Four data-driven views from Insight Las Vegas 2018 on Day One


Like most of the 5,000 attendees at Insight 2018 in Las Vegas, Brad Clark wants a data solution that’s ultra-reliable. The reason might surprise his fellow attendees. Brad, for those who don’t know him, is the Director of Storage Systems at McKesson, one of the world’s biggest healthcare companies. When one of McKesson’s 16,000-member pharmacies doesn’t dispense right prescription to the right person at the right time, someone could lose their life. For this reason, and many others, Clark says he and his team at McKesson are extremely data-driven.


“Reliability is paramount for us because it carries with it life and death consequences,” Clark said.


Because of the demanding nature of McKesson’s business Clark is a big fan of NetApp’s Cloud Data Services and its ability to work with Azure NetApp Files.


“Before we made the switch, our development team was in the break/fix mode,” Clark said. “Now we can offer our customers real-life solutions.”


One of those real-life solutions is using data to pinpoint which pharmacies and or clinics are dispensing too many opioids in relations to the population it serves. Because of McKesson’s deep expertise in pharmaceutical distribution, analytics, and information technology, it is committed to using its industry knowhow to help address some of the multitude of issues contributing to the opioid epidemic


“We know where the problems are and can help take corrective action,” he said.

A classroom and curriculum like nowhere else

Even before the formal sessions are underway, Violet Rodriguez (also known as SpaceGirl Violet) is more than just a little excited about attending her first Insight. “I just need a lot more information about NetApp overall because all my clients are talking about the company,” she said while juggling her laptop, coffee, and an overstuffed backpack. “There’s just so much to learn.


Violet, who has a special interest in DevOps and the Cloud, said she’s also impressed by the Data-Driven aspect of NetApp’s approach. “It’s such a succinct way of expressing what’s on everyone’s mind. To me’ it’s a lot more than a slogan.”


This is also Violet’s, who lives in Houston, first trip to Las Vegas. “I’m not sure what to say about this place. It certainly is different.”


As he settled into a very comfortable couch, Cody Hawkins had just two things on his mind. “I’m here to do a deep dive into ONTAP,” said Hawkins, who works for NetApp Partner Insights Direct USA. “All my customers want to know more and more about it. I just want to learn as much as I can, and this is the place to do it.”


What’s the second thing on Cody’s mind? It’s all about Little League baseball. “I’m coaching my nephew’s baseball team later this week and if my flight home is late, he’s going to be very disappointed.”


Sitting next to Cody on the couch, Bernie Clear (yes, he’s heard all the jokes about his last name), is here on a mission to learn. “For me, I’m here to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can,” said Bernie, who works for Worthington Industries. “To be in a place where I can talk to so many experts is very exciting.”

What developers and cloud unicorns are saying

For developers, the word “unicorn” refers to someone with such a diverse range of skills that they’re incredibly rare.  At Insight, they’re slightly more common (although they have two legs instead of four and prefer funny hats to a single horn coming out of their heads.)


Julius Earl, who works for UCLA Health, is just such a person. He works both as Storage Administrator and Cloud Architect. He says in today’s world of data solutions, it’s important to know which data belongs onsite and what belongs in the Cloud.


It’s what’s hot and it’s what’s happening,” said Earl who is attending his first NetApp. “I’m here to just check things out and what I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen at NetApp. They certainly have a strong approach.”

Redefining perfect is the next frontier for women in technology

More than 300 people attend the Women in Technology (WIT) session on the first day of Insight. The organization, whose sole aim is advancing women in technology — from the classroom to the boardroom – heard from George Kurian, CEO of NetApp, Jean English, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at NetApp, Mekka Williams, Senior Software Engineer at NetApp, and Renee Yao, Senior Product Marketing Manager at NVIDA, Kate Swanborg, SVP of Technology Communications and Strategic Alliances at DreamWorks, Sheila Rora, Chief of Staff to NetApp CEO and Business Transformation.


To succeed in technology, English said women needed a new definition of perfect. “We need to redefine perfect into the real perfect,” English explained. “No one is perfect at what they do. We need to take control on this issue.”


Kurian urged the audience to take a risk on people who are from a different background than their own. Early in his career, Kurian said many people had taken a risk on him, whom he described as a clueless kid from India.


“Too often we hire people who look like us instead of considering who would be the best possible member of the team,” Kurian said. “My advice is to get to know somebody who isn’t like you.”


Renee Yao said it was important to try something different every day. She also took issue with the current business buzzwords about failing quickly. “I think people should learn quickly,” she noted. “Learning makes all the difference.”


Stay tuned for the next series of interviews from the feet on the street at NetApp Insight!

Barry Kliff

Barry Kliff is NetApp’s Chief Storyteller where he is responsible for helping to shape the company’s image, explaining how technology impacts people's lives all over the world, creating a better understanding of complex subjects like Artificial Intelligence (AI), and generating a sense of pride among the people who work at NetApp. Before becoming a Chief Storyteller, which he says is the best job and job title at NetApp, Kliff was instrumental in the creation of /, which is now at 1.2B+ page views per month. A longtime journalist/reporter in all media, Kliff was twice nominated for the National Newspaper Award.