTAP is the OS for NetApp’s on-premises FAS and all-flash FAS (AFF) on-premises storage, as well as its cloud storage services (NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP shared file and block storage for AWS and Google Cloud, and NetApp Files for Microsoft Azure).
The Summit came on the day NetApp officially launched upgrades to ONTAP 9.9 and StorageGrid object storage plus enhancements to its FlexPod converged infrastructure deliver with server partner Cisco.
- ONTAP 9.9’s new features include automatic backup and tiering of on-premises data to public clouds and its StorageGrid object storage, more replication options for backup and DR for large containers for NAS workloads, plus performance improvements.
- The StorageGrid 11.5 object storage release supports encryption with external key management, S3 object locks to guard against ransomware and intelligent load balancing.
- FlexPod enhancements come mainly from Cisco’s Intersight SaaS management platform that adds monitoring across the FlexPod stack, intelligent data placement on-premises and in public clouds. Customers can consume FlexPod as managed service through NetApp Keystone and Cisco Plus.
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