NetApp Global Instructor Summit 2019 at NetApp HQ, Sunnyvale

Let’s be honest, there may be something special when you’re a week out of the office. It’s either a vacation or something to do with business. The moment NetApp University nominated me to attend NetApp Global Instructor Summit was like unimaginable. It was a week of learning, networking and of course meeting new and old friends from my NetApp community.

It is my privilege working with an International team from USA, APAC and EMEA.  

What is GIS?

The annual Global Instructor Summit provides NetApp University (NetAppU), Authorized Learning Partners and NetApp Distributor Enablement Program pre-sales instructors with valuable information and resources. They will hear about the NetApp strategy, learn about current and planned courses, and have an opportunity to network with NetAppU experts and their peers in the industry. The 16th Year Anniversary of GIS which started with just NetApp University internal deliver teams and has since expanded to include our external delivery teams.

We were 88 attendees this year from NetApp University, Authorized Learning Partners and from Distribution like ALSO Schweiz AG.

The specific “Call to Action” of NetApp University for everyone attending were:

  • Innovate
    • Leverage what you learn this week to extend your skills with the latest capabilities.
    • Build your business with the new learning solutions (DevOps, AI, Cloud, Enterprise Apps)
  • Transform
    • Change the conversation.
    • Enhance the journey for your learners. Help them to transform and grow.
  • Evangelize
    • Share the knowledge you gained here with your Colleagues and Partners.
    • Share your success with us!

The goals of the event were:

  • Articulate NetApp and NetApp University’s FY’20 strategy, vision and priorities.
  • Provide a roadmap and insights on new products and solutions in preparation for training delivery
  • Boost internal and external trainer skills and expertise on current and new solutions
  • Develop a cohesive learning delivery eco-system
  • Empower networking and sharing of best practices across audiences
  • Increase trainer certifications

On the first morning, our very own NetApp leaders like Octavian Tanase, Senior VP, ONTAP Software and Systems Group – Henri Richard, WW Field and Customer Operations and Mattt Watts the Director, Technology and Strategy gave us some key news. I would like to emphasize what these motivated leaders shared.

Octavian Tanase spoke about the future of ONTAP and that simplicity is the future of ONTAP. He talked about what will be new with ONTAP 9.7 in November. So please stay tuned, right now it’s under NDA.

Henri Richard talked enthusiastically about Digital Experience. The new generation of buyers will be a different one in 2025 than today. He defined the new focus areas: AI / DevOps / Enterprise Apps (Core of our business, Oracle, SAP) and of course Cloud (being successful in the cloud is essential to NetApp).

As a matter of fact, NetApp HCI and the whole NetApp FLASH portfolio strongly supports the NetApp business.

Matt Watts talked how NetApp has changed from the “NAS guys” to be the Data Authority and then to the current philosophy: it’s your Data Fabric in the Hybrid- and Multicloud.

I love to listen to his stories. His speech was great as always, and covered mainly his two blog posts:


Which I can highly recommend, please take your time to read them.

For me it was most important to get the roadmap of NetApp and NetApp HCI and how NetApp is defining the future of their products and solutions. Simplicity is the goal, not only for ONTAP but also for other NetApp solutions. The result is NetApp HCI is simple, easy to scale with an incredible performance and reliability. Running different workloads is no problem on the NetApp HCI like VDI, Databases or Exchange because of Element OS and its Quality of Service. You can host multiple customers on your NetApp HCI, multitenancy is your friend. Make it simple, you don’t need all the features all the time. I liked when I heard “You don’t need a Ferrari to bring Grandma to church”. NetApp HCI is flexible and simple. Now we have Cloud Data Services on NetApp HCI: it is your Cloud, your way. With NetApp HCI you have your own on-premises Cloud, with optional connection to any of the three big Hyperscalers. NetApp HCI with NetApp Kubernetes Service and ONTAP Cloud Volumes Services is the new definition of HCI: Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure, as your Data Fabric.

Here are some statements and key take-aways from some attendees of the GIS 2019:

Brandi Einhorn, NetAppU about certification (NCCG NetApp Certification Goddess):

“Our NetApp Certification program has high standards. I am often asked; can you publish the weighting of each topic within a certification to help us better prepare or can you tell me all of the courses that will help me pass? My response is consistent – certifications are legally defensible validation that you can confidently represent NetApp in the field. To lower our standards would be to dilute the value. Courseware, industry knowledge and guides and presentations that you reference during real-life situations (applying your knowledge) will guarantee success. Just because you are not certified does not mean that you are not successfully doing your job, but PVUE has proven year after year that certified users are more likely to get promotions and salary increases.”

During her presentation Brandi also mentioned, what is essential for preparing for a certification exam is:

10% Industry / Common Knowledge

30% Courseware

60% Experience through: admin guides, presentation, manuals, etc.

6+ months of Training and Experience recommended

As someone who has twice attended an Item Development workshop, I know how much effort NetApp University and the team of Subject Matter Experts put into every certification.

Nando “The Brainwasher” Gorsatt, NetAppU:

“What amazed me most at GIS is to see the level of engagement of our disti-trainer-community!

The effort we’ve put in since 3-4 years really starts to show & pay off.

It is very rewarding to help our distributors on their journey to success as business enablers!”

Victor Franco, NetAppU:

“It is an exceptional opportunity to build community, and to learn from people all over the world. Finding how other people do stuff, helps me improve, also helps me feel part of a group rowing in the same direction.

I especially liked to hear the new messaging from our top guns and highest managers. It was truly a rare opportunity. Sessions helped me not only on acquiring knowledge, but also taking tips on how other people present and get their ideas through to the audience.

New disruptive technologies are already in the market.

There are companies for example using AI to process insurance claims, understand the attached documentation provided, match against the customer insurance, and generating automatic responses or payments. This translates into responding the customer in minutes rather than in days.

Also, those that have move to containers are able to spin at least 4 times more resources in the same hardware than with Virtual Machines. On top they add elasticity and granularity. If you translate this into cost savings, there is a huge difference.

Those companies not embracing these market disruptive technologies will really have a tough time remaining competitive.

NetApp makes this adoption really easy, allowing the customer select where in his Data Fabric he wants to place resources (on-prem, near cloud or cloud), as well as the consumption model he wants to use (hardware, virtual machines or containers).”

Pete Ybarra, NetApp A-Team Member: what was most important for you at GIS?

“Learning about NetApp direction on DevOps and Cloud. Meeting you finally and taking a picture with you for top instructor award. Roadmap presentations and NetApp direction on NetApp HCI”

Alun Griffiths, my fellow NetApp United Member: what was most important for you at GIS?

„This was my 1st NetApp Global Instructors Summit (GIS) and I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. I was able to meet old and make new friends. I learned a massive amount of knowledge in many different areas, plus I was also able to take some certification exams. As I sit and reflect on the wonderful week in Sunnyvale at the GIS, I can honestly say, that for me, it was well worth the investment of time and money to attend the event, and I sincerely hope I am invited next year.“

My personal highlight of the GIS is that I was awarded as the EMEA Top Distribution Instructor of the Year from NetApp University. Being passionate about everything you do will develop you to be a better you and give you an excitement when doing your job right.

To win this Award is a great honor and privilege, so thank you NetApp University and of course my NetApp Perfect Partners.

The photo shows Pete Ybarra, Sophie Mills and me.

What would I suggest, is to visit Cloud Central more often

Know well at least one public cloud provider like Azure, AWS or Google Cloud and at least one NetApp Cloud Service, like NetApp SaaS Backup or Cloud Sync.

For each NetApp solution you will find Web Based Trainings (WBT’s) on

This is my main site to keep myself up to date with the NetApp portfolio.

The strength of NetApp is not one single product. It is a whole portfolio, how it works with each other and how you can connect it with all the big Hyperscales.  

Please use it and build YOUR own Data Fabric.

All the best,


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