NetApp beefs up software portfolio with enhanced ONTAP, expanded Keystone and cloud SolidFire

The ONTAP changes are highly significant and include the addition of both continuous data availability and S3 object services.

Kim Stevenson’s, SVP and GM of NetApp’s Foundational Data Services Business Unit

Today, a week in advance of their NetApp INSIGHT event, NetApp is making a trio of major software announcements. Their flagship ONTAP software is being enhanced with continuous data availability and the addition of S3 object services to ONTAP. Updates are being announced to their Keystone Flex Subscription. And the new SolidFire Enterprise Software Defined Storage solution brings SolidFire into the private cloud.

“The main thrust of everything we are doing with these announcements is enabling a hybrid environment with our data fabric story and making it easy to do business with us,” said Kim Stevenson’s, SVP and GM of NetApp’s Foundational Data Services Business Unit.

“We have the best product in the market, and it starts with that,” she said. “In the last 6-7 months, you have had an acceleration of change inside companies. They have put IT at the forefront of company strategy. They have dozens of sanctioned SaaS applications. We are one of the only companies that can enable bidirectional movement of the data, so companies can thrive in this hybrid world.”

Stevenson termed the enhancements to ONTAP as major ones.

“They are things that customers have told us they needed,” she said.

The ONTAP changes begin with continuous data availability for improved simplicity, efficiency, and protection of business-critical enterprise applications.

“Continuous data availability lets you do a cost-effective failover,” Stevenson said. “It was there before but not on a continuous basis That’s the new part that is so important. It strengthens our value proposition in the SAN environment. It’s a very granular proposition, but because it impacts only data that has been changed, we are able to do it. That’s a big deal in my mind.”

What Stevenson termed the other big deal is the addition of object services support to ONTAP.

“We have been adding S3 object services to our portfolio and have extended that now to ONTAP,” she said. “ONTAP is now a destination for unified SAN, NAS and Object. We are the only one who can offer this.”

NetApp’s SolidFire appliance have had rough times recently, with rumors that the product could be on its way out. But today they are announcing a software version, SolidFire Enterprise Software Defined Storage. It provides a a simple and automated foundation for private clouds.

“This is a very exciting announcement, despite rumours of SolidFire’s death,” Stevenson said.  “This is our first software defined storage announcement. SolidFire Enterprise Software Defined Storage gives scale out capabilities, which are perfect for service providers and financial services.

Stevenson said that the SolidFire hardware is not on its way out.

“We still have appliances and we will sell them happily, to customers who want a fully integrated turnkey solution,” she stated.

Customers for the software defined version will not be limited to very large ones, Stevenson added.

“It’s more about having a high technical acumen,” she said. “Many service providers are regional players, so they are not huge, but they are technically astute in terms of defining their own architecture.”

The NetApp Keystone Flex Subscription is being enhanced , with enhancements that now include public cloud integration and a new ‘pay as you grow’ subscription option.

“All of this reinforces the unique position of our data fabric,” Stevenson concluded. “We are able to go bidirectional seamlessly, which will be increasingly important for companies.”