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NetApp Insight 2014 Wrap-Up
Nick Howell
Virtual Storage Architect
Glenn Sizemore
Reference Architect

NetApp® Insight 2014 was a huge success, and Tech OnTap is pleased to have Nick Howell and Glenn Sizemore bring you the wrap-up. Not only were these guys presenters at both the Las Vegas and Berlin events, they also did an incredible job re-capping daily highlights on the NetApp Communities Podcast, along with co-host Pete Flecha and many special guests. Be sure and subscribe to the podcast for the latest NetApp and IT industry news.

If you weren’t able to attend the recent NetApp Insight conference in Las Vegas and Berlin, you missed something special. Although NetApp Insight began as a technical conference exclusively for NetApp employees and partners, in 2014 NetApp brought all that technical goodness to the general public for the first time.

Customers were able to attend technical sessions, hands-on labs, and exhibits as well as keynotes from NetApp execs—not to mention brush shoulders with National Football League (NFL) legends at the Las Vegas event.

Insight attendees were surprised by the level of candor at these events, as NetApp shared details on both existing products and new developments. It was clear to all attendees—customers and NetApp insiders—that NetApp is entering 2015 with tremendous momentum around clustered Data ONTAP®, hybrid cloud, flash, and more. In this article, we’ll hit some of the Insight highlights and provide links to important resources.

Clustered Data ONTAP Is Hot

Clustered Data ONTAP technical sessions were tops in attendance for customers, employees, and partners. A NetApp partner in Berlin noted that in the two prior years (2012 and 2013) his sessions were only half full (with a maximum of 40 seats). This year he filled a room with 300 seats.

Not only is interest high, the conversation around clustered Data ONTAP has changed this year. People weren’t there just to learn the basics; they were there to learn about the latest enhancements in Data ONTAP 8.3 and best practices for cluster operations. The idea that the clustered Data ONTAP platform is completely nondisruptive is starting to resonate. For instance, you can take an application workload that’s on HDD today and move it to hybrid storage and then to all-flash as your operational needs change—all without disruption.

If you haven’t made the transition from 7-Mode to clustered Data ONTAP yet, the time is now. Adoption has tripled year over year. MetroCluster is shipping to provide continuous data availability in cluster environments, and the feature set is complete. Not only is the product ready, we have the transition tools in place. (Be sure and check out the article in this issue on making the transition.) Our professional services and tools can simplify the process and smooth your transition to a fully nondisruptive platform.

Enterprise-Ready Hybrid Cloud

Even NetApp insiders didn’t grasp the full implications of NetApp’s approach to hybrid cloud until after they heard keynotes from NetApp executives Tom Georgens, George Kurian, and Jay Kidd. NetApp Private Storage, Cloud ONTAP, and the ability to create a “data fabric” that unifies your data across clouds is a game changer for anyone looking to take advantage of the cloud.

In the November issue of Tech OnTap, NetApp Cloud Architect Kevin Hill gave a thorough introduction to Cloud ONTAP. In the same issue we did a deep dive on Cloud ONTAP with Kevin via a podcast. Check them out for details.

In a nutshell here’s what NetApp is delivering for the hybrid cloud:

  • Cloud ONTAP lets you spin up an enterprise-class storage instance in the public cloud in a matter of minutes, with the full capabilities of clustered Data ONTAP, including unified NAS and SAN, integrated data protection, and storage efficiency. There also is direct support from NetApp. Amazon Web Services.
  • NetApp Private Storage (NPS) lets you position important data on storage you own and control close to the public cloud so that you can take advantage of public cloud compute without giving up control over your data. We currently support Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and SoftLayer.
  • NetApp technologies create a Data Fabric that enables you to move data easily among on-premises data centers, the hundreds of cloud service providers running Data ONTAP, Cloud ONTAP instances, and NPS. Because the Data Fabric gives all of these environments the same data access and management, you can run your existing applications in these environments without making any modifications.

As if that weren’t enough, NetApp also announced the acquisition of Riverbed Technology’s SteelStore product line at the Las Vegas event. The SteelStore appliance makes it easy for you to backup and archive data in the cloud with complete security.

NetApp Is a Portfolio Company

The Insight conference made it clear that over the past year NetApp has transitioned from a single-product company to a portfolio company. NetApp not only has the industry’s leading nondisruptive, scale-out infrastructure platform with FAS, clustered Data ONTAP, and the hybrid cloud extensions described above, we also have quite possibly the most cost-effective, high-performance enterprise storage available with our E-Series platform. We offer a full range of flash offerings, converged infrastructure options, and object storage with capabilities that no other vendor can touch.

  • Full Flash Portfolio
    • All-Flash FAS systems offer great storage performance with the full data management features of ONTAP.
    • EF-Series All-Flash arrays offer ripping performance for situations that don’t require rich data management at the storage layer.
    • FlashRay®, our next-generation, All-Flash storage system, has been optimized to take full advantage of both existing and future nonvolatile devices.
  • Converged Infrastructure
    • The FlexPod® solution portfolio combines NetApp storage systems, Cisco® Unified Computing System servers, and Cisco Nexus fabric into a single and flexible easy-to-deploy architecture available with FAS, All-Flash FAS, E-Series, and EF-Series storage options.
    • The NetApp Integrated EVO:RAIL Solution was just announced. It combines hyperconverged server infrastructure with full-featured NetApp FAS2500 storage.
  • Object Storage

As you can see, we have increased the pace of product introductions over the last year, and—with all that—we’re just getting started. Whatever your data management need, NetApp has a solution in its portfolio to address it.

Figure 1) The NetApp product portfolio has solutions both for shared and dedicated storage requirements.

Insight Resources

Here are some of the key resources from the two events for those of you that weren’t able to attend.

Keynotes

All keynotes from the Las Vegas event are available for viewing. (Registration required.)

In addition to product-oriented presentations from NetApp CEO Tom Georgens, Executive Vice President George Kurian, and CTO Jay Kidd, you can also view keynote presentations from Cisco, VMware, and Fujitsu, and panel discussions on cloud and on other hot topics.

NetApp Communities Podcast

If you weren’t able to attend Insight this year, we’ve got you covered! Listen to our daily recaps from Las Vegas and Berlin on the NetApp Communities Podcast, including special interviews with NetApp executives:

Insight U.S.—Las Vegas

  • Day 1, Featured Interview: Lee Gates from the NetApp Cloud Solutions Group discusses SteelStore
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4, Featured Interview: Toby Creek, NetApp Lab on Demand

Insight EMEA—Berlin

  • Day 1
  • Day 2, Featured Interview: Matt Watts, NetApp Director of Technology and Strategy, EMEA
  • Day 3, Featured Interview: NetApp Cloud Czar, Val Bercovici

You can also find the show on podcast outlets including iTunes, Android, and Stitcher.

Technical Sessions and Hands-On Labs

Both the Las Vegas and Berlin events offered 20 breakout tracks for attendees, with approximately 200 technical sessions and hands-on labs available to customers in each location. For Las Vegas, the top 5 technical tracks were:

  • Core Data ONTAP
  • Virtualization
  • Microsoft Solutions
  • Manageability
  • Cloud

And the top 5 sessions were:

  • Get Certified Preparation Session—NCDA Clustered Data ONTAP
  • NetApp Best Practices for vSphere Part 1: VMware on Clustered Data ONTAP New Tricks and Best Practice Update v4
  • NetApp Best Practices for vSphere Part 3a: Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins of VMware Storage Networking, Part 1
  • NetApp Best Practices for vSphere Part 2: Sizing and Performance
  • Clustered Data ONTAP Transition, Approach, and Solutions

Results were similar for Berlin, and MetroCluster sessions were also popular.

Nearly 600 NetApp end-users attended more than 1,200 hands-on lab sessions during the two events. The top 5 hands-on labs for both locations were:

  • Basic Concepts for clustered Data ONTAP 8.3
  • Migration to clustered Data ONTAP using the 7-mode Transition Tool
  • Advanced Concepts for clustered Data ONTAP 8.3
  • Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere 5.5
  • Performance Analytics, Reporting, and Capacity Planning OnCommand Insight 7.0.1

By Nick Howell, Virtual Storage Architect and Glenn Sizemore, Reference Architect

Nick is one of NetApp’s top evangelists for data storage technology and integration. After a lengthy career serving as an engineer, admin, and consultant, he joined NetApp to help guide customers down the best paths for virtualization solutions by writing technical reports, giving deep-dive presentations at trade shows and user groups, and representing NetApp in the greater IT community. Entering his fifth year at NetApp, Nick has become an outspoken advocate and evangelist for all-things NetApp, runs the popular site DatacenterDude.com, and is the creator and host of the NetApp Communities Podcast.

Glenn is a reference architect in the Infrastructure Cloud Engineering team, where he specializes in cloud and automation. Since joining NetApp, Glenn has focused on Microsoft solutions. He is co-author of the FlexPod DataCenter with Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track reference architectures, and he develops general best practices for using Microsoft software with NetApp storage environments.

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January 2015

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More Perspectives on NetApp Insight 2014

You can find out more about what was hot at Insight 2014 in the following blogs from NetApp employees and partners:

NetApp Insight 2015: Save The Date

Insight 2015 will take place October 12–15 in Las Vegas, and November 16–19 in Berlin. Visit the official Insight page to save the date!

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