Data fabric enables digitization and brings alive digital twin: Shuja Mirza, NetApp

Data fabric enables digitization and brings alive digital twin, as per Shuja Mirza, Director, Solutions Engineering, NetApp India & SAARC

Pradeep Chakraborty
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For nearly three decades, NetApp has helped several customers build unique data fabrics to deliver the right data and applications to the right place, at the right time, and with the right capabilities.


Shuja Mirza, Director, Solutions Engineering, NetApp India & SAARC, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: How is NetApp laying the foundation for connectivity and a unified IT/OT digital platform—for Industry 4.0 use cases?

Shuja Mirza: NetApp is a data-centric organization with an in-depth experience in delivering data services across hybrid cloud environments. These data intensive services and processes are at the core of our Industry 4.0 initiatives. These services and processes are better served with a robust data fabric.


To cite an example -- Digital Twins in Industry 4.0, are the formal representation of assets, processes, and systems, which can provide data to orchestrate and optimize manufacturing plants. In such cases, data fabric enables this digitization and brings alive the digital twin.

NetApp has over 30 years of experience in delivering data fabric solutions, which ensures that data is available at the right place at the right time, to support the growth initiatives of any organization. At the core of our operations, we make it easier for enterprises to adopt hybrid cloud deployments, and accelerate the initiatives like Industry 4.0.


Shuja Mirza.

DQ: How is NetApp reducing equipment downtime and minimizing human errors to decrease production expenses and improve quality and safety?

Shuja Mirza: Automation and predictive maintenance of systems have been built into NetApp’s solutions since the very beginning, sending out alerts and taking remedial action to avert any failure or disaster. With these solutions in place, we support initiatives like IoT, AI / ML and other analytics.

We follow a two-fold approach. First is our ability to continuously provide data services for key initiatives including shop floor automation, and second is our ability to integrate and rapidly deploy decision support systems for improving quality of service and safety of personnel.


DQ: What is NetApp doing to decrease tooling costs and lead time?

Shuja Mirza: Ease of use and automation solutions allow NetApp customers to rapidly deploy a service, whether it is within the four walls of their data center or in the cloud. With automation built into our platforms, including support for containerized deployment of modern apps, we reduce the lead time by 3x to 5x depending on the use case.

Again, it is about making the data available at the right time, right place, and with maximum agility, leveraging the best and most modern deployment platforms like containers and more.


DQ: What is NetApp doing to meet complex customer requirements and improve delivery timing?

Shuja Mirza: NetApp follows a consultative approach to problem solving. We take the cloud-led, data-centric software solutions approach with our customers and take pride in being specialists in these areas. Complexity is broken down when the focus is on the desired business outcomes, making the journey simpler and faster (thereby, improving delivery times) through automation and ease of deployment.

DQ: Can you share at least two examples of any recent Industry 4.0 deployments.


Shuja Mirza: Industrial IoT has vastly improved efficiency, scalability, cost, and time savings for our customers. Attached below, is a depiction of a Smart Plant of one of our customers, who is leveraging NetApp solutions for achieving their Industry 4.0 objectives.

Some of the popular use cases for Industry 4.0 where NetApp technologies are being leveraged include:

  • Condition monitoring – storing, processing time series data
  • Inventory optimization – RFID data, fed into real time decision support systems and supply chain management systems, integrated data flows enabled across on-premise and cloud environments
  • Quality assurance – X-rays and various forms of image scanning stored on NetApp systems, made available for analysis and taking corrective actions for quality assurance purposes.
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