NetApp at VMworld 2012

Lots of cool stuff going on at the show this year.  What amazes me most is the sheer number of people that continue to repeatedly come back every year.  Three years ago, it had just crested 10,000 attendees.  This year, I’m hearing 25,000.  Wow.  Virtualization is alive and well, and building the community the way they have is probably one of the smartest, rewarding things they’ve ever done.  This show repeatedly impacts me every year with just how much of a “family” we have all become.  As both a user, and a vendor, I still hang with a lot of the same people year after year.  People changes jobs and roles all the time, but the relationships we build at this show seem to effortlessly persist.  And I love that.

So let’s talk about some tech, and some things that marketing may not have told you that you need to see at the NetApp booth.

Flash Accel

This is it.  It completes the Virtual Storage Tiering (VST) story.  Caching operations at the host are now complementary to the FlashCache that has been a huge hit in the storage controller, and we extend DataONTAP up-stack to reap some of those benefits at the host and app-level.   It’s a free download, integrates directly with our Virtual Storage Console (VSC) for vSphere, and the only prerequisite is a PCIx-based SSD card in your host, from a number of different pre-validated vendors, such as Fusion-I/O, LSI, and many others.  Look for a deep dive post on this from me VERY soon.

It will be available for free download in December 2012.

Snap Creator

You’ve likely heard me talk about this before, but it is getting some serious traction.  If you’re a big user of our SnapManager suite of products, you need to be checking out Snap Creator.  Think of Snap Creator as an orchestration engine, mostly designed around Data Protection, that operates as a centralized server framework.  It contains all of the API-based intelligence of NetApp storage systems, and has an open-source SDK that allows both internal NetApp folks, as well as the general community, to create plugins with application intelligence.  We bundle a significant amount of these in the base install, and they are all fully supported by NetApp global support.  Any plugins developed by the community are considered “community-supported.”

If you would like to know more about Snap Creator, it is a featured PARTNER LAB at the Hands-On-Lab this year.  I’ve had several people already come up to me on DAY ONE asking to know more about Snap Creator after they have taken the lab.  It’s the way of the future, folks!  API’s and Orchestration workflows will rule the day in the very near future.  Very cool stuff, for sure!


If you’re a reader, you’re likely familiar with the series of posts I did in the first half of the year around Cluster-Mode.  (If not, just click the menu button up top to access them all!)   Cluster-Mode is game-changing.  Period.  If you’re a NetApp customer, and looking for ways to better scale and get more use out of your gear, you definitely need to be checking out Cluster-Mode.  The mecca-level release will likely come next year, but DataONTAP 8.1.1, which recently GA’ed, is a good 90% of the way there for almost all customers.  We’ve got a couple of features left to get up to parity, but some of the bigger customers already test-driving Cluster-Mode are getting some impressive results.  Between the SpecSFS results, and the SPC-1 benchmark earlier this year, we’re showing that we can still be some of the most performant storage in the industry, all while providing you Tier 1 levels of uptime and availability.


The buzz at the booth, aside from me trying to provoke a beachball war across the aisle with EMC, is around customers getting excited about how we’re enabling them to continually do more with less.  More conversations around NetApp 101 are being had, introducing folks to the beauties of “real” Deduplication, Snapshots, and FlexClones, and are having some pretty real impacts on how customers are making storage decisions.   I get excited to hear customers get excited about things that we can enable them to do.

The USB stick with our DataONTAP Edge VSA seems to be one of the bigger hits of the show so far.   If you’ve gotten one, and plan on using it, please get in touch with me because I would love to highlight your experiences (both good & bad!) in a post.

More to come soon!  Gotta run to the vExpert meeting!


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