tom rascon

A few weeks ago we first met Tom Rascon, military veteran, IT expert, and Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Defense and Intelligence business for NetApp’s U.S. Public Sector.  Now he’s back to talk about data fabric and what benefits it brings to public sector customers.  Data Fabric is a term that IT vendors are using more often, but most don’t stop and define what it is and really explain the benefits it brings to an agency in terms of performance and mission impact. Fear not!  Tom’s here to explain all…


GovDataDownload (GDD): There’s a lot of talk about data fabric, can you define what data fabric is? 

Tom Rascon (TR): That’s a great question.  At NetApp, we’ve launched our Data Fabric concept that essentially allows customers to have a common operating platform for all of their data.  You can consider this platform like a language or format that all of the data uses to talk to each other.  NetApp’s Data Fabric allows customers to utilize their own on-premise compute and storage resources with leased storage and compute offerings from the cloud service providers that are prevalent in the market space.  This is an incredible capability that no other data management provider can offer.  This capability allows our customers to control their data and freely move it between their own resources and public cloud offerings to take advantage of the benefits the cloud service providers can offer, like compute on-demand and peak storage capabilities so the customer doesn’t have to pay year round for unused capabilities.

At the core of NetApp’s Data Fabric is our Clustered Data ONTAP® operating system, which provides the essential foundational language for all of the disparate data repositories to use to communicate.  With our Clustered Data ONTAP operating system enabling this unique data fabric, NetApp customers can control and move their data to best suit their economic and operational requirements.  In addition to NetApp’s Data ONTAP operating system, the Data Fabric also includes partner offerings from Verizon, Century Link, Cisco, and Equinix.  We also have partnered with the three premier cloud providers in the market today, IBM Softlayer, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services to provide the industry leading cloud offerings.  All of these partners work with NetApp to provide the Data Fabric so our customers can truly benefit from all the cloud has to offer.


GDD: What benefits does a data fabric approach bring to public sector organizations?

TR: NetApp has invested heavily in its solutions to make sure that our customers can procure and build world class data centers and continue to use their existing storage by adding a FlexArray appliance to serve as a front to the existing storage.  This controller will utilize the existing storage capacity, but will also enable the full functionality of the Clustered Data ONTAP operating system.  This approach yields a considerable return on investment for our customers by allowing them to reutilize their existing investment in storage capacity.


GDD: Why is it so important that public sector organizations have a unified view of their enterprise data?

TR: Enabling a unified view of their enterprise data provides public sector organizations a complete, end-to-end view of their existing data structures.  This holistic view provides valuable insights into the utilization and capacity rates the customer is experiencing.  With this data, customers can more accurately forecast their capacity utilization for the upcoming quarters and years.  This is particularly important within the public sector, because as budgets decrease, there is increasing pressure on IT departments to get the most for each dollar spent.  This unified view enables these IT departments to truly see how their storage environments are operating.

GDD: What do public sector organizations need in terms of infrastructure to leverage the data fabric vision?

TR: The best part of the NetApp Data Fabric story is the fact that we can utilize just about any vendor’s products as a starting point to Fabric enablement.  NetApp can provide a minimal amount of hardware and the Clustered Data ONTAP operating system and the customer can begin to experience the benefits of the NetApp Data Fabric.  At that point, the customer would select a cloud provider and with our NetApp Cloud ONTAP™ software, the customer could begin using the public cloud to enhance their hybrid cloud offering.  This would allow them to instantly add compute resources as driven by their operational resource requirements, and to then turn off those resources when they were no longer needed.

GDD: Is there anything else that you want public sector CIOs to know?

TR: This is an exciting time to be a NetApp customer, because we have the best enterprise-class operating system in the market today.  Our Clustered Data ONTAP solution can help you use your existing resources and also allow you to seamlessly leverage the benefits of a cloud environment simultaneously.  And, Clustered Data ONTAP does all of this while still giving full control of the data to the CIO.


Interested in exploring the data fabric in more detail click here…