Data Driven at NetApp Insight 2018


October 26, 2018 — NetApp held its Insight 2018 conference in Las Vegas this week for customers, partners and employees. A “Data Driven” theme was prevalent with a focus on how NetApp is empowering its customers to change the world with data. Keynotes and sessions fostered discussion on how organizations can innovate, transform and thrive with data.

IT leaders and influencers covered how the NetApp Data Fabric platform will enable cross-cloud data management and help to inspire innovation with cloud, build clouds that can accelerate new services and how cloud-connected flash can modernize IT architecture.

Going to big tech events like Insights for an engineer like myself is like being a kid in Disneyland. At this year’s Insight, there were more than 100 breakout sessions on NetApp solutions, tools, innovations and customer case studies. If there were only time to attend all of these, as well as the various keynotes, labs and networking sessions. With so much going on and so many new solutions presented, its easy to have a long list of highlights. Here below were a few of mine.


Solutions, Solutions, Solutions

NetApp announced over half a dozen new solutions at Insight and solidified its path to becoming an major player in cloud. The solutions that were unveiled will by and whole enable NetApp’s customers to accelerate in cloud and maintain a competitive edge in a fast-moving technology environment.

Below are three of the new solutions that I liked and some of their features and benefits.


Cloud Volumes Service:

–Industry leading Network File System service in the cloud (NFS/SMB)

–Supports the big 3 (AWS, Azure, GCP)

–Provides extreme performance and advanced data management to cloud applications

–Ease of integration with cloud services such as analytics, database and other cloud

native services

–Support for Hybrid (HCI – NetApp HCI defined as “Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure”) and

public cloud-only with seamless data migration

–Easily and quickly import data to and from on-premises storage repositories via

NetApp Cloud Sync

–Service is built into the native cloud providers with marketplace ease of deployment

–Orchestrated and via a universal cloud control plane with single payment model

–Accessed via cloud native APIs or utilize NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP (universal storage platform that provides the same storage OS for on-premises and the public cloud)

–Benefits from NetApp core technologies (NetApp Snapshot copies provide near-instantaneous point-in-time backup and recovery copies)


NetApp Kubernetes Services:

–Based on a recent acquisition StackPointCloud which is an advanced Kubernetes-as-
a-service platform

–A universal control plane for managed Kubernetes

–Dramatically simplifies deployment of a Kubernetes cluster on the cloud

–NetApp Trident, automated storage (persistent) provisioner for Docker, Kubernetes,

and Red Hat OpenShift container platforms


NetApp MAX Data:

–Powered by NetApp Memory Accelerated File System (NetApp MAX FS)

–Auto tiering data between server-hosted persistent memory and ONTAP array

–Access latencies between 1 and 9us

–Utilizes Intel Optane 3D Xpoint technology (will required Intel Cascade Lake Xeon CPUs (not yet released))

–Supported in ONTAP v9.5


Keynote Addresses

 In his memorable keynote address, NetApp CEO George Kurian covered what it means to be truly data driven by showcasing customer evidence of better business outcomes achieved with data. He noted that 12 year ago, only one out of the 10 biggest companies in the world were data driven. Today, it has risen to six of 10. He noted that companies who rise to become market leaders, such as Netflix and Uber, are highly data driven. In the era of digital transformation, data is the fuel. Kurian also cited studies NetApp has done that show that data driven companies have 3x increased profitability and 6x improved operational efficiency over companies that are not data driven.

Kurian noted three steps that organizations should take to become more data driven:

  • IT transformation leading to digital transformation
  • Adopting a hybrid, multi-cloud architecture for speed and efficiency
  • Integrating data services across hybrid, multi-cloud environments with Net App Data Fabric

 Another memorable keynote address was from one of the world’s most influential futurists, Gerd Leonhard. The appearance by Leonhard was hyped by NetApp as answering a couple of provocative questions: “In a world where technological progress is exceedingly exponential and combinatorial, how will we define what is human and what is not? What will humans do in the future and what will be done by technology?”

Leonhard delivered on the hype. He drove the point to the audience that although organizations might be increasingly becoming data driven and reliant on disruptive technology like artificial intelligence, the data driven future is still defined by humanity. AI robots and machines can’t replace creativity and emotional insight of humans.

Becoming Data Visionaries

NetApp Insights certainly aims to arm its attendees with the tools to become the data visionaries of their organizations. The company’s foray from being more than a storage company to becoming a player in multi-cloud and digital transformation will be an interesting and exciting journey to take to our own customers with solutions that will help them be more data driven.


Doug Alexander is a Solutions Architect for Groupware Technology.