Introducing Data Fabric

Today as heads of IT we are constantly challenged by our organisations to take advantage of technology trends such as cloud, object storage,virtualisation, flash and containers so that we can  keep ahead of the competition by accelerating innovation, saving money and growing profit margins.


Although we all agree embracing these technologies will benefit us, today many of us do not, so the question is why?


Our customers tell us, it’s because it’s hard, because while applications are often flexible and easy to move, the most critical part of our organisations IT, our data, is not.


Too often we deploy solutions that have created incompatible silos of technology, be it high performance flash, VDI, long term archive or of course, cloud, these technology choices traditionally have created incompatibilities.


Managing these data silos brings additional challenges;


  • Inability to move data. After an organization’s data is in a particular cloud, it is difficult or impossible to move it to a different one.

  • Difficulty managing data consistently. Each environment has a different set of tools, APIs, and management software that make it difficult to apply consistent policies to data.

  • Limited choice. New technologies and services that do not integrate with existing environments are difficult to adopt. As a result, IT is limited in its technology choices, affecting its ability to exploit the capabilities of existing and new environments.

  • Lack of control. Data is a critical asset for successful organisations. IT must be the stewards of that data no matter where it is. Storing that data in a cloud where there is little visibility into how it is protected and governed can put businesses at risk.


To overcome these challenges, IT needs a secure, seamless way to manage applications and data, regardless of their underlying data platforms. When our technologies are collected together we are able to draw from the resources of each, move data and applications to new services, and put every workload on the most appropriate platform.


Providing the freedom to take advantage of technological trends without being restrained by traditional technology boundaries.

The Power of a Data Fabric


Data Fabric is the strategic solution to tackling our data management challenges. A fully defined robust fabric strategy enables our customers to respond and innovate more quickly because data is free to be accessed where it is needed most.


Data Fabric is more than just a strategy however, with our fabric partners NetApp, it is a reality than can be built today. The Data Fabric is NetApp’s technology architecture for the future of data management. NetApp products, services, and partnerships help customers seamlessly manage their data across their diverse IT resources, spanning flash, disk, and cloud. IT has the flexibility to choose the right set of resources and the freedom to change them whenever needed.

Our Data Fabric is built on 5 key principles that deal with all of the challenges of traditional data management.


  • Control. Securely retain control and governance of data regardless of its location: on premises, near the cloud, or in the cloud.

  • Choice. Choose cloud, application ecosystem, delivery methods, storage platforms, and deployment models, with freedom to change.

  • Integration. Enable the components in every layer of the architectural stack to operate as one while extracting the full value of each component.

  • Access. Easily get data to where applications need it, when they need it, in a way they can use it.

  • Consistency. Manage data across multiple environments using standard tools and processes regardless of where it resides.

Who Should Care About a Data Fabric?


Enterprise CEO


With a Data Fabric enabled by NetApp, allows enterprise CEOs to foster an environment that stimulates innovation. They can improve use of business resources. They can move at the speed of smaller companies without sacrificing the ability to meet business and compliance requirements of their industry. They can have confidence that the organisation’s data is secure. 


Enterprise CIO


When it comes to meeting the needs of the business, CIOs can be challenged by conflicting priorities. They need to maintain existing environments while adopting promising technologies. With a Data Fabric enabled by NetApp, CIOs gain the freedom to make the best decisions for the business, make sure of access to data wherever it is needed, and accelerate innovation with fewer resources.  
IT Architects


Heads of IT infrastructure need to satisfy diverse service-level objectives (SLOs). Workloads require different availability, performance, cost, security, and access. With a Data Fabric enabled by NetApp, IT architects can design flexible multiplatform and hybrid cloud application architectures. They can provide security the organisation requires with the data access users need.




The need for secure, rapid software development is driving fast adoption of hybrid cloud by development organisations (Dev/Ops). Setting up infrastructure for new projects in the cloud is fast and affordable; it gives Dev/Ops the freedom to fail. When costs outstrip advantages, Dev/Ops can bring development environments back to its data centres.


Storage Architects


The Data Fabric extends the reach of storage architects and administrators into cloud architectures. It gives them the opportunity to leverage their existing skills and operational experience to take advantage of new deployment models that are on the leading edge of technology. With new tools at their disposal, they have more freedom to enable their users to be more productive and innovate in new ways.


Cloud Service Providers


Cloud service providers (SPs) seek to scale their business up, drive costs down, and onboard customers quickly and easily. With a Data Fabric enabled by NetApp, SPs can build an efficient and dependable infrastructure that scales with demand. Operations are completely automatable, whether the cloud orchestration framework is commercial, open source, or custom built. Customers can be onboarded by enabling them to extend their Data Fabrics to the SP cloud, giving them control of their data while they utilize cloud services


What do I do now?

There is no doubt that a strong data fabric is critical in our planning for the future of our IT organisations, we want to be able to take advantage of new technology trends that are available to us, not only those that are available now but those that will follow in the future. We can only do that if we ensure that our data is mobile and flexible, able to be positioned where we need it, quickly,easily, and critically, securely, so we maintain control, governance and sovereignty.


Today the NetApp Data Fabric allows us to do just that, with technology and tools that allow us to meet our organisations needs.


Please contact us for more information including the NetApp white paper "NetApp Data Fabric Fundamentals: Building a Data Fabric Today "


Thank you for your interest in Data Fabric, we'll be in touch.