Take Five With Tom Fenton
5 Hottest Technologies at NetApp Insight 2018
This year, NetApp laid out a roadmap for its future and educated its customers about its existing product line.
NetApp Insight 2018, held in Las Vegas from Oct. 22-24, drew in around 5,000 NetApp customers and partners, according to NetApp's figures. This is the fifth year that the event has been open to the media, analysts and NetApp's partners; previous to that, Insight was focused mainly on technical training for users and NetApp employees. This year, NetApp laid out a roadmap for its future and educated its customers about its existing product line, and, once again, NetApp did an excellent job at making Insight a success as a whole. Following are the five technologies and subjects that I found most interesting at NetApp Insight 2018.
NetApp HCI. I had a chat with those in charge of NetApp HCI, and it seems like their HCI offering is exceeding NetApp's and their customers' expectations. Now that this product is a year old, NetApp has added two more compute nodes to its lineup: the H410C and H610C. Both nodes have Intel CPUs, but the H610C comes equipped with a GPU. In one of the sessions, NetApp suggested that HCI should stand for hybrid cloud infrastructure rather than hyperconverged infrastructure, which plays nicely into its overarching vision.
NetApp Cloud Insights. I was somewhat fascinated by this cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool that gives users monitoring and cost optimization for their on-premises and public cloud-based infrastructures. Although I was impressed with its capabilities, I was equally impressed with its frictionless sales model. Being that NetApp Cloud Insights is cloud-based, there's nothing to install, and it looks like NetApp will be offering a free trial of this product. Those who want to use this service can sign up online to do so.
MAX Data. About a year and half ago, NetApp acquired Plexistor, and I didn't think that it was going to be a good fit for NetApp as I always considered Plexistor a server/compute solution rather than a storage solution. But now we're starting to see the fruition and implementation of this acquisition and I need to correct myself: It was, in fact, an ingenious acquisition. While Plexistor is an extremely performant local host-based filesystem rather than an attached filesystem, when it's coupled with other NetApp technology via NetApp ONTAP, it becomes an integral part of NetApp's Data Fabric vision, which could mean that it may have features such as snapshots, High Availability (HA) and data tiering
NetApp Kubernetes Service (NKS). NetApp is diving into the container arena big time with NKS, which is the offspring of NetApp's acquisition of stackpoint.io. In simple terms, NKS is a cloud-based SaaS application used to deploy and manage Kubernetes across public clouds, as well as on-premises NetApp HCI systems. This technology is one I'm hoping to get some time with in my lab to see how it can ease the deployment and management of Kubernetes.
Service Availability. It looks like OnTap 9.5 will have a neat feature called Service Availability. What caught my eye on this feature is that it looks like it makes backing up to Amazon Web Services (AWS) a single-click operation (more public cloud options may come later). I've always held the opinion that one of the more useful ways in which the cloud can be used is as backup storage, and it looks like NetApp may have greatly simplified the process of backing up and restoring data to the public cloud.
Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 30 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 20 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He currently works as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware in Staff and Senior level positions. He has also worked as a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, where he headed the Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on X @vDoppler.