This marks the second conference in under a month, and my fourth trip to the US this year. I’m really racking up frequent flyer points, though on multiple airlines, and they’re almost useless anyway. I have nothing on the frequent travellers like Ben Kepes, or Paul Wallbank, who seem to always be on planes. Unlike me, they seem to find time to write everything up and publish it.
This will also be my second NetApp Insight conference. My last one was in 2009, in Phoenix, AZ. A lot has changed in a mere five years.
Long Term Perspective
I’ve not really dealt much with NetApp in the last three or four years, as my work has taken me more into the business and applications area, and overall architecture. I maintain an interest in infrastructure because I like to play with technology, but NetApp are just another piece in the overall puzzle where once it was an area of focus.
NetApp doesn’t appear to have changed all that dramatically from is now my outsider’s viewpoint. I caught up with some NetApp people at VMworld, including past-colleagues, and it just seemed to be more of the same sort of stuff. FlexPod is still a thing. 7-mode and C-mode are still two different things. The Engenio acquisition added the E product line and the EF550, and the FlashRay finally made it to market, so it’s not like nothing happened.
But it feels like not much has.
NetApp just feels like might have missed the boat of a bunch of changes that have shaken up the infrastructure world in the past few years. Hyper-converged is officially a thing now with VMware bringing out EVO:RAIL, and just about every compute vendor on the planet has jumped on board as a partner. Flash is huge, and they’ve only just come out with a flash appliance. Sure, PAM was around way back when I used to admin the things, and we were putting NetApp IPSANs together in ESX v3.0 with no jumbo frames or vSwitches.
Maybe I’ve not been paying sufficient attention. Maybe NetApp’s marketing lacked impact. Maybe NetApp have compelling stories to tell across all of these areas. The conference is a prime opportunity for NetApp to clear all this up with me.
And of course I’ll get it written up so you can read all about it.