Wednesday, 30 October 2019 03:31

NetApp announces Keystone – store, manage and pay for data storage wherever, however you want Featured


Global storage and data management vendor, NetApp, today announced major changes greatly simplifying how any company can procure, have support for, and pay for, NetApp products. This vision is dubbed Keystone signifying it is the solution to lock a data fabric strategy in place and has its roots in Australian innovation.

George Kurian, CEO, took to the stage at NetApp's annual Insight conference in Las Vegas to bring the news.

Keystone strives to reduce complexity in data storage and intelligence, making it as easy as “1-2-3,” Kurian said. There’s even something for the accountants.

No matter if you want your data to be in one or more of Azure, AWS or Google Cloud, or on-premise, or in a private cloud, and no matter if you want to pay with a subscription consumption-based model or traditional capital expenditure, and no matter how you want it to scale, Keystone makes it straightforward with all options covered.

“By the end of 2020 three quarters of our customers will be hybrid multi-cloud," Kurian said, and NetApp has positioned itself today as the only data services provider with a foothold in three global hyperscalers, along with private cloud and on-premise. It is also the only vendor offering such flexibility in procurement and pricing over all the offerings.

As far as customers are concerned there are only three things to consider: what level of performance do you want, what is your choice of data services - file, block or object, and who will manage it? Even the on-premise option can be managed by NetApp with “capacity as a service,” Kurian said.

Interested parties can scope out which options make the most sense for them via an online tool making assessments and recommendations.

It's a major change for storage - no longer the dull world of "snorage" - with NetApp adapting across its 27-year history as a storage hardware vendor to be a data services and software business, leaving behind competitors who remain hardware-only.

In Kurian's experience, enterprises will predominantly be hybrid multi-cloud environments, whether this was their original intention or not. “Customers who ended up in hybrid cloud without planning to be there have ended up in trouble,” he said.


Other announcements
NetApp also announced:

  1. all new hybrid flash and all-flash systems to give the scale and capacity to meet the needs of the largest AI or transactional environments
  2. enhancements to scale out NAS devices to deploy single global scaled-out namespaces together with metro-cluster and cache technologies
  3. NetApp Kubernetes service and fabric orchestrator


Always software
"The truth is we've always been a software company. The real differentiated IP of NetApp is very software-centric,” said Henri Richard, Executive Vice President, NetApp.

“Every company is a technology company, but more and more every company is a data company," says Kurian. “We are in a data-centric era. Businesses succeed on how they will use data to tailor their offerings to the need of their customers. NetApp is in the business of helping our customers use their data for success,” he said.

Typically NetApp Insight is a technology announcement event, but "this year, thanks to Keystone, it’s also a business model and innovation announcement,” Richard said. “Keystone is the missing piece of the puzzle, the last brick on the wall.”


Australian-led innovation
Before Keystone, the Australian NetApp team saw demand in the market for the concepts that have come together in this announcement such as consumption on demand.

"The market with the most aggressive public cloud adoption is the USA, the home of the big three hyperscalers,” Richard said. Yet, “Australia is a unique situation. It’s aggressive in new technology adoption.”

NetApp is "intrapreneurial," says Atish Gude, Chief Strategy Officer, NetApp. "We allow a certain level of entrepreneurism to play out in the regions. Fundamentally every region, every customer set is different, their needs are different, their buying needs are different.”

The Australian NetApp office found its customer base did not have an option to move to public cloud and wanted to consume on-premise like a cloud. This posed a challenge, but “the Australian team didn't take 'no' for an answer," Richard said. “In Australia we have a really sharp team that wanted something new,” said Biren Fondekar, Chief Transformation Officer, NetApp.

Thus, a new model was rolled out in this region, with NetApp watching how well-received the Australian agility and customisation for its local customers and partners were. and took many learnings out of it. “We saw this growing, letting Australia lead, and asked how do we scale this for the rest of the business,” said Fondekar.

Originally, the Australian offering was labelled Data Fabric as a Service, or DFaaS, explained Sanjay Rohatgi, Senior Vice President and General Manager APAC, NetApp, before evolving over the last years into today’s announcement of Keystone, available globally.


Data is the new oil
Digital transformation is the challenge of the current era, with much said on big data, machine learning and analytics, the Internet of Things, edge computing, 5G and more.

Yet, new solutions create new problems. "How do customers manage their massive data lakes which will be created as part of digital transformation? How do they analyse it, monetise it?” Rohatgi posed.

"Keystone is very important for where the cloud is going. The whole world is moving to hybrid multi-cloud,” he said.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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