There is no doubt that our world is changing fundamentally and quickly. New business models drive the creation of new applications and data services. Our customers’ businesses are going digital, constantly seeking to enable new customer touch points, create innovative new business opportunities, and optimize operations.


According to 451 Research, 31% of respondents to its “Voice of the Enterprise 2017” survey have a formal strategy and are actively digitizing their business processes and assets. A further 47% are considering or planning their digital transformation strategy.


This transformation is driving an unstoppable focus on data. The criticality and centrality of data is now the single business constant. For most companies, data used to be the enabler of business performance. Now data is the business.


How customers manage and consume data is also changing. Data-centric business refers to an enterprise architecture in which data is the primary and permanent asset, and applications come and go.


As a direct result of this business pressure, organizations are looking for more secure, efficient, future-proof infrastructure choices, options that simplify and integrate data management across cloud and on premises to accelerate digital transformation. This Data Fabric approach unleashes the power of data to achieve a new competitive advantage.


Data center transformation is happening at an unprecedented pace, from traditional data centers to a world dominated by cloud computing and IT as a service, delivered as a hybrid of public and private clouds. Most customers I talk to want to get there faster. Many also feel that they have reached an inflection point—they realize need to fundamentally transform their approach to data center infrastructure, from a configured to a programmable approach.


Control points are changing for decisions about data center infrastructure. Business teams want to spend much less time working with teams that spend all their time configuring 3-tier architectures.


We’ve seen adoption of converged infrastructure (CI) over the past few years, helping businesses to reduce risk and accelerate deployments. Now we see business owners and developers driving a shift to even more programmable and simple “cloudlike” infrastructures to allow IT to focus on the business and its data.


In this context, many traditional architectures fall short because:

  • They’re too complicated for new kinds of users who don’t care about storage.
  • They don’t scale dynamically, or to the scale required by the influx of data from sensors and the internet of things (IoT).
  • They require manual tuning and custom scripting for any kind of automation.
  • They aren’t cloud integrated; in fact, many trap data into siloes that prevent it from being used by the business.
  • They’re costly to run, require a staff of storage experts, and need constant management and reprovisioning to support the inflow of new requests from the business.

The next-generation data center describes a shift:

  • From single tenant to multitenant architectures to improve utilization and simplify management.
  • From scale-up to scale-out architectures that offer dynamic alignment with the business.
  • From hardware-defined to software-defined to promote agility.
  • From manual administration to complete automation, enabling management at scale.

Ask yourself: Are we at that inflection point? Maybe you are not for all of your business, but for just a part. Are you feeling the demand for more agile, scalable, predictable, and automated infrastructure to support where your business is heading, rather than where it has been?

Next-Generation Data Center

NetApp® cloud infrastructure solutions are designed for operational transformation. They offer a uniquely agile and elastic foundation for a continuously changing mix of variable, on-demand workloads.


Next-generation data centers are built on a foundation of node-based scale-out infrastructure stacks that are software defined. You can start small — there’s no need to pay up front for 3 years of infrastructure. Grow on demand, as needed, without migrations or forklift upgrades. Continue to scale without performance or efficiency limitations. Expect a 12X reduction in administration time.


Next-generation data centers are open and API-driven. Empower operational transformation with simple-to-use, complete REST APIs. Reduce the risk of human error associated with complex administrative tasks. Enable the rapid deployment of applications and services. Your goal should be “infrastructure as code.” Move software through the development cycle and into production faster, with better quality and minimal human interaction. Expect to lower operating expenses by up to 67%.


Next-generation data centers should provide guaranteed infrastructure performance and unparalleled data assurance. Deliver predictable performance to thousands of applications within a shared infrastructure. Expect to eliminate 93% of performance issues.


To deliver on the promise of the next-generation data center, you will need flexibility of deployment and consumption models, the broadest ecosystem, and hybrid cloud support. NetApp Data Fabric provides an architecture for integration and consistency of capabilities, across all platforms—endpoints, connections, ecosystems, and services. Expect to never have to add silo’ed solutions to your environment again.


There are many use cases for next-generation data center technologies, but our customers are typically looking to simplify and automate their OpenStack and VMware private clouds, end-user computing (VDI), and container environments. They want to accelerate their DevOps transformation across the software development lifecycle with code repositories, continuous integration/continuous delivery, and configuration and resource management.


Service providers are looking to build innovative cloud hosting infrastructures. Most organizations want to take advantage of increasing amounts of unstructured data with rich and distributed content management and IoT.


Infrastructure often gets talked about in specific siloes: all-flash array (AFA), CI, HCI, SDS, and so on. Consumption models in the next-generation data center are not about forcing you into a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather about aligning a model to your specific business need. NetApp provides flexible consumption models to help you along on the digital transformation journey, no matter where you are on that path.


We offer a portfolio of products architected specifically for the next-generation data center and its use cases. These products are built to be software-defined, agile, scalable, predictable, automated, and NetApp Data Fabric connected.


NetApp HCI is designed on the foundation of SolidFire® all-flash storage hardware and software to deliver enterprise-class performance. NetApp HCI can transform and empower your IT organization so you can move faster, drive operational efficiency, and reduce costs in order to realize the true promise of an enterprise-scale hyper converged solution. Unlike first-generation HCI, you can confidently deploy NetApp HCI from the edge to the core of your next-generation data center.



Now that data is the business, I ask you to challenge yourself to think less about the detailed features of the components of your infrastructure, and more about the architectural choices you are making to accelerate your focus on new applications and data services.


A next-generation approach is needed. Focus on your data. Accelerate your business.


To learn more, check out the Fueled by NetApp Program, designed to help hosting service providers define, develop, and capitalize on the new market opportunities made available by implementing NetApp next-generation storage architectures as part of their core infrastructure.


Also, see what thePub, our community of developers and automation experts who make technology go, has to offer.

John Rollason

John Rollason is Senior Director, Product & Solutions Marketing, Next Generation Data Center at NetApp. In this role, John is responsible for NetApp’s Next Generation Data Center marketing strategy. He works closely, not only with customers, partners, analysts and media, but also with leadership, sales, technical and product teams worldwide.

Prior to this role John was Marketing Director for SolidFire, acquired by NetApp in 2016, and responsible for global marketing strategy and delivery for the NetApp SolidFire Business Unit. John joined SolidFire in 2014.

Before joining SolidFire, John spent over nine years at NetApp, mainly in the role of Director, Product, Solutions & Alliances Marketing EMEA. Prior to NetApp, John worked for eight years at Nortel in a variety of positions in System Engineering, Business Development and Product Marketing.

John has spoken regularly at industry events for many years and attended The University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne gaining an M. Eng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He is a Member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology.

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