It’s been 3 years since NetApp started its AI team and launched its first AI solution—a busy and productive 3 years for our growing AI team. Along the way, we’ve published nearly 100 blogs, hit 12 to 15 AI conferences each year, and developed a rapidly expanding library of white papers, e-books, case studies, and reference architectures. We’ve also developed architectures for specific industries like financial services, automotive, and healthcare.
The number of customers that rely on NetApp AI solutions has grown every year, with 150% year-over-year growth in our last fiscal year and continued AI adoption this year. The key reasons that customers choose NetApp AI solutions include:
- Automated AI data management capabilities
- Integration with industry-leading data science and data engineering tools
- Ability to architect a true hybrid cloud AI experience
Customers are leveraging NetApp AI solutions across all major industries, including retail, manufacturing, research, higher education, healthcare, and financial services.
For example, Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, with around 300,000 employees and 14,000 branches. To meet its growing IT and AI needs, Sberbank launched Sbercloud, a cloud services subsidiary serving Sberbank and other customers. One of Sbercloud’s key services is AI Cloud, which offers customers access to its Christofari supercomputer and high-performance NetApp storage. Designed jointly with NVIDIA, Christofari uses NVIDIA DGX-2 nodes and is the largest supercomputer in Russia.
To meet Sberbank’s needs, AI Cloud supports natural language algorithms plus a variety of models for credit scoring, fraud prevention, financial modeling, and HR processes. AI services are available to Sbercloud customers across many industries, with the goal of making AI more accessible to client companies regardless of experience.
The importance of partners
One thing we recognized from the beginning is that partnerships are essential for the delivery of complete solutions that solve customers’ challenges. NVIDIA was among our earliest AI partners. NetApp and NVIDIA have been collaborating for the last 3 years to help customers accelerate AI adoption and manage projects more easily as they move from proof of concept to pilot to production. Our attention to optimizing data pipelines amplifies NVIDIA’s rapidly expanding ecosystem of AI solutions.
NetApp has worked closely with NVIDIA to develop and deliver the ONTAP® AI platform and our DGX SuperPOD architecture. We’ve tracked NVIDIA’s computing advances closely, quickly adding support for new capabilities such as the DGX-2 and, most recently, the DGX A100. On the software front, NetApp and NVIDIA are collaborating on integrations with NVIDIA software for vertical markets, including Clara for healthcare, NVIDIA Drive for automotive, NVIDIA Jarvis for NLP in retail, and Parabricks for genomics.
Over the years, we’ve also been an active sponsor of NVIDIA GTC conferences. At the October 2020 event, we focused on accelerating enterprise AI adoption, offering a dozen sessions on important AI hardware, software, and industry-specific topics. (You can view NetApp’s sessions—and all the GTC 2020 sessions—here.)
NetApp AI Partner Connect
We have also built the NetApp AI Partner Connect network to foster an ecosystem of solutions and expertise that extends and enhances success with NetApp technology. This network includes a rapidly growing number of consulting, channel, cloud, software, hardware, and colocation partners focused on AI. We work closely with partners like Iguazio, Cnvrg.io, and Run.ai to deliver optimized solutions that take advantage of NetApp’s value add. In addition, NetApp collaborates on AI projects with leading resellers including Trace3, ePlus, Scan Computers, World Wide Technology, Insight Enterprises, CDW, Groupware Technology, Fujitsu, and others.
NetApp partnered closely with NVIDIA and Scan Computing to help King’s College London solve its AI data challenges, accelerate model development and deployment, and improve scalability.
King’s College is part of a consortium of three of London’s biggest universities and four of its best research hospitals. The group is seeking to create the AI-enabled hospital of the future and to transform the way that data is used in the National Health Service. The overriding goal is to dramatically improve patient care by using AI to simplify and accelerate radiology workflows, improve diagnosis, predict how diseases will evolve, and understand which drugs will work best for which patients.
Our team’s efforts included helping them accomplish three critical objectives to enable AI in clinical settings:
- Deploy state of the art hardware—compute, storage, and networking in hospitals—behind the firewall so that patient privacy and governance aren’t jeopardized.
- Build a complete software stack to manage all the data and compute jobs necessary to achieve greater insights.
- Federate multiple hospitals so they share a large pool of data to create better AI models and deliver better predictions.
Jorge Cardoso, CTO at King’s College, explained the school’s AI efforts at NetApp INSIGHT® London in February 2020. (His talk starts at about 22:50.)
Looking ahead to the next 3 years
Although this blog has focused on looking back, I also want to talk a bit about where NetApp AI is going. AI and analytics solutions for important industries including healthcare, financial services, and retail will continue to be a big focus for NetApp. Future blogs will target industry solutions and use cases.
As we continue to add to our AI solutions portfolio, expect to see NetApp expanding support for AI in the cloud. We’re excited about future solutions that combine the benefits of our Spot by NetApp and NetApp Astra™ technologies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Cloud Volumes Service, and other services in our cloud portfolio.
Making AI more accessible is another important focus area. Deploying, managing, and using the infrastructure and software necessary for successful AI and analytics can be complex and expensive. NetApp is continuing to work with partners on delivery of managed services for AI and AI as a service (AIaaS).
Ideation workshops with SFL Scientific
SFL Scientific is a data science consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and solving business and operational challenges with AI. SFL’s capabilities range from developing an AI strategy to building custom AI applications at scale. With a globally connected network of technology and cloud partners, SFL Scientific’s core services include leading cross-functional efforts across business, IT, and operations.
NetApp and NVIDIA are working with SFL Scientific to offer AI workshops tailored to accelerate AI adoption and to deep dive into organizations’ use cases. These workshops can help you connect AI technology to business value. Topics include:
- AI use case exploration and prioritization
- Data strategy to support use cases
- Infrastructure and architecture recommendations
- Data quality and risk identification
To find out more about these workshops, contact SFL Scientific by calling +1 (617) 804-0002.
More information and resources
To learn more about the full range of NetApp AI solutions, visit netapp.com/ai.
And check out these additional resources to learn about NetApp AI solutions:
- NetApp ONTAP AI solution brief
- NetApp AI Control Plane solution brief
- NetApp AI Control Plane technical report