End-users and vendors that are looking for a place where they can test business-critical applications on next-generation storage infrastructure can now use NetApp's regional innovation center located at the company's ASEAN headquarters in Singapore.
"The NetApp Innovation Center is a collaborative platform for partners and customers from around ASEAN to actively explore new ideas and work toward business leadership with innovative technologies," said Suresh Nair, managing director for ASEAN at NetApp, a developer of storage and data management solutions. Nair told journalists from the region that data is increasing at an exponential rate--and for most enterprises, that means its doubling every 12 months.
"What is today's way of responding to this growth in most data center environments? We just keep adding more servers and storage to the infrastructure. Data center managers are struggling to cope with this physical growth which, exponentially, has an impact on their operations costs in terms of people, power, and cooling costs. In reality, we never throw away any data," said Nair.
In his meetings with customers across the region, Nair has discovered that IT executives are faced with a lot of challenges, including: the continuous need to have new systems or expand existing ones but are constrained because of limited budgets; how they can control growth; data migration from existing legacy systems; how they can maximize application performance and availability from existing IT investments; and how they should address the growing regulatory demands for data security and compliance at a more cost-efficient manner.
"These are not new issues and challenges, but the intensity of these issues have dramatically increased, fueled by the cost of energy, environmental needs, and constraint of space," he said. "In recognition of this, we made a decision to invest on the NetApp Innovation Center."
Part of a longer term strategic growth plan first rolled out in December 2007, the center is estimated to be worth US$1.5 million and features real-world applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL, SAP ERP, Oracle E-Business suite, in a single and unified platform, across high-performance SAN, NAS, and IPSAN computing environments in a single unified storage architecture. The NIC also showcases integrated solutions from partners such as Symantec Corp., VMware Inc., CommVault Systems Inc., and Riverbed Technology Inc.
Nair claims that customers will "benefit immensely" from the NIC because they can perform application simulation scenarios, benchmark testing, stress tests, and other innovative activities. "They can experience how they can achieve resource efficiencies and significant cost benefits from optimization, and before making a purchase."
According to analyst organizations, enterprises across the region are projected to spend $13.4 billion on IT services in 2008. This includes more than 40% on Internet, data storage, and management solutions. In support of this growth, the NIC also functions as the test and development bed for NetApp Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme (iLIUP) partners in Singapore. The center will also leverage other similar governmental programs in the region.