Escape the Vendor Lock-in with Data Fabric

Photo credit: iStockphoto/tiero

Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 75% of organizations will deploy a multicloud or hybrid cloud model. But many organizations are “not there yet,” says Matthew Swinbourne, chief technology officer for Cloud Architecture for APAC at NetApp.

Discussing the cloud and data challenges faced by Asian companies, Swinbourne warns that organizations choosing just one cloud or no cloud today, “will echo for years to come.”

Labeling the single-cloud plan as "the new vendor lock-in," Swinbourne stresses the importance of hybrid multi-cloud strategy and how a data fabric can help to achieve that.

The case for a data fabric

The problem with the multicloud model is that it makes everything complex, from cloud management, optimizing, and data transfer. It is the reason why many companies are taking a step back to build a data fabric instead. 

The data fabric, an architecture with a set of data services providing consistent capabilities across a choice of endpoints, simplifies multicloud. It allows data to be shared in a distributed data environment, from on-premises to multiple cloud environments, easily.

“So, data fabric allows all kinds of workloads to be transported up into the clouds, processed and paid for, and then the results transferred back,” explains Swinbourne.

The combination of NetApp HCI integrated with the NetApp Data Fabric offers a few unique differentiators. 

NetApp is helping its customers to start their data fabric journey with the NetApp HCI integrated with the NetApp Data Fabric. The combination offers a few unique propositions when compared to market offerings.

Firstly, it enables mixed workloads to run on the platform. The QoS engine built into the NetApp HCI means service level agreements, as well as minimum and maximum levels of performance, can be guaranteed.

Secondly, all NetApp cloud services and Kubernetes Services can be deployed on top of the NetApp HCI. When multiple applications share the same infrastructure, the potential exists for one app to interfere with the performance of another. NetApp HCI gives granular control of every app and eliminates “resource contention.”

Thirdly, it scales. Whether it is compute power, capacity, or storage performance, you add what you need. This way, Swinborne says, you also only pay for what you need. And on top of that, relocation can be quickly done. 

“And all of this applies just as much in the financial services world as in the entertainment, bio-tech, sport, electric utilities, and practically any industries that utilize data,” says Swinbourne.

Creating data-centric movie magic

DreamWorks, a long-time NetApp customer, has long been utilizing the NetApp platform to deliver its artistry and animation. With 10 films usually in simultaneous production, as many as 5 billion active digital files are being worked on in a hybrid cloud platform.

This is where NetApp’s data services management comes in.

When the time comes to render in detail -- a tremendous machine-learning job -- the necessary CPU can be allocated during the time needed.

For example, when a wireframe of an animated character is drawn up, created, and stored on NetApp's platform, someone else on that production pipeline can then add textures on top of that data. This is done multiple times.

When the time comes to render in detail -- a tremendous machine-learning job -- the necessary CPU can be allocated during the time needed.

In the past, companies like Industrial Light and Magic and DreamWorks would need to purchase additional equipment to render these processes. With data fabric, the compute power can be 'rented' during the rendering, and the results pushed into the production pipeline.

For movie companies, it is not just about cost-efficiency. It also gives them production speed.

“It’s a competitive differentiator to be able to produce a movie faster. If you've got two film companies both working towards producing a movie for a boxing day release and if someone gets there first, that's millions of dollars," says Swinbourne.

Financial news and information company Dow Jones also agrees. NetApp's Data Fabric gave them the flexibility to use the technologies they want. 

“NetApp helps us bring that data together regardless of the underlying service provider," says Ramin Beheshti, chief product and technology officer, Dow Jones. "That means I’m able to move much quicker to create the products and experiences our customers expect.”

Photo credit: iStockphoto/tiero