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HCI is hybrid cloud infrastructure

Brad Anderson

HCI is hybrid cloud infrastructure When we launched NetApp® HCI several years ago, we took a decidedly different approach from other vendors. We believed at the time – and we still believe – that the most important challenge to solve for customers is to simplify the growing complexity of managing IT, and especially managing data, in hybrid and multicloud environments.

We’ve always maintained that HCI should stand for hybrid cloud infrastructure. We felt that combining simple, cloudlike operations and services on an easy-to-use integrated appliance was the perfect solution to data-management challenges. And we sure took a lot of flak for naming our product NetApp HCI when we designed a disaggregated approach to the architecture, providing customers with far more flexibility to scale to meet their needs for compute and storage independently.

Fast forward to today. Analysts are seeing the benefits of disaggregated architectures, and other vendors now agree that HCI should stand for hybrid cloud infrastructure. The big difference is that we architected for hybrid cloud requirements from the start and others, at best, are attempting to retrofit or rely on marketing. We haven’t wavered in our goal of helping customers build out their on-premises and hybrid cloud environments.

We see customers today running mixed workloads at scale with a big uptick in the number of end-user compute and VDI solutions. Those customers are reporting great results as they scale and grow. We will continue to deliver high-value, differentiated NetApp HCI solutions to support customers’ critical use cases.

But here's a well-known fact: NetApp's strength is in cloud services and software innovation. So while we will continue to evolve our easy-to-use appliances with full-stack solutions for the foreseeable future, we are investing in software defined innovation to give customers the ultimate freedom to run their workloads on the servers – or the clouds – of their choice with a software-only option.

Perhaps the most exciting plans for NetApp HCI involve Project Astra. NetApp is leading the way in next-generation application architectures by solving some of the fundamental challenges of containerized applications. We’re delivering on the full promise of application portability by making the data persistent and stateful. Customers can run an extensive new set of Kubernetes workloads right alongside their existing virtualized applications with confidence that the right storage is always selected, the performance is managed, and application data is protected.

Now imagine having an on-premises target for Kubernetes application environments in addition to your virtualized application workloads, built on the common Project Astra IP building blocks for our enterprise data center software-defined offerings and our native public cloud offerings. Pretty exciting, right?

So whether you think of HCI as hyperconverged infrastructure or hybrid cloud infrastructure, you can count on NetApp to deliver cloud-led, data-centric software innovation that unlocks the best of cloud.

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson is the executive vice president of the NetApp Hybrid Cloud Group. He is responsible for driving the strategy and execution to build a portfolio of offerings that helps customers build cloud-architected data centers. These data centers can then deliver cloud services for innovative applications in either private or service provider models. Brad has a broad business background, leading both startup and mature businesses, and he has a track record of turning emerging products into multimillion- and billion-dollar businesses. He brings substantial leadership experience and deep knowledge of the converged systems market to lead NetApp’s growth in the cloud infrastructure business and to help customers build their next-generation data centers. Brad spent nine years at HP Compaq as the senior vice president and GM of Industry Standard Servers, where he led the company’s $8 billion x86 server business. He spent seven years as president and GM of Dell's $12 billion Enterprise Solution Group leading servers, storage, networking and software businesses. He helped Dell acquire EqualLogic, Compellent, and Force10, and he grew each business significantly to enable Dell’s transition away from a mostly OEM model in storage and networking. Just before joining NetApp, Brad served as president and chief operating officer of Gravitant, a cloud service brokerage platform company, where he played an instrumental role in growing the business and in selling the company to IBM. Brad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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