Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NetApp Insight 2014!!

Oh boy, what a week it has been. We just finished wrapping up NetApp Insight 2014 and it has been a blast! It was a whirlwind of information, learning, social activities, and hanging out with some AWESOME people. Oh, did I also mention how awesome the people were?


And when I say people, I mean everyone. This was the first year that the event was open to customers and the response was amazing. I spoke with a few and they all agreed that this was one of the best conferences they have been to. What really blew my mind, was seeing different partners getting together and talking with customers to help them solve their problems. There wasn't a "don't talk to my customer" feeling or anything like that. NetApp, partners, vendors, and customers all working together to solve problems the way things should be.

It was great to put some faces to Twitter handles also. I follow a ton of people from NetApp and their partners and customers and to actually meet these people in person was amazing. Thanks to Pete Flecha for totally making me feel like a rock star. I was walking down the hall and he walked by, recognized me from my Twitter picture and called me out. It was great meeting him and getting a chance to sit and talk.

The NetApp A-Team rocked the convention with Twitter chats (check out the great stats we generated) and interviews with Forbes NetApp Voice crew. And we were honored when so many great people came out to see who we are and what we'er about at the meet and greet NetApp hosted for use.

The NetApp A-Team

Hanging out with Jay Kidd
I know I've said this before, but I'm honored to be a part of such an amazing group of people. We come from different backgrounds and we have different personalities but we've formed these amazing friendships and working relationships through our passion for NetApp. I'm really excited to see how this group progresses and what kind of impact we can have over the next year. And special thanks to Samantha Moulton for keeping us all in line. We would not be the awesome group we are without her.

Cisco and NetApp have also proven that their relationship and their collaboration is top tier. FlexPod has been an outstanding success and within 5 years Cisco UCS has become #1 in x86 blade servers in the US and #2 in the world. Both companies also showed commitment to the product by expanding the FlexPod offerings to include the new UCS mini as well as a UCS design for cloud operations. I was able to hang out at the Cisco booth for a while and was thrilled to meet Amy Lewis and watched part of the filming for . So much fun and loved talking with the Cisco people. I was even able to snap a photo of myself and Rob Lloyd!!

Able to snap a pic with Rob Lloyd
Lets talk cloud. There are so many cloud offerings out there that use their own unique configurations. This makes trying to get from one cloud to another is difficult, and trying to get that data back to the main site isn't easy, either. NetApp wants to position itself to offer data management services that look and feel the same. They talked about how cloud offerings now are very much like islands. There are only so many out there and each have their own standards, UI, workflows, and automation tools. NetApp sees a cloud system where all the workflows and management processes are the same and it's just as easy to get data out as it is to get it back in. With that in mind they announced Cloud ONTAP. Cloud ONTAP will live on top of Amazon Web Services and will provide the user with the same look and feel as any FAS they currently have.
There was so much announced at Insight this year that I won't be able to cover everything here. Here is a short list of the stuff that interested me:

  1. NetApp and Cisco continue their strong relationship with the FlexPod architecture. Rob Lloyd gave an amazing keynote on Tuesday to talk about the future of datacenter, FlexPod, and how that will work within the key themes of collaboration and cloud. As a network guy in a storage world, I'm so glad to see the close relationship that these two amazing companies have forged around some amazing products and solutions.

  2. Acquisition of Riverbed SteelStore product. This was formally Whitewater and from their website: "SteelStore accelerates cloud on ramp by deduplicating, encrypting, and rapidly streaming data to the cloud, leveraging technology from the industry's leading WAN optimization solution." What does this mean for NetApp? This is an interesting acquisition and will require some further reading to fully understand. But they said that it would be integrated into the FAS line and work with cloud based SnapVault backups. I'm going to write something on this as I get more information.

  3. Cluster Data ONTAP 8.3 which will include the long awaited MetroCluster features for uninterrupted backup and recovery options as well as increased overall storage capacity and larger flash support.

  4. Cloud ONTAP was announced to provided ONTAP on top of AWS. This will allow the user to dynamically spin up an instance of ONTAP in AWS through either pay-as-you-go access or a license. If you want to test moving data around or look at cloud as an option, the pay-as-you-go route is a great way to give it a try. Cloud ONTAP also helps users not only get data into the cloud, but back out as well.
As you can see, this was a huge week for NetApp. There was a ton of information covered during the keynote and lots that was explored during the sessions that followed. NetApp has shown that Insight is a premier conference for partners and now customers, too, and that they'er on the leading edge in technology innovations. For more recap information please check out the NetApp Communities Podcast from Nick Howell and listen to the daily recaps they did. Chris Maki wrote a great post on ONTAP 8.3, so go check that out here.

As always, thanks for reading. Let me know in the comments what you thought was the best bit at NetApp Insight 2014. Or if you didn't make it, feel free to ask any questions and lets hope we see you there next year!