Take Five With Tom Fenton

5 Reasons To Attend The NetApp Insight Conference

The storage vendor is once again in the spotlight.

NetApp has remained low key over the last couple of years. Although they still have a presence in most datacenters, lately there just hasn't been much buzz around their product line. That seems to be changing of late, though.

Over the last year or two they've made some critical acquisitions, something they've avoided until recently in favor of developing technology in-house. Moreover, they've brought some new blood into some strategical and tactical positions within the company. NetApp is getting bold again -- in its earnings call with investors in August, NetApp CEO George Kurian threw down the gauntlet when he asserted that the NetApp's next-generation hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) system, based on SolidFire storage software, "would leave Nutanix and VMware products in the dust."

With NetApp's positioning for a strong future in mind, here are the five reasons you should consider attending this year's NetApp Insight conference in Las Vegas.

  1. SolidFire. NetApp bought the all-flash array provider SolidFire a couple of years ago. SolidFire was, and still is, a leader in its field, and I'm interested to see first-hand what kind of synergy SolidFire and NetApp have developed.
  2. HCI. As indicated in George Kurian's remarks, HCI is expected to be a high-growth segment in the datacenter in the next few years, and NetApp certainly wants to be part of it. Having a SolidFire-backed hyperconverged appliance in the works could very well make NetApp an emerging performance leader in this category.
  3. Cloud offerings. NetApp has partnered with AWS and Azure. It makes sense for NetApp to partner with these companies rather than try to build out their own data public cloud. My guess is that NetApp is going to use their cloud partners for business continuity and disaster recovery. Recently, NetApp bought Greenqloud, an Iceland company that provides cloud services. It will be interesting to see how NetApp integrates technology with its cloud strategy.
  4. ONTAP. To many people, ONTAP, NetApp's proprietary operating system, is synonymous with NetApp. I want to know how it's evolved over the past few years, and what future plans NetApp has in store for it.
  5. It is not in San Francisco. OK, I'll be the first to agree that San Francisco is a wonderful place to vacation, but it's not a great place to hold a convention. Not only do hotels book up early, they can get spendy -- really, really spendy -- and the hotel rooms tend to be smaller and spaced out all around town; very few are conveniently located in relation to the convention center. Vegas, on the other hand, is not a place I would like to vacation, but is a great place to have a convention. It has a convenient airport with plenty of flight options for those traveling regionally, from the east coast, and internationally. Vegas also has reasonably-priced hotels and a fair amount of off-hours entertainment options.

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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