The Top 5 Challenges of 21st Century IT

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#1: Reigning in Budgets While Consolidating Your Infrastructure

Tell me if this sounds familiar. The other day I was giving a presentation to a customer on how the latest NetApp technology can help transform their business, and I had an epiphany. I thought to myself, “If I only had some of this kit ten years ago, I could have solved some really huge problems and avoided some big-time heartbreak.”

Then it hit me. The challenges I could have solved years ago aren’t really that different from the challenges my customers are trying to solve today. If you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you start to see the same themes resurface over and over again. For me, those have typically been things like consolidation, budget, agility, flexibility, management, cloud adoption, performance, and so on.

The Data Fabric is designed to help customers address each of those challenges head-on. And because NetApp knows one size does not fit all in today’s IT world, you can mix and match virtually any piece of the portfolio to meet specific needs. Over the next 5 blogs, I’m going to go into detail about how NetApp can help you solve some of these persistent challenges of 21st century IT.

Let’s start with the challenge that I think is still top of mind for many customers in 2016: reigning in budgets while consolidating infrastructure.

Doing more with less

I heard a statistic recently that claimed the majority of companies spend 60% of their budgets just keeping the lights on, and only 5% on innovation and growing the business. This has always been a driving force in IT. How can you shrink your footprint and your resource consumption while expanding your offerings and delivering more innovation? Lately, this conversation has been dominated by one word—flash.

NetApp has been at the forefront of the flash market for years, and they’ve got it down to a science. They’ve taken their flagship storage system, FAS, and given it an all-flash upgrade to create (you guessed it), All Flash FAS, which delivers extreme performance and low latency for business-critical operations. In terms of consolidation, that means you can get even more IOPs from less disks that take up less space and require less power and cooling to run them.

With ONTAP 9 software, that story gets even better. How much better? Try 4:1 capacity efficiency over spinning disk. That means you can store four times as much data within a smaller foot print using faster, more efficient disks. To put that into context for a large environment, if you were running 1PB on spinning disk, that might take up two and a half racks plus within your datacenter. With All Flash FAS running the new 15.3TB SSDs, you’re down to 8U. That’s a dramatic reduction in rack space, shrinking your datacenter footprint and ultimately saving you cash—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You add in the rich data management, storage efficiency features like deduplication and automation, and non-disruptive operations that ONTAP is known for, with upcoming features like compaction, and you’ve got a recipe for a bite-sized powerhouse of a data center.

And it’s not just the cost savings on what you buy now, it’s about making more intelligent decisions for your IT of the future. This has always been a big problem for IT managers—do you overbuy and hope you’ll use it, or under-purchase to save money while praying you don’t need it?

With NetApp, you don’t need to make that call. Take ONTAP Select. If this product was available 10 years ago, I would have bought it in a heartbeat. ONTAP Select is NetApp’s software-defined version of its core ONTAP software, allowing you to enjoy the rich data management and efficiency features of ONTAP on white box x86 servers.

ONTAP 9 and the Data Fabric gives you the freedom to buy what you need for today without burning up tomorrow’s budget. NetApp is changing the way people consume and purchase IT, and its right in line with the way the rest of the industry is moving in terms of software-defined. It’s a proactive versus reactive approach to IT that ultimately makes IT more valuable to the business by turning it into a strategic asset, not a cost center.

So with budgets and data center sprawl under control with NetApp, including All Flash FAS, ONTAP 9, ONTAP Select, and more, you can focus on the next big challenges for your business while innovating and delivering more value to customers.

Tune in next time for my take on how the NetApp portfolio can help you improve agility and flexibility for your most demanding workloads.

Independent resources

Dave Brown – NetApp ONTAP 9 Announcement

Chris Maki – ONTAP 9.0 is here

Dave Morera – First Look at ONTAP 9

Adam Bergh – NetApp Announces ONTAP 9

Paul Stringfellow – turning-a-big-storage-ship

Michael Cade – Everything ONTAP…..NetApp ONTAP Select