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ITechnology Interview with Phil Brotherton, VP Solutions and Alliances at NetApp and Tony Paikeday, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, AI Systems at NVIDIA

ITechnology Interview with Phil Brotherton, VP Solutions and Alliances at NetApp and Tony Paikeday, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, AI Systems at NVIDIA

“AIOps can help teams evaluate and act on their data more quickly and reduce manual work. AIOps can provide intelligence and enrichment to data and NetApp is all about managing, protecting, and sharing data.

Hi Phil and Tony, please tell us about your current role and the technology you handle at NetApp and NVIDIA. 

Phil Brotherton is Vice President of Solutions and Alliances at NetApp. He focuses on the engineering and partner ecosystem for customers use cases. AI with Nvidia is a great example of one of these solutions. Phil joined NetApp in the 2004. While the technologies change, the constant in his work at NetApp is it is always focused on helping customers optimize their business results with our products, services, and partnerships.

Tony Paikeday is Senior Director of AI systems at NVIDIA, responsible for the go-to-market strategy for NVIDIA’s DGX portfolio of AI supercomputers. For the last 6 years, his team has worked to democratize AI for enterprises around the globe. In collaboration with NetApp, our joint solutions have helped businesses everywhere enable faster insights from data, speeding the ROI of their investment in AI.

Please tell us how IT and AI have converged at NetApp? What do you think about AIOps solutions?

One example of how IT and AI have converged at NetApp is NetApp Active IQ. Active IQ is a digital advisor that simplifies the proactive care and optimization of NetApp storage. Fueled by telemetry data from our highly diverse installed base, it uses advanced AI and ML techniques to uncover opportunities to reduce risk and improve the performance and efficiency of your storage environment. It then provides the prescriptive guidance and actions to make it happen. This “actionable intelligence” simplifies storage administration and leads to higher availability, improved security, and higher-performing storage.

AIOps can help teams evaluate and act on their data more quickly and reduce manual work. AIOps can provide intelligence and enrichment to data and NetApp is all about managing, protecting, and sharing data.

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What is the core vision and technology foundation of NetApp-NVIDIA partnership? Could you please elaborate on it from the POV of AI and HPC workloads? 

NetApp has been collaborating with NVIDIA in AI infrastructure solutions since 2018, enabling enterprises to infuse their businesses with data-driven insights. This month, NetApp announced the certification of NetApp all-flash NVMe storage and BeeGFS parallel file system, with NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD. This turnkey AI data center solution brings together two screaming-fast storage systems that can handle the biggest AI workloads. Our latest solution makes it simple for all kinds of companies to deploy high-performance infrastructure that meets the demands of extreme AI workloads.

NetApp’s certification for NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD is built on a long history of collaboration to serve customers through our combined strengths. NetApp is unmatched in its role as strategic advisor to enterprise CIOs and NVIDIA offers leadership-class infrastructure with fastest time-to-solution for AI. NetApp and NVIDIA customer deployments scale from single GPU systems to hundreds of accelerated systems on-premises, at co-located facilities, and in the cloud. Only NetApp offers the data fabric for AI that underpins it end to end.

NetApp and NVIDIA have validated solutions for healthcare/life sciences (medicine), financial services, automotive, manufacturing, and government as well as solutions that address challenges across multiple industries, such as recommendation engines, natural language processing, computer vision, and others. NetApp and NVIDIA offer a full spectrum of IT infrastructure consumption models, from reference designs to pre-engineered solutions, to hosted AI Training as a Service, as well as a suite of industry specific solutions targeted at the most widely deployed use cases

We hear so much about Hybridization and acceleration of Cloud centric software architecture. Could you please tell us how your alliance with NVIDIA simplifies demand for HPC workloads?

In earning certification status for NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD, NetApp EF600 storage—combined with the BeeGFS parallel file system—exceeded NVIDIA’s baseline performance threshold. Each EF600 array and BeeGFS-based scalable building block adds up to 76GBps/23GBps of sequential read/write performance and 431TB of capacity. Both capacity and performance can be easily sized and optimized for metadata operations, data storage, or any mix of the two. And with proven 99.9999% availability, the EF600 significantly reduces system downtime.

The data-fabric glue between NetApp’s storage system and NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD is the BeeGFS parallel file system. This award-winning parallel file system, delivered by ThinkParQ, features a modern user space architecture that’s used in many supercomputing environments today. No more hacking away at kernels to get your parallel file system up and running. No more hardware vendor lock-in. No more paying for premium features you don’t need. And best of all, no more complicated pricing.

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What kind of training would be provided at HPC/AI Centers of Excellence? Would the training solve AI problems associated with Cloud and Data Ops industries?

The training would involve model training, inferencing, use cases, training in the cloud, on-premises, and hybrid. Specific to industries, NetApp has focused on AI in Financial Services, AI in medicine, AI in manufacturing, AI in government and AI in automotive.  For use cases, NLP and computer vision are two broad use cases we have focused on, in addition to HPC. These use cases appeal to many industries, as they can be customized to improve safety, operations, and communications across different domains.

IT security and application modernization remain the biggest challenges for most organizations. How do you solve these for your customers at NetApp?

The latest release of ONTAP data management software contains over 30 invaluable security features. It helps you enhance data confidentiality, integrity, and availability, while strengthening your company’s overall security posture. In addition, automatically protect your data from ransomware attacks and avoid paying ransoms, meet compliance requirements with ease, and create a zero-trust perimeter around your organization’s data—no matter where it lives. As a leader in data management, NetApp applies its skills to prevent the damage of ransomware where it hurts the most, at the data layer. Our portfolio of solutions focuses on thwarting threats to your data, while accelerating data recovery.

Specific to application modernization, with our industry-leading solutions that support hybrid multicloud capabilities, NetApp has become the go-to partner of enterprises looking to modernize their infrastructures and get maximum value from their SAP, Oracle, and SQL Server databases. Our cloud-connected all-flash systems are designed to help organizations accelerate their digital transformation and fuel data-driven strategies. Powered by NetApp ONTAP data management software, NetApp enterprise application solutions deliver the industry’s highest performance and resilience, superior flexibility, best-in-class data services, and tight integration with the world’s leading clouds: Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon AWS.

Which industries are leading the space in adoption of AI and HPC platforms? Any case study/use-case example you would like to share from NetApp’s recent portfolio?

The following industries are leading in adoption of AI and HPC, and NetApp has a strong focus on:

  • AI in Financial Services
  • AI in Medicine
  • AI in Manufacturing
  • AI in Government
  • AI in Automotive

The following are NetApp examples of use cases:

  • Using AI technology to optimize call center outcomes
  • Sentiment analysis for financial services use cases
  • Monitoring face mask usage in healthcare settings
  • Deep learning to identify COVID-19 lesions in lung CT scans
  • NetApp NLP web page
  • NetApp Computer Vision web page

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What are your predictions for the AIOps industry and how NetApp is positioning itself in the supercomputing IT ecosystem?

AIOps is going to continue to grow and become more prominent.  For example, analysts expect the AIOps market to grow at >30% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) until 2023. The increasing demand for automation across various industries, (e.g., financial services, healthcare, manufacturing) is driving the growth.

NetApp is a market leader in high-performance computing (HPC) and analytics and has a pedigree in managing data at scale with extreme throughput and ultralow latency for mission-critical workloads. With NetApp EF600 all-flash arrays at the foundation of NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD, customers get an agile AI solution that scales easily. BeeGFS enables customers’ entire storage capacity to be served up in a single namespace, significantly reducing data management headaches. And BeeGFS integration with NVIDIA Base Command Manager makes deployment of storage for DGX SuperPOD much simpler.

Thank you, Phil and Tony! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at]

Customer demand, product and service design and business structures are in flux in the cloud era.Phil Brotherton Consulting brings you the strategy and execution expertise to drive change, create opportunity, and win in your markets.

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NetApp is a hybrid cloud data services company. NetApp creates storage and data management solutions that are designed to help customers accelerate business breakthroughs and achieve outstanding cost efficiency.

20+ years of diversified experience in Product Management/Marketing, Sales, Business Process Engineering, and Manufacturing disciplines, across multiple industries; proven ability in business development in emerging markets. Career successes in Telecom, IT, and Supply Chain, enabled by an aptitude for rapidly learning, deploying, and marketing new technologies and solutions.


NVIDIA’s invention of the GPU in 1999 sparked the growth of the PC gaming market and has redefined modern computer graphics, high performance computing and artificial intelligence. The company’s pioneering work in accelerated computing and AI is reshaping trillion-dollar industries, such as transportation, healthcare and manufacturing, and fueling the growth of many others.

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