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From ‘Compulsive Connectivity’ to the Internet of Things

Zafar Anjum | April 11, 2014
In this interview with Karthik Ramarao, the NetApp APAC CTO discusses the changing storage needs of businesses in Asia.

How is it different from your compulsive connectivity?

I say compulsive connectivity because it combines people getting connected and machines getting connected. Anything that needs to be done, gets towards connectivity of some sort. Whether it is cars or a signal, inanimate or animate devices - whatever you want - people are looking forward to connecting that towards each of them. That's something that has a very strong foothold. We believe we do have technologies and solutions around data and data management. It's a very focused effort for us. We provide storage solutions and data management solutions and therefore, we work with a lot of ecosystem partners to provide a comprehensive solution for our customers.

When we speak to other partners of complementary technologies like Cisco, Fujitsu or Microsoft, I think we all have a similar view on where it is going in the next several years. It's going to be a lot more about connectivity. And if you look at the analysts - Gartner calls it the Nexus of Forces, and IDC calls it The Third Platform - but they are all evolving from connectivity. Gartner and IDC seem to have a common view on this for a change. They seem to believe there are four areas in which customers are going to invest: big data, virtualization, mobility, and social media. And if you see the genesis of any of these, I think it's connectivity because you are providing that ability to connect between things and people. You are generating a lot more unstructured data which gives rise to big data.

Because of this connectivity, you are getting the social and media related aspects which are getting important. Because of this connectivity, we are getting the mobility aspects which are getting to be very important for the customers. When I say tectonic shift, it's because the view of customers on how IT is going to be deployed, and where it is going to be used continues to change because of this.

Flash is not one-size-fits-all

In terms of pure technologies, what do you see in the market, especially in the APAC? What kind of storage technologies customers are opting for?

Increasingly, customers are getting a lot more mature today and they are demanding for aspects which are helping them to solve their business problems. When you tie that back to what kind of solutions and what kind of features and functionalities that are needed, I think there are a few of them which come up very clearly. One, of course, is Flash. Flash is certainly something that changes the paradigm of how performance is perceived, it changes the paradigm of how storage is architected; it changes the paradigm of how customers consume storage. It's quite a changing paradigm of sorts. NetApp is an innovator of technologies, and we have been dabbling with Flash since 2009. Flash is not a one-size-fits-all. That's what the smaller companies tend to do. They use the same yardstick for any problem.


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