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NetApp’s Digital Transformation – Industry Snapshot

Published May 30th, 2018. In this Industry Snapshot report, John Webster discusses the takeaways from the 2018 analyst briefing event including reorganization, cloud focus and more. Download the free report now!

NetApp Digitally Transforms

NetApp’s new organizational structure complements its strategic, cloud-focused initiatives

Recently, NetApp hosted a one-day briefing for analysts at the opening of a new Customer Briefing Center located near its headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. During this session we saw that NetApp is moving forward with its new organizational structure that bridges “traditional” storage technologies with those of software-defined infrastructure and cloud computing. The three pillars of this new structure are:

Cloud Data Services

Cloud Infrastructure

Storage Systems and Software

Cloud Data Services

NetApp’s Cloud Data Services are an instantiation of NetApp’s Data Fabric. They are consumable services and subscriptions available to users via public clouds. Single public cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments are supported. Consumers of these services are enterprise IT users as well as hyperscalers. They are focused on and can be integrated with cloud-based compute, application, AI and Machine-Learning environments. Attributes of these cloud data services include:

  • Security
  • Data protection
  • Orchestration
  • Monitoring
  • Storage efficiency optimization
  • Performance optimization

Customers acquire these services through NetApp’s direct sales force, Cloud First channel partners, and the global sales teams of Google and Microsoft. They are also available vis NetApp’s Cloud Central – a Cloud Data Services portal where customers can investigate, run trials, acquire, deploy and manage these services that include:

  • Cloud Insights for data monitoring and storage efficiency within cloud environments
  • Cloud Controls for automated orchestration as well as integration and control of data stores within cloud computing environments
  • ONTAP persistent storage aligned with cloud-native applications
  • ONTAP Data Management for backup, protection/DR, security and data copy management


ONTAP Cloud and Cloud Volumes

In the context of Cloud Data Services, NetApp now offers two ways—based NetApp storage software technology—to store data in the public cloud: ONTAP Cloud and Cloud Volumes. ONTAP Cloud is an instantiation of ONTAP running within a public cloud environment. The customer manages ONTAP cloud in much the same way as with ONTAP on premises. Use cases include data protection and DR, legacy workload migration and IoT. Cloud Volumes is delivered by NetApp to the customer as a service running in the public cloud that is managed by NetApp. As such, it is a simpler, more direct way of instantiating NetApp storage in a public cloud environment with most but not all of ONTAP’s feature set. Developers for example can use Cloud Volumes without having ONTAP experience. Both ONTAP Cloud and Cloud Volumes can span multiple cloud availability zones.

Cloud Infrastructure

The Cloud Infrastructure product portfolio now includes:

NetApp HCI–Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) for enterprise scale, supporting multi-tenancy and mixed workloads, and positioned for hybrid cloud environments

FlexPod–Converged Infrastructure conceived as a reference architecture and delivered typically by NetApp FlexPod partners

StorageGRID—Object storage platform for large scale secondary storage environments and data governance and compliance applications

Active IQ—Predictive analytics and proactive support service for NetApp storage platform users based on AI and Machine Learning technology

Storage Systems and Software

The Storage Systems and Software group comprises the NetApp ONTAP product portfolio. The thrust of this group is to “modernize” traditional enterprise IT environments. This means that existing products will continue to see R&D investment aimed at incorporating new technologies and product delivery models that, for example, are consistent with cloud computing and the advancement of solid state storage. Cases in point include:

  • End-to end NVMe-based all-flash systems
  • All-flash systems with 100GbE connectivity
  • Support for 30TB SSDs

And to embed NetApp arrays in the cloud world, NetApp now offers Cloud-Connected Flash which features “seamless” hybrid cloud integration and automated data tiering to public clouds with FabricPool support.

Evaluator Group Comments

NetApp’s strategy going forward is dominated by its full embrace of cloud computing. Data Fabric is at its core a cloud concept. Its product portfolio follows an arc that spans from traditional arrays with Cloud-Connected Flash to Cloud Volumes delivered as a cloud storage service. Evaluator Group research shows that roughly two-thirds of enterprise IT organizations see hybrid cloud as a long-term strategy. NetApp intends to not only align with that strategy using storage as a bridge between on an off-premises clouds. NetApp also wants to lead with storage technologies developed specifically for public cloud environments that offer the performance, data resiliency and security features customers expect from enterprise, production-grade storage.

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