Big data and cloud infrastructure is creating an innovation boom and massive business opportunity. Anytime a market is going under radical reformation there is an opportunity for any company to “move the ball” down the field” and take new market share. NetApp NTAP +0.08% is doing that today with a significant software announcement.
Today, NetApp is announcing their new version of their core storage operating system – clustered ONTAP. The emphasis of NetApp’s big move is a on a scale out unified strategy and announcing more storage nodes and more functionality of NetApp storage nodes. The success toward this new clustered ONTAP is the validation of software-defined storage.
Cloud infrastructure is the preferred approach by CIOs and the massive surge in data from people and devices is causing a the big data problem. This dynamic of cloud and big data is putting enormous pressure on the infrastructure of large enterprises. NetApp’s answer is its new ONTAP clustering software. Its clustered ONTAP storage operating system is designed specifically to deal with this big data problem. Architecturally, NetApp has embarked on an incredibly challenging mission – to build a platform that can truly scale out seamlessly and linearly with a very large number of nodes
The new software was years in the making and will be available to NetApp’s existing customer base as well as new customers. Clustered ONTAP was built as the company wide upgrade to NetApp’s existing installed base while enabling new capabilities as defined by software defined storage.
NetApp is going all-in on clustering, a gamble that Wikibon co-founder and chief analyst Dave Vellante says can pay off big time given the rapid adoption of software-led architectures in the enterprise.
Timing of the NetApp announcement is in line with the mega trends of cloud, mobile, and big data. Additionally NetApp’s software is in line with the customer demand for IT as a Service, Cloud infrastructure, and big data capability. This is driving the investment and innovation in the corporate enterprise Information Technology (IT) market.
More and more Chief Information Officiers (CIOs) are looking for ways to stay on top of the massive volume of Data or Big Data. NetApp’s vision is for CIOs to leverage their existing investments in storage while enabling more “head room” for more dynamic and real time capabilities.
NetApp has a huge installed base of customers that have deployed NetApp over the past decade. More importantly the new system software of clustered ONTAP positions the company for the future. This is significant because the new software will maintain the existing base of business for NetApp and help them win new business that new demands for mobile, cloud, and big data are driving.
Netapp’s new software gives businesses and cloud providers new to provide new infrastructure capabilities as a new cost structure while delivering new levels of capabilities. Businesses are investing in mobile applications and big data to drive more revenue and are looking for infrastructure that can adapt and deliver services fast. By having the speed and cost capability that focuses on maximum uptime like with NetApp’s Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 businesses can drive more productivity and efficiency from their storage hardware.
Moving data from node to node in a seamless way is the key value to customer of NetApp who have lots of storage. NetApp is betting the ranch on the new ONTAP software platform which includes the management portion ONCOMMAND.
NetApp, among its growing bolster of rivals, is ramping up smarter solutions to meet the demands of today’s CIOs. An undeniable influence on the data center of the future is data, how it’s stored and how analytics can be strategically placed to glean the most value from that stored data. The result of this data-driven architecting means NetApp must rethink the data center for data needs, enhancing each component with software to achieve better efficiency.
“CIOs are moving from builders of applications and operators of data centers to brokers of information services to the business,” said Jay Kidd, senior vice president and chief technology officer, NetApp. “This new role requires technologies that can speed IT response time and drive operational and resource efficiency. Clustered Data ONTAP fills this need today, providing the key building block that delivers the benefits of software-defined storage models and will replace existing slow and inefficient siloed approaches. Our new software gives IT unsurpassed agility, including the flexibility to deploy across multiple platforms.”
Scale Out for Cloud and Big Data
The big upshot to the Netapp software announced today is the appeal to enterprise IT. In the past scale out was reserved for large-scale compute environments as defined by high performance computing.
The ability to take a scale-out architecture and match it to the general purpose IT use case as opposed to it being siloed in specific verticals is something NetApp’s customers are looking for.
Scale-out architectures aren’t new, they have been around for a while, but in many cases they have been restricted to either specific areas of high-performance computing where there was a big concentration of compute to go with the storage.
Future for NetApp
For NetApp that means it needs to focus on making the best storage product possible, and retain customers through its core competencies. ONTAP in particular will need to perform well with automation, a critical piece of NetApp’s ability to scale its software-defined solution.
And as NetApp studiously builds a software-led solution for the emerging era of “software-defined everything”, time is not on NetApp’s side. To truly remain a leader in this space NetApp must craft a well-defined Storage-as-a-Platform strategy. The competition is bubbling up around flash-first storage arrays, and NetApp needs to get its best solutions out on the market to curb the fast-moving and highly disruptive takeover the storage space has seen in recent years.
- Technology and freedom – The Economist (blog) (darrellgreco.org)
- Rivals tout antidotes to EMC’s ViPR bite (go.theregister.com)
- Software-Defined Netapp – Always Makes The Right Moves When They Count and It’s Software Defined Storage (SDS) (forbes.com)
- Gartner magicians mumble, scrawl upstart’s rune on disk pentacle (go.theregister.com)