I’m thrilled to officially become part of the global NetApp A-Team! It’s been a wonderful journey, beginning with my time in the EMEA chapter. I’ve been an advocate for NetApp for the last 12 years, and I’m looking forward to continuing that work as a member of the global A-Team.
Part of my role at Logicalis involves assisting the CTO team with strategic vendor and partnership evaluations. We spend a lot of time engaging with our partners to understand their offerings and learn where we can provide joint value to our customers. Recently, I was listening to a solution pitch from one such vendor. I watched as people around the room were nodding in wonderment. They couldn’t believe that this solution could remove the need for a third-party backup vendor to make copies instantly and replicate off site. Then it hit me—that capability has been built into NetApp software for the last 15+ years! Snapshot, SnapCenter, and SnapVault are being used for unified backup by thousands of customers today. Somewhere in all the buzz words, we forgot about how transformational these basic functions of NetApp are.
Here’s where my opinion might get a little controversial. We need to stop talking about the finer details of technology in presales meetings. Let’s not have a conversation about NVMe. It’s not relevant right now. We need to stop defining everything as “cloud.” It should be a given that cloud integration is built in. We need to stop going on and on about flash. Let’s just make it the default. Position it correctly with the right business case and leave the technology conversation alone.
What do customers ask for? Nearly all customers want the same thing from their infrastructure. They want:
- Data integrity
- Business continuity
- Visibility of data assets and reporting
- Data anywhere
- Compute anywhere
Once you’ve established what your customer wants, it’s your job to position NetApp solutions to fit their needs—not the other way around. Here are some examples:
Data integrity: NetApp has a 24-year heritage in data storage with the world’s #1 storage operating system. ONTAP stands up to any questioning.
Data protection: Enter the Snap suite. Application-aware snapshots with built-in offsite replication are standard. SnapCenter with SnapVault can be used for an integrated, NetApp storage-driven backup solution. NetApp have been doing this for years.
Business continuity: Another box ticked by NetApp SnapMirror. It’s simple, it’s elegant.
Visibility of data assets and reporting: NetApp OnCommand is included on all NetApp systems, whether in the cloud or on the premises. All your data is controlled from one solution.
Efficiency: Deduplication, compression, and compaction—NetApp practically invented data efficiency. My biggest NetApp AFF cluster is currently running at 3.25:1 efficiency (excluding Snapshot copies).
Agility: This is the second biggest selling point of the NetApp Data Fabric. If I can get customers to fully understand the power of the Data Fabric then the other vendors don’t stand a chance.
Data anywhere: The biggest selling point of the Data Fabric. NetApp ONTAP 9 can be deployed on premises all the way to full public cloud and everywhere in between. It’s a hugely powerful message.
Compute anywhere: NetApp Private Storage enables you to keep your storage in a data centre in the location of your choice and have public cloud compute over 10GB ISCSI or NFS. This gives you massive flexibility for Test and Dev, DR, and even production burst workloads.
These are the basics of NetApp. This is functionality that other vendors can’t even put together with multiple products, let alone a single technology. As techies, we all love a good “ones and zeros” discussion, but that alone will do nothing for a customer looking for business advantages. Talk about the basics and watch people around the room nod in your direction. I do this on a regular basis, and it’s a good day’s work.