Data Fabric Part 3 – Delivering the Benefits

In the first two of these blogs I focused on Why and How our Data Fabric is an important and elegant strategy for businesses. In this one I want to focus more on ‘What’ the technologies are that underpin it.

In many of the conversations I have with IT organisations they tend to fall into one or more of three categories…

Modernising : Roughly 70% of the IT budget is spent on technologies that whilst extremely important tend to have little opportunity to increase a companies revenue, I won’t list these out but I’m pretty sure you can think of many applications that you use on a daily basis that fall into this category. Updating the infrastructure and tools that support these has the opportunity to reduce the costs associated with running them and therefore creates an opportunity to put more investment into the technologies that can truly make a difference. Converged Infrastructure (FlexPod) allows you to introduce a platform with end to end automation and orchestration, increasing the speed of deploying new applications whilst reducing the administrative costs associated with running the Infrastructure. Significant sums of money are spent on Data Protection, a company I met this week recently issued an RFP for Storage and Backup and the Backup element ended up costing almost double that of the Storage, moving toward technologies such as our AltaVault and StorageGRID (Object Storage) as the backup target, locally or in the Cloud, can dramatically reduce these costs whilst increasing the speed for backup and restore and increasing security through encryption.

Accelerating : 20% of the IT Budget. This has a pretty wide scope, sometimes it’s about moving toward new generations of applications that can provide more intelligence and richer sources of information for the business SAP Hana, Oracle Database-in-memory. Other times it’s about completely new applications such as Cloudera, Hortonworks or Hadoop. Our NetApp IT folks recently moved our Autosupport data from a relational database to Hadoop and queries that used to take a couple of weeks are now down to hours. Putting the right foundation in for this is key though and this is where Flash comes in, be it with our All Flash FAS or for extreme performance our EF560 delivering over 650,000 IOP’s at Sub 1ms latency. As these Analytical environments grow the economics of a shared storage platform really start to shine. However accelerating may also be related to the speed of Test and Development, I met with David Leyland the Director of IT Infrastructure at Randstad a few weeks back and just loved his quote “Your All Flash FAS is fast, very fast, but being able to use Cloud ONTAP inside Amazon has revolutionised the speed at which we can develop”

Transforming : 10% of the IT Budget. Over the last 10 or 15 years there have been a number of stages that IT has gone through with their Infrastructures, Dedicated to Shared to Virtualised, and now the move is toward Orchestrated and Automated. The NetApp OnCommand portfolio really comes into its own here, Insight to provide an end to end view of the Heterogeneous Physical, Virtual and now Hybrid Cloud environment for monitoring, reporting and chargeback. Workflow Automator (WFA) which comes at no cost, enables you to build complete workflows for provisioning resources and setting protection policies, although we built this to provide automation for our platforms we have many companies using it for much broader tasks. Then there are companies that are looking at how to build their Infrastructure for the future, the Next Generation Data Centre (NGDC), SolidFire sits firmly in this category, massive yet granular scalability, Quality of Service to ensure minimum and maximum levels of guaranteed performance and complete Automation through tools such as OpenStack or VMware. Need more performance or capacity? rack the 2U node, plug in two cables and you’re done!

There is of course overlap in the three categories above and you can’t simply just put our products into one or another, many of them offer benefits across all three, but this is a starting point and allows me to focus on what’s important to the person that I’m meeting with and therefore to talk about the solutions that are likely to be most beneficial to them.

Here’s the video, look forward to your comments.

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