NetApp Tuesday unveiled a new solution for extending on-premise data directly to the Microsoft Azure public cloud as part of a seamless hybrid cloud environment, whether that data sits on stand-alone NetApp hardware or on the FlexPod NetApp-Cisco joint-venture reference architecture.
The solution is the second time NetApp has taken advantage of direct, secure connections to public cloud storage under its NetApp Private Storage for Cloud initiative first unveiled in late 2012 via a similar relationship with Amazon Web Services.
The NetApp Private Storage for Cloud initiative combines the best attributes of on-premise private storage and public cloud storage, said Tom Shields, NetApp senior manager of solution marketing.
"It allows our customers to get the elasticity and cost savings of public clouds with the control and privacy of NetApp private storage," Shields told CRN.
The new NetApp Private Storage for Microsoft Azure solution takes advantage of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute technology. Azure ExpressRoute allows the creation of private connections between Azure data centers and customers' own IT infrastructure, either on premises or via a co-location provider.
In the case of NetApp Private Storage for Microsoft Azure, the ExpressRoute connection is provided by co-location service provider Equinix, Shields said.
"NetApp Private Storage for Microsoft Azure lets customers put their storage next to Azure to get high-performance links leveraging the Equinix co-location facilities," he said. "Equinix has the most ExpressRoute co-location facilities. That brings customers physically close to the Azure cloud."
That is similar to the NetApp Private Storage for AWS, which uses Amazon's AWS Direct Connect technology to let customers integrate their NetApp storage with the Amazon cloud, Shields said.
Similar arrangements with other cloud services providers are planned as they offer similar high-performance direct connection options to their clouds in the future, he said.
Tying NetApp storage directly to public-storage clouds is a great strategy for NetApp and its customers and partners, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and longtime NetApp channel partner.
"I like to see NetApp continue to build an ecosystem with cloud providers," Woodall told CRN. "It's a continuance of the 'NetApp Everywhere' strategy where small, medium or larger customers only need to learn NetApp technology once and then be able to work with it anywhere."
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