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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.

As said earlier, cloud is a consumption model. The entire value chain is looking at how this consumption model is going to be different. So NetApp, through the flexible financing operations that we have, we do work very closely with the service providers to see what would be an appropriate consumption model for them.

Is it appropriate to say that Flash storage is picking up in APAC?

Absolutely. Flash gives tremendous increase in performance. The difference is where we pitch flash and where we pitch the spindle, or rather how the customers perceive is where they want performance whereas where they want capacity. Where they want capacity, Flash is not the right solution. If you're happy with the performance which you have today, but you need more storage, the spindle-based systems are perhaps the most cost effective. But there are a lot of it, especially when they go on the cloud and the Internet. Many of the organisations, banks, manufacturing organisations, healthcare organisations, they all need quick response time.

In fact, approximately 60% of our shipments globally, ships with some form of Flash today even with spindles. We use Flash as an accelerator for spindle-based systems - we call it as Flash Cache. Flash comes in multiple flavours and varieties, and there are certain varieties that are very well preferred by customers and Flash is something that customers buy today from us.

Let's take a look at this thing from the CIO perspective. You must be dealing a lot with enterprises and SMEs. What kind of storage issues do they have in APAC? And how are you addressing those issues?

I think it's a good point because especially for our sales team, it's very important to identify our buyer - the consumer of that particular storage.

What is needed by an enterprise is very different from what is needed by a SME user today. Therefore, they need different types of solution. For example, cloud itself as a delivery mechanism has different levels of adoption between these two different types of markets.

The enterprise tends to believe in hybrid clouds or private clouds, whereas SMEs are quite open to public clouds. We do work with a lot of cloud providers to offer services on the cloud for customers, on the SME's pace who are ready to adopt cloud solutions.

Having said that, inherently, there are certain solutions which are a lot more absorbable by certain markets - for example, enterprise markets. Flash is something which gets easily accepted. It's perhaps because of the scale at which they operate, which is not the same as SMEs. SMEs operate at a much smaller scale. Performance might not be as important for him (SME) as it might be for the enterprise. Whereas the functionality is important for SME, the functions that need to work but may not be at the same performance level at the same resilience level as what's needed in an enterprise.


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