NetApp unveils next evolution of data fabric strategy with Keystone

Keystone is a strategy around providing a seamless public cloud experience across public and private clouds and on-prem data centres, which contains attached offerings and services.

NetApp CEO George Kurian

LAS VEGAS – Today, in his keynote address at the NetApp Insight event at the Mandalay Bay, NetApp CEO George Kurian unveiled Keystone, the highlight of the company’s new announcements being made at the event

“Today, we are announcing the next major evolution of the data fabric, NetApp Keystone,” Kurian said. “Keystone is a group of programs, offerings and services that will provide a consistent experience from the public cloud to the data centre. It enables you to simplify the business of cloud data services.”

Kurian tied Keystone into the NetApp’s long-term data fabric strategy.

“We announced our vision for data fabric at Insight five years ago,” he said. “Today, we have a comprehensive suite of data management solutions across leading cloud providers, and we are expanding the number of cloud regions we are deployed in on a monthly basis. We promised we would help you build a data fabric that would transform your IT, and more importantly, to transform your business.”

Last year, at Insight, Kurian said that he shared four principles of success in digital business. The first is that speed is the new scale, and IT needs to be adopted to the need for speed. The second is that digital transformation requires IT transformation.

“Third, to get the full benefits of speed, we posited that hybrid multi-cloud architecture would be the de facto IT architecture,” Kurian continued. “Most companies that we speak to are hybrid cloud. By the end of next year, three quarters of them will be hybrid multi-cloud. You need to plan to operate in a hybrid cloud world.”

Finally, Kurian told customers that they need to move from data centres to data fabrics

“You need to integrate your data across all of these hybrid landscapes,” he said.

“Our perspective on this customer roadmap is playing out,” Kurian stressed. “I’ve talked to hundreds of customers over the past year, and they say that this is accelerating.”

This brought Kurian back to Keystone.

“What was missing before, and what Keystone addresses, is simplifying the business of data services to provide the experience of cloud wherever you want to use it, in public cloud or in your data centre,” he stated. “Keystone allows us to enable customers to operate like a cloud everywhere. It provides a simplified integrated customer experience to complement the simple operator experience our data fabric delivers.”

He said that there are three ways by which Keystone enables this.

“First, you gain cloud-like agility and choice in your data centre. It provides a single unified customer experience – through public cloud, private cloud and in your data centre. Second, we expand our innovation lead to allow you to power enterprise and modern applications. And we are also making related expansions in our security and governance portfolio.”

Kurian stressed that with NetApp Keystone Subscription Services, NetApp is easy to buy, consume and operate, with a choice of how to buy: metered utility, subscription or capital purchases.

“It is available today on all leading cloud providers,” Kurian said. “It will also give you a cloud-like experience in your own data centre, with the business and customer experience you expect from the cloud. Cloud on prem is as easy as 1-2-3.

“You get to choose your performance tier – high, standard or value,” Kurian stated. “You choose what data service you want – file, block or object. You choose who manages it – you, a partner or us. You can buy on flexible subscription with an option to burst and a one-year commitment.”

Kurian also emphasized that procurement is simple, through a Web-based portal, which radically simplifies the purchasing process. Previously, customers had a choice of 18 hardware options, 23 software options, and four support options.

“Now it’s four hardware options, three software options, and one support option,” he said “4-3-1.

“You get flat, predictable pricing that never goes up,” he added. “You can also choose to work with us on a personalized basis, and talk with our experts.”

“In the past, we would wind up surprising our customers, especially when prices would go up on renewals,” said Biren Fondekar, NetApp’s Chief Transformation Officer. “With NetApp Keystone, we now have predictable pricing for renewals.”

NetApp partners at Insight were enthusiastic about Keystone’s potential for their own businesses.

“Customers want flexibility,” said Brent Collins, Senior Director of Global Data Center Practice, at the St Louis office of WWT. “They don’t know where workloads will reside over the next few years, so want to know they will be capable of being deployed in other locations. I really like Keystone because it addresses this concept of data mobility – the flexibility to put your data where you want it.”

“These consumption models make it really easy for us to have cloud conversations with customers, said Japman Bajaj, Practice Director of Managed Cloud and Infrastructure Service at national Canadian solutions provider Long View Systems. “One thing we are getting really good at is driving business level conversations. This makes it easy to have a 3-year projected conversation with a CEO, because it gives them a flexible roadmap on how they can transform their business.”

“Keystone is important because it’s all about NetApp’s messaging in the market, said Chuck Farrow, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, at global solutions provider Logicalis. “It’s important to clarify their position in the marketplace to both the end user and partner communities.”

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