Agility is the buzzword of the day. We know we need it, so everybody wants this elusive advantage. But a bit like digital transformation, it is rife with multiple definitions depending on who you happen to be speaking with.
Last year, McKinsey published a report revealing that different industries and different organizations focus on disparate aspects of business agility, from employee engagement and customer satisfaction to financial gains and operational performance.
To me, business agility provides your organization with the necessary adaptability to grow and succeed on every level. Agility will enable your organization to weather many storms and adapt to:
- evolving customer demand
- competitive changes
- technology innovation
- regulatory modifications
… and yes, even sea-changes brought on by pandemics.
IDC is predicting that, to gain business agility, enterprises will commit to modernizing over half of their existing applications by 2022 through the use of turnkey cloud-native development and deployment services.
Creating business agility through technology – technical gymnastics
Legacy systems slow responses to the quickly changing business environments of today and reduce resilience to unforeseen bumps in the road (for example: 2020). At NetApp, we’re doing everything we can to provide our customers with maximum business agility to:
- reduce time-to-market from months to days
- remove bottlenecks from existing applications and business processes
- deliver more and better data to end users
- simplify your operations
- increase performance and reliability
- increase flexibility
- reduce your costs
Let’s look at cloud data platforms, multicloud, AI/ML, and Kubernetes in more detail.
Cloud data platforms – foundations that let you soar
A cloud data platform allows organizations to build, manage, and automatically optimize data-rich enterprise applications in the public cloud with excellent performance, low latency, and infinite scalability. A cloud data platform simplifies management, reduces costs, and increases availability and security. There is nothing to install or configure and nothing to upgrade. Even better: when you require advanced capabilities, you’ll enjoy simple, out-of-the-box data services.
The NetApp Cloud Volumes Platform and products built on the platform, such as Azure NetApp Files, allow you to adjust performance, capacity, and capabilities on-the-fly to match your workload requirements, while reducing both your upfront and ongoing costs. Both pay-as-you-go and monthly subscription options are available.
One of the biggest challenges today is the shortage of highly skilled employees. A cloud data platform is simple to use and autonomous by default, empowering less skilled employees – and entirely new professions – in your organization to do the work.
Another challenge that came to the forefront with the acceleration of remote work last year is the difficulty of accessing both Windows and Linux files on the same shared file system. Cloud Volumes and Azure NetApp Files enable both protocols to be served simultaneously. Cloud Manager provides a centralized control plane to manage, monitor, and automate your data in the hybrid cloud.
One of our customers struggled to maintain VMs and OSes. They added cost and complexity to their operations by running separate servers to handle both Windows and Linux file shares. By migrating to the cloud with Cloud Volumes Services, they:
- reduced their costs by more than 50%
- reduced maintenance times by more than 50%
- gained support for both Windows and Linux files
- added scalability with three performance tiers
- consistently obtained up to 450 IOPS
Your cloud data platform is the rock-solid foundation for building an agile organization.
Multicloud experiences – portability to the max
But it gets better. At NetApp, we provide a cloud-agnostic experience, enabling you to choose which cloud – or clouds – to use. So, you gain not only high performance, scalability, and security, but also unparalleled portability that eliminates vendor lock-in. We offer a multicloud experience to enable your applications to run where they perform best at whatever stage you are in your cloud migration journey. You can choose to deploy some of your applications in any of the public clouds, in a private cloud infrastructure, in your custom on-premises environment – or any combination.
Multicloud offers unprecedented flexibility and the opportunity to take advantage of best-in-class services, wherever they are. A hybrid multicloud environment enables simplified consumption, self-service, automation, programmable APIs, and infrastructure independence. And now, Kubernetes has made the dream of application portability across multiple clouds more feasible than ever.
More oomph for Kubernetes and AI/ML with Astra
Kubernetes enables organizations to decouple and automate the deployment of additional compute power and data storage systems, and it is becoming increasingly popular in the cloud. What Kubernetes lacks is out-of-the-box data management capabilities, and that is where NetApp comes in. Combining our cloud data platform with Kubernetes, you can increase efficiency, scalability, and availability while reducing risks, costs, and complexity.
Astra, which has just gone into general availability, is a cloud-native SaaS solution that provides fully managed, application-aware storage, protection, and data management built for Kubernetes applications in public clouds and on-premises. There is no software to install, manage, or upgrade; just an elegant UI providing simple, real-time visualizations. For Linux and Windows apps, you gain scalable, efficient storage, low latency, and always-on encryption.
You can extend Kubernetes functionality using NetApp’s trusted data management and backup technology for snapshots, replication, and cloning. Schedule application-consistent snapshots to improve RPO and RTO times. Easily clone an application at any point in its development, from production to staging.
Full-stack portability is a snap with Astra, including application state and associated persistent storage. You can migrate applications and data from one Kubernetes cluster to another in the same or a different public cloud. Or you can restore the entire cluster to the same or a different public cloud.
Astra also provides important data services critical to many popular enterprise applications such as messaging, search, indexing, AI/ML analytics, SQL/no-SQL databases, and DevTest continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines.
Strategic benefits include:
- Stretch the limits of your existing applications and processes far beyond their current limitations. Think: more data, users, and geographies, coupled with higher performance and greater flexibility. The sky is the limit.
- Gain out-of-the-box AI and ML capabilities, including the ability to handle the limitless amounts of data that are critical for AI and ML. Drive hyperautomation based on AI and ML.
- Foster innovation, gain the ability to experiment and “fail fast.” Develop in a containerized environment and vastly reduce the time it takes to get into production using Astra and CI/CD capabilities.
- Enjoy peace of mind with out-of-the-box data protection. It’s simple with one-click backup and restore.
Our continuing innovation helps our customers do more in Kubernetes, in the cloud – wherever your data resides, however you need to access it.