Building a modern data platform – The Storage

When it comes to our choice of data platform storage provider NetApp remain our first choice, but why?

While it is important to get the storage right, getting it right is much more than just having somewhere to store data. In our modern platform it's crucial that we have data services that can provide control and insights to our data through all elements of our stack, this includes of course at the very base storage level.

What are data services?

These are services that we use to better manage and understand our data these services may include security, storage efficiency, data protection or the ability to extract value from data. NetApp provide these services as standard with their ONTAP operating system bringing considerable value regardless of whether data capacity needs are large or small.

Today many storage providers offer data services on their platforms, that been the case then why else do we continue to choose NetApp as a foundation of a data platform?

Data Fabric

“Data Fabric” is the simple answer, when we think about about what we demand from our data platforms today it is clear we cannot think about them in isolation. We are likely to have data in our datacentres, in co-lo facilities and branch offices, in the public cloud. We may even want that data stored on a different platform, or in a different format all together, such as object storage . However, to manage our data effectively and securely, we can’t have these locations and platforms exist in isolation needs a plethora of separate management tools, policies and procedures to ensure we keep control.

NetApp Data Fabric

The “Data Fabric” is why NetApp continue to be the base storage element of our data platform designs, the key to the fabric is the ONTAP operating system and its deployment flexibility. ONTAP can be consumed as a software service within a virtual machine or from AWS, Azure, Google and other cloud providers, but crucially those deployments are the same ONTAP providing the same data services, managed by the same tools, deployed in all kinds of different ways. This data service consistency means that I can seamlessly move data between multiple locations while maintaining control with the same management tools and policies.

Beyond that, the ability to move data between NetApp’s other portfolio platforms, such as NetApp HCI and StorageGrid, as well as third party cloud providers, ensures I can build a complex fabric that allows me to place data where I need it, when I need it. The ability to do this while maintaining security, control and management with the same tools regardless of location is hugely powerful and beneficial.

API’s and Integration

When we look to build a data platform we have to appreciate it will not be built with components from a single provider and as we build through the layers of our platform, integration between those layers is crucial.

API’s are increasingly important in the modern datacentre as we look for different ways to automate and integrate, this is another area where NetApp are strong, providing third party integrations with partners such as Microsoft, Veeam, VMware and Varonis (some of which we’ll explore in other parts of the series) allowing tour storage layer to be driven by other tools means we can start to automate many elements of our stack another key element of the modern data platform.

Can it grow with me?

One of the key reasons that we need a more strategic view of data platforms is the continued growth of our data and the demands we put on it, therefore scalability and performance are vital when we chose the storage components of our platform.

NetApp deliver this across all of their portfolio. ONTAP allows me to scale a storage cluster up to 24 nodes delivering huge capacity, performance and compute capability. The huge scale of the StorageGrid object platform or the fast and cheap capabilities of E-Series provides us and our customers with lots of choices when it comes to choice of storage to meet the many varied demands of today's business.

NetApp and thier Data Fabric strategy means we can scale across these platforms providing the ability to grow a data platform as needed and not be restricted by a single technology.

Does it have to be NetApp

Of course the answer is no, but why we continue to choose NetApp as the platform of choice for Gardner Systems is that they continue to deliver the elements we need to meet the needs of our customers data strategies.

If you don't want to use NetApp that's OK, as long as we are choosing a data storage partner who can help us to meet the goals of our strategy and can provide the scale, flexibility and controls we need that it what really matters and if you can do that, that provides a great base upon which to build our data platform.

In the next part of this series we will look at the importance of availability, that will be available soon.

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