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NetApp Goes Full Hybrid Multi-Cloud With BlueXP

Joseph F. Kovar

‘’BlueXP makes all data storage available in a single place. And it impacts all NetApp users whether on-prem or in the cloud, making them much more efficient,’ says Ronen Schwartz, senior vice president and general manager of cloud storage at NetApp.

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Ronen Schwartz, senior vice president and general manager of cloud storage at NetApp

Storage and cloud optimization technology developer NetApp is making a full-court press in the hybrid cloud and multi-cloud market with the introduction of BlueXP, a new unified control plane to manage storage and data services across on-premises and private and public cloud environments.

BlueXP is the first technology to let a user configure storage and data services from on-premises to private and public clouds with a single user interface, said Ronen Schwartz, senior vice president and general manager of cloud storage for the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

“BlueXP makes all data storage available in a single place,” Schwartz told CRN. “And it impacts all NetApp users whether on-prem or in the cloud, making them much more efficient.”

[Related: NetApp CEO: Journey To Cloud Complete, Focus On Evolved Cloud]

BlueXP is a significant move for NetApp, Schwartz said.

“NetApp has done a lot of things first,” he said. “We have a record of innovation, including the first to bring on-premises storage to AWS, [Microsoft] Azure and Google Cloud Platform. And it’s not just bringing data to the cloud, but making it cloud-native.”

Customers today have an evolved cloud stack, which Schwartz said includes an on-premises data estate that is still growing and a cloud-based data estate that is growing even faster.

“And it’s not a single cloud, but multiple clouds,” he said. “This gives businesses agility and savings, but it’s harder to drive efficiency and scale across multiple systems. With BlueXP, they get a single view across all these systems.”

At first glance, BlueXP looks a little like NetApp Cloud Manager with a newly arranged user interface but thinking that would be a mistake, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering and NetApp enablement at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime NetApp channel partner.

“NetApp has been going down a path of strategic acquisitions that have been very thoughtful,” Woodall told CRN. “But there needs to be a unified vision to manage everything across on-premises, the cloud and APIs. User interfaces at scale need APIs. With BlueXP and NetApp Spot, customers can now do unified infrastructure as code both on-premises and in the cloud.”

BlueXP will help customers tap into all NetApp products via its open API set and eventually tap into non-NetApp technologies as well, Woodall said.

“So expect other integrations to flow into BlueXP,” he said. “This opens the possibility of managing both installed tech and subscriptions. For instance, NetApp has a digital wallet providing centralized management and consumptions. So expect to see NetApp Keystone and other subscription products to be part of BlueXP.”

Woodall said he expects NetApp will add more to BlueXP. One area he expects to see is sustainability as a way for businesses to more easily report environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities.

“ESG, if done properly, gives a company a competitive advantage and culturally makes it easier to attract staff,” he said.

Woodall also likes BlueXP’s multitenancy capabilities.

“BlueXP will allow different roles to be assigned to separate users so customers can create views by tenant and set the services by tenant,” he said. “It also provides a framework for service providers.”

BlueXP is addressing a wide range of services including ransomware protection and data security across all NetApp-focused systems, Schwartz said.

“Administrators need to know the risks wherever data resides,” he said. “With BlueXP, on a single screen they get a single view across all clouds and on-prem to understand the ransomware situation.”

BlueXP addresses what Schwartz called the “four Ses”: simplicity, security and privacy and data protection, sustainability, and services in hybrid multi-cloud environments.

It is available now to all customers using any NetApp product at no additional cost and comes in two modes, including a soft control plane experience and a disconnected mode that runs locally within a VPN, Schwartz said.

“For the latter, think three-letter agencies in the government but also for customers in highly regulated industries,” he said.

For NetApp channel partners, BlueXP gives them the opportunity to help customers take advantage of their broader view of their on-premises and cloud environments and optimize for things like data protection or cost, Schwartz said.

“It helps partners evaluate and optimize the value of customer installations,” he said. “Partners have the opportunity to make significant inputs on customer value with BlueXP.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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