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NetApp Insight, product launches proceed in Vegas

LAS VEGAS – NetApp welcomed more than 4,000 attendees to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino this week to formally introduce its hyper-converged infrastructure based on SolidFire all-flash storage. That product news seems academic in the wake of the shooting tragedy that has engulfed this city and put a damper on the NetApp Insight user conference.

But in a bid to try and restore normalcy, NetApp today said the product unveiling will take place as scheduled at NetApp Insight. NetApp HCI will be the highlight of a series of product rollouts that include previews of an integrated NetApp-based NFS data services in the Microsoft Azure software stack and version 9.3 of NetApp Ontap.

CEO George Kurian said NetApp considered cancelling Insight following a mass shooting that occurred at an outdoor concert on Sunday. Police say 59 people were killed and nearly 530 others were injured. The concert site is across the street from Mandalay Bay.

Kurian said the decision to move forward on NetApp Insight came after consulting with law enforcement agencies, event and hotel security, and NetApp’s own on-site staff.

‘We felt this was best,’ Kurian says of NetApp Insight decision

“Given the range of considerations, we felt this was the best thing to do,” Kurian said in a keynote during Tuesday’s general session. “On Monday, we had 3,200 of our customers in attendance. Today, we now have 4,100 who still decided to come. We felt we owed to them to honor their decision to come to Insight.

“Pulling together as a community is one way to show the world that we intend to move forward. We want to move from grief to grace and light the first candle of hope in this valley of darkness.”

NetApp provided most of the details around its new HCI product in June, promising general availability in the fourth quarter of 2017. NetApp is late to the hyper-converged market and some have questioned whether the product is truly hyper-converged. Still, the vendor hopes to catch up in the market as it did after getting its all-flash FAS (AFF) arrays out the door later than its main competitors.