At the 2012 Agile Developer Forum in Dallas, Texas, I had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of application developers and consultants. Of the 2400 developers at this conference, perhaps 10% recognized NetApp’s name, either because of our stock’s performance over the past decade or from the “Great Places to Work” achievements. Of these people, I met exactly one person who understood the tremendous value that NetApp brings to the development community.
At the conference, we hosted several interactive talks about accelerating Development Operations (DevOps) with an Agile Data Infrastructure. The typical conversation during these sessions revolved around the slide above, reproduced into a giant-sized poster. Most developers were familiar with what is largely considered “The DevOps Bible” written by Jez Humble and David Farley, and recognized the caution of using production databases due to unwieldy size and time-consuming copying. All of them, by contrast, were shocked by the claim on the right hand-side of this poster. Several asked when NetApp had come out with this capability, assuming that it had must have been within the last two years. It was with a little embarrassment that I had to admit that FlexClones™ have been around for more than nine years. “Do you have ANY idea how much time I’ve wasted over the past 9 years, re-structuring databases and applications to get around this problem?! Why have I never heard of FlexClones before?!”
The really interesting conversations come with these developers when we ask them what they could do differently if they could create disposable, cheap, quick virtual copies of the production environment. The resulting possibilities are creative and endless, having significant impact on the ability of the organization to grow, create new revenue producing opportunities, and deliver higher profits to the shareholders.