Snooping on a NetApp event: New cloudy OS on its way

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Social media can deliver multiple micro-glimpses of previously closed events, like a NetApp analysts event in San Francisco yesterday which revealed a new OS - Cloud ONTAP - and a coming Connect product for mobile access.

Here’s what we discovered by mining a blizzard of tweets from attendees with the hashtag; #NetAppIAS14. It’s all, of course, in little wordy nuggets, courtesy of Twitter’s 140-character post limit.

First, a couple of snippets and then meatier stuff;

  • Netapp’s chief marketing officer said it will have two user conferences in November; one in Las Vegas, the other in Berlin, Germany.
  • NetApp's emerging business areas of focus are: Big Data, Mobile, and Object Storage.

CEO pitch

  • NetApp “Growing organically by focusing on customer problems for continued market share gains remains a core focus.”
  • Macomber
  • CEO Tom Georgens: we shipped more #flash than anyone in the industry. [93PB flash shipped (18PB in FY14)] We are the #1 provider of flash in the world. (Actually HDS and EMC claim the same position.)
  • NetApp has sold 30,000 hybrid arrays and 1,000- all-flash arrays, yet most wouldn't list NetApp as a flash leader
  • Over 70 per cent of all NetApp arrays are shipped with flash
  • NetApp is largest storage provider to US federal government
  • NetApp claims 1 Exabyte of storage managed by clustered Data ONTAP
  • FlexPod on track for $3B revenue this year. 4100 FlexPod customers. Half systems used for database apps, 19 per cent for VDI. Big uptick for Flexpod Express
  • 750,000 E-series systems shipped and over 700 branded E-series customers

Software-defined storage

  • Georgens says of software-defined storage: "Management through the API is a failed model”.
  • Miniman Tweet
  • Georgens says: "software-defined is NOT the same as software-only”
  • Georgens: data management software with no hardware dependency is the epitome of software-defined storage
  • Georgens: “If it is 'truly' SW-defined storage, then the value proposition MUST remain the same no matter what HW is used.”
  • REinsel tweet
  • Georgens: We can use Amazon for 'disk-as-a-service' resource, provide value-add management on top, become more pervasive”

Object storage

  • IDC’s Ashish Nadkarni ‏tweeted: ‘“Object storage is finally a core focus area for NetApp - StorageGRID lives!
  • NetApp is expanding StorageGRID to target emerging web-scale object opportunities. Simplified delivery will help spur adoption.
  • Karp
  • A new release of StorageGRID - with S3 interface - due out later this year
  • Use Object storage for data you don't care about, archive, media and web data repositories (save and monetise later)
  • Object storage is gaining prominence as large-scale corporate archive. NetApp is watching this closely


  • Georgens: customers want the cloud to be a seamless extension of what they have on premise
  • Georgens: "There is lock-in in the cloud. Data has mass, and it's hard to move.”
  • Georgens: There are workloads that make sense in the Cloud and there are those that don't. Customers are working that out.”
  • Rollason
  • Georgens mentions 'hyperscalers' as most disruptive part of cloud
  • Georgens: NetApp has faced negative sentiments and turned threats (i.e. server virtualisation, flash) into opportunity [So ditto cloud? - Ed.]
  • Dave Hitz: We won't create another cloud. We'll work with partners. Microsoft, Rackspace, and Verizon all on stage
  • NetApp has formed a Cloud Business Group to focus its cloud innovation efforts for enterprises/cloud service providers
  • Jon Kissane is NetApp Chief Strategy Officer and now General Manager, Cloud Business Group
  • Rackspace's John Engates: We're experimenting with NetApp Data ONTAP running in the public cloud


This is a new version or variant of NetApp’s storage array operating system, Data ONTAP. It delivers storage resources using Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure, and integrated on-premise and off-premise data management


NetApp CloudONTAP schematic. Excuse crap mobile phone photo uploaded to Twitter.

  • Cloud ONTAP is extending of Clustered Data ONTAP to Public Cloud
  • CloudONTAP has agility, flexibility, elasticity and scalability
  • Villareal
  • Cloud ONTAP will appear as product and a service next year
  • CloudONTAP covers the full modern "Born in the Cloud" Enterprise Application Development Lifecycle
  • Strategy is "Cloud ONTAP" (coming next year) delivers hybrid with AWS/Azure

NetApp said CloudONTAP overcomes Data Gravity across hypervisors, on-premises and [public] cloud

NetApp Connect

NetApp will debut NetApp Connect later this year. It will address mobile endpoint data access, multi cloud storage environments.


Connect will address mobility needs securely with, with technology from 5 partners.

The product is based on NetApp’s ionGrid acquisition.

Flash Product Positioning

A slide shows NetApp’s flash array positioning, highlighting three platforms;

NetApp flash product positioning

NetApp flash array positioning

It's interesting that the all-flash EF-Series arrays are classed as being faster than the coming FlashRay; that's unexpected. Perhaps FlashRay won't have mature high-availability when it's first launched.

Have a look at the Twitter hashtag #NetAppIAS14 to receive your very own blizzard of tweets about it. ®

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