NetApp

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NetApp, Inc.
Public
Traded as
Industry Storage device
Founded 1992; 26 years ago (1992)
Founder David Hitz
James Lau
Michael Malcolm
Headquarters Sunnyvale, California, United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
George Kurian (CEO)
Mike Nevens (Chairman of the Board)
Products Data storage hardware and software
Revenue Decrease $5.54 billion (2016)[1]
Decrease $348 million (2016)[1]
Decrease $229 million (2016)[1]
Total assets Increase $10.03 billion (2016)[1]
Total equity Decrease $2.88 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
10,700 (2016)[2]
Website www.netapp.com/us/index.aspx

NetApp, Inc. is a hybrid cloud data services company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It has ranked in the Fortune 500 since 2012.[3] Founded in 1992[4] with an IPO in 1995,[2] NetApp offers hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation.

History[edit]

NetApp headquarters in Sunnyvale, California

NetApp was founded in 1992 by David Hitz, James Lau,[5] and Michael Malcolm.[4][6] At the time, its major competitor was Auspex Systems. In 1994, NetApp received venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital.[7] It had its initial public offering in 1995. NetApp thrived in the internet bubble years of the mid 1990s to 2001, during which the company grew to $1 billion in annual revenue. After the bubble burst, NetApp's revenues quickly declined to $800 million in its fiscal year 2002. Since then, the company's revenue has steadily climbed.

In 2006, NetApp sold the NetCache product line to Blue Coat Systems. In 2014, NetApp acquired Riverbed Technology's SteelStore line of data backup and protection products,[8] which it later renamed as AltaVault.[9] On June 1, 2015, Tom Georgens stepped down as CEO and was replaced by George Kurian.[10]

In December 2015 (closing in January 2016), NetApp acquired flash storage vendor SolidFire for $870 million.[11] with its Active IQ software available for end users as web-based GUI service for monitoring and prediction of storage systems performance and availability.

Competition[edit]

NetApp competes in the computer data storage hardware industry.[12] In 2009, NetApp ranked second in market capitalization in its industry behind EMC Corporation, now Dell EMC, and ahead of Seagate Technology, Western Digital, Brocade, Imation, and Quantum.[13] In total revenue of 2009, NetApp ranked behind EMC, Seagate, Western Digital, and ahead of Imation, Brocade, Xyratex, and Hutchinson Technology.[14] According to a 2014 IDC report, NetApp ranked second in the network storage industry "Big 5's list", behind EMC(DELL), and ahead of IBM, HP and Hitachi.[15]

Products[edit]

NetApp's OnCommand management software controls and automates data-storage.[16]

NetApp FAS and AFF[edit]

NetApp FAS3240 (second from bottom) with three DS4243 shelves on top

NetApp's FAS (Fabric-Attached Storage) and AFF (All-Flash FAS) often called filers serve as the company's flagship products. Such a product is made up of a storage controller (historically referred to as a "filer"), and one or more enclosures of hard disks, known as shelves. In entry-level systems, the drives may be physically located in the storage controller itself.

In the early 1990s, NetApp's storage systems initially offered NFS and SMB protocols based on standard local area networks (LANs), whereas block storage consolidation required storage area networks (SANs) implemented with the Fibre Channel (FC) protocol.

In 2002, in an attempt to increase market share, NetApp added block-storage access as well, supporting the Fiber Channel and iSCSI protocols. As of 2016 NetApp systems support Fiber Channel, iSCSI, and the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol.

ONTAP[edit]

The filers use NetApp's proprietary operating system called Data ONTAP, later renamed to ONTAP which includes code from Berkeley Net/2 BSD Unix, Spinnaker Networks technology and other operating systems.[17] There are three ONTAP platforms: FAS/AFF systems, software on commodity servers (ONTAP Select) as virtual machine or in the cloud (ONTAP Cloud). ONTAP systems using WAFL file system which provide basis for snapshots and other snapshot-based technologies.

AltaVault[edit]

Previously known as Riverbed SteelStore after NetApp acquisition the product renamed to AltaVault. AltaVault is available in three forms: as hardware appliance, virtual appliance and cloud appliance. Data placed on NAS share on AltaVault deduplicated, compressed, encrypted and transferred with Object Protocols to object storage systems like Amazon S3 or StorageGRID, thus AltaVault appears as transparent gateway for archiving data to a private or public cloud. There are two modes of AltaVault operation: with local caching or without. AltaVault systems could accept SnapMirror replication from ONTAP systems.

SolidFire[edit]

SolidFire QoS

SolidFire storage system uses OS called Element X based on Linux and designed for SSD and scale-out architecture with ability to expand up to 100 nodes and provide access to data through SAN protocols iSCSI natively and Fiber Channel with two gateway nodes. SolidFire uses iSCSI login redirection to distribute reads and writes across the cluster.[18] This architecture does not have disk shelves like traditional storage systems and expands with adding nodes to the cluster. Each node have pre-installed SSD drives. Each node can have only one type of SSD drives with the same capacity. Each SolidFire cluster can have mix of different nodes. Such architecture allows users to expand performance and capacity separately as needed. Also SolidFire have ability to set three types of QoS for its LUNs: minimum, maximum and burst. Burst is used as a credits which was not used by the LUN while it was not received its maximums. Element X available as software-only on commodity servers. SolidFire systems using S3 protocol could backup data to an Object storage systems like StorageGRID. SolidFire could replicate data with SnapMirror protocol to ONTAP systems.

HCI[edit]

NetApp Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) based on commodity blade servers, NetApp SolidFire software and VMware vSphere. NetApp HCI includes web-based GUI with installation wizard called NetApp Deployment Engine (NDE) for configuring vCenter, IP addresses, login & password and storage nodes, install NetApp SolidFire plugin in vCenter to manage storage and configure NetApp HCI in about 30 minutes according to NetApp.[19] NetApp HCI different then ordinary HCI designs because have dedicated storage nodes, while other HCI systems like Nutanix or Dell EMC VxRail or vSAN do not have dedicated storage nodes and utilizing disk drives installed in each server. Dedicated storage nodes allows to grow or decrease storage capacity and performance separately from computing server nodes. Minimum NetApp HCI configuration require 2 computing blade server nodes and additionally SolidFire software require minimum 4 storage nodes. Each storage node use drive set consists of 6 SSD drives directly connected to a dedicated storage node and installed in front of the blade chassis, all drives in a set must be same capacity. Each node either storage or computing server is 1 rack unit half-width so minimum NetApp HCI configuration consume 4 rack units with 6 used blade server slots and 2 empty slots for expansion. Each storage and computing blade nodes have 25 Gigabit Ethernet ports which could be used as 10Gbit/s ports and dedicated 1Gb ports for management purposes. There are three types of computing nodes differentiate from each other with CPU power and memory capacity. Though there are three types of storage nodes differentiate from each other with SSD capacity. It is possible to intermix any computing and storage nodes in a NetApp HCI installation, though with storage nodes it is required to have minimum of 2 with same capacity. It is also possible to use NetApp HCI with other software then Vmware vSphere. Network switches not included in NetApp HCI and must be bought separately from third parties, while all other hardware components must be bought from NetApp. ONTAP Select available as SDS on NetApp HCI for customers interested in NAS protocols.

E-Series[edit]

RAID comparison with DDP
DDP components and data reconstruction process

Previously known as LSI Engenio after NetApp acquisition the product renamed to NetApp E-Series. It is a general purpose enterprise storage system with two controllers for SAN protocols such as Fibre Channel, iSCSI, SAS and InfiniBand (includes SRP, iSER, and NVMe over Fabrics protocol). NetApp E-Series platform uses proprietary OS SANtricity and proprietary RAID called Dynamic Disk Pool (DDP) alongside with traditional RAIDs like RAID 10, RAID 6, RAID 5 etc. In DDP pool each D-Stripe works similar to traditional RAID-4 and RAID-6 but on block level instead of entire disk level therefore have no dedicated parity drives. DDP compare to traditional RAID groups restores data from lost disk drive to multiple drives which provide few times faster reconstruction time[20] while traditional RAIDs restores lost disk drive to a dedicated parity drive.

StorageGRID[edit]

StorageGRID is purpose-build proprietary storage system based on NetApp's E-Series systems which provide access to data via object IP-based protocols like Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift. StorageGRID is clustered storage system with ability to make and store multiple copies (replicas) of objects (Replication Factor) or in Erasure Coding (EC) manner among cluster storage nodes with object granularity based on configured policies for data availability and durability purposes. All the data could be accessed through any storage node in a StorageGRID cluster regardless where they physically located. StorageGRID provide integration with Amazon's S3 service which can be used as Archive Level for objects or as party which accepting replica from StorageGRID. StorageGRID allows users to configure data Life Cycle Management (ILM) policies on per-object level to automatically satisfy and conform changes in the cluster once changes introduced to the cluster like cost of network usage, storage media usage changes a node was added or removed etc. For example, it is possible to configure the system to move each new object to fastest media and store 3 replicas each on separate node; and as for objects which wasn't assessed for few years to move them to cheapest storage media or if there will be added new storage node with the cheapest storage media to the cluster, those objects will be moved there automatically and then remove all the replicas of those objects and create Erasure Codding instead. It is also possible to configure the system to make copies or move objects automatically to those storage nodes where they requested the most. In version 11 StorageGRID start to support CloudMirror functionality to copy data from StorageGRID system to Amazon S3 storage. StorageGRID can issue Event Notifications for events occurring on premises to AWS SNS to build event-driven pipelines using on premises and cloud resources. CloudMirror does not generate additional fees for Inbound Data Transfer with Amazon S3 storage, but only fees for storage space consumed in Amazon S3 storage. Since all the data already available on StorageGRID system does not support CloudMirror replication back and there is no need for it to copy data back thus no Outbound Data Transfer fees from S3 storage applied. StorageGRID was developed by company Bycast and acquired by NetApp in 2010. StorageGRID also available as software-only system on commodity servers. ONTAP, AltaVault, SANtricity and Element X are able to replicate data to StorageGRID systems.

Converged Infrastructure[edit]

FlexPod and nFlex are commercial names for Converged Infrastructure (CI). Converged Infrastructures are joint products of few vendors and consists from 3 main hardware components: computing servers, switches (in some cases switches are not necessary) and storage systems. FlexPod based on Cisco Servers and Cisco Nexus switches while nFlex based on Fujitsu Servers with Extreme Networks switching and both CI are using NetApp Storage systems. Converged Infrastructures have tested and validated design configurations from vendors available to end users and typically include popular infrastructure software like Docker Enterprise Edition (EE), Red Hat OpenStack Platform, VMware vSphere, Microsoft Servers and Hyper-V, SQL, Exchange, Oracle VM and Oracle DB, Citrix Xen, KVM, OpenStack, SAP HANA etc. and might include self-service portals PaaS or IaaS like Cisco UCS Director (UCSD) or others. FlexPod and nFlex allows end user to modify validated design and add or remove some of the components of the Converged Infrastructure while not all of other Converged Infrastructures from competitors allows modification.

OnCommand Insight[edit]

OnCommand Insight (OCI) is data center management software, capacity management, infrastructure analytics, centralized view into historical trends to forecast performance and capacity requirements and workload placement. OCI works with all NetApp storage systems and with competitor storage systems and in public cloud. Licensed server-based software.

Cloud Business[edit]

Cloud Central is web-based GUI interface which provide single pane of glass for NetApp's cloud products like Cloud Volumes, Cloud Sync, ONTAP Cloud, Cloud Control in multiple public cloud providers. NetApp offers some of its original or modified products as part of its Cloud portfolio alongside with new cloud-native products. For example, ONTAP Cloud, onCommand Insight, NPS are repurposed for use in the cloud, while others are cloud-native.

ONTAP Cloud[edit]

ONTAP Cloud is software defined (SDS) version of ONTAP available in some public cloud provides like AWS, Azure and IBM Cloud and named ONTAP Cloud.

NetApp Private Storage[edit]

NetApp Private Storage (NPS) is based on Equinix partner provided colocation service in its data centers for NetApp Storage Systems with 10 Gbit/s direct connection to public cloud providers like Azure and AWS etc. Some of Equinix data centers located in the same building with public cloud providers thus network connectivity to dedicated storage system is the same as with a storage service in a public cloud provider. Such configuration provide better performance compare to storage service in public cloud provider based on sharable commodity hardware and help to fit some companies with regulatory compliances which require strict data placement, security, availability and disaster recovery which public cloud provider could not provide. NPS storage could be connected to few cloud providers or on-premise infrastructure, thus in case of switching between clouds does not require data migration between them.

Cloud Volumes[edit]

Is service in AWS public cloud provider based on ONTAP software, therefore will be able to synchronize data between cloud and on-premise NetApp systems. NetApp claims they will provide similar to AFF systems persistent performance SLA and also claims data could be moved in a way that will not generate huge ingress and egress charges. Cloud Volumes will provide high availability for data with next protocols which can be consumed by containers: NFS v3, NFS v4 and SMB. Cloud Volumes support NetApp's Snapshots. Current maximum for Cloud Volumes is 100TB. In Azure cloud currently only NFS available and called Hybrid Cloud Data Services for Microsoft Azure. Cloud Volumes available as service in corresponding public cloud providers directly through their Marketplaces. NetApp claims them as reliable enterprise NAS services as in on-premises enterprise-grade data storage with predictable performance, management, security and protection. NAS integrates with some other services in the public cloud providers. RESTful APIs will be available to automate NAS storage service such as provisioning, snapshots and SnapMirror. As of January 2018 services for both public AWS and Azure in preview stage.

Cloud Control[edit]

NetApp Cloud Control is backup and recovery service for SaaS Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce which provide extended, granular and custom retention capabilities of backup and recovery process compare to native cloud backup. NetApp planning to extend Cloud Control backup and recovery service for Google Apps, Slack and ServiceNow.

Cloud Sync[edit]

Cloud Sync is service for synchronizing any NAS storage system with an Object Storage like Amazon S3 or NetApp Storage GRID using an object protocol.

Data Fabric[edit]

Often refereed as "Data Fabric Story". Variety of integrations between NetApp's products and ways of data mobility considered by NetApp as Data Fabric vision for the future of data management. Data Fabric defines the NetApp technology architecture for hybrid cloud and provides next features: SnapMirror replication from SolidFire to ONTAP; SnapMirror replication from ONTAP to AltaVault; FabricPool tiering feature for de-staging cold data from ONTAP to StorageGRID or Amazon S3; Volume Encryption with FabricPool provide secure data storage and secure over the wire transfer of enterprise data in a cloud provider; SnapMirror between FAS, AFF, ONTAP Select and ONTAP Cloud; Archiving and DR to public cloud; CloudMirror feature in StorageGRID replicates from on-premise object storage to Amazon S3 storage and tigers some actions in AWS Cloud; SolidFire backup to StorageGRID or Amazon S3; AltaVault backup archiving to variety of object storage systems (including StorageGRID) or many cloud providers; CloudSync is replication of NAS data to object format and back; replication to Cloud Volumes; Data backup to on-premise storage from Cloud Control; SANtricity Cloud Connector for block-based backup, copy, and restore of E-Series volumes to an S3, etc. Other features as part of Data Fabric vision approach committed by NetApp to be implemented in future, like: SnapMirror between ONTAP and E-Series; SnapCenter capabilities will expand to include SolidFire storage endpoints, etc.

Software Integrations[edit]

NetApp products could be integrated with variety of software products which gives some additional flexibility, features and build-in provisioning and self-service storage capabilities. Most of integrations are done for ONTAP systems.

Docker[edit]

NetApp Trident software provide persistent volume plugin for Docker containers with both orchestrations Kubernetes and Swarm and supports ONTAP, SolidFire and E-Series. Also NetApp with Cisco sell FlexPod Datacenter with Docker Enterprise Edition.

CI/CD[edit]

NetApp Jenkins Framework provide integration with ONTAP storage for DevOps, accelerating development with automation operations like provisioning and data-set cloning for test and development and leverage ONTAP for version control, create and delete checkpoints etc. Jenkins also integrate with NetApp Service Level Manager software which provide RESTful API for guarantee level of storage performance. Apprenda and CloudBees integrate and accelerate DevOps trough Docker persistent volume plugin and Jenkins Framework integration. Apprenda could be integrated with OpenStack running on top of FlexPod.

Backup and Recovery[edit]

Veeam, CommVault and Veritas have integrations with ONTAP, SolidFire, AltaVault and E-Series leveraging storage capabilities like snapshots and cloning capabilities for testing backup copies and SnapMirror for Backup and Recovery (B&R), Disaster Recovery (DR) and Data Archiving for improve restore time and number of recovery points (see RPO/RTO). AltaVault integrates with nearly all B&R products for archiving capabilities since it is represented as ordinary NAS share for B&R software. Backup and recovery software from competitor vendors like IBM Spectrum Protect, EMC NetWorker, HP Data Protector, Dell vRanger, Acronis Backup etc. also have some level of integrations with NetApp storage systems.

Enterprise Applications[edit]

NetApp systems can integrate with enterprise applications for backup purposes but also for verity of other additional features like cloning, provisioning and other self-service storage features and flexibilities. Oracle DB can be connected using direct NFS (dNFS) client build inside data base app which will provide network performance, resiliency, load balancing for NFS protocol with ONTAP systems. Oracle DB, Microsoft SQl, IBM DB2, MySQL, Mongo DB, SAP HANA, MS Exchange, VMware vSphere, Citrix Xen, KVM integrate with NetApp systems for provisioning, cloning and additional backup and recovery build in capabilities like SnapShots, SnapVault and SnapMirror with variety of B&R software including NetApp's SnapCenter and SnapCreator. Integration with such applications provide ability to instant cloning of data sets for test and development and self-service restore capabilities for application administrators and for end users. NetApp ONTAP systems could be integrated with VMware vSphere using NFS plugin for ESXi hosts which offloads some of the storage operations on storage system. With VASA protocol NetApp systems can integrate for vVOL technology. Similarity to NFS plugin for ESXi, ONTAP systems support ODX functionality with Windows systems with file and block-based protocols for offloading data copying or moving processes to storage system.

Open Source[edit]

NetApp systems have integration with such open source projects as OpenStack Cinder for Block storage (SolidFire, ONTAP, E-Series, OnCommand Insight, AltaVault), OpenStack Manila for Shared file system (ONTAP, OnCommand Insight), Docker persistent volumes through Trident plugin (SolidFire, ONTAP, E-Series) and others.

Reception[edit]

Controversy[edit]

Syrian surveillance[edit]

In November 2011, during the 2011 Syrian uprising, NetApp was named as one of several companies whose products were being used in the Syrian government crackdown. The equipment was allegedly sold to the Syrians by an authorized NetApp reseller.[21]

On April 7, 2014, NetApp was notified by the US Department of Commerce "that it had completed its review of this matter and determined that NetApp had not violated the U.S. export laws", and that the file on the matter had been closed.[22]

Legal dispute with Sun Microsystems[edit]

In September 2007, NetApp started proceedings against Sun Microsystems, claiming that the ZFS File System developed by Sun infringed its patents.[23] The following month, Sun announced plans to countersue based on alleged misuse by NetApp of Sun's own patented technology.[24] Several of NetApp's patent claims were rejected on the basis of prior art after re-examination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.[25] On September 9, 2010, NetApp announced an agreement with Oracle Corporation (the new owner of Sun Microsystems) to dismiss the suits.[26]

Accolades[edit]

NetApp was listed amongst Silicon Valley Top 25 Corporate Philanthropists in 2013.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "NetApp Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2015 Results" (PDF). NetApp. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "FAQs". NetApp. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "NetApp". Fortune 500. Time Inc. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Corporate brief". NetApp. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Executive Bios". NetApp. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
  6. ^ "Michael Malcolm Resigns as Chairman of the Board of CacheFlow to Focus on New Start-Up Opportunity". Business Wire. 13 November 2000. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  7. ^ "Sequoia Capital funds NetApp". 
  8. ^ Gagliordi, Natalie (27 October 2014). "NetApp buys Riverbed Technology's Steelstore business". ZDNet. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  9. ^ Adshead, Antony (18 May 2015). "NetApp launches AltaVault hybrid cloud backup appliance family". ComputerWeekly. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "NetApp Announces Changes to Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors". NetApp. 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  11. ^ Jordan Novet (December 21, 2015). "NetApp acquires flash storage vendor SolidFire for $870M". Venture Beat. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Industry Center - Data Storage Devices Overview". Yahoo! Finance. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  13. ^ "Industry Center - Data Storage Devices, Leaders in Market Capitalization". Yahoo! Finance. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Industry Center - Data Storage Devices, Leaders in Total Revenue (ttm)". Yahoo! Finance. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  15. ^ "How EMC Lines Up Against NetApp, HP, IBM, Hitachi In Storage Systems Market". Forbes. 
  16. ^ Raj, Pethuru; Raman, Anupama; Nagaraj, Dhivya; Duggirala, Siddhartha (2015). High-Performance Big-Data Analytics: Computing Systems and Approaches. Computer Communications and Networks. Springer. p. 242. ISBN 9783319207445. Retrieved 2016-02-09. NetApp OnCommand management software and Cisco Unified Computing System Manager tools help you optimize your server and network environment, handling hundreds of resources for thousands of virtual machines. OnCommand controls and automates your data storage infrastructure. 
  17. ^ "Is Data ONTAP Based On UNIX?". 2007-04-27. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2016-06-11. 
  18. ^ Andy Banta (19 May 2016). "Why SolidFire Uses iSCSI Storage Protocol". NetApp. Archived from the original (url) on 2017-11-18. Retrieved 12 December 2017. (in English)
  19. ^ John Rollason (5 June 2017). "Introducing NetApp Enterprise-Scale HCI: The Next Generation of Hyper Converged Infrastructure". NetApp. Archived from the original (url) on 2018-01-23. Retrieved 13 January 2018. (in English)
  20. ^ Todd Edwards (1 December 2017). "TR-4652 SANtricity OS 11.40.1 Dynamic Disk Pools – Feature Description and Best Practices" (url). NetApp. Retrieved 9 February 2018. (in English)
  21. ^ "Companies That Aid Syria Crackdown Deserve Sanctions' Slap: View". Businessweek. 2011-11-14. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  22. ^ "NetApp response to allegations of potential use of equipment in Syria". NetApp. 2014-04-09. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  23. ^ "NetApp files patent suit against Sun". September 5, 2007. 
  24. ^ "Sun plans to countersue NetApp". October 24, 2007. 
  25. ^ "NetApp Patent Lawsuit Against ZFS Open Source Technology". Archived from the original on 2010-11-09. Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Oracle, NetApp agree to settle ZFS patent litigation". September 10, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Corporate philanthropy: Meet Silicon Valley's 25 most generous companies". 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]