I was in our village Pub last night. For our Sunday night football Annual General Meeting. We discussed many things. From Jury service to building sheds, dancing in Bristol to black holes for rubbish disposal. And a bit of football. Later on the conversation turned to work. And I tried [& failed yet again] to explain what I do here at NetApp. So for Matt, Rob, Guy & anyone else that’s interested, I thought I’d have another go.…….
The Storage bit of IT & NetApp
Digital information is everywhere. And the amount of it in the world, and uses for it, are growing exponentially. Data is critical to any business or person today. Big amounts of data need big computer systems. These systems are made up of Applications (or ‘Apps’ – i.e. software that does useful stuff), Servers (computers to run the applications), Networks (to link everything together) and Storage Systems (where all that information is stored). NetApp is the only large company in the world focused solely on Storage Systems and data management software. The company started 20 years ago in Silicon Valley, California and now has 12,500+ employees across the globe. Each year we sell systems with a combined capacity of around 4 Exabytes – that’s 4,000,000,000 Gigabytes – mainly based on spinning disk drives, with flash or solid state storage (a bit like in your iPhone) a growing percentage. The clever bit is the software that those systems run – called Data ONTAP. More people use it than any other storage OS (Operating System).
Products, Solutions, Alliances & Marketing
NetApp products are storage systems running clever Data ONTAP software (mainly). However, it’s only when they are combined together, and with other companies’ software and systems, that real solutions to customer problems can be built. My European teams’ job is to identify the biggest customer problems – usually to do with saving money or doing things faster. Work with our global teams to make sure we have the most efficient and flexible solutions to those problems for our sales teams to sell. And that as many people are aware of them as possible. A lot of that work involves alliance partners like VMware, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Citrix, SAP, Oracle, Fujitsu and others. Why we were at VMware’s VMworld event in Barcelona last month and will be at Cisco Live in London early next year.
NetApp strategy is to sell to customers through partners. The most important partner community is the technical architects who design the IT systems customers need to support their businesses. We host a conference every year dedicated to that community. The event is called NetApp Insight. That’s why I was in Dublin a few weeks ago, with 2000 other folk drinking much Guinness. [For those people reading this who were at Insight Dublin and saw Matt Watt’s keynote presentation – don’t forget to submit your ‘It’s good….but not Agile’ photos here]
The IT industry evolves all the time. Today, we’re going through a major transition from separate, wasteful & complex ‘silos’ of equipment, where each application runs on a separate system, to shared infrastructure that can support whatever a user or company needs. Sharing not only saves loads of money, but also allows companies to get more value out of their information, much faster. An analogy, the difference between keeping an address book in a cupboard, a list of contacts in a word document on your PC, and using LinkedIn or Facebook. Because of this, organisations need to build an Agile Data Infrastructure. One that is intelligent, infinite and immortal. We’re running a series of events across Europe to educate customers on this change. That’s why I was in Tel Aviv and Milan recently. And why I’m in London tomorrow at the Tate Modern with CERN and Prof. Brian Cox. And in Amsterdam with Lotus F1 next week. [Why Agile? Read more from David Gingell during his ‘Agile Week’ here]
What else? Oh yes a Webcast.
We also host webcasts for people that want more detail on the solutions we provide. This week, a TechTalk webcast on Thursday 29th: NetApp & VMware: Virtualize Business-Critical Applications. Register: here
NetApp is really quite a nice place to work - Unique Global Culture Earns NetApp #3 Ranking as Best Workplace in the World, Helps Fuel Customer and Partner Success
Hope that gives you a bit of insight into what we do. Also explains why I’ve missed a few Sunday night football games recently.