“Virtualization is the base technology that lets us take the
physical stuff, [such as] disc drives, and carve it up into logical pieces very
efficiently,” said Brotherton. “That's good from the utilization point of view,
from a cost point of view, but it doesn't give you the ‘do more’ advantage
yet.” This is where the private cloud comes into play. In the private cloud,
computers undergo automated provisioning—and automation is the piece that
distinguishes the private cloud from the virtualization technology. By taking
advantage of the automation techniques offered on the private cloud, organizations
are able to run customer service and other requests in a self-service
Brotherton explained that the NetApp automation tools have
been written in a language that Microsoft users are familiar with, known as
PowerShell. By using coding that is familiar to Microsoft administrators,
NetApp has saved users from having to learn an entirely new scripted form when
they integrate NetApp software into an existing Microsoft environment.
The University of Waterloo and ING Direct are examples of two enterprises
using NetApp data management solutions built on Microsoft technologies. NetApp has
provided storage capability and integrated it with Microsoft’s management
tools, specifically Microsoft’s System Center 2012 product. Through better
management, both ING Direct and U of W were able to improve storage
efficiencies,and deliver better services to their stakeholders.
“Banking is a very IT-centric operation,” Brotherton said.
The physical infrastructure that ING Direct had been using in the past was both
slow and expensive. And the continued growth of data was pushing costs even
higher. To solve this problem, the bank transitioned to a highly virtualized platform,
which combines virtual servers and virtual storage.
“There was a tie between how fast you provision the IT
landscape for the bank to how well customer service could be provided,” said
Brotherton. “And that was just one of a number of examples where [having] a more
agile infrastructure drives obvious business value.”