NetApp 360 Blog

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The role of a Chief Information Officer grows more demanding by the day, with an uncertain economy putting a drag on business and customers placing higher expectations of IT departments and services. As the CIO of a small city, I face many of the same challenges as my counterparts in business, and in some ways even more given that municipal governments have strict limits on spending and tax increases.

 

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To meet the 21st century needs of our citizens in a resource-limited environment, the city of Melrose had to get creative. I believe our story may provide governments and businesses alike useful ideas on how to approach IT transformation.

 

Located seven miles north of Boston and with a population of 28,000, Melrose has a long tradition of self-sufficiency, with excellent schools and cultural facilities. But until recently our IT system was outdated and inefficient. We had two separate data centers, one serving schools and the other the city. Each had different hardware providers, different support agreements, and different tools for different pieces of hardware, even different generations of equipment from the same manufacturers.

 

Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan believes that the only solution to our budgetary restrictions is for communities in Massachusetts to form regional partnerships. So in 2009 we began working with NetApp on a re-imagination of our IT system, with a cloud-based virtualized data center that could not only meet the needs of Melrose, but those of other nearby towns and cities.

 

Melrose invested in a FlexPod® data center solution, which gets its muscles from the unified architecture and standardized platform of NetApp® storage and virtualization software from VMware, which has been a catalyst for the development of cloud computing. The system is networked through powerful Cisco® switches and services, including a Nexus® 7000 core switch; a series of FAS2040 appliances; and UCS blade servers. Our information is now about 95% virtualized, while all of the city’s critical apps, including financial systems, now run in a virtualized environment.

 

The Melrose IT department is now able to meet a growing number of data, compliance, and operational demands that are increasingly a burden for cities without strong systems, including e-mail archiving, public records requests, saving documents, and retrieving documents. We closed what was a glaring business continuity gap in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. Better yet, the city’s annual IT costs are reduced by a third.

 

We’ve already proven the concept of regional partnership—the Melrose health department serves two other cities—which has paid incredible operational dividends and made our communities healthier. Now we are offering the cloud to cities that cannot afford a major investment like the FlexPod data center - an architecture that has the capacity to grow without additional costs or hardware which is one of the most important benefits of this solution. 

 

The town of Essex has already migrated its data to the Melrose center, and several others are considering joining the regional IT partnership, the first of its kind in Massachusetts. Essex has seen its IT costs drop by a third. The fees paid to Melrose help defray our IT expenditures. Taken together, the savings have freed enough funds to help renovate the local high school. 

 

In an era of limited municipal resources, this example of creativity and innovation is one that other towns across the nation might be wise to follow. And for businesses that are not in direct competition, shared IT services in the cloud may be a model well worth consideration.

 

To learn more about our transformation, watch our video and visit our story page.

Big Data is no longer just a buzzword. Our data accumulation is growing rapidly - so much so that data storage has been predicted to measure a whopping 35 Zettabytes by the year 2020. With this exponential increase in data comes the need for safe, reliable and cost-effective data storage.

 

Enter NetApp Big Data Analytics.

 

With NetApp services and features, you can spot threats, maximize efficiency and ultimately transform Big Data into Big Returns.

 

Don't believe us? See for yourself:

 

 

For more information on NetApp's Big Data solutions, visit http://www.netapp.com/us/company/leadership/big-data/

NETAPP_360

NetApp in the News, 5/29/12

Posted by NETAPP_360 May 29, 2012

Every Monday, keep your eyes peeled for our recap of key NetApp media mentions from the previous week.

 

Great Workplaces Grow the Bottom Line  – Great Places to Work Blog

The Great Places to Work Blog mentions NetApp as a member of both the Fortune 500 list as well as on the list of the top 100 Best Companies to Work For. There are only 21 companies on both lists.

 

When Will the World Reach 8 Zetabytes of Stored Data?Silicon Angle

The Silicon Angle highlighted an infographic released by NetApp that predicted that data storage would total 8 Zetabytes by the year 2015, meaning the data storage industry is on the up-climb.

 

Unified Storage Strategies Help Keep Storage Costs DownInfoStor

This InfoStor article highlights how NetApp pioneered the push toward unified storage while the rest of the market has “hooked their carts” to NetApp’s bandwagon.

BigData_Content_2_HiRes.jpgIf you haven't noticed Big Data has created a lot of buzz lately.  Much of the buzz is from the absolute wow factor of how big is big.  With the number of smart phones nearing 6 billion all creating content, Facebook generating over 30 billion pieces of content a month and data expected to grow at 40% year on year it's easy to imagine big really is BIG.


Most of this exploding data growth is unstructured machine-generated and user-generated data. Digital technologies are moving to denser media, photos have all gone digital, videos are using higher resolution, and advanced analytics require more storage. Furthermore, machine-generated data from sensor networks, buyer behavior tracking, and other sources contribute to much larger datasets that need to be understood and commercialized. In short, the amount of data is increasing and the data objects themselves are getting bigger.


In fact the digital universe has recently broken the zettabyte barrier which is approximately equal to a thousand exabytes or a billion terabytes.  How big is that?  To give you an idea of scale it would take everyone on the planet posting to Twitter 7*24 for 100 years to generate a zettabybe.


So you get the idea - it’s really big. But so what?   As an IT organization why should I care?  Well there are two big reasons:


  1. Business Advantage - In all this mountain of data there is real business value. The opportunity is to be able to store hours, days, months and years of surveillance video and be able to find the whereabouts and actions of a single person immediately upon request. Like identifying terrorist as soon as they enter an airport or finding known cheats as they enter a casino.
    Other big data examples involve gaining insight from very large data sets to identify trends and match them to real-time events. Things like being alerted to your customer ordering 300 times more that they usually do so that you can re-route inventory to satisfy their need.  This requires analytics to know what they normally order and real-time alerts to events that are abnormal. Similarly banks need pattern recognition in real-time to detect fraud.
    Or a large retailer analyzing their transactional data together with weather forecasts to anticipate where show shovels need to be delivered ahead of a storm or where fans need to be delivered ahead of a heat wave.
  2. Cost of Compliance - At some point it will break your budget. Conformance requirements mean you need to keep an ever-growing amount of data.  Eventually you will have to think differently and keep more while spending less. Compliance to new laws may require data be kept forever and be retrieved immediately when required. Additionally as the existing infrastructure scales the complexity of managing and protecting the data becomes impractical.

 

As an IT organization you may be thinking that your own data growth will soon be stretching the limits of your infrastructure. A way to define big data is to look at your existing infrastructure, the amount of data you have now, and the amount of growth you're experiencing.  Is it starting to break your existing processes? If so, where?  At NetApp we’ve taken a practical approach to helping our customers with their Big Data challenges.  It’s not about some future unknown state that requires retraining your staff with new competencies or changing the way you do business but about what can you do today that can make a real difference.


As such we have focused out Big Data solution portfolio at 3 specific use cases that offer alternatives that customers can act on today.  We call these cases the ABCs of Big Data - analytics, bandwidth, and content.  Each area has its own specific challenges and unique infrastructure requirements.

 

BigDataABCs.jpg

 

  • Analytics. This solution area focuses on providing efficient analytics for extremely large datasets.  Analytics is all about gaining insight, taking advantage of the digital universe, and turning data into high-quality information, providing deeper insights about the business to enable better decisions.
  • Bandwidth. This solution area focuses on obtaining better performance for very fast workloads.  High-bandwidth applications include high-performance computing: the ability to perform complex analyses at extremely high speeds; high-performance video streaming for surveillance and mission planning; and as video editing and play-out in media and entertainment.
  • Content. This solution area focuses on the need to provide boundless secure scalable data storage. Content solutions must enable storing virtually unlimited amounts of data, so that enterprises can store as much data as they want, find it when they need it, and never lose it.

 

To summarize - behind the hype there are multiple opportunities. You need to be asking, where are the opportunities where can I take advantage of my data? What are the insights that can really help my business?  Where are the places I can use my data to competitive advantage?  Can you link the trends in buying patterns to people's physical location at a point in time to give them a better experience? Can you detect when fraud is about to happen? Can you find the likely hotspots for failure before they fail?

Your universe of data can be a gold mine. Can you find the value and turn it into real business advantage.  If you don't you can be sure your competitor is.


NETAPP_360

NetApp in the News, 5/21/12

Posted by NETAPP_360 May 21, 2012

Every Monday, keep your eyes peeled here for the “NetApp 360 Recap” that highlights key media mentions of NetApp from the previous week.

 

SAP Technology Adoption in the “7th Inning Stretch” says NetApp VPSiliconAngle

John Furrier and Dave Vellante spoke with Thomas Stanley, former baseball player turned tech Global Alliance VP for NetApp at SAP SAPPHIRE 2012. Watch the embedded video of their great conversation.

 

Government Faces A Big Data ChallengeBaseline Magazine

“The Big Data Gap,” a new report from MeriTalk, sponsored by NetApp, takes a look at how agencies are managing big data and the challenges they face as data storage continues to grow.

 

New BUMI Release Offers Improved VMware and NetApp APIsTalkin’ Cloud

BUMI, a provider of managed online backup and recovery solutions for small to midsized businesses, announced the latest version of its flagship data backup and recovery service.

(Updated February 2014)

 

By Bill Hogan

 

In 2007, the morning after the first NetApp St. Baldrick’s event in NYC, my then 9-year-old son Liam burst into tears and heartfelt pleas about staying home from school that day. My wife and I were prepared for just this situation. We both knew that the night before had been magical and inspiring, but the prospect of going to school with a freshly shaved head was, this morning, more reality than Liam was prepared to accept. Liam was afraid he might be teased at school, and this was casting a heavy burden on this little man. I sat down with him and we talked about how lucky we both were that shaving our heads was an option for us, not a given due to illness and treatment. And I told my son how proud I was of his commitment to fighting childhood cancer. Liam pulled it together and stood a little taller that day as he walked out the door on his way to school.

 

Seven-years later, NetApp is still committed to raising funds for the charity St. Baldrick’s, and 2013 was successful beyond all imagination. Twenty-eight NetApp events, over 650 shavees, and $1,400,000 raised and donated towards finding a cure for cancer.

 

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How St. Baldrick’s Started

 

In the fall of 2005, Tom Mendoza and I hosted a CIO dinner at Tira Signo on Bleeker Street in NYC. John Lacava, now COO of QBE joined us along with 10 or so senior execs for an intimate dinner and great dialogue.

 

As dinner concluded and the topics of the evening had been thoroughly bandied about, I turned to John and asked him to give the background for his freshly sheared dome. John filled us in on how four years earlier he and three friends were having a business lunch and started a silly bet about shaving their heads for really no good reason. This silly discussion took a sudden turn when one of the execs threw out the challenge—raise money, shave heads, and donate funds to the fight against childhood cancer. In minutes, all bets were off and all execs were in for the fund-raising challenge. They decided that day to stand in solidarity with kids who lost their hair while going through treatment.

 

What has happened from there has been magical. Not only did they stand in solidarity, but they became walking billboards for the fight to find a cure. They raised over $100,000 their first year, surpassed that the next two years, saw people rally around their efforts and inspire shaving parties all over NYC and then other cities.

 

By the time John was telling us this tale at the Tira Signo dinner, they had raised 17 million dollars and incorporated St. Baldrick’s.

 

How NetApp Got Involved

 

John Lacava had NetApp executive Joey Santamorena at hello and the attention quickly turned to me. I obliged the taunt and stated that shaving my head would be something I would do, but it was going to have to be bigger than just the few of us at the table participating before I would agree. “Bill and Joey’s Excellent Shaving Adventure” was born that night, coming to fruition just a few months after we learned about St. Baldrick’s.  Bill and Joey before.JPG

 

Rob Salmon and Eric Mann Step Up to Get Shaved

 

Eric Mann,Sr. VP of Americas Sales, and EVP Rob Salmon both attended the first “Excellent Shaving Adventure” event in NYC. Neither intended to shave, but both left without a hair on their head. Eric raised 25k on the spot, and with his wife’s blessing took a chair with the barbers. And Rob, after sharing an emotional story about a friend who was losing the battle with cancer, committed 10k, grabbed the clippers, and started shaving his own head.

 

Joey Santamorena and I were the last shavees at that first event and after a long and emotional evening we mugged for a photo—arm-in-arm with Rob and Eric, and the other shavees. We raised over $100,000 that night and something extraordinary started at NetApp.

 

Six Years of Celebrities, Fun, and Inspiration

Justin shaving Liam's head.JPG

 

The NetApp St. Baldrick’s events are now a global affair. In total, NetApp has hosted more than 100 shaving events worldwide. Often the shaving parties include a celebrity appearance. Justin Tuck, of the NY Giants has been at the past few NYC events shaving heads and adding to the general excitement. Chicago hosted Justin’s former teammates at Notre Dame, Brandon Hoyte and Corey Mays. The 2013 Boston event included Patriots players including Rob Gronkowski and cheerleaders from the Celtics And I heard that Josh Stamer, former linebacker, has stopped by past event(s) at RTP.*

 

The celebrities, the party atmosphere, the fun had by all at each event keeps the mood light, but as you can imagine, as each head is shaved and each story told, the emotions run high. Childhood cancer is an insidious disease that terrifies the parent in all of us. As each grown up takes his or her place in the chairs and offers their hair to the barbers, we’re all reminded of the blessings in our own lives. It’s inspirational, really. But nothing can describe what it’s like to see a child, nervous and unsure, walk to the stage and accept the signature green cape, offering their own locks to stand in solidarity with all the children living with the horrible burden of a terminal illness. It’s the kids we’re doing this for, and the kids who really inspire each of us to get involved in funding the search for a cure.

 

NetApp’s Support Makes it all Possible

 

NetApp’s commitment to supporting the charitable work of its employees is surely a driving factor behind the success of the St. Baldrick’s events hosted by individual NetApp offices across the world. There are many charities that NetApp employees support, and much of the workforce takes advantage of Volunteer Days Off by giving time to various local organizations. St. Baldrick’s is just one of many opportunities we have to give back and get involved.

 

I wish I had the space to call out every person who has made a difference through their participation, at any level, with St. Baldrick’s. NetApp employees, leaders, customers, partners, families and friends, all standing together on behalf of kids battling this terrible disease. Seven years later we stand at thousands of shavees and volunteers and more than $4,800,000 donated. Thank you to you all!Bill and his boys 2012.JPG

NETAPP_360

Welcome to NetApp 360

Posted by NETAPP_360 May 15, 2012

Watch NetApp co-founder Dave Hitz introduce our newest blog: NetApp 360. This blog will feature contributions from across the company, and we invite you to bookmark this blog; share it with your friends; connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; or sign up for the NetApp 360 RSS feed!

 

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