Interview: NetApp and Policy-Based Data Management for the Enterprise

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Enterprises are constantly trying to come up with ways to make sense of structured and unstructured data sets to gain meaningful business insights. NetApp leverages Hadoop to provide these solutions in data management for storage, compute and networking. We caught up with Richard Treadway, Director of Product Marketing Segments and Verticals at NetApp, to learn more.

insideBIGDATA: NetApp has been building their Big Data products for a while now. What are your current offerings?

Richard Treadway

Richard Treadway: NetApp’s strategy is to be “best of breed” in data management and storage and to create preference through deep integration with an open Ecosystem of partners.

NetApp’s products are divided into analytics and vertical-specific solutions for key industries based mainly on NetApp E-Series and file/object based repositories.

In analytics, NetApp Solutions for Hadoop provides enterprise-class storage validated with Cloudera and Hortonworks Hadoop distributions so users can quickly setup a highly reliable Hadoop cluster. FlexPod Select with Hadoop extends the NetApp-Cisco partnership into Big Data and follows the model of FlexPod with validated, pre-configured components that provide storage, compute, networking with Hadoop.  Note, that NetApp’s Hadoop solutions support any Apache compatible distribution of Hadoop.

NetApp Solutions for specific industries are based mainly on E-Series storage, which delivers high performance, density and reliability needed for data-intensive workloads in HPC, Healthcare, Media and Entertainment, Oil and Gas and High-tech/EDA.

File based storage features, FlexVol and Infinite Volume running on NetApp’s Data ONTAP®,  allows customers to install large file based repositories to store tens of petabytes and billions of files in a single, scalable, easy-to-manage repository.

NetApp’s StorageGrid Object Storage software provides secure data storage to deliver 99.999% up time. It’s a large, multi-site repository object store with policy based data management that can handle large volumes of unstructured data. It can integrate into a distributed environment, providing transparent, universal access to a single pool of centrally managed storage that can be distributed across geographies.

insideBIGDATA: Who is your target market for these products and solutions?

Richard Treadway: NetApp Big Data solutions are aimed at enterprises who need to get control of their data growth and gain actionable insights from that data, both structured and unstructured.   NetApp Big Data solutions benefit both IT—with reliability and easier management— as well as the line-of-business with application availability and faster time to insights.

Key industries including healthcare, retail, telecommunication, media and entertainment, financial services and the government leverage NetApp solutions to manage large amounts of content, expand technology infrastructures without disrupting operations, and improve data-intensive workflows.

insideBIGDATA: Cisco is obviously an important partner for you. What does this mean in a Big Data sense?

Richard Treadway: As I mentioned earlier, NetApp and Cisco extended their already strong partnership into Big Data with the FlexPod Select with Hadoop solutions. There are other solutions with Cisco for Big Data as well, that are not in the FlexPod family.  These include NetApp-Cisco solutions for SAP HANA for customers who want the real-time insights that the HANA analytical platform offers.  There is also a reference design for Splunk on NetApp/Cisco infrastructure for many use cases including IT operational analytics. The Reference Configuration for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track Data Warehouse is also based on NetApp and Cisco joint-solutions.

insideBIGDATA: Do you have any recent customer stories that you may want to share?

  • In Hadoop we have customers in healthcare, transportation, and telecommunication. For example, NetApp customer services worked with one customer’s IT department to implement a new Hadoop‐based solution for their AutoSupport monitoring and reporting support platform.   The Hadoop solution reduced one query times on the AutoSupport databases from a month to ten hours and another which never completed ran in 18 hours: Read more.
  • Adventist Health Systems (AHS) uses NetApp and partner solutions to establish a cost‑effective, highly available storage archival infrastructure for its growing systems that support AHS hospitals and physician practices: Read more.
  • Iron Mountain uses NetApp StorageGRID to create digital medical records as a service solution in the cloud.  This solution provides a flexible and cost-effective solution for storing medical records and images. The service has been providing over 100% uptime with about two petabytes of content stored in Iron Mountain facilities. Since most of their customers require a “forever” retention policy for all medical data, content is never deleted.  By using StorageGRID, Iron Mountain is able to offer a hybrid cloud model where customers can have extensive local on-site storage capacity in addition to the cloud service. Today, about 60% of their customers are taking advantage of this feature: Read more.
  • Lawrence Livermore National Labs leverages NetApp as its storage foundation for one of their leading-edge supercomputers: Read more.

insideBIGDATA: As Big Data continues to grow, what does NetApp have in store to take on these new challenges?

Richard Treadway: NetApp has always known that enterprises are constantly thinking about how their data can be a strategic asset in accelerating business.   For Big Data, NetApp is innovating its E-Series and FAS products to provide non-disruptive, high availability for analytics (data warehouse, Hadoop etc.) workloads.   For ingesting data, enhancements will be made to FlexVol, Infinite Volume and StorageGrid so they can scale as data needs grow.  NetApp will also introduce more flash-based solutions for high performance, data-intensive workloads and for frequently accessed data.  NetApp will also continue to innovate with partners in developing solutions for healthcare, media and entertainment, financial services and other industries.

With the most flexible and open platform, NetApp has one of the largest customer deployments globally. For example, one NetApp customer manages over an Exabyte of storage and 16 customers are part of NetApp’s 50PB club.

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