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Confidence in The Cloud with NetApp

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Is your organization discussing digital transformation? The odds are good that you are looking to do it soon if you haven’t started already. According to a Smart Insights poll from 2019, 31% of companies are looking to start their digital transformation project in the next 12 months, with another 24% already having started it within the last two years. Half of the almost 1,000 companies responding to the survey are very close to the start of their digital transformation strategy.

What’s holding companies back from completing the process? What could be making companies feel insecure about getting their digital transformation finished on time? There are likely a number of factors that could be responsible. Personnel and training are often cited as limitations. Another is the lack of confidence that enterprises have in the medium that is driving digital transformation. The cloud is a magical place where all your digital designs will come to fruition. But it’s also a scary place filled with strange new technologies and the possibility of failure.

Take a CRM platform, for example. In the past, these platforms have been installed and operated on-premises for enterprises. They take up resources and can be difficult to integrate. The natural direction would be to move them to the cloud, right? But how will the shift to a new compute and storage infrastructure affect the CRM platform? This is a mission-critical application. You can’t guess that something will work or hope that everything will be operational after you migrate it. You need the assurance that the platform you’re installing into is going to work no matter what. Where can you find that kind of assurance in the cloud?

NetApp Delivers To the Cloud

During AWS re:Invent 2019, Stephen Foskett sat down with Anthony Lye, GM of the Cloud Data Services Business Unit at NetApp. They had a great discussion about the technologies that Amazon was and wasn’t talking about during the event. One of the biggest omissions was around storage.

As articulated in the interview, storage isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do in the enterprise. In fact, the more you dig the harder it gets to do right. Companies have invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours into getting storage working for their platforms. Cloud companies rely on storage as much anything else in their infrastructure. So why does a company like Amazon have fewer storage-related announcements during their big conference?

In part, it’s because of companies like NetApp. Rather than working hard to reinvent the wheel, Amazon can just rely on NetApp ONTAP to seamlessly work in the cloud. The same storage infrastructure that users have come to rely upon in their enterprise data center is readily available in the cloud now as an added feature. Since NetApp was founded on the principle of running storage software on commodity hardware, the move from the enterprise to the cloud was a relatively simple one for the NetApp team. In fact, ONTAP has been available in AWS for the past five years!

If NetApp is already in the cloud, why all the excitement about ONTAP as of late? As it turns out, it’s due in large part to the fact that Amazon wants to move back into your data center. One of the big announcements from re:Invent was the general availability of Amazon Outposts, which is a rack appliance designed to bring AWS into your data center. It’s a local version of the same resources you would find in AWS in a package designed to be local to your enterprise.

Outposts represent the big push by Amazon to get into the enterprise to start capturing the market of potential customers that can’t or won’t move data into AWS. By running the hardware inside your data center, Amazon is hoping to allay fears about the cloud. But they can’t mitigate all the worry that a CEO might have about data being lost or misused. People that make million-dollar bets with their company on something like digital transformation want the assurances that come with tried-and-true platforms. And now we come back to NetApp.

With the ability to run NetApp on AWS Outpost, you gain the convenience of having AWS in your data center with the proven track record of NetApp. Your data can move easily thanks to the NetApp Data Fabric. You gain the reliability of ONTAP running everywhere, from private data center to public cloud. And it all works! No guessing about whether or not your storage platform is going to work in the cloud. Remember that CRM example I gave earlier? If it’s certified to run on NetApp in-house then you can be sure that it’s going to work in the cloud too. That’s the kind of confidence that helps move digital transformation projects along nicely.

Bringing It All Together

Anxiety about digital transformation is all about the unknown. You can try to account for all kinds of factors and reduce risk and stress. At the end of the day, though, you need to have proven solutions that help you build from a solid, trusted foundation. NetApp is providing one of those foundational platforms for AWS, whether it be in the public cloud or in an Outpost on-premises. If you’re already a NetApp customer you have everything you need to accelerate your digital transformation. If you’re looking for a solution to help you get started on the journey, you should definitely check out for more details about how NetApp can help you.

About the author

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at

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