NetApp’s Clustered Data ONTAP: New Technology for an Old Business Problem

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Having recently acquired a NetApp certification plus having attended NetApp’s Insight conference in Las Vegas last week I happen to have a ton of ideas floating around in my head regarding (wait for it…) NetApp! I have been a huge fan of NetApp for many years now, so I am happy to have this “problem”. I believe that NetApp is one of the most innovative technology companies in existence today. Even better though is that NetApp is  a company focused on innovating not just for the purpose of making cool technology, but NetApp focuses on solving actual business problems while in the pursuit of innovation.

Which brings me to Clustered Data ONTAP. This is NetApp’s big play at the moment, and I think that it is going to pay off huge dividends for them. Clustered Data ONTAP allows you to group high availability pairs of storage controllers together via a dedicated network in order to serve virtualized storage to your users and systems. You gain the benefits of being able to scale out your storage with additional storage controllers, while at the same time your data is not permanently bound to any of those controllers. You can move the virtualized storage onto any of the controllers within the cluster, so if you need to upgrade or remove a controller your end users never suffer an outage.

This is brilliant! It solves one of the oldest problems any business has faced: Being available on the customer’s schedule. If you are the owner of a restaurant in competition with another restaurant across the street, and a customer comes driving along at 1am which restaurant will the customer choose? The restaurant with the better food, or the better service? Possibly, but the more likely answer is that the customer is going to choose the restaurant that is obviously open and ready for business. At this moment a big red neon sign flashing “OPEN” is more likely to draw in that customer than a five star review.

This is why I am such a big fan of NetApp. Clustered Data ONTAP is not the only innovation NetApp is introducing to the market, and their competitors are innovating too, but I just cannot stop thinking of how many common IT problems this technology will solve. NetApp is not just designing better storage solutions. NetApp is designing better storage solutions that will overcome the problems today’s (plus yesterday’s and tomorrow’s) businesses face.

So forgive me for revealing how big of a NetApp fanboy I am, but please understand that they earned my fanaticism by solving my problems as a customer. Now that I am a Solutions Architect working in pre-sales I am still incredibly happy with NetApp because they are providing me with great products that I can present to my customers. I did not get into this business to merely sell technology. I want to solve problems, and with NetApp I feel that I can. That is what being an IT professional is all about – solving problems. Clustered Data ONTAP solves numerous problems, and I am happy to be spreading the word about it.

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