My memories of NetApp Insight Europe 2018

When I was driving home from the airport on Thursday by myself alone in the car, there was a right moment to think about what was the best thing – the moment of this year’s Insight. There were many things, but finally, I decided to choose two things – social one and technology one.

Social one happened on a day when I arrived in Barcelona. I arrived at Barcelona Airport on Sunday late afternoon and hurried to my hotel and change my shirt. Guys from NetApp United were already waiting for me in the bar so that we went together to Soho Hotel Barcelona where we had reception and dinner with movie screening afterward. This dinner was no regular dinner. First, all NetApp A-Team members attending NetApp Insight EMEA were there, second, all NetApp United attending NetApp Insight where are also there. Both these groups gather people with a passion for technology especially NetApp’s and there are a lot of exciting talks happening between them. When Dave Hitz founder of NetApp and other executives came into room excitement and energy raised to a high level, these guys are creating NetApp vision, and their energy is incredible. I was feeling very proud to be in the same room with them. When we finished with dinner we moved to a private cinema in the basement of the hotel and watched a very funny movie Deadpool 2.

   Every insight I am hardly waiting for keynotes. This year the best one for me was on Wednesday. As every keynote on NetApp Insight started
with NetApp A-Team members also on this one, NetApp A-team members shared their thoughts about data. Tuesday’s keynote talked how about a need to be data-driven and Wednesday’s was showing us how NetApp’s data fabric strategy is making it possible. Kate Russel, this year’s moderator, started with Henri Richard, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Field, and Customer Operations, who pointed out how companies all over the world have their business strategy, but they lack data strategy because data is becoming a business, data strategy is also essential.  Scott Dawkins – NetApp CTO and Jeff Wike, DreamWorks Animation CTO continued to talk about data and technology challenges when creating a movie like How to train a dragon which comes out in February 2019.  500-600 artist are creating over 4-5 movies a year like that. Every single thing is created on a computer and saved on hard drives – Half billion files and 120 million core hours of rendering. Imagine how many hard drives would they need if they would not use NetApp efficient technology. Their strategy is that every workload should be run on-premise or in the cloud with an artist does not know that. Managing on-premise and cloud infrastructure seamlessly is one of the more important requirements.

   Anthony Lye showed NetApp Data fabric strategy at work. Anthony showed how quickly and easily NetApp Cloud Data Services can be deployed and started to be used. NetApp Cloud Data Services can achieve very high speed like SAP HANA can be delivered on Azure NetApp Files with 100k IOS@Sub-Milliseconds latency or file services with 1200 MB/s @ < 2.0 msec or Database & ERP with 310K IOPS @ 1.5msec. These speeds are even high than we can achieve at on-premise and also because we don’t need this kind of performance all the time. So why we would need to buy and pay for equipment for on-premise systems and have it in idle for most of the time, if we could just with a few clicks configure, manage and use it in public cloud. One of biggest challenges is also how to monitor and optimize infrastructure on-premise and on cloud services in the public cloud. James Holden presented Cloud Insights NetApp’s SaaS solution. Cloud Insight can monitor complete NetApp portfolio as FAS, AFF, and HCI and also cloud data services like NetApp Azure Files, Google Data Volumes and many other third-party devices and cloud services. Already prepared dashboards to give you visibility on your environment and possibility of optimization of the environment is just a few seconds when data flow into the system. Building a model how the device interacts with infrastructure is a significant advantage on other monitoring tools. Zooming down into key metric gives you the option to find issues as soon and quickly. 

   Showing Data Fabric in action was amazing. Kim moved 420 TB of automatically discovered inactive data in datacenter into object bucket located in a cloud or on-premise just with few clicks, and we can see how much money we saved with that. Numbers are unbelievable 710,220 $ savings with 420TB moved to cloud.

    With AFF speeds increased a lot, but with Max Data speeds went over an imagining level. Now with MAX Data, we could get up 11x performance increase without application rewrite. MAX Data is application server-resident software that allows you to created filesystem that spans persistent memory and external flash that you can host environments that are much larger than you can host in persistent memory. MAX Data can be configured in a few seconds, and you can start to use a system with latency below 0.04 ms and up to 530k IOPS.

  Last but not least Dave Hitz came to the stage and finished keynote with his unique style. Dave shares us a story about cloud first customers. The story was about a company which was selling alethic equipment thru big stores and realized that they need to change their business model to sell running shoes over the internet, so they did go thru digital transformation and create nice looking website, apps for the phone. So most of their business went thru digital channels. They build complete infrastructure on-premise, and their load was most of a time about 30% of their capabilities, but a couple of time a year their load went up to 200%. First options for them was to upgrade data center, but they realized that moving their data to the cloud could be cheaper and they will save much money because they don’t need 200% performance all the time. When we are at this kind of dilemma, we should ask ourselves two questions – Could it? Should it?

    In the end, Dave showed us that he still got it and showed us a command line demo how to create cloud volume in azure files and showed us how NFS as Service and CIFS as service feels cloudy…

A month after NetApp Insight finished, I am still full of good memories and still sure that NetApp Insight is the only IT conference where you can feel and touch what future in IT will be. For sure is NetApp creating a good foundation for future with NetApp Cloud portfolio, NetApp AI and NetApp MAX data.