In this part, Dan and Luis discuss customer actions, the reasoning behind those actions, what customers want.


Dan Allaby: Absolutely. Let’s shift into that, I know you started to touch on NetApp Private Storage for AWS, because I think as we’re looking for solutions that if we deep dive further into use cases and solutions that represent an opportunity to bring the traditional needs of the data center to a leveragable cloud solution—first of all, there’s a bunch of strategies there—I mean everything from an in-customer point of view starting with test & dev, deploying net-new applications into the cloud, extending or integrating the application level, functionality of apps within the private data center as well as obviously leveraging public cloud and then kind of an all-in strategy for the cloud but to the comment you made earlier, it’s about a blending for a lot of customers and maybe—so you touched on it, NetApp Private Storage for AWS, that solution, and maybe we can recap it really quickly in terms of what it is, but basically it is about leveraging the capabilities of enterprise storage solutions and software that a NetApp brings, but providing that in a location where it can be accessed at high speed from compute resources that sit in AWS for a number of reasons, but certainly one of which is the ability to move data more in a fashion that I think a customer is used to with some of the tools that they’re used to in the enterprise space; moving that data back and forth to an area where the cloud can leverage it is one use case. Maybe touch on a couple of other examples of what customers would be getting out of a solution like that.

Luis Benavides: Yeah, so we’ve found that a lot of the conversations—maybe even taking a step back a bit from just a NetApp focus but—a lot of these enterprise storage conversations from customers that wanted Amazon really came back to maybe one of the lower hanging fruits like Backup & Archive or maybe, specifically, “how do I get rid of my tape?” Eliminating tape by tiering those data sets into Amazon and I think with last year’s announcement of Amazon Glacier; that was a big big driver for that dialogue with customers. They want things to be available consistently, you know, four-hour SLA vs. matter of weeks/days and not even knowing if that’s going to work or even be recoverable. So we found in that enterprise conversation a lot of this dialogue started with that Backup & Archive conversation. I think that was an area where they see that as being an easier, maybe lower hanging fruit, lower-risk type of deployment leveraging Amazon resources. But, with introduction of something like NetApp Private Storage for AWS, as we started engaging NetApp customers that wanted the same thing like either Common Thread with Backup & Archive, we expected that conversation to quickly go to Disaster Recovery where, it’s important because now that you have the data sets in Amazon and you have these on-demand capabilities, you know, having on-demand servers, and now you’re starting to talk a bit more DR, having the Test & Development on-demand cloning with Thin-Provisioning capabilities like from a NetApp, right? You start having more of those on-demand capabilities but like I said earlier where you started finding even a simple eliminate tape conversation going into was: “How can we move and consolidate and shut down data centers and leverage more and more of these cloud resources?” So I think that’s kind of what we quickly started finding: moving racks of equipment from an existing data center into Direct Connect facility that’s closer to AWS. That’s where a lot of our conversations started going and that’s what we recognized from the enterprise customers and what they were asking for in it, and I think it’s really, again, the culmination of something like Amazon Glacier coming out to market, something like NetApp Private Storage coming to market and I think that kind of shows where this conversation around cloud continues to evolve and why it is very much a blended story now.

Dan Allaby: Yeah we see the kind of thinking at the macro level with customers that were working with sort of the natural place they start in terms of getting their head wrapped around a solution like NetApp Private Storage or even the enterprise backup solution; we can touch on that as well, but it’s more about, “You know, initially I want to protect the data and streamline getting it offsite, and then I think they start to get their head wrapped around use cases for what they can do with that data in terms of leveraging public cloud resources, compute resources and others to solve for other things they’re trying to accomplish like DR strategies or even extending and leveraging that available data for BI reasons or data center migrations—there’s a bunch of places they know they can go with it once they at least have a solution that can bridge that gap.

Luis Benavides: It’s that point we bought up earlier: it’s agility. Now they have a platform that provides them far more agility than what they had in their existing data center and that blended strategy where you’re moving some data, you’re moving some workloads onto Amazon and then you’re using existing compute from an AWS plus, you know, enterprise storage from a NetApp with those enterprise, you know, capabilities, and even incorporating perhaps even physical servers as well and that world because there may be a requirement for those data sets to leverage that. So, again I think it’s just part of the evolution of where we’re at from the cloud conversation and how it continues to evolve or blend those worlds of however you want to define now private & public.

Dan Allaby: Yeah and I think that’s an example of sort of a—certainly not a basic sort of a mid-tier, maybe even an advanced in some cases, tiered solution that’s bridging the data center to the cloud and can solve a lot of complex issues. Just on the basic side, if we look at use cases around solutions that help bridge the gap between the data center and the cloud at least from an infrastructure point of view as just leveraging storage in the cloud. An example of that is just for enterprise backup: taking your data, starting to move away from tape, moving more into electronic-type vaulting and backup services, which is another use case and one that we certainly offer together in terms of an opportunity to leverage the cloud for customers by creating a sort of a seamless—and again, you know, definitely agile capability to customers leveraging cloud services like S3 and Glacier for example.

Luis Benavides: Yeah, no absolutely, I think we hear Test & Development, we hear customers tell us Backup & Archive as well and we deliver those things and I think that’s where what we try to focus on in what we’re doing or how we’re differentiating ourselves is a solutions focus. Customers want answers, they don’t want process, and I think that’s kind of the difference of a solutions approach vs. a services approach for companies like us up in the channel where we want to be able to provide the customer a much simpler answer because this is the characteristic, again, of cloud.  It’s on-demand. It’s by the hour. It’s a utility nature of cost and I think you’ll see that reflected in how we provide our solutions out to market. But then there’s, you know, and I think even one of the things I found back working with ISVs is that, you know, you kind of think of that as being more of an SND-type play. But enterprise wants to buy in the same manner, right? They want that utility bill, so then we have to customize it and a lot of times that’s what we find ourselves doing is, you know, these packages, these ways that we have to sell these solutions; we have to be flexible. And that goes into customization, like I mentioned earlier, the blend of the CAPEX, OPEX and aaS models, so, I think it’s—you know—there’s a lot there in that kind of conversation of what’s the right fit for each customer but, you know, I think customers are very different from each other. It’s not exactly, you know, that’s all for 80% rule and customize for the 20%, I don’t know if I’d lay it right there, it might be a little more scattered than that.

Dan Allaby: Yeah, well I know that we’re actually at the top of the hour. There’s so much that we could talk about. Even further in terms of some of the solutions in this area but that just touches on a couple. I certainly encourage everyone on the phone to continue to reach out to us. For any questions you’ll see our twitter handles and also you have the way to reach out by as well. We really appreciate, first of all, Luis, you joining the session today, and your insights, and we appreciate everyone who took the time to join us, and obviously if you weren’t able to sit in on the whole session, it is recorded and we will have it available shortly online as well. So with that, I just want to sign off and wish everyone a great weekend and thanks again for joining.

Luis Benavides: Thank you Dan for inviting me to speak and I look forward to participating in more in the future. If anyone wants to reach out to me directly, you can email me: or you can reach out to me through Avnet as well.

Dan Allaby: Awesome. Thanks everyone!

Eric Holler: Thanks.

Luis Benavides: Thanks, Dan.

Dan Allaby: Seeya. Bye.