It’s that time of year: the time when the air gets colder, warm drinks become the norm, sweaters come out of storage, and NetApp customers make their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to learn about NetApp’s roadmap for the next year. If you’re making the trip to NetApp Insight, you probably have a good idea of what you’re expecting to see and questions you’re prepared to ask. But just in case, here are some of the questions that we’d suggest that you might want to ask:

1. What does NextCredit really give me? Do I still have to rebuy what I already own in the future?

According to NetApp, NextCredit is the industry’s most flexible future credit program. If you purchase eligible NetApp AFF A-Series models and pay up front for six years of SupportEdge Premium support, you’ll receive a fixed dollar credit toward future purchases of NetApp products. This program seems designed to specifically compete against our innovative Evergreen™ subscriptions. But in the end, even assuming the credit covers the cost of next generation controllers, you are likely buying capacity for those new “free” controllers and then migrating your data? WHY? That isn’t a data-centric approach. Pure FlashArray//X is engineered to deliver non-disruptive data-in-place upgrades of hardware, software, media, and even the entire platform! That means zero downtime, zero risk and zero wasted effort from migrating data from one system to another. If you’re sick of buying and then rebuying your storage, there’s never been a better time to ask NetApp about its go-forward strategy to protect your investment.

2. When will we get end-to-end NVMe on the rest of the All Flash FAS line?

Right now, only the flagship AFF A800 is shipping with end-to-end NVMe, and even for the AFF A800 it isn’t all NVMe. Since capacity expansion outside of the main chassis is still SAS, it appears that a number of customers won’t have end to end NVMe with the A800. We’ve seen A800 positioned at a premium – focused on high-end performance, in part because we expect that our competitors must charge a large premium for NVMe drives. At Pure//Accelerate this year, we announced $0 effective premium for NVMe – essentially bringing NVMe mainstream for all workloads for all customers. Since then, over 50% of arrays sold by Pure are all-NVMe, with all-NVMe arrays expected to constitute the vast majority of our sales by year end. That is game changing for customers. So, this would be an opportunity to ask NetApp what its strategy is for incorporating NVMe into its entire line of all flash arrays is before you make another 3-5 year investment that might require you to do a forklift upgrade, and require you to do pesky and risky migrations.

3. When will metro-cluster be updated to enable truly active/active operations? What are you doing to simplify metro-cluster?

When we say “truly active/active,” we mean to have the ability to read and write to the same volume or LUN from both sites/storage arrays. NetApp MetroCluster still appears to be rather complex, as it requires additional hardware and complicated setup and management.

Pure Storage ActiveCluster is a fully symmetric Active/Active bidirectional replication solution that provides synchronous replication for RPO zero and automatic transparent failover for RTO zero. ActiveCluster enables clustered arrays and hosts in multiple sites to be used in flexible Active/Active data center configurations. This gives the ability to read and write to the same volumes at either side of the mirror with optional host-to-array site awareness. And it’s all built-in.

RPO zero is great for recovery, but what about business continuity? Since ActiveCluster provides RTO zero we can ensure continuous operations for your critical applications.

4. What are NetApp’s plans to consolidate their management tools and provide true AI driven analytics?

Is it Oncommand Insight, Unified Manager, Active IQ, or one of nearly a half a dozen other management products? Are there plans to implement important functionality such as: VM-level analytics, orchestration, workload planning, or predictive intelligence based upon machine learning, all in a single, easy to use, platform?

Pure1® broke barriers with simple cloud-based management and effortless predictive support. Now we’ve added full stack analytics and the AI-driven power of Pure1 Meta™ – the global predictive intelligence enabling our vision for self-driving storage. Get more than detailed metrics on all your arrays – get critical information about the health and functioning of your entire stack, right up to each VM. No matter the size of your fleet, monitoring, scheduling, and troubleshooting has never been simpler or easier.

So would you rather have a complex set of storage and data management tools, or have a simple straightforward, predictive management tool that reduces administration efforts, lowers risk, and provides a single dashboard? That’s what Pure1 provides.

Have an incredible week in Las Vegas. Learn as much as you can. Ask the questions you need answered in order to make the best decision for your organization. If you’d like to see how we compare after all of that, we’d love to have you join us in September 2019 in Austin, Texas, for Pure//Accelerate. We can’t wait to share with you what we’ve got going on.