Ask the IT Department ‘How many Cloud Applications are you using in your organisation?’ and you will typically
get an answer. Ask the Business Units the same question and you will get another answer. It is highly likely that
the two will not match. In some cases there will be a significant discrepancy between the two. This is a clear
indicator that the activity known as Shadow IT is alive and thriving in your organisation. It will be operating in the
Shadows away from the prying eyes of the accountants, budget police, procurement and IT.
But, how did we get to this point? You’ll be glad to hear that this is not new. Back in the days of mainframe computing,
disruptive technologies called the Mini and Micro arrived. What was once the domain of the IT Department was quickly
lost as Business units carved out IT budgets for projects which allowed them to move quickly. The IT and procurement
departments were not renowned for moving at pace.
Slowly but surely IT’s grip on Compute and Data Storage was diluted. Today’s ‘Shadow IT’ addresses the same objective.
Move fast and on the law of averages you will grab market share and grow. Only today, the ‘Window’ you have available
to you to grab share closes a lot quicker than it did a decade ago. You have to be quick. If you can’t then look to transform.
The question the organisation needs to ask itself daily is ‘Can we make decisions fast enough to win?
What are the challenges? The First is delivering service against the background of ever changing objectives. Fixed,
Inflexible IT assets may hold you back. The ‘Old Style’ Datacentre is unlikely to cut it. The elastic, Virtual Datacentre is
likely to win. No longer will you point to a room full of kit and say, “that’s our Datacentre”, because the likelihood is that it
will morph based on demand. Plan for the peak but don’t spend capital on IT kit for the peak. Look to the OpEx budget
to hit those peaks, expand and contract as demand dictates.
But wait…..there remains a huge investment in maintaining the operationally important legacy ‘Systems of Record’.
This is not going to change quickly or easily. Processes and procedures for these systems were hard fought.
This bimodal mode of operation describes legacy and future IT consumption models operating in tandem.
The two modes will co-exist for many years to come.
How are NetApp addressing the change in IT consumption ? I will be bold and state at the outset, regardless of the
model you run your business on, the one set of parameters that become more important is the requirement for
Data Management. Data no longer has a fixed home, however it remains the lifeblood of the organisation.
NetApp recognised the change in consumption several years ago, and lead with the term Data Fabric. This describes
an interconnected business where the free flow of data and information drives faster decision making,
improved economics and opportunity for growth.
The ONTAP 9 Announcement on the 31st May reinforced that position. ONTAP can run simply anywhere, on
engineered systems, on a platform you select (ONTAP Select), in a Cloud Service provider or Hyperscaler
Write Once, Read Many (WORM) copies helping you comply with record retention compliance regulation.
Encryption and on-board key management are also included. In EMEA, the EU General Data Protection Regulation
was agreed on the 17th December 2015 and will come into force in 2018. ONTAP 9 will give your organisation
the tools to get to grips with the requirements of the legislation.
Here is a quick summary of the new features in ONTAP 9 Data Management Software
NetApp were also 1st to announce the availability of 15.3TB SSD drives. Flash is at the point in the maturity cycle where it
is no longer a niche product. It is mainstream, no longer a sub-set, but an increasingly dominant market in its own right.
I predict that by 2020 one third of datacentres WW will be All-Flash. The density of SSD is outstripping HDD at a
frightening pace. 15.3TB SSD’s are 50% bigger than the largest HDD available today. It won’t stop here ! Our goal is
to make new, higher Flash Capacity SSD available in the market as quickly as possible, optimised by ONTAP. This way
customers have the choice and flexibility to make the right infrastructure decision for their operation.
15.3TB SSD radically changes the landscape of the datacentre. The economics, business value and opportunity
delivered by Flash storage goes way beyond Cost per GB.
This graphic shows one example of the dramatic impact on the design of the datacentre.
Finally if you are looking to derive guaranteed Data Management and Performance value from ONTAP 9 and Flash,
then the FlashAdvantage 3-4-5 program can help you build your business case.
Here is a summary of the program:
In summary, transformation to a Digital Business raises many questions for regulated industries where data governance
and compliance mandates managing data assets across the virtual IT landscape.
If your objective is to:
- be fast enough to win
- manage and control ‘Shadow’ data assets inside and outside the organisation
- maintain legacy systems-of-record
- consistently demonstrate data governance and compliance
- stay ahead of your competition
Then ONTAP 9 delivers rich data management coupled with high performance optimised Flash storage.
ONTAP 9 drives the possibility of a new contract between the business and IT – where IT enables the business to
move fast enough and win.
Quick links to further ONTAP 9 and FlashAdvantage 3-4-5 Information
Laurence James on behalf of the NetApp EMEA Products and Solutions Team
Follow me on twitter @lozdjames