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NetApp’s Journey to Becoming a Cloud Data Service Provider

Ben Durand

The transformation from an on-premises storage company to a cloud data services provider is not simple. But having attended this year’s AWS re:Invent and NetApp Insight conferences, I can say with confidence that NetApp has done it.

Four years ago, when the Data Fabric was announced, it was just a concept, a bright vision in the relative darkness that was early cloud adoption. Cloud was an exciting opportunity for businesses but a major headache for IT professionals—a fear more than an opportunity that most CIOs associated with “shadow IT.” With the Data Fabric, NetApp introduced the idea of sharing data across multiple datacenters and clouds. It gave customers the choice to use whatever hardware, software, or public cloud they want in a single, integrated ecosystem.

Fast forward to today, and 70% of companies have a cloud strategy, whether it’s public, private, or hybrid cloud. NetApp has transformed from “just” a storage hardware company into a cloud data services and software vendor, able to respond flexibly to the needs of customers in this new cloud world.

Data Fabric is no longer a vision—it’s reality. With a cloud model built on the Data Fabric, customers can do some pretty incredible things, like:

  • Use NetApp hardware with Cloud Volumes ONTAP to build disaster recovery in the cloud
  • Duplicate volumes from on-premises into the cloud with Trident for cloud-based development
  • Protect Office 365 backups natively in the cloud with NetApp SaaS Backup

Data Fabric continues to grow and evolve, giving customers a best-of-breed storage experience for their data in the cloud. Data Fabric is not a product, but an approach to data management. Data Fabric is your data in the right place, at the right time, at the right price point.

Seeing NetApp at AWS re:Invent this year was more proof that NetApp is now a player in cloud data services. NetApp announced more cloud products this year than in the previous 11 years combined: Cloud Volumes Service, Cloud Insights, NetApp Kubernetes Service, NetApp Cloud Secure, the list goes on and on.

Cloud and DevOps were the 2 high-level topics at re:Invent, and NetApp shined in both categories. NetApp’s strategy presented at both re:Invent and Insight this year was simple: DevOps and cloud are our main focus for every product. It’s not a new strategy for NetApp, just the evolution of the Data Fabric.

NetApp Insight was the perfect opportunity to gain a better understanding of NetApp’s new capabilities for DevOps and how NetApp uses it to develop their own products. One of these new capabilities is around Trident. NetApp uses Trident to connect NetApp environments to DevOps tools and to offer persistent storage for Docker or Kubernetes containers. Developers can provide storage with native commands from Docker without any knowledge of storage provisioning, and Ops can understand what is happening at the Docker level without any development experience.

NetApp has also launched a new service called NetApp Kubernetes Services (NKS). This cloud service basically offers Kubernetes containers as a service in AWS, Azure, or GCP, relying on NetApp for persistent storage and performance. To simplify adoption, NetApp already offers pre-packaged solutions for NKS such as ELK, Turbonomic, GitLab, Prometheus, and others. It’s surprising how NKS makes it easy to deploy containers with storage, even if you don’t have a lot of Kubernetes experience.

In addition to announcing new DevOps-centric solutions, NetApp demonstrated how DevOps is used internally to develop their own products and to optimize processes. One result is that NetApp cut time to market from months to days and significantly increased feature release speed. Technical issues were also reduced using a DevOps tool chain to bring more control with automated tests.

It’s clear that NetApp is focusing all its energy to develop and evolve products around DevOps and cloud. NetApp is leading the industry in these areas. It is not just about creating new offerings, but also integrating this global strategy with the entire portfolio. This is the spirit of the Data Fabric. If you’re having difficulty adopting DevOps or Cloud, or you don’t know where to start, Data Fabric makes it easy by eliminating a lot of technical constraints and training needs.

I highly recommend you take part in the DevOps and Cloud Experience at Insight next year if you have the opportunity.

Ben Durand

Ben is a Business Development Manager leader and Cloud Evangelist for Scasicomp, a French IT company and NetApp partner based in Boulogne-Billancourt. As a member of NetApp United, Ben loves sharing his passion for NetApp and IT through blogs and social media and at events around the world. When he’s not in the office, Ben enjoys photography, hiking, and skiing. And of course, as a true Frenchman, Ben has a penchant for good food and wine.

View all Posts by Ben Durand

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