This year’s NetApp Insight reported a record-breaking number of attendees and it really did feel busier, although I’m not sure if it was the extra people or the shorter agenda. While historically Insight has been four days, this year’s event was shortened to three. Notable removals from the schedule were one General Session and the Tech Team-specific General Session. Notable additions to the agenda this year were the three Spotlight Sessions which more or less focussed on the three business units (BU):
- Cloud Data Services – Inspire Innovation with Data Services Across All the Biggest Clouds
- Cloud Infrastructure – Building Clouds to Accelerate New Services with Seamless Capabilities Across Private and Multi-Cloud Environments
- Software and Systems – Modernize IT Architecture with Cloud-Connected Flash and Fuel Your Applications, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence
Before I fill you in on all the announcements related to the above BUs, let’s cover the General Sessions (GS), of which there was one Tuesday morning and another Wednesday morning.
Tuesday’s GS had a handful of speakers; George Kurian (NetApp), Kate Swanborg (Dreamworks), Gred Leonhard (Futurist), Anthony Lye (NetApp), and Hákon Guðbjartsson (WuXi NextCODE). While everyone had their own story to tell, the overarching theme was how NetApp’s Data Fabric has helped these companies be successful, and how recent acquisitions such as StackPoint and GreenQloud have been integrated into the company.
Wednesday’s GS went a bit longer and had quite the list of presenters; Henri Richard (NetApp), Jeff Wike (Dreamworks), Scott Dawkins (NetApp), Anthony Lye (NetApp), Tad Brockway (Microsoft), Brad Clark (McKesson), James Holden (NetApp), Brad Anderson (NetApp), Benjamin Molloy and Rachel Edges (ConsultelCloud), Adam Carter (NetApp), Kim Weller (NetApp), and of course NetApp founder Dave Hitz closed things out. This GS was all about success stories and NetApp’s Data Fabric story, with a huge focus on the ever-growing portfolio of Cloud Data Services that they offer.
As expected, all of the big announcements of the year were reserved for Insight, and there were many. I’ll start with what started it all, ONTAP, the operating system that powers their traditional FAS and AFF arrays and the cornerstone of the rest of the business. ONTAP 9.5 was announced, and the most prominent features added are as follows:
- FlexCache – Yes, the read-caching solution that we loved back in the 7-mode days has finally made its appearance in Cluster Mode, which is what we now call ONTAP.
- SnapMirror Synchronous – Abbreviated as SM-S, this used to exist as Synchronous Snapmirror in 7-mode and is finally back in ONTAP. Even if the words are reversed the concept is the same…synchronous replication.
- MetroCluster-IP enhancements – Distances up to 700km between sites and now mid-range hardware, the FAS8200 and AFF A300 are also supported.
- FabricPool – A lot of development happening here, and now NetApp has added the ability to use FabricPool behind your FlexGroups, making their solution even more flexible.
When it first launched last year around this time, there were three compute nodes to choose from and three storage nodes. Well, that has changed dramatically. There are ten new node types with different CPU and RAM variables that you can pick from to tailor your needs around resources or licensing requirements. There is also an additional node type that includes two NVIDIA GPUs for your GPU-acceleration requirements. On the storage node side of things, there is all the original choices, as well as myriad other choices. Your best bet is to check out NetApp’s Hardware Universe for the current offerings.
Cloud Data Services
Over the past few years, NetApp has made a few very strategic acquisitions, and it is from these acquisitions that much of the Data Fabric is being woven. Notably, the StackPointCloud acquisition has been turned into their Kurbernetes Service, allowing Kurbernetes cluster deployments with the click of a mouse. Other notable cloud services on offer are Azure NetApp Files, Cloud Volumes Services for AWS, Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Cloud Sync, Cloud Insights, and SaaS Backup; far too many to go into detail in just one post. Visit NetApp’s Cloud Central, or contact one of Scalar’s Cloud Infrastructure specialists to learn how Data Fabric can make doing business easier.
This covered most of the headline news from the conference. Feel free to reach out to me personally if you would like more details on NetApp Insight or other NetApp solutions you may be interested in.