NetApp Insight 2018 – My Take

Scott Taylor

by Scott Taylor

I must admit, it was a weird feeling walking into my first Insight. Even though I left EMC almost four years ago, it’s still strange to be in what was once enemy territory. It’s amazing how things can change in such a short time. When I started with Sovereign, NetApp’s stock closed at $38.87 and would dive all the way down to $21.51.  NetApp seemingly was down for the count, but on my first day at Insight, the stock was at $80.32. Why the sudden resurrection?

In my mind, there are two things that have not only brought NetApp back to life, but made them once again a top contender in the market:

  • All flash with enterprise features
  • Focus on public cloud and next generation workloads

All Flash

I remember sitting in a NetApp partner training listening to how NetApp didn’t need an all flash array and AFAs were essentially a fad. What a mistake, I thought to myself. Fortunately for NetApp, they made a change in course. NetApp realized the power of combining their enterprise feature set with the speed and reliability of flash storage. It’s been such a great combination that NetApp is now #1 in All-Flash Array market share! The funny thing to me is a lot of the stuff we used to pick on NetApp about at EMC in the spinning-disk world either didn’t matter or is beneficial in the flash world. A lot has been written about all flash, so I won’t go into that here. If you’re not sure what you’re missing, reach out and we’ll be happy to fill you in!

Cloud & Next Gen

One thing was clear at Insight 2018: NetApp is all-in on public cloud! This is where I think NetApp is really separating themselves from the pack. Their Cloud Data Services are not some gimmick or attempt to grasp onto workloads that are leaving the traditional data center. This is NetApp giving customers what they need to be effective in what is, for most, the hybrid cloud. We’ve all seen the marketing, but as I look across my customer base, I see very few companies that are 100% public cloud or 100% on-premises. They all have workloads in both worlds. They’re supporting traditional and cloud native applications. They’re using virtual machines and containers. It’s a hybrid world.

Cloud Data Services encompasses the ability for you to utilize NetApp’s high performance, feature-rich platform in all the major public clouds. NetApp is giving you the flexibility to support these workloads with as much or as little control as you like. Do you want a natively-integrated file solution for Azure? NetApp has it! Do you want to run a virtual version of ONTAP in AWS so you can have the ultimate control over your cloud storage? NetApp has it!  Are you trying to figure out how to provide persistent storage for your new container initiative? NetApp has it! Are you trying to figure out an easy way to deploy Kubernetes across the major cloud providers? NetApp has it! The list goes on, but you get the point. If you want more details, you can look here or reach out and we’d be happy to dive in with you!

There were many announcements made at Insight 2018 (read more here), but for me, the focus on cloud was the most important. NetApp displayed their leadership in this market and willingness to do the right thing for customers versus trying to convince them that everything should stay on-premises. If you thought NetApp was out of the game or haven’t paid attention to them in a while, I encourage you to take another look. You might just be surprised at how their direction matches your reality.