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NetApp Insight 2015: Data Fabric and Cloud Storage

by Mark Weigel, on Oct 23, 2015 10:40:33 AM

NetApp's annual conference was held last week at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas.  Over 5,000 NetApp customers, partners and employees gathered to listen to NetApp’s impression of the rapidly changing storage industry. This was the fifth NetApp Insight conference I’ve attended since first being introduced to “Network Appliance” many years ago. While this was not the first Insight conference where NetApp customers were in attendance, this was the first time that the focus of many of the events, discussions and keynote speakers was on solving customer issues as they relate to evolving industry issues.

netapp-insight-2015

A recurring message in this year’s conference was “Building Data Fabric Together” and it incorporates NetApp’s vision of a tight integration between private cloud, hybrid cloud and cloud service providers. The focus of these presentations and demonstrations was that data and application owners will be able to control security and data mobility using any of the cloud options. This will allow data and applications to be moved and shared uninterrupted across multiple end points.

Data Fabric was first introduced during NetApp Insight 2014 and at that time most of the discussions were around the concepts associated with “Data Fabric.” It was exciting to see those original concepts being fully realized at this year’s conference.

On the last day of the conference a demonstration was presented during which a database application was shifted from one well known public cloud service provider to another in a matter of seconds. This rapid application transfer was achievable because no data was moved during the operation. The migration was made possible by deactivating the database application in one cloud to another copy of the application using NetApp Private Storage.

Impressive enough so far, the database was then backed up to a public cloud storage provider using NetApp’s AltaVault appliance, and then transferred to yet another cloud storage provider using the AltaVault cloud agility feature. With this feature you designate the new cloud destination and data is copied from the old provider to the new one.

Continuing the demonstration, with the application residing in the new cloud provider, the demo team incorporated additional storage nodes into the NetApp Private Storage cluster. The database performance metrics showed a steady increase in I/O operations, beginning at tens of thousands and scaling to over one million.

The final keynote speaker was NetApp cofounder Dave Hitz. He summarized NetApp’s vision for the future of Data Fabric. In his opinion data fabric connection touch points would proliferate to include even more cloud providers and additional platforms. Mobility between those providers would be simple and seamless.

Let me summarize what I heard and saw at this year’s NetApp Insight. NetApp did a very credible job demonstrating and validating current capabilities available in their product lines and was successful in articulating the vision they have of a NetApp-powered data fabric.

Existing public cloud service providers make it easy to move your data and applications into their clouds, but getting it out is far more complicated. Cloud providers at this point in their life cycle are not making it easy or affordable to move data and applications to a competing service.

Given this environment, a workable exit strategy becomes essential for success moving into the future. There are many reasons for contemplating moving from your current platform provider including but not limited to corporate governance, dissatisfaction with a service provider or, in the worst case, your provider shutting down operations. NetApp’s vision is that having a flexible data fabric will make this data and application movement possible and convenient.

As a NetApp Gold Partner, GTRI can answer any questions you have about NetApp’s solutions or cloud data storage. I’d also recommend you check out this NetApp whitepaper that will help you architect an agile cloud infrastructure that combines the scalability and flexibility of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud with the control and performance of NetApp Private Storage.

Topics:CloudData StoragenetappStorage and Archive

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