Data management major NetApp, like many other tech companies, envisions a world where customers focus on what they do best and leave the computer business to tech geeks. To bring this dream alive, one of its major initiatives has been the data management software called ONTAP, which is practically NetApp’s operating system. It’s very popular with NetApp’s customers globally as it helps them seamlessly switch between different cloud providers. The latest version of it, ONTAP 9, has been developed principally by the company’s R&D team in Bengaluru.
The software provides storage infrastructure capabilities, which is the foundation for hybrid cloud, and also simplifies management of unstructured data. Managing data across multiple clouds is particularly complex. “Everyone talks about cloud these days. But cloud isn’t just AWS, Azure or IBM cloud. It’s also a mindset that says it doesn’t cost as much to use computer resources and it doesn’t require specialised skills to use it. And that’s what NetApp enables with ONTAP,” says Ravi Chhabria, MD of NetApp India.
One of the key elements of ONTAP that the India team has been working on is Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO). “CVO makes it really easy for customers to use the flavour of cloud storage best suited to their needs and even toggle between their existing storage and cloud seamlessly. Companies using CVO can migrate or backup data from on-prem to cloud and enable data analytics,” Chhabria says.
To build enterprise software of this complexity, Chhabria says, requires a wide variety of skills and specialised knowledge. “We make storage more efficient by using techniques like deduplication, compression, compaction to reduce the $/GB. We make data more nimble to the customer by creating primary, secondary copies of data, either on-prem or cloud; and we partner with hyperscalars to provide storage as a subscription-based solution to enable customers to pay as they go and optimise their costs further,” he says.
The NetApp India team, he says, had to reskill themselves over the last 2-3 years in a software development world now dominated by DevOps. For ONTAP 9, The team also leveraged capabilities like containers, Kubernetes and distributed file systems. “We’ve always had deep experience in tech like distributed file systems, but we are now able to apply that in a world that makes those same capabilities even more scalable and easier to consume in a cloud context. This makes the talent NetApp is creating in India very hot,” Chhabria added.