Cloud Storage

Netapp Shows Major Inclination for Hybrid Cloud with Latest Ontap, Flexpod as a Service

On Tuesday, NetApp significantly expanded its hybrid cloud competences with the announcement of a new version of its Ontap storage software aiming on-premises and cloud deployments, along with the introduction of FlexPod as a service and improved Keystone storage subscription services.

NetApp’s senior director of portfolio marketing, Adam Fore says, ‘We’re helping organizations to take advantage of hybrid clouds, streamline data in the cloud, simplify data services, and determine the ways to design their hybrid clouds. The channel partners are designed. We will assist to uplift them to work with hybrid clouds.’

According to Adam Fore, “The developments are pointed toward assisting clients with streamlining and deploy hybrid cloud environments”.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure can be developed either by expanding the present infrastructures and applications like backups, disaster recovery, archiving to the cloud, or by flexibly migrating workloads between on-premises and the cloud such as collecting data, migrating it to the core, and doing analysis in the cloud, Fore quoted.

“However, not many customers have the infrastructure required to migrate to the cloud. Architecturally, they’re not prepared. The customers have several tools and operating environments, which can cause complexity when migrating to the cloud. They are in search of an expert to help them understand their needs and how to easilymove to the cloud.”, he added.

According to Fore, NetApp has the base to move to the cloud and among on-premises and clouds, the easy management with a steady set of tools, the financial liberty and experience with its Data Fabric technology.

“Partners can then elevate customers to the next level with computation and the other layers to make anall-inclusive solution,” he said.

Fore added, NetApp is introducingOntap 9.9, the newest edition of its Ontap storage operating system that treats the on-premise and cloud data as the same. Ontap 9.9 consists several significant data evelopments, and four times the performance for single LUNs as the previous version.

“This software operates across the hybrid cloud,” he said. “It works in the data center, in the cloud or on the edge and is comprised of all our offerings including FlexPod. With Ontap 9.1. A hybrid cloud can be implemented under five minutes including initiating an instance in the cloud and sending data changeably, or in under two minutes to initiate backup. We wish to retain the simplicity as if it were just on-premises.”

According to the vice president of engineering West at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solution provider and established NetApp channel partner, John Woodall, “With Ontap 9.9, NetApp is maintaining its record of reducing the complexity of hybrid cloud deployment and doing it more frequently than in the past”.

NetApp’s Cloud Manager unified control plane for handling, monitoring and automating data in hybrid cloud environments already eases the deployment and run data services on-premises or in the cloud, Woodall told CRN.

“But with Ontap, customers can see already installedOntap deployments in their data center and across AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure or Google clouds from the same control plane, and perform operations like create SnapMirror relationships by dragging and dropping.It is nice to see NetApp involves twice-a-year development schedule because for a single year there will be a plenty of innovations to complete,” he added.

While Adam Fore continued, “NetApp is also updating its FlexPod converged infrastructure technology, which integrates Cisco management software and UCS servers, NetApp storage hardware and Ontap software, and VMware virtualization technology into a centralized infrastructure, with Cisco’s Intersight cloud operations platform.”

“The result is the introduction of FlexPod-as a Service.Cisco Intersight automates the totalFlexPod stack: Cisco UCS, Cisco networking, and NetApp Ontap,” he added.

“Over the next two to three quarters, Cisco Intersight will be able to totally automate configurations and configuration drift, find out where workloads should be positioned, and automate data services such as backups, disaster recovery and tiering to the cloud,” Fore said. “It will also work as a service manager for FlexPod as a Service, for which FlexPod will be a partner-delivered resolution”, he continued.

According to John Woodall, “While FlexPod is deployed in data centers, it is still a great platform for hybrid clouds, especially with the integration of Cisco Intersight with FlexPod”.

“In the FlexPod context, it is significant to have the support of Cisco and NetApp hand-in-hand, so customers get all the advantages of FlexPod,” he said. “On the balance, this is a big portion of enabling customers with hybrid cloud adoption and making FlexPod available as a service, Woodall said”, Woodall added.

“FlexPod is developed around a full stack solution with Cisco, NetApp and VMware,” he said. “The inclusion of life-cycle management, patching, tracking configuration ideas and management lets you know you the validity. However, these things change over time with ransomware and other attacks, and hence it is vital to have the updated guidelines to not only prevent outages, but to also keep customers secure. All these moves into pricing of the consumption and the ability to let customers purchase the infrastructure or use it as a service”, Woodall said.

NetApp Tuesday also upgraded its Keystone storage subscription service with a new collaboration with colocation services from Redwood City, Calif.-based Equinix.The use case for this is a customer who wants a high-speed connection to a public cloud as part of hybrid cloud services, Fore said.

“Now they can deploy their on-premises ecosystem in an Equinix data center, and get less than 1 millisecond high-performance admission to multiply hyperscaler data centers through Equinix,” he added. “Thus, customers can leverage cloud services, including computation, without actually shifting the data to the cloud. It is a highly flexible multi-cloud solution that lets customers perform operations like scale their Microsoft environment to Azure or do disaster recovery to AWS, and alter it all as required”, he continued.

According to Fore, this could also be done before. But the developments now provide a single contact for NetApp to receive to all the storage services.

“Customers get support through NetApp and do not need to work with Equinix. For Keystone customers, who are looking to deploy in Equinix, we now tailor it for them.When Keystone was first launched last year, it was aimed at Microsoft Azure storage via NetApp Cloud Volumes. However, it now also works with AWS and GCP”, Fore said.

According to Woodall, “Earlier there were lot of efforts required to work with Equinix, to take benefits of the colocation service providers’, high-performance connection to the cloud”.

“Now Equinix has direct high-speed and low-latency network to the cloud, which is great if used as part of a service with Keystone. You can do it with others, but with Equinix it comes as a service.While Keystone provides storage as a service, now customers can include Equinix services to get easy scalability and one point of visibility”, Woodall said.

NetApp also improved a couple of other fragments of its hybrid cloud portfolio.

“Their Cloud Backup technology, which previously could be used to back up a cloud instance to another cloud, can now also be utilized to backup on-premises environments to another on-premises environment or to the cloud”, Adam Fore added.

“NetApp Astra was initially rolled out for GCP and Microsoft Azure, but now is upgraded to work with on-premise environment. Expansion to AWS environments will come in the near future”, he concluded.


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