Kathy Gibson reports from NetApp Insight 2020 – The IT industry has spoken about a changing world for years – but no-one could have predicted how quickly and radically it would change in 2020.

George Kurian, CEO of NetApp, acknowledges that the past months have been tremendously difficult.

“Change can be difficult; but if we treat it as a familiar constant, we can use it to open windows of opportunity.”

There is no doubt that world has changed fundamentally, and continues to change, Kurian adds. “The way we interact with customers and engage with employees have changed. Businesses have changed. Entire industries have been decomposed and recomposed in realtime. We have seen classic disruption taking place, on a global scale with unprecedented speed.”

The cloud has emerged as the platform that organisations use to run their businesses, and to engage with customers and employees. “And data is the currency of the digital business,” Kurian adds. “It will inform how we thrive in the new world.”

The IT industry has risen to the challenge. The hyperscale cloud providers have built the platforms that enable the scale organisations require, while technology specialists like NetApp can assist with specific business challenges.

“We understand the power of being a specialist,” Kurian says. “It is at the core of who we are. Our transformation started long before Covid, as we considered how cloud would impact our customers, the industry and ourselves.

“We prioritised our customers’ needs and chose to partner with the leading cloud providers. We figured that our customers need data. And, on a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud, they need a fabric to deliver the right data to the right place at the right time.

“NetApp is a specialist, building on 28 years of experience and a portfolio of cloud data services, software and systems that let customers lead with data.

“This is what we are good at: making the performance of enterprise systems available on the public cloud, and bringing the flexibility and simplicity of the public cloud to the enterprise.”

To make this a reality, NetApp is partnering with the world’s cloud leaders to build an open ecosystem. “We give customers the choice and investment protection.”

At the same time, the company is building itself with additional capability talent and business acquisitions.

“We are the specialists helping you to unlock the best of the public, hybrid and multi cloud; to embrace the best of public and private clouds so you can scale with best hybrid cloud architecture in the industry,” Kurian says.

“We help you consolidate, modernise, and simplify your path to the public cloud.”

NetApp’s data fabric strategy continues to evolve, and the company has established a platform for highly optimised application infrastructures that can save customers up to 90% of cloud costs.

NetApp Cloud Manager offers hybrid cloud data management, that lets companies centrally manage their hybrid cloud Infrastructure, data and services.

It is an enterprise-class management platform for customers to view and manage on-premise and cloud storage, supporting hybrid, multiple cloud providers and accounts, allowing IT professionals to provide their internal and external users with optimised cloud storage services.

Centalised management means they can unify siloed storage systems on a single-pane console, controlling multiple NetApp OnTap storage systems, on-premise and in the AWS and Azure cloud.

With simplified provisioning, IT professionals can meet t business objectives, allocating optimised storage capacity for internal and external customers with automatic capacity scaling.

The data fabric enablers allows automation and orchestration of cloud storage operations with RESTful API support and integrations with other NetApp cloud management systems.

“In addition, we combine the flexibility of serverless computing with storageless data persistence; for enterprise, cloud-native and virtual desktop applications,” Kurian adds.

Plus, NetApp’s Virtual Desktop Service (VDS) allows customers to deploy, manage and optimise virtual desktop environment through a global control plane delivered as software as a service (SaaS).

VDS supports Remote Desktop Services (RDS) on major public cloud environments including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform as well as on-premise environments. It also provides native support for Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) solution in Microsoft Azure.

Kurian also announced OnTap 9.8, which offers a host of new benefits, including security, cloud tiering, S3 backup, additional efficiency, and enhanced simplicity.

“We can help you in so many ways, regardless of where you are on your digital transformation journey,” Kurian adds.