Datacenter Trends

NetApp 'Keystone': A Program for Data that Lives Everywhere

Enterprise data storage provider NetApp is extending its Data Fabric strategy with a new consumption-based, pay-as-you-go data management offering for workloads in the cloud, co-located or on-premises.

Called "Keystone," the program allows data to be migrated as needed across on-premises, private clouds and public clouds, and either purchased outright or on a consumption basis.

NetApp CEO George Kurian unveiled the Keystone program during his presentation at the company's Insight 2019 user conference in Las Vegas last week, calling it "the next major evolution of the Data Fabric."

Keystone is a group of programs, offerings and services designed to provide a "consistent experience from the public cloud to the datacenter," Kurian explained. "It enables you to simplify the business of cloud data services."

Kurian acknowledged that development of Keystone was a response to the growing preference in the enterprise for consumable services over equipment that needs to be purchased and managed.

"What was missing before, and what Keystone addresses, is simplifying the business of data services to provide the experience of cloud wherever you want to use it," he said, "in public cloud or in your datacenter...Keystone allows us to enable customers to operate like a cloud everywhere. It provides a simplified, integrated customer experience to complement the simple operator experience our Data Fabric delivers."

Originally a hardware provider ("NetApp" is short for "network appliance"), the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company was known as a producer of small to midrange file servers, and later as a leading supplier of storage for VMware environments. NetApp's Data Fabric is an architecture and set of data services designed to provide consistent capabilities across on-premises and multiple cloud environments.

"While the advent of hybrid multicloud brings incredible potential, it has also resulted in increasingly complex environments," said IDC analyst Ashish Nadkarni. "At the same time, budgets have contracted this year, creating intense demand to optimize and streamline not only how infrastructures are orchestrated and managed, but also the economics around IT buying. In introducing flexible consumption models and automation-focused products, NetApp is making it significantly simpler not only to use its own products and services, but for IT leaders to modernize, monitor and manage the entirety of their infrastructure."

Keystone offers a range of flexible solutions that allow NetApp customers to buy or build their cloud infrastructures on their premises or off. It offers "the agility, pay-per-use economics, dynamic scaling, and operational simplicity that customers need to be able to consume cloud on their own terms," the company said.

The Keystone program was designed to "meet the reality of a hybrid multicloud world," the company said, in which IT teams are demanding more flexibility in how they run and pay for their data services. Its list of features includes:

  • The flexibility to mix and match purchases and subscription payment methods.
  • The ability to run any NetApp service in on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments.
  • A choice of how it's all managed (by NetApp, a partner or internally).
  • A "simplified ownership experience" that makes it easier to buy, operate and grow starting with NetApp's new systems, the A400, FAS8300 and FAS8700.

"In today's environment, cloud sets the benchmark for customer experience," Kurian said in a statement release during the conference. "We've built and delivered the Data Fabric strategy to simplify and modernize our customers' datacenters and enable success in the hybrid cloud era. The solutions we are introducing today are an extension of that philosophy -- what Data Fabric has done to simplify and integrate data infrastructure, our new flexible consumption models do at the business level."

About the Author

John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends ( and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.


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