Hybrid multicloud is quickly moving into the mainstream. Some companies are pursuing it intentionally; some find themselves in a multicloud world by accident. However a company lands there, it has a growing interest in this topology. Hybrid multicloud can offer the ability to combine external data sources or corporate data that is already in the cloud with a firm’s enterprise data sitting on site.  By combining data in this way, companies intend to gain insights that were not possible before. However, already-taxed technology teams are now facing new levels of complexity, trying to manage applications and data sources that span multiple cloud providers and deployment types (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS).

 

With the introduction of NetApp® Fabric Orchestrator, our new professional services for data fabric, and our new, flexible consumption models, these technology teams can work less yet do more.

The Data Entanglement

To say the least, data integration and management are complex. Every application in an enterprise complicates data management by introducing application logic into the data management tier with little to no concern for the next data use case. Subsequently, although data architecture and business processes should work in concordance, they often don’t. When this happens, well-meaning business and technical teams huddle in rooms to resolve the issues, often creating a new workflow that further complicates things. This resulting “data entanglement” prevents data from being converted into actionable information. What’s more, muddled environments can be costly. In “Liberate Applications for Migration by Disentangling Data”, Gartner estimates that through 2020, 90% of organizations in hybrid data management environments will incur up to four times their budgeted data management costs, because of data architecture and governance issues.

Data Fabric Born

Five years ago, NetApp pioneered the idea of the data fabric. Our concept is straightforward: A data fabric is an architecture and a set of data services that provide consistent capabilities across a choice of endpoints spanning on-premises and multiple cloud environments. The idea resonated with customers and analysts. In fact, it resonated so much that earlier this year, Gartner declared data fabrics to be one of the top 10 data and analytics technology trends for 2019.

 

During the ensuing 5 years, we’ve listened to customers tell us what they wanted from their data fabric. Here’s what we learned.

 

As a customer, you want:

  • To know where your data is, regain control of it, and tell it where to go
  • To know if your data is secured and compliant
  • To gain insights that let you optimize for cost reduction and increased productivity, and to have way to act on those insights
  • To offer a data fabric that your team can use efficiently without micromanagement
  • To organize your data fabric by using simple concepts like tags and labels
  • To be built using cloud design principles: cloud native services, application centric design, and automation

Data Fabric Delivered

Acting on customers’ requests, we are proud to announce the next step in data orchestration. NetApp Fabric Orchestrator is a data service connecting all points of data production with all points of data consumption. The ability to collect and analyze internal and external data can dictate how well an organization will generate knowledge and, ultimately, value. The philosophy behind Fabric Orchestrator is that it makes it easy to for you to do what you want.  Fabric Orchestrator is designed to help harness your “intent,” so it’s simple for you to discover, manage, control, and govern your data no matter where in the world it resides. For example, using Fabric Orchestrator, you can:

  • Easily scale processes and policies across an entire data estate
  • Apply access controls automatically to new datasets according to established policy
  • Organize data by using simple concepts like tags and labels
  • Automate the proximity of data according to usage patterns and applications
  • Enforce data deletion policies across all applications without relying on busy administrators to remember to remove data

Fabric Orchestrator uses a three-layer architecture to connect to data across the enterprise:

  • The Fabric Orchestrator layer converts intention into action, without requiring any advanced administration skills. Everyone agrees that managing data effectively is important, but companies have so much data distributed in so many areas, it’s beyond the ability of any one person to manage it. Fabric Orchestrator makes it possible for just a few people to manage petabytes of data across the globe.
  • Fabric API Services connect to your data no matter where it is. What’s more, the API also enables connections to additional services so that you can get running quickly using your workflow and choice of tools.
  • The Data Hub uses artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to automate, monitor, and optimize resources for predictive and actionable insight. This means that Fabric Orchestrator will keep an eye on things, helping you reclaim storage space by tiering cold data or reminding you to renew a service contract before it expires.

Fabric Orchestrator will be generally available during the third quarter of 2019.

Data Fabric Optimized

Cloud is not just an IT design model; it also holds value as an economic model. To this end, we are also announcing simplified licensing so you can affordably move your data and applications wherever you want them to be. Our customers increasingly want to transition traditional capital expenditure (capex) purchases to operational expenditures (opex) and subscriptions. This is true whether they prefer to manage the infrastructure themselves or whether they want a fully managed service. So, we now offer NetApp Cloud Volumes Service On-Premises, a fully managed service in your data center or colocation facility consumed as you would consume a public cloud. NetApp owns the gear and manages and sizes it with you according to your unique capacity and performance requirements. It’s all billed monthly on a capacity basis. As your requirements change, you can purchase capacity blocks that entitle you to more capacity.

 

Also, we’re adding a free version of NetApp Cloud Insights, our monitoring and optimization tool that gives you visibility into the entire infrastructure. Cloud Insights advanced data collection and analytics capabilities monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize costs across all resources, including public clouds and private data centers. Customers have found that Cloud Insights saves them an average of 33% on cloud costs and prevents as much as 80% of cloud issues from affecting end users.

 

We’ve learned a lot from our customers since we announced the data fabric concept in 2014 and they’ve made one thing abundantly clear; it’s their business, their data and they want to consume cloud on their terms.  By adding NetApp Fabric Orchestrator, new professional services, flexible licensing, and monitoring to our already deep partnership with the world’s leading cloud providers, we are helping customers take a big step in realizing that goal.  So, free your developers to build anywhere. Your data is always on, always available and easily consumed. Optimize your IT investments. Pay for what you need when you need it. And since it’s your data fabric. Go ahead and attach it to any cloud. You’re the boss.

Michael Grant

Michael is a marketer by profession, technologist by accident and endlessly curious by nature. He has been obsessed with the intersection of business and technology for well over two decades. When at home in Austin TX, his wife and their six daughters have learned to cheerfully tolerate his disruptive carpentry and gardening projects.