Special Report on NetApp Insight 2017

Interesting conference despite tragedy
By Philippe Nicolas on 2017.11.02

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NetApp Insight US conference took place last October 2-5 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay complex.

Despite the tragedy, the company and its leaders have decided to maintain the conference and to start one day later. The conference got approximately 4,000 attendees with 45 exhibitors and sponsors. As you can imagine the atmosphere was a bit special and attendees feel the pressure. Hopefully the program had the virtue to invite people to focus on something different. It won’t be the same Vegas anymore.

NetApp conference confirms if needed that every storage giant has to consider seriously cloud presence and reality. It is here the case with the presence of AWS, GCP and Azure and associated announcements. As a remark, hardware vendors continue to promote the same game - hybrid cloud - as they wish to reduce the pace of the erosion of their sales. Pushing hybrid models has the beauty to market to users a safe message and incremental move to the cloud. The reality is a bit different, as we all know that the cloud will eat everything and the vast majority of data will reside in clouds eventually. This will impact seriously the bottom for classic storage companies.

The conference was also the opportunity to get a refresh and better understanding about various offering such HCI, SDS, cloud and multi-cloud, flash/NVMe-based storage and secondary storage.

NetApp has made three important announcements:

  • Based on a strategic partnership between NetApp and Microsoft, the two companies announced Azure Enterprise NFS Service. NetApp AltaVault is also included in this announcement bridging on-premise environments and Azure. It illustrates that Azure is growing fast, delivering more and more enterprise-class data services.
  • NetApp unveiled Elio, an AI-enabled virtual support assistant, and Active IQ Cloud-based Analytics. It recognizes the power of a few vendors in IA and has chosen IBM Watson to not re-invent the wheel and leverage an already proven and recognized solution.
  • NetApp continues its journey towards a Data Management transformation and promote Data Fabric with several products announcements:
    • SolidFire adds the support of SnapMirror.
    • HCI with NetApp insisting on his wish for a piece of the cake.
    • StorageGRID Webscale 11 and the integration with AWS and the new Webscale CloudMirror to offer immediate DR from AWS S3.
    • ONTAP 9.3 increases performance with Adaptive QoS and new data reduction to offer 30% savings and new Volume Encryption feature.
    • OnCommand Insight brings a with new cloud cost monitoring feature to illustrate a complete picture of an organization’s IT infrastructure, regardless of where it resides, on the premises or in the cloud.

An implicit announcement was the presence of Dave Wright who appeared on stage to unveil the new hyper-converged rack. He is the former CEO and founder of SolidFire, he sold his company to NetApp in 2016 for $870 million in cash.

We also noticed the presence of IBM Cloud, obviously Cisco as the company plays a key role in the hyper-converged NetApp strategy with FlexPod SF, of course Veeam as the two companies signed a reseller agreement, Primary Data as one of the key ambassador for NFS, Data Dynamics still present with StorageX and the interesting ONTAP integration, Datos IO with the recent NetApp investment, Komprise a promising tiering engine, Peer Software for its global file service PeerGFS chosen by a few vendors and Talon Storage, a new iteration in cloud integrated storage firm.

We’ll see if NetApp will leverage NetApp Insight European conference in Berlin Germany, on November 13-16  to announce some new stuff.