Archive | NetApp

Thoughts on the NetApp-SolidFire Acquisition

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General Industry Observations

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of rumors these days about change in the storage industry. “IPO” vs. “Acquisition” is really the only way forward, and due to stumbles by Pure Storage, Violin and others, IPO is simply not in the cards for most of the independents looking to find their product/market fit. NetApp‘s acquisition of SolidFire is only the latest in the ongoing consolidation in the storage space; it won’t be the last.

While this is definitely not the first time NetApp has attempted to acquire a company with a technology they needed, this is definitely one that many see as absolutely necessary for NetApp to keep up with & remain relevant in comparison to the pure-play AFA vendors. *I don’t normally comment on this kind of activity, but being that I was at NetApp for the better part of 3yr, I had to comment, this being their first major acquisition since I left and also due to all of the management shake-up over the past year.

Is SolidFire the Right Fit for NetApp?

No one really knows the answer to this or how this will pan out, but I happen to know that both SolidFire and NetApp have a lot of smart people to try and make it happen; many of them, I consider very close industry friends. I do see areas where NetApp is weak technically (block) and market-wise (service providers) that SolidFire could help to fill a gap. Will SolidFire remain a separate product line? I hope NetApp has learned their lesson on this one.

Both NetApp and SolidFire have “scale-out” technologies that would seem to conflict with one another; I don’t see this as a strength.

What’s interesting to me about both NetApp and SolidFire is their reliance on dedupe and/or compression to get to optimal pricing economies with both of their product lines. I’ve seen quite a bit of commentary lately as well as around how dedupe is going to be less and less important as next generation media decreases in cost and increases in density. As this happens over the next couple of years, their value prop will resonate less and less. The real winners will be vendors like Coho Data who have optimized (and are continuing to optimize) their stack from a performance perspective, regardless of the storage medium. Whether it be disk, PCIe flash, NVMe Flash, SATA SSD, SAS SSD or even NVDIMM, etc… Will we add dedupe? Absolutely, YES (it’s being worked on right now). But it’s really, really nice to know that despite how we implement it, we’ll rely on it less than the other guys. Add to this the fact that those who are leveraging complementary technologies, like SDN, to scale-out are better positioned to grow from a performance perspective.

Who are the Winners and Losers?

The winners are NetApp in the short-term as they remove a competitor in the flash market, and temporarily silence those that say they aren’t innovating and are no longer relevant in today’s storage market. The other winners are the SolidFire shareholders, of course. NetApp customers can also be considered winners, albeit with more choices and less clarity if they continue on as NetApp customers. The other guys out in the storage start-up world could be considered winers as well, since this legitimizes them, brings them unhappy SolidFire and NetApp customers and potentially starts a bidding war for the next best thing…

The losers are SolidFire customers, of course. SolidFire had a unique product and solid customer base in the service provider market, but it remains unclear on how NetApp will integrate them into their organization. What also remains to be seen is whether SolidFire can continue to keep the pace of innovation required to keep up with Pure Storage, and other scrappy start-ups with unique and game-changing technology that will now challenge NetApp for the next generation of the storage market…

We live in interesting times friends, interesting times indeed!

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NetApp VSC 5.0 Beta – Request for Feedback

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Boy, oh, boy. This has been the longest gap between posts since I started blogging back in 2010. I won’t make excuses, but instead state that I was “heads down” on some high priority stuff. I’ll share some of that with you as soon as it’s public. But for now, I have a plea for your participation…

For those readers out there who are NetApp customers, the VSC team needs your help.

The first phase of the VSC 5.0 Beta program – which highlights our brand new vSphere web client plugin – was kicked off a month ago. Since this is a major change in the VSC UI, we really, really want feedback, so I’m reaching out to see if some of you can do the test-driving and provide us feedback.

Go to: https://communities.netapp.com/community/products_and_solutions/virtualization/vsc

The new VSC web client plugin is MUCH MORE than just a port. It provides:

  • Tighter integration with vCenter (No more VSC “tabs”; instead, VSC 5.0 has NetApp-specific portlets and columns right alongside VMware information)
  • Consolidated controller information
  • NetApp storage systems and backup jobs added to vCenter inventory
  • Streamlined VSC wizards following vCenter “style”
  • More right-click actions (on a host to set NetApp recommended settings or to install the NFS VAAI plugin, on a VM/datastore to add it to an existing backup job, and on a clone parent VM to redeploy clones)
  • Backup jobs/backups as related objects for VMs/datastores

The second phase of the VSC 5.0 Beta is targeted to be published in a few weeks, and will add policy-based Management:

  • VASA Provider for cDOT
  • Policy-based datastore provisioning

VASA Provider for clustered Data ONTAP

  • Policy-based datastore provisioning

If you have any feedback, please feel free to comment on this post or elsewhere on the NetApp Communities site. Happy ‘bug-hunting’ and I’ll see you back again here real soon!

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NetApp Content Pack for VMware vCenter Log Insight

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Today I’d like to share the annoucement of NetApp’s Data ONTAP Content Pack for VMware vCenter Log Insight. As some of you may know, Log Insight offers the ability to automate log management using analytics, aggregation and search.

The NetApp Data ONTAP content pack allows users to take advantage of NetApp-specific metrics to provide insight into the performance and operations of your storage infrastructure. You’ll gain the ability to perform root cause analysis and troubleshoot your entire VMware environment on NetApp storage from a single interface.

The NetApp Data ONTAP Content Pack for VMware vCenter Log Insight provides the following:

  • A set of read-only dashboards
  • 15 pre-defined fields containing data extracted from clustered Data ONTAP logs
  • Several pre-defined queries
  • Alerts using the NetApp Event Management System (EMS), which is provided with Data ONTAP.

While VMware delivers a content pack for VMware-related information, the NetApp Content Pack is custom-designed by NetApp to provide information specific to NetApp. When used with Log Insight, the NetApp Content Pack provides monitoring and analysis of NetApp clustered Data ONTAP logs.

The NetApp Content Pack is absolutely free and can be downloaded from the VMware Solution Exchange here.

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For more information on the NetApp Content Pack for vCenter Log Insight, click here.

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NetApp Verified Architecture – VMware vCloud Director on Clustered ONTAP

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I am proud to announce the release of the 1st NetApp Verified Architecture from the VMware TME Team here at NetApp. NVA is defined as follows:

NetApp Verified Architecture (NVA) is a new program that provides a seal of assurance for NetApp 
solutions. This seal of assurance represents the NetApp promise to provide customers with a thoroughly 
tested and prescriptive architecture of a NetApp solution that minimizes customers’ deployment risk and 
accelerates their time to results.
 
The NetApp Verified Architecture program is governed by a group of NetApp technical experts who verify that each NVA:
 • Consists of a pretested, preintegrated verified architecture that meets specific customer needs
• Is backed up by prescriptive deployment, testing, and operational procedures
• Has a proven design that is based on prescriptive best practices
• Reduces the complexity of architecting and implementing NetApp technologies
 
This NVA (NVA-0007) covers a verified, perscriptive and end-to-end architecture for deploying VMware vCloud Director 5.1 with NetApp Clustered ONTAP 8.1.
This is the first of many future NVAs that will be initiated from this team, so be on the look out for others soon. In the meantime, have a look at what the team has accomplished in this first effort. We look forward to having good conversations around this and other topics at VMworld, which, by the way, is right around the corner!

Link: NVA-0007.PDF

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