What topics are you bringing to the table at XPO?
We’re at XPO to support Trustmarque who are a valued partner of ours and to help customers take that first step to the cloud and build that journey to the cloud. I think a lot of customers are struggling with how they move from on-premises, how they build applications and services and how they put their data into what is that brave new world of the cloud.
What are NetApp’s current priority areas?
We’re focused on three types of customers. Firstly, helping those who want to deploy applications and data natively in the cloud – who have perhaps never had datacentres on-premise before. We’re helping them with data management in that space. Secondly, we’re helping customers with private cloud – those who want to be “cloud-lite” but in their own datacentres. And finally, the traditional customers who have big datacentre presence but want the cloud connected so that over time they can begin to shift applications and services.
That’s really NetApp’s proposition; helping data management under all of these key environments. Really helping customers to manage the cost and complexity by providing a range of advanced data management capabilities that can support them as they go on that journey.
How do the challenges vary depending on whether a customer is cloud native or cloud mature?
The interesting thing is that those who are cloud native really want the agility of the cloud. But the biggest factor that can come back to bite them is the cost of the cloud. At the end of the day, cloud is a rental model that can become an expensive resource. Our aim is to help customers be more flexible and agile in the cloud and really cutting the cost of the cloud journey.
For customers who are on-premise they have the opposite challenge. They have CIOs who don’t want to buy anything more in the datacentre because they have a cloud strategy. But they still have a datacentre. We help those customers maximise the value of what they have in their datacentres to reduce the cost, but more importantly link that environment to the cloud so that over time they can start to transition services from on-premise. Or at least retain some balance of both, which is what most customers end up doing.
The most exciting thing [happening in cloud] is that you can launch a service and do it straight away. You can have AI in the cloud, advanced analytics and server-less computing. The range of capabilities is fantastic.
What is the most exciting thing that is happening with cloud right now?
The most exciting thing is that you can launch a service and do it straight away. You can have AI in the cloud, advanced analytics and server-less computing. The range of capabilities is fantastic. The big challenge is still the data that companies want to put into the cloud and then manage and leverage with those services. So the excitement is almost balanced with the enterprise responsibility of having to manage your data in the cloud. NetApp’s strength is helping customers to bridge that gap.
Is Big Data still something the industry is talking about?
There’s been a bit of a shift. A lot of Big Data services are now run outside of the cloud. Because they can be delivered as a service, you don’t have to scale the infrastructure. However, there is a combination of both. Many companies are putting Big Data into or even next to the cloud into a co-lo facility and bringing cloud data services to that data. In summary, customers are still doing it and it’s not gone away but it has almost been eclipsed by AI, providing automation and self-learning capability.
How are you finding XPO?
The venue is great. With the cricket Test series just finished, it’s a fantastic location here at Lord’s Cricket Ground. We’ve had some success with the sessions we’ve had this morning, and that’s even before the lunch and networking break so we are delighted to be here.