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NetApp Is the Best-Kept Secret in Tech—Hiding in Plain Sight

John Woodall

Cloud Based Data Management and Storage

At the NetApp INSIGHT™ 2019 conference, I did a brief interview with CRNtv host Diana Blass, during which I said that NetApp was the “best-kept secret in tech.”

The week after NetApp INSIGHT, I was back in Las Vegas, attending Cisco Partner Summit. As I was walking through the convention center, Diana beelined over to me to say hello. It was great to see her, and we got to talking about NetApp INSIGHT. She asked what I had thought of our quick interview. I paused, then realized that while I was very happy with the interview, I had more of the “why” behind my comment. And I realized that, in hindsight, I would have spent more time discussing that “why.” At that moment, this blog post was born. We’ve heard that data is the new oil and that being a data visionary is essential to unlock the trapped value of data and to drive better, faster business outcomes; improved operational efficiency; and more. We have chief data officers and chief transformation officers. And in the majority of cases, we have deployment scenarios that span private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid multicloud environments.

NetApp is a company that’s in the middle of its own transformation. Internally, NetApp is doing exactly what it’s asking its customers to do: build a data fabric to improve portability, operational efficiency, time to value, and freedom and flexibility of choice. And NetApp is doing better than ever with respect to innovation, strategic vision, and clear leadership.

So, why is NetApp the best-kept secret in tech?

Three components are required for data services: compute, network, and storage. We can argue about additional items that might be considered as required components, but without these three, you have nothing of value. Compute and network are critical but transient components with respect to data. Data has the unique characteristic of gravity. Data gravity (a term in 2010 by Dave McCrory) is the ability of bodies of data to attract applications, services, and business logic, just like the natural force of gravity. With respect to data gravity, the more data you have, the more “gravitational pull” it creates. Storage is the component layer where data is housed, protected, secured, and made available to applications, services, and business logic.

NetApp is in its 27th year of business. Over that time, the company has built an unmatched and robust set of storage products. This maturity should be high on any list of considerations for storing data. Your data is irreplaceable. The storage that you trust your data to—be it software-defined, cloud-native, or delivered as an appliance (something only NetApp offers in the market)—must be robust and proven. NetApp® ONTAP® software is perhaps the biggest secret that is hiding in plain sight. ONTAP is a global leader in data management software. It has been deployed in more use cases and has more petabytes in more diverse and demanding environments (with more IT and technical staff familiarity) than any other branded data management software.

NetApp has always been well-known for great NAS and unified storage products, but there’s another secret hiding in plain sight: how well NetApp is doing in SAN, primarily all-flash SAN. NetApp AFF SAN is growing >100% per year, with most AFF customers (68%) using SAN.1

I wrote a blog post earlier this year with more information about why NetApp SAN is unmatched in the industry. Check it out if you want to learn about NetApp’s SAN growth, flash leadership, cloud offerings and integration, NVMe leadership, NetApp MAX Data, and more.

Did you know that NetApp was recently named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage?2 The company has earned every bit of that recognition. NetApp has been the fastest-growing flash storage vendor for 4 years in a row.3 NetApp is also the fastest-growing converged systems vendor and the fastest-growing hyperconverged systems vendor,4 a leader in object storage,5 a leader in storage for OpenStack,6 and a key player in data services for hybrid cloud.7

All the major clouds choose NetApp.

Let that sink in.

Most if not all of NetApp’s traditional and not-so-traditional competitors are copying NetApp in their move to integrate and to embrace the cloud. These efforts are somewhere between 2 and 4 years behind what NetApp is delivering today.

NetApp offers no fewer than 14 separate products as cloud-based offerings, including:

For more details, check out the Products tab on NetApp Cloud Central. The whole Cloud Central site and the products that are represented here are perhaps the best-kept secret that NetApp has—again, hiding in plain sight.

If you’re deploying workloads on cloud service provider platforms, only NetApp enables you to deploy with optimal control of cost and agility. And only NetApp enables you to optimize your storage on a cloud platform, including the one in your data center or in a colocation facility.

NetApp has been around for a while, but don’t let familiarity dampen your curiosity. When you become familiar with the NetApp that I know, you will no longer see the company the same way.

1 IDC, WW Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker – 2018 Q2 2018. 2 Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage, 17 September 2019, Santhosh Rao, John Monroe, Roger W. Cox, Joseph Unsworth. 3 © 2019 Block and File. 4 IDC, Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker – 2019Q2, September 24, 2019 Fastest Growing Hyperconverged Systems vendor (YoY revenue growth), Fastest Growing Converged Systems vendor (YoY revenue growth). 5 IDC, MarketScape Worldwide Object-based Storage, June 2018. 6 OpenStack User Survey: 7 IDC, Worldwide Data Services for Hybrid Cloud – Key Players Portfolio Analysis, IDC #US44266318, September 2018 A Key Player in Data Services for Hybrid Cloud.

John Woodall

John is Vice President of Engineering at General Datatech, LLC (GDT) and is located in Palo Alto, California. John has more than 30 years of experience in technology and a background focused on enterprise and infrastructure architecture, large scale systems engineering, strategic planning and technology management. In these roles, John designed and implemented and led teams delivering complex systems in demanding, mission-critical, large-scale, enterprise and cloud environments. At GDT, John focuses on strategic direction, evaluating emerging technologies, trends, and practices in order to enable customers to accelerate their transformations and the modernization of their technical and operational models. Prior to joining GDT, John held executive, architecture and management roles at Integrated Archive Systems, Symantec, Solectron (now part of Flex), Madge Networks and Elsevier MDL.

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