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By Bill Lipsin, vice president, NetApp Global Channels

Remember that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times?” Well, it’s come to the IT world. Customers today live in very interesting times. They face a bewildering array of technology choices and are struggling to navigate a rapidly changing IT landscape.

The storage industry alone is seeing innovations in media (flash, storage class memory), platform design (converged, hyper-converged), software (objects, open source) and delivery models (private public, hybrid cloud). The innovators, including established companies and startups, are all touting their uniqueness.

Customers are confused and they’re looking for guidance: How can they take advantage of all this change? How can they turn new technology innovations into a competitive advantage? How do they choose a path that’s right for their business today and into the future? What are the risks and benefits of choosing one path over another? And how do they accomplish all of this without being boxed into a corner with a single vendor or technology?

At the same time, partners are facing similar questions as they re-engineer their businesses. Which areas should they invest in? Which technology vendors should they partner with? Which path will leverage their expertise and be the most profitable for their business? How do they move to this brave new world while managing their existing business? How do they manage all of this financially?

Interesting times indeed. The good news is that all of this confusion and disruption is creating new opportunities for NetApp and its partners. Together, we solidify our position as trusted advisors-helping our mutual customers solve their most strategic business challenges today and into the future.

NetApp Data Fabric: Channel Partner Value-Add and Expertise More Critical Than Ever
The Data Fabric is NetApp’s technology architecture for hybrid cloud. It provides customers with the ability to seamlessly and securely move their data across the entire IT landscape spanning flash, disk and cloud. Flash as a separate storage silo confounds the CFO bent on reducing IT spending. But the Data Fabric uniquely offers a solution where flash can be integrated into existing infrastructure and managed with a common user interface, without creating new data siloes in the process.

From a partner perspective, the Data Fabric underscores the “V” in VAR (Value-Added Reseller). It opens the door for partners to wrap their value-add around NetApp’s portfolio-to deliver new services and solutions, differentiate their offerings, reach new buying centers and increase their profitability. Customers can’t navigate the cloud journey alone, and that makes the expertise and value-add that channel partners provide more critical than ever.


Beyond Boxes to Business Outcomes
The Data Fabric powered by NetApp elevates the customer conversation beyond selling boxes to delivering business outcomes. It enables partners to identify which solution-disk, flash, cloud or a hybrid approach-is right for their customer. This enables partners to solve their customers’ immediate needs, while providing the flexibility to meet evolving requirements. For example, a customer that needs flash storage today can later move that data to a less costly disk environment, and eventually transfer it all, or part of it, to the cloud (public or private).

Part of the beauty of NetApp’s flash-to-disk-to-cloud platform is that customers don’t have to be pressured into the cloud. It’s an investment that allows customers to go to the cloud if and when they want, but equally to stay with flash and/or disk-whatever path is right for their business. Only NetApp delivers that level of data management flexibility-allowing data to be moved seamlessly and securely across multiple platforms.

The Road Ahead
In these interesting times, disruption creates opportunity for those that are ready to take advantage of it. The Data Fabric provides the foundation-a road map for partners to help their customers seize these opportunities today and into the future.

If you’re joining us at NetApp Insight this year, you’ll learn a lot more about our vision of the Data Fabric and the low-barrier-to-entry starter kits that provide blueprints on how to get started with the cloud. We call them Data Fabric Solution Essentials:

  • OpenStack Solution Kit: Get up and running on an OpenStack private cloud in days, not months, with known costs and without the design and implementation risk.
  • Application Acceleration Solution Kit: Accelerate application lifecycle from development to production by adding non-disruptive optimization and access to elastic compute for databases.
  • Snap-to-Cloud DR Solution Kit: A single replication solution for disaster recovery, business intelligence, data distribution and dev/test.

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Data Fabric is NetApp’s vision for the future of data management. It gives you the freedom to seamlessly manage your data across the hybrid cloud. You can move data where you need it most, innovate faster, and always make the best decisions for you and your organization.


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NetApp Staff