Road to NetApp Insight 2018


Well it’s fast approaching that time of year again, in just over a week (22nd October) we will be kicking off NetApp Insight 2018 in Las Vegas. As you can imagine there is a lot to cover with such a big event, so this is a fairly long post, but keep reading as there is a competition at the end to celebrate certification at NetApp Insight.

This years show features a new timetable with things kicking off earlier on Monday and finishing up Wednesday night with the appreciation event. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly shorter schedule though, this Insight is just as packed with content as any year has been.

Europe also sees some changes this year with a new city for Insight, Barcelona. We also see a move in the conference dates, this time around being 3rd to 5th December, slightly later than usual however being Barcelona still nowhere near as cold as it can be during November in Berlin. All in all, not a bad location for a conference in the build up to Christmas. You could pair it with a weekend getaway or a chance to get some of that shopping done for the festive season.

Both events have a great lineup of guest speakers and entertainment for the appreciation events. Las Vegas sees Lenny Kravitz and by popular demand Barcelona sees the return of the RPJ Band.

Insight Speakers and Entertainment

Insight Speakers and Entertainment

My Insight

As with the past few years I will be participating heavily in many activities at Insight. Here I will give a summary of the various sessions, events and meet-ups I’ll be taking part in throughout the week. Hopefully this information will provide those of you going with some ideas for where to spend your time and what to get involved with.

  • Birds of a Feather Sessions: As has become tradition now, various members of the A-Team will be running panel sessions throughout the breakout schedule, these are less formal sessions with fewer slides. The format allows for the session to flow somewhat like a conversation and we encourage the audience to get involved with questions and to share their experiences. I will provide session numbers and times at the end of the blog.
  • Ask the A-Team: Down at the Social Media Hub in Insight Central you will find the A-Team and NetApp Technical Advisors hosting Q&A sessions covering a wide range of topics. This will be a small setup; a couple of tables, some chairs and a whiteboard. Come along and pick the brains of some of the industry’s leading experts.
  • Tech Elite Meet: If you are NetApp Certified (don’t worry if you aren’t, I’ll cover ways to get certified later in the post) then come join your peers, NetApp execs and the A-Team on Wednesday evening for drinks and snacks. This is a great opportunity to expand your network and meet new people, it also serves as a good warmup to the appreciation event that takes place shortly after.
  • General Sessions: Being lucky enough to be part of the A-Team allows for a few perks during the general sessions, we get a great position front and centre with tables. This means we will be live tweeting all the announcements and great content that comes from these. It also gives us an opportunity to get all the notes we need to write some wrap up blogs throughout each day.

Along with all the above I will be attending a few sessions myself, much like anyone else that goes to Insight, I’m there for all the latest and greatest from the world of NetApp. Here are a few of my picks from the schedule builder.

  • 1153-2 – Cloud Volumes and Containers: A Perfect Match Over two-thirds of Kubernetes deployments are being run in public clouds, such as AWS and Azure, and the cloud is also a common place to run Docker workloads. NetApp has multiple storage options for public cloud users, including NetApp ONTAP Cloud, NFS-as-a-Service, and NetApp Private Storage. But connecting these storage resources to containers can be a tedious process. Trident is the NetApp open-source storage orchestrator for containers. It is free and simple to configure in the cloud, and it makes it trivial to connect all of the storage options above to your containers. This session will outline several deployment scenarios for cloud-based containerized applications, and it will demonstrate how to leverage Trident for each one. Update: Includes NetApp Kubernetes Service (NKS).
  • 1192-3 – Advanced PowerShell Storage Provisioning Lifecycle Using the NetApp PowerShell Toolkit is a great way to manage and automate your NetApp storage environment. During this session, we will walk through advanced automation techniques for maintaining and provisioning your storage environment while furthering your DevOps efforts. In this session, we will describe specific PowerShell methods you can leverage to lessen errors and speed up provisioning and auditing times. We will discuss methods for creating a standardized baseline to automate deployment provisioning and testing within your scripts through the use of input configuration data. We will also discuss custom functions that accept pipelines, variables built into advanced functions, performance considerations for speeding up the provisioning of storage to include multi-threading, ONTAP PowerShell Toolkit filtering techniques, and different object creation techniques. We will then touch on how to validate that the storage was provisioned correctly and how PowerShell can help you maintain the storage. Finally we will discuss handling errors, registering events, and logging.
  • 1128-3 – Day 0/1 Configuration Management Using Ansible for NetApp ONTAP The NetApp Ansible modules allow for rapid deployment and configuration management of NetApp ONTAP, NetApp SolidFire, and NetApp E-Series solutions. In this session we will step through an Ansible playbook that takes two ONTAP nodes and creates a cluster from them, defines aggregates, configures network interfaces, sets up a SVM, and provisions and presents storage. This allows for rapid, repeatable deployments that lower time from onboarding to usability.
  • 9108-2 – Veeam: Advanced Veeam Architectures for Data Migration to, from, and within the Cloud Veeam Software is uniquely positioned to protect and manage the next generation of data workloads and datacenter infrastructure. In this session, we dive head first into advanced Veeam architectures within public and private clouds. This session will show the new capability to send your long-term data to NetApp StorageGRID, AWS S3, and Microsoft Azure Blob Storage. We will also dive into the feature that allows for migrating workloads protected by Veeam to be restored into Microsoft Azure and AWS EC2 instances. Finally, we will show the extended integration and how Veeam can power data movement between any NetApp ONTAP system, including NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
  • 1151-2 – Best Practices for Integrating Trident with Container Orchestrators Trident provides on-demand provisioning of the NetApp portfolio of storage products to the container ecosystem, enabling applications to request and receive the capacity and features they need when they need them. Container orchestration systems, such as Kubernetes and Docker, have matured and are now commonly used for production deployments across enterprises. This session will explore best practices for deploying Trident, configuring storage platforms, deploying orchestrator services, and empowering applications when using containers. Whether you are a storage administrator, PaaS administrator, or application developer, this session will provide valuable information how to best deploy, manage, and consume storage with your orchestrator.
  • 1189-2 – NetApp HCI and Veeam: Hyper-Availability for Next-Generation Data Centers This session will cover NetApp HCI and enhanced integrated data protection from the Veeam Availability Suite. We will dive deep and demo all new native protection from Veeam. Our solution provides guaranteed performance for all your workloads, including data protection, resulting in reduced time windows and being able to quickly access your data. Beyond performance alone, we’ll highlight Veeam’s role in the NetApp Data Fabric, providing greater flexibility when managing your data across the NetApp product portfolio.
  • 1257-2 – Build Your VMware Private Cloud on NetApp HCI Learn how to build a VMware Private Cloud on top of NetApp HCI. We’ll go through the steps of demonstrating how to build a self-service portal to supply permanent or transient virtualization resources. Easy, predictable results are what the consumers get, while the IT department has complete configuration, monitoring, and bill-back capabilities; along with seamless growth (or contraction) capabilities.


A part of Insight that has become almost ritual for me over the last few years is taking an exam or two. The greatest part of this is that NetApp offer certification for free at Insight, registration is easy and is best completed prior to arriving, however there are opportunities for walk-ins.

Certifications certainly aren’t cheap so taking two free attempts go a long way to justifying that conference spend. There are also sessions throughout the event that aim to prepare you for the various certifications available.

NetApp Exams

NetApp Exams

Existing or new certified users will get some sweet pins to show off their knowledge, a polo shirt and access to the Tech Elite Meet I mentioned earlier. So, make sure you visit NetApp University at Insight.

Registration is easy, and I’ve highlighted the steps below, some initial information from the NetApp Insight page is in the below figure.

Insight Exam Registration

Insight Exam Registration

Ensure you select the NetApp Insight location when scheduling the exam as this will ensure the exam fees are shown as no charge. I’ve included an example for Las Vegas, the same can be achieved for Barcelona.

Insight Exam Registration - Test Centre Search

Insight Exam Registration – Test Centre Search

Insight Exam Registration - Test Centre Selection

Insight Exam Registration – Test Centre Selection

Insight Exam Registration - Exam Scheduling

Insight Exam Registration – Exam Scheduling

For more information on the full NetApp Insight exam process please check out the following guide:


Not everyone reading this will be able to make it to Insight this year, that doesn’t make certification any less important. To that end I have teamed up with NetApp University to offer three exam vouchers to promote the new Hybrid Cloud Administrator and Architect exams.

More information regarding these exams can be found here

Whether you are attending or not, to be in with a chance to win enter below. There are several ways to gain entries, simply complete the registration and then as many of the optional activities as you want, the more you do the more entries you receive. The contest will run until the end of Insight Europe and winners will be notified no later than Friday 7th December 2018.

Summary & Resources

NetApp Insight 2018 for me is an opportunity to network, share knowledge with the community and to learn all about the latest offerings. If you aren’t registered yet, then what are you waiting for? There are a lot of reasons to attend and there are many ways to justify the cost. Whether you are being sent by an employer or you are self-funding the benefits are there to be realised. Insight is a great investment for both you and your company.

A-Team BoF Sessions

  • Las Vegas – Monday, 22nd October 2018 11:15 – 3108-2 – BOF: Ask the A-Team – How NetApp is Redefining the Next Generation Data Centre As your business starts on the journey to data transformation, is your data centre technology ready? Join the NetApp A-Team for a panel discussion around how NetApp is Redefining the Next Generation Data Centre. Understand the five architectural principles guiding the development of the next-generation data centre: scale-out, guaranteed performance, automated management, data assurance, and global efficiency. Ask the questions and hear from Partners and Customers working in the field understanding their experiences and how NetApp can help your business grow.
  • Las Vegas – Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 14:00 – 3107-2 – BOF: Ask the A-Team – Diversifying your Data with the Data Fabric Diversifying data is critical to how your business operates to meet the customer demands and competitive challenges of today’s markets. Join the NetApp A-Team for a discussion to uncover how business are changing the way they manage and value data. With the ever-changing world of cloud and On-premises technologies businesses are choosing to deploy more diverse multi-cloud solutions, which deliver a range of advantage to how businesses can transform their data landscape. Challenge the A-Team and ask the questions you need answers to, and hear from Partners and Customers working in the field describing their experiences of how Data Fabric helped their business diversify from the competition.

Insight Registration

Insight Schedule Builder

Tech ONTAP Podcast Insight 2018

Insight Mobile App


Jason Benedicic is an independent IT consultant that primarly works with Data Centre space. He has extensive experience in Flexpod, cloud technologies and infrastructure as code. He is a member of NetApp A-Team, Cisco Champions and vExpert advocacy programs. He enjoys gaming and motorsport.