Two recent books frame the trends I’ve observed in customer conversations during my time at NetApp SolidFire.

Gene Kim’s “The Phoenix Project” is a must read, examining the story of a company struggling to implement a game-changing IT project. I’ve witnessed this firsthand during the earlier part of my career, and I think everyone will identify with the characters and situations in the story.

The key takeaway, for me, is that it contains the conversation many businesses face: “Is our IT actually delivering value to our business?” For all the skills built up inside IT departments, do those specialisms and fiefdoms really deliver to your bottom line? For digitally native businesses, many of which use SolidFire for their underlying platform, the answer is often unequivocally: “Yes!”

However for middle market companies, say in manufacturing or other industries who do not produce an electronic product, how can you be sure? And this is what I believe the DevOps approach and mindset is really about: making sure your IT apps are fundamentally enabling and delivering value for your business. Same goes for your IT infrastructure.

For SolidFire, dealing with many of the common storage issues (performance management, scaling out for performance and technical refresh) are resolved for you, making it unnecessary to build up specific skillsets and knowledge in your IT department. You can do more with less and get overall better outcomes.

Another key text for present-day IT is “Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech.” The book hits a broader trend, covering the move in IT from capital expenditure to operational expenditure. For me, this is about matching the revenue and returns from a particular platform you have built to the investment in its growth.

For far too long, I think as vendors we have relied on a three-year cycle of purchase, growth, and then refresh. At SolidFire, we allow you to break to out of the tyranny of the three-year cycle. You can start with a storage platform that has the lowest acquisition or lowest cost per gigabyte and then scale the platform as you need. Through nondisruptive upgrades, SolidFire customers take advantage of new features

Many SolidFire customers are service providers who can go further and offer the whole infrastructure platform to you as a service as an operational expenditure. They can offer the benefits of a dedicated managed services platform with the economic model of shared infrastructure. SolidFire gives you the guarantees on performance you expect, allowing you to focus more on your core business.

Enterprises with existing teams and skills can also build your own service provision or private cloud platforms, getting the same experiences with SolidFire storage that service providers do. SolidFire allows you to smash down the walls between your silos of infrastructure. Ensure your OpenStack, VMware, and container workloads get zero-touch storage integration. The SolidFire architecture uniquely aligns to the concepts in these two books of consumption and fundamental focus on business value.

To find out more on our solutions and how you can consume differently and focus on your core business with SolidFire storage, why not check out our white paper on choosing the right consumption model for your business?


Andy Roberts