NetApp is extending its reach into the public clouds via a partnership with the upcoming Verizon Cloud.
Under the partnership unveiled Thursday, NetApp customers will be able to access NetApp Data Ontap as a virtual storage appliance, giving them the same management capabilities and features they currently have with their on-premise NetApp hardware.
The fact that the Data Ontap-based virtual appliance in the Verizon Cloud uses the same Ontap found in NetApp's physical appliances is key to making it easy for customers to transition part of their enterprise workloads to the cloud, said John Considine, CTO for Verizon Terremark.
"It's not running beneath the cloud," Considine said. "It's on top of the cloud. So our users can interact directly with enterprise storage environments in the cloud. They can connect their cloud storage to their physical storage. They can do snapshots, replication, archiving, anything they do in their data centers, all managed with the same pane of glass."
It is a brilliant strategy for NetApp, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time NetApp partner.
"You remember the 'Intel Inside' campaign?" Woodall said. "This is becoming 'NetApp Everywhere.' NetApp Ontap is the most common storage operating system in the world. The partnership with Verizon Cloud is another way to leverage that technology to extend data center management services from the data center to the cloud."
The Verizon Cloud, which early this month was formally unveiled, was designed to provide enterprise capabilities to customers who wanted full control of what they do in the cloud, Considine said.
"We let users set their own performance of processing, networking, and primary storage," he said. "And we guarantee they get that performance regardless of the time of day and what noisy neighbors are doing."
The ability to access Data Ontap instances in the Verizon Cloud means big opportunities for channel partners, said Tom Shields, director of service providers for NetApp.
"NetApp operates completely through the channel when delivering cloud services," Shields said. "We look forward to bringing our partners to Verizon."
This is not NetApp's first foray into the cloud.
NetApp's cloud strategy, unveiled last month, entails making storage available and portable regardless of cloud platform.
NetApp currently partners with about 175 cloud services providers, Shields said.
NEXT: NetApp Bringing Channel Partners To The CloudThat includes a year-old relationship between NetApp and Amazon Web Services under which NetApp customers can arrange for any NetApp FAS-series or V-series storage arrays to be sited in an Amazon-certified co-location center and connected via AWS Direct Connect to make those arrays' capacity available for use with AWS services.
Integrated Archive Systems' Woodall pointed to the NetApp-Amazon relationship to illustrate how NetApp is working to bring partners to the cloud.
"At the end of the day, what customers are looking for is a bridge between what they have in their own data center and where they want to burst into the cloud," he said. "In the enterprise, where data management and robustness is important, NetApp provides that bridge."
Having Data Ontap on both the data center end and the cloud end is important, Woodall said. "Customers don't want to use a variety of tools, or write their own tools," he said. "They'll think, 'Ontap on both ends? Hmmm, that's interesting.'"
If a customer goes to a service provider for storage, they may not be able to control their data, or know where it is, Woodall said. "But with an Ontap virtual appliance, they have the same tools and capabilities as their on-premise storage. It's not a 'black box.' Verizon is offering the back-end infrastructure that enables Ontap to work in the cloud without spending a lot of money up front."
The Verizon Cloud is currently in beta, and is slated to go into production sometime in 2014. Verizon Terremark's Considine said the NetApp Data Ontap virtual storage appliance's capability is expected to go live when the Verizon Cloud is available.
PUBLISHED OCT. 17, 2013