This year’s NetApp Insight technical conference in Las Vegas was rich with information.  With over 400 sessions, keynotes, and labs – no matter what area of interest you have in enterprise data management, there was certainly ample opportunity to expand your knowledge base.  Here are the top highlights I took away from this year’s conference:


1) Data is the currency of the digital economy

In CEO George Kurian’s keynote address, he highlighted two necessities of today’s businesses – the discipline to make mature parts of the business more efficient, and the flexibility to capitalize on emerging business segments.  This will require, he explained, a digital transformation, where IT streamlines existing operations, while at the same time creating a real time operating environment where businesses can gain insight and quickly respond to customer requirements, thus creating a new digital economy.  George highlighted three areas where NetApp is assisting customers in their digital transformation: the removal of inefficient data silos, modular storage that bridges the gap between on-premise and cloud storage, and replacing HDDs with high-performance solid-state storage.



2) All-flash technology is a business differentiator and NetApp is all in

Over 50 breakout sessions were held at Insight on the topic of NetApp flash storage.  If there was ever any doubt as to NetApp’s commitment to this technology, they were erased during this event.  As Technical Marketing Engineer Melissa Palmer explained, the All-flash AFA A700 is first to market with 32Gb fibre channel and 40Gb Ethernet.  With NetApp all-flash storage grouped together with Cisco Nexus 9000s and UCS servers in a FlexPod configuration, Melissa was clearly pumped: “We’re just going to have FlexPods that are going to fly, they are going to be the fastest thing on the market!”



3) Hybrid clouds work smarter with the best data management and NetApp is the right choice

Included within Insight 2016 was the Cloud Strategy Forum, with over 10 hours of discerning discussion by NetApp executives, customers and partners. They explored the state of hybrid cloud adoption in production workloads today. A key topic was how organizations are taking advantage of a hybrid cloud approach to manage applications and data using a consistent and uniform process. As Jonathan Kissane, NetApp Chief Strategy Officer, explained “Hybrid cloud customers today want to have agility and innovation, but they want to be able to run their day-to-day operations cost effectively and with a clear conscience that they are controlling and managing access to data in a way that’s not jeopardizing the business.”



4) The Data Fabric changes the game on data management for hybrid cloud

Two years ago at Insight, NetApp announced the concept of a Data Fabric – a method of connecting disparate end points with a common storage platform.  Last year’s Insight brought this vision to reality with an early suite of products designed to quickly and easily move data from on-premises to the cloud, and from cloud-to-cloud.  This year, the discussion has moved to implementing a Data Fabric, with an ever-expanding product lineup, and increased Data Fabric functionality in ONTAP 9, ONTAP Cloud, ONTAP Select, NetApp Private Storage, SolidFire, AltaVault, StorageGRID, Cloud Sync service, and OnCommand. As NetApp co-founder Dave Hitz commented, “When people experience Amazon, or Google, or Azure, they are changed…they like to rent it, not buy it…then they come back and they say how can I have that on-prem?” With a clear vision, and a growing portfolio, NetApp is poised to help you build the Data Fabric that right for you.



5) The competitive landscape for data storage has changed and NetApp is gaining traction

EMC has been swallowed by Dell, with several years of restructuring ahead.  HP, IBM, and HDS continue down the road of siloed, monolithic storage with diminishing popularity.  Startups such as Pure, Nimble, and Nutanix have lost their sparkle and settled into their respective niches. NetApp, the only remaining major independent data storage provider, has continued to forge a path of innovation with breakthrough technologies in the areas of clustered storage, software-defined storage, flash storage, and hybrid cloud integration – all leading to the Data Fabric.  As things around us have changed, one thing has remained constant – that organizations worldwide can continue to count on NetApp for industry-leading software, systems, and services to manage and store their data, whether on-premises or in the cloud.


For more on how you can win with NetApp, see our highlights from NetApp Insight Las Vegas. If we’ve captured your interest in NetApp Insight, there’s still time to attend NetApp Insight Berlin (Nov 14-17, 2016).

Larry Freeman