NetApp Insight 2016, the annual technical conference for NetApp partners and customers in EMEA, kicked-off this week in Berlin. The conference continues to grow, with 3,500 storage experts from 70 countries in attendance. This year’s conference comes close on the heels of our announcement of new hybrid cloud solutions and provides an opportunity to look back at the progress we have made against our Data Fabric vision in two key areas: technology support for new Data Fabric endpoints and the introduction of new hybrid cloud services.


New Endpoints Enable New Services

The Data Fabric is sometimes described as consisting of endpoints that are connected by threads, with each new endpoint enabling new threads and a “richer” fabric. In other words, support for new endpoints, both on-premises and in the cloud, makes it easier to move data to where it’s needed by business applications and provides the underpinnings for new types of services.


One example of how this works is NetApp Private Storage (NPS) for Cloud. NPS enables an enterprise to deploy critical application data next to, but not inside of, a hyperscale cloud service and then manage it from a single dashboard. At last year’s conference, DARZ described how they had built a service based on this technology so that customers in Germany could take advantage of multiple hyperscale cloud services while keeping their data secure and meeting data privacy regulations. Today, NPS as a service is available from a growing number of NetApp partners, either running on dedicated hardware or as a shared service using a multi-tenant design.


With NPS, it’s easy to see how just three types of endpoints-NPS for AWS, IBM SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure-can lead to an exponentially larger number of service offerings from our partners. Now, consider the possible combinations enabled by on-premises ONTAP and StorageGRID systems,  ONTAP Cloud endpoints running at AWS and Azure, and AltaVault endpoints for backups and archives, which can be physical, virtual, or cloud-based. Each new endpoint provides an opportunity to create new types of services to solve the challenges of managing data across a hybrid cloud environment.


Services Simplify Data Management in a Hybrid Cloud

This year, the Insight audience got a glimpse of a new type of solution- the Data Fabric Cloud Sync Service. Cloud Sync is enabled by NetApp replication technology and made available as a service rather than offered as software download or virtual appliance. A key reason for this approach is to simplify the consumption model for customers who are already familiar with AWS and who prefer the flexibility and ease-of-use of an on-demand, services-based offering.


As with NPS, Cloud Sync opens up a world of new possibilities-in this case, by synchronizing the data from any NFS v3 data source (including non-NetApp systems) with Amazon S3 storage and enabling secure access to the S3 data from AWS-based analytics services. The use cases for Cloud Sync will be driven by opportunities to apply cloud-based analytics to data that needs to remain on-site because of logistics, security, or cost reasons. Examples include fraud detection, predictive analytics, and genomics research, to name just a few.


Partners are at the Core of Our Strategy

During today’s keynote session, Henri Richard, NetApp vice president for worldwide field and customer operations, emphasized that “go-to-market with partners is at the core of our strategy.” NetApp works closely with its technology partners to develop the endpoints needed to build the Data Fabric. NetApp also works with a wide range of service providers, integrators, and resellers to build-out services that that provide new ways of combining internal resources with external cloud services.


For another perspective on the importance of our partner ecosystem and why our channel partners continue to play an important role, check out this short interview from Insight Berlin 2016 with Phil Brotherton, NetApp vice-president of the Cloud Business Unit.



Jim Lyons