#NETAPPINSIGHT 2016: Our 2 Main Data Storage Industry Takeaways

By: Omar Gonzalez | @omargonzo16 and Russ Qualls | @rwq104


Conferences are great for networking and facilitating transparent discussions. NetApp Insight is NetApp’s annual technical conference for storage and data management professionals. With over 300 technical sessions, customers, engineers, consultants and partners have the opportunity to learn and talk with industry experts.

This year represented our tenth NetApp Insight, and it was the most eye opening and impactful conference for the TSP team to date. We were able to truly take a deep dive into the trends and technology shaping the future of storage and data management, while having meaningful conversations with some of the industry’s biggest names. Below you will find our two main takeaways from the conference and why we would rate this year’s event a 10 out of 10.

NetApp Didn’t Shy Away from Discussing Industry Changes
The storage industry has changed dramatically over the past several years. While our team was looking forward to discussing these changes with thought leaders in the industry, Insight exceeded our expectations by providing an honest and thorough conversation surrounding the industry’s evolution.Case in point, hybrid clouds (also known as data silos) are the new IT ecosystem and storage vendors must adapt to this different type of storage solution. NetApp discussed how their competitors are building hybrid clouds to assist with clients’ needs and the current IT Transformation. While its competitors are building data silos, NetApp focused on the benefits of Data Fabric (an architecture that provides consistent data management for the era of hybrid multicloud IT) and how this solution can assist in shifting its IT architecture to meet the industry’s evolving needs. For example, NetApp has embraced the hybrid cloud solution as well as solid-state (SS) technology for its clients, instead of solely relying on in-house storage solutions and spinning disks.

Our team was grateful for NetApp’s transparency and solutions-based approach, especially since our company takes pride in doing both of these things for our own clients. It was refreshing to see how NetApp is able to keep an open mind about the future of the storage industry, while recognizing that their company’s success directly correlates to the success and support of its industry partners (ourselves included).

Storage Industry Trends Rely on Strategic Relationships
With the industry’s transformation and NetApp following suit to remain competitive, our team has seen firsthand how the company is at the forefront of the storage industry. Sometimes, innovating and changing with the times means aligning yourself with strategic partners.

A recent example is NetApp’s procurement of SolidFire – this alliance is creating disruptive new storage models for a new area of digital progression. Not only does this integration allow NetApp to maintain its success with its new product line, SolidFire was implemented without needing a forklift upgrade. Because of this, NetApp’s transformation is an ideal model for other data storage companies to follow.  Instead of “running with a flat foot,” NetApp is now sprinting on the balls of their feet and can easily pivot with its robust five service offerings necessary for the next-generation data center. 

At TSP, we are firm advocates of being relationship builders and partners, rather than salesmen and vendors, and NetApp Insight helped us solidify our relationships with numerous leaders within the data management family. Overall, our team walked away from NetApp Insight with the comfort of knowing that all attendees are facing similar changes within the industry, but can rely on one another to take the next step in instilling data management technology trends for our clients.