NetApp believes in the power of specialists. While the company may have had a little fun with the concept at this week’s digital conference, NetApp Insight 2020, introducing people like NASA’s chief sniffer, whose sole job is to smell materials used in vehicles and spacesuits to ensure unpleasant odours don’t plague astronauts, chief executive officer George Kurian was deadly serious about NetApp’s focus.
“The leading cloud providers are building massive global digital business platforms with powerful ecosystems, and there are specialists who now can leverage the massive scale of those platforms to reach customers around the world,” he said. “Whereas in the traditional world, these specialists were challenged by generalists who had the benefit of scale but were encumbered with mediocrity, a digital economy rewrites those rules. Specialists with deep expertise and business speed can leverage and contribute to these large digital platforms and ecosystems to rise above the legacy generalists. We understand the power of being a specialist, being the very best in the world at what we do.”
NetApp, he said, chose not to build its own cloud but to partner with the leading providers and concentrate on what it’s good at.
“But we’re exploiting what we’re really good at in new ways,” he noted, “bringing the performance, efficiency and availability of the mission-critical enterprise to the leading public clouds, and bringing the simplicity and flexibility of the public cloud to the enterprise.”
Cloud is the great equalizer, said Anthony Lye, senior vice-president and general manager of the NetApp Cloud Data Services business unit. But customers want more cloud at less cost.
“The question we keep asking ourselves is how can we accelerate the cloud opportunity, enable customers to run more applications, for us to be more native, more deeply integrated, to boost performance and always to try to eliminate operational events,” he said. “We think that customers need application-driven infrastructures. Application driven infrastructures extend data fabrics; application-driven infrastructures are API’s that continuously optimize compute and storage for price and performance at runtime.”
He claimed that this approach could save customers up to 90 per cent of their cloud costs. NetApp’s June 2020 acquisition of Spot helps enable those savings, helping the customer optimize compute and storage. At Insight, the company announced an addition to the Spot product line: a serverless and storageless solution for containers, Spot Storage by NetApp, which, combined with Spot Ocean by NetApp, allows organizations to cost-effectively build, deploy, and run microservice-based applications on Kubernetes without having to administer storage and data services.
“So basically we help our customers not to think about how they manage their storage and how they size storage and how they take the performance of the storage,” said Spot founder Amiram Shachar, now vice president and general manager, Spot by NetApp. “It all is going to be managed just like they get in compute.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced that Spot, as well as Cloud Volumes ONTAP, have been recently certified on AWS Outposts.
“Outposts has been really important to us and augments our edge processing and capabilities, both with partners like you, and our Snow products for ruggedized environments. It’s very exciting to have ONTAP down there so people can do low latency local processing, where they need that, or data residency requirements as well,” said AWS vice-president of engineering Bill Vass,
NetApp also announced two other products. NetApp Cloud Manager is an autonomous cloud volume platform that provides a single experience to manage NetApp hybrid, multi-cloud storage and data services across on-premises, Azure, AWS and GCP storage. It delivers a native cloud experience for advanced data services: data sync, data backup, data tiering, file caching and compliance. NetApp Virtual Desktop Management Service (VDMS) is a fully managed, cloud-based service with a validated hybrid cloud virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) design.
“We at NetApp are the specialists who are helping you unlock the best of cloud across public hybrid and on-premises,” Kurian said. “We’re helping you demand more from your cloud.”