„Only the goody bag is missing”[1] – the first digital NetApp INSIGHT

Yesterday the first digital NetApp INSIGHT took place. This event was meant to present NetApp to their partners and customers with the new products and inventions, but also to provide solutions in these uncertain times. It started at 10 am CET, when John Rollason, Senior Marketing Director EMEA of NetApp, welcomed the attendees from his home near Oxford. The current situation with the shut down was, of course, an important topic, because that´s the reason for this digital event. But that makes it possible to bring so many attendees and speakers from different countries and continents together. Over 7000 attendees joined the live sessions of the event. And speaker from Canada, the US, Israel, Great Britain, Germany and a social media specialist from Island were presenting.

The hole event contains around 90 sessions with live sessions, recorded videos with a lot of topics and different levels in three possible languages and also live hands-on workshops, where the attendees also can acquire certifications (fig. 1).

The live event was hosted by John Rollason accompanied by Alex Wallner, Senior Vice President and General Manager EMEA, who took the opportunity to introduce two newer projects from NetApp: Astra and Keystone. Astra is a Kubernetes native application data management service[2]. Keystone provides a new consumption model[3]. But that was just a short introduction.

George Kurian


First speaker of the event was George Kurian, CEO of NetApp (fig. 2), who was joining from California. He recapped the Covid crisis which effects all of us. Some in an existential way, but some with great opportunities. Our behavior in this time show our vulnerability, but also our strength. The separation leads us to more digital connectivity. The crisis is forcing the digital potential to grow and to become reality. We are within a global scale and a growth of global communication which create great possibilities for all digital inventions. Everybody is requested to give one´s best. Not to resign in the face of the crisis, but to take the advantages of the situation. Digital transformation was at the schedule of time before the crisis, but now it divides legacy from the digital technology, now there is a big chance, but also a challenge for cloud technology. NetApp was prepared for such a situation, 98% of NetApp´s employees are working remote and helping the customers to gain the same.

Kate Swanborn


Within the keynote also two customers of NetApp were invited to talk about their digital solutions. The first was Dreamworks Animation which is a highly data driven company and NetApp´s customer for over 20 years. Kate Swanborn, SVP Technology Communication and Strategic Alliances (fig. 3), talked about the amount of data which is produced by animating films, one film requires more than 1200 TB of storage and has half a billion files. That´s why Dreamworks has chosen a hybrid cloud environment for their datas a long time ago. They created a cloud-based infrastructure with NetApp´s solutions which made happen that not so much needed to be changed in the current situation. Just working from home.

The second customer was Festo, a company which is focused on automation technology and databased management solutions. Markus Masching, Head of IT Computing Services (fig. 4), introduced Festo as a cloud-based company. They are using NetApp technology from the beginning for their automation solutions and for migrations from on-prem into cloud environments.

Markus Masching


The next session was Innovate, don´t Administrate. It gave the complete insights of NetApp´s cloud products, data services and collaborations with cloud providers. The session was hosted by Anthony Lye, SVP & GM Cloud Data Services. NetApp provides a platform which is working on and with every cloud vendor and in multi-cloud environments. The current situation is accelerating the shift into cloud, this is a challenge for all vendors to provide the technique the customers need now. That means high performance, elastic capacity, and taking care of costs. A lot of customers realize a lift and shift approach, but this often causes unexpected costs. The session showed NetApp´s solution to avoid these unexpected costs und to build a sustainable cloud solution (fig. 5). All information you find at: cloud.netapp.com.

Fig.5 Topics for Cloud Migration


Level up: The Power of Devops was the third session of the event. It was hosted by Ingo Fuchs, Chief Technologist, Cloud and DevOps. The innovation process has increased enormously within the last few years. The speed of new developments is increasing as well. DevOps is an approach to gain this speed. DevOps is part strategy, part process, and above all, a transformative journey representing developer’s ability to create the faster, better software. The session gave insights in the mindset of DevOps and tips for implement these principles into every company with an IT team. DevOps is about processes, culture and people. Teams are changing, the collaborations changes, and therefore you need to get the people on board. But the aim is more automation, more microservices, more speed.[4] To help to implement DevOps NetApp is providing a service platform where a lot of processes are defined (fig. 6).

Fig.6 DevOps Platform


The last live session was the Innovation Hour, hosted by Matt Watts, Chief Technology Officer, EMEA. NetApp is always improving the Data Fabric to be a save, simple solution for the operation of hybrid multi-cloud environments. Now available is API driven storage and a complete orchestration of all layers of the Cloud Fabric. Four employees of NetApp told about their all days projects: Steve Guhr about Aktive IQ which enables to improve the wellness of the environment. Tobias Brandl showed the migration of SAP HANA from on-prem into a cloud environment. Hendrik Land showed the microservices of a sock shop on a Kubernetes platform. And Ariel Zamir demonstrated the Cloud Manager which is the single user interface on an API  where all NetApp products integrate with. The best watch the demos to get the insights: https://gateway.on24.com/wcc/gateway/elitenetapp/2253838/category/27656/netapp-insight-digital-event/?partnerref=2300899%20/%20Call%20To%20Action


But with the live session the event did not end, there were and are way more sessions to watch.

This was my first digital event, so I was curious how it would be executed. The mixture of live sessions and videos was well composed and is available on demand till the end of May, so I can review the topics I´m interested in. The speakers were all good and experts in their topics. And also, the length of the live event was fine. I was a little skeptical upfront of being three hours concentrated in front of my computer, but the sessions were entertaining, varied and never to long. And NetApp send some advices for the preparation: Get Comfortable. Grab your favorite drink and pair it with some snacks! I did it, so only the goody bag was missing.

[1] A commentary by Twitter.

[2] https://cloud.netapp.com/project-astra

[3] https://www.netapp.com/us/solutions/keystone/index.aspx

[4] https://the-report.cloud/the-death-of-the-developer




Friederike Zelke / The Cloud Report