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Achieving unparalleled outcomes through innovation

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Octavian Tanase
Octavian Tanase

When we’re boarding a flight, we’re simply happy to be on the way to a friend’s wedding, to a beach vacation, or to visit family over the holidays. As we find our seats, we’re not thinking about how air traffic control is leveraging data to calculate a multitude of factors in real time – weather, takeoffs, landings, delays, etc. In fact, we’re surrounded by innovations like this every day — and most of the time, we don’t realize it. This seamlessness, which helps us focus on the moments of our lives that matter most, is deeply rooted in innovation.

It’s also why we at NetApp are specialists with an unwavering desire to innovate. In a sense, you can say that we “co-innovate” with our partners and customers by listening carefully, anticipating tech trends, and creating relevant solutions. We put data to work, so our customers and partners don’t get stuck on the inner workings of how to reach their goals. And we have a strong track record, responsible for many industry firsts (for example, unified storage, deduplication, and FC/NVMe), as well as industry-leading innovation.

As we look toward bringing the next wave of innovation to our customers, these three ingredients make our efforts relevant.

1. Be a specialist, not a generalist

It starts with understanding our customers. Innovation is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Our team works with customers across a variety of industry sectors, and personalization is at the center of our work. Take DreamWorks for example. Every single element of an animation film is digitally crafted down to the finest detail. Whether it’s dragons flying over the ocean or pandas performing kung fu moves, DreamWorks, at its core, is a manufacturer of data.

NetApp’s data-driven approach provides the factory floor where DreamWorks creates, curates, and stores its digital assets. Billions of files and petabytes of storage must be managed and accessible over the lifecycle of each film franchise. The studio’s extensive data environment is supervised by a small support team, thanks in part to data management tools like NetApp® ONTAP® and Active IQ® Unified Manager. Our innovation enables DreamWorks to focus on the immersive stories and visuals that captivate audiences worldwide, rather than focusing their attention on data management.

2. Tap into worldwide talent with open-source software

Open source is where much of the innovation in IT happens. It's a vibrant, truly global ecosystem. After all, innovation doesn’t happen in silos, and our engagement with open-source communities underscores the power of collective innovation. Open-source software helps us to rapidly identify, create, and scale optimal tech solutions. It’s no wonder that cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning often run on open-source software.

Equally important is our own contribution. The process we put in place is simple, and engineers are encouraged to engage. For instance, we recently released NetApp Harvest, a tool to simplify monitoring at scale. And NetApp Astra™ Trident, a world-class K8s CSI driver, is gaining much traction with partners and customers. Over the years, we have contributed to many meaningful projects and communities: GNU, CNCF, Helm, Istio, Restic, NFS, and many more.

3. Embrace continuous learning

An underlying truth for engineers and scientists is that as we gain more knowledge, we realize there is much more to be understood. A good example is the healthcare sector and the transformation of cancer treatments over the past 50 years. According to research, of those diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 1970, approximately half were still alive 5 years later. For those diagnosed in 2009, the figure was closer to 70%, meaning that more patients were living longer because of treatments. And today, some types of cancers can be treated with gene editing technologies like CRISPR.

Groundbreaking innovation is possible only when we strive to continuously learn and embrace an unconstrained mindset, which led us to create ONTAP 28 years ago. ONTAP remains the world’s leading storage operating system across data centers and the cloud, mostly because we prioritize learning and improvement to help our customers achieve their goals. ONTAP is a source of inspiration for our engineers and a source of envy in the industry.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, there is one constant: change. We can harness change and use it to create better outcomes through innovation. Now, let’s go put that data to work.

Looking to be a part of the action? Come join our team

Octavian Tanase

Octavian Tanase is the Senior Vice President of Engineering for NetApp’s Hybrid Cloud Group, which enables seamless cloud experiences on-premises and provides core foundational technologies to NetApp’s public cloud capabilities. 

In his current role, Octavian is responsible for driving product innovation, measurable business outcomes, and customer engagement and success with NetApp’s on-premises portfolio of products, including ONTAP, the industry’s leading enterprise data management software for shared environments. 

Prior to his leadership of the Hybrid Cloud Engineering group, Octavian was responsible for several of NetApp’s award-winning products including, AltaVault, SnapMirror, MetroCluster, and SnapVault. 

Before joining NetApp in 2010, Octavian led the Java Platform engineering group at Sun Microsystems/Oracle. He has also held various engineering roles in several start-ups in Silicon Valley. 

In addition, as an active champion of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB), Octavian is passionate about ensuring that his colleagues feel heard, represented and understood, and was responsible for introducing the first Unconscious Bias Training at NetApp. He plays a key role in various DIB programs at NetApp, including serving as a sponsor of Advancing Minority Interests in Engineering, previously serving as the Executive co-sponsor of NetApp Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, among other initiatives. 

Outside of work and when not spending time with his family, Octavian enjoys skiing, basketball and judo. He is also an active advisor for BackBox, a network automation startup. 

Octavian holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and Executive MBA from Stanford.

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