NetApp Intros New Hybrid Services To Make Connecting Storage To Cloud Easier

NetApp has expanded its ability to stretch data and information across hybrid on-premise and cloud infrastructures with a new service tying its storage infrastructure to the cloud.

NetApp, which after the acquisition of EMC by Dell is now the world's largest independent storage vendor, is now shipping or preparing to ship new hybrid storage cloud capabilities while introducing new releases of existing offerings to take its technology deeper into the cloud, said Phil Brotherton, vice president of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's Cloud Business Unit.

"We're bringing the hybrid cloud, the threads in the data fabric, to market in a simple way," Brotherton told CRN.

[Related: NetApp Bets Big On Cloud, All-Flash Storage Capabilities At NetApp Insight Conference]

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The biggest change to NetApp's hybrid cloud capabilities is the introduction of NetApp Private Storage as a Service, an expansion of the company's NetApp Private Storage for Cloud, Brotherton said.

NetApp in late 2012 first introduced NetApp Private Storage for Cloud as a way for customers to connect on-premise storage infrastructure directly to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or IBM clouds. In particular, those storage infrastructures could be sited in a co-location facility such as Faction, previously known as Peak, where they had access to high-speed connections directly to the cloud.

"The data was kept on customers' side of the firewall but could be extended to the cloud," he said. "That provided the cloud on an Opex basis and the storage on a Capex basis."

With NetApp Private Storage as a Service, customers can work with service providers to manage storage as an operating expense while ensuring the security of their data, Brotherton said. Such service providers already have a connection to on-premise and off-premise storage, which greatly simplifies the consumption of these advanced infrastructures, he said.

"Customers want a service on a cost-per-terabyte-per-month basis," he said. "Customers get ease of use. They just connect an Ethernet cable to their cloud of choice. NetApp Private Storage as a Service can be done as a single-tenant or multitenant environment with internal firewalls."

As a result, customers and channel partners will see NetApp as moving from a software-oriented, on-premise data management company to a cloud storage company, Brotherton said.

"No one else can do this," he said. "We are the biggest storage-only company in the world. No one else has the cloud relationships to make this work."

In addition to Denver-based Faction, NetApp is also working with distributor Arrow to offer NetApp Private Storage as a Service, Brotherton said.

NetApp Private Storage as a Service is a big move for NetApp and its partners, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and longtime NetApp channel partner.

"If I'm a NetApp customer looking for NetApp Private Storage, but I don't want an entire new storage solution to stick in a co-location center like Equinix, this lets me get storage I can purchase as a service with a hosted solution connected to AWS or Azure," Woodall told CRN. "This is on-demand storage, moving from Capex to Opex. It's another way for NetApp to help customers do more with the cloud."

With NetApp Private Storage as a Service, customers get to manage storage on-premise, in the cloud or as a service, Woodall said.

"This is important," he said. "One NetApp customer may have a reason to put some data in the cloud and not put some in the cloud. Or a customer may have on-premise storage but wants to do test-dev in the cloud, or burst to the cloud, or run analytics in the cloud while keeping the data local. Or a customer may like storage as a service, but not in the cloud. NetApp Private Storage as a Service is a natural fit for all these discussions."

Faction was a natural choice to work with NetApp Private Storage as a Service, Woodall said.

"Faction built its infrastructure on NetApp," he said. "So if customers do backups or disaster recovery through Faction, it's easy to work with NetApp. And Faction was smart to build its own infrastructures in Equinix, which has an interconnect service with AWS and Azure."

NetApp also is expanding its Storage Grid object storage offering. Brotherton said that, while Storage Grid was offered as a hardware and software appliance that allowed customers to integrate their choice of Linux, the new software version includes an embedded Linux operating system to help channel partners simplify the deployment.

Also new from NetApp is an updated version of its AltaVault cloud-integrated storage backup appliance that allows data snapshots of compressed and deduplicated data to be sent directly to a cloud without the need to expand and then re-compress and re-dedupe the data, Brotherton said.

In addition, NetApp introduced a new version of its SnapCenter software for migrating data snapshots without relying on the company's own Ontap operating environment. "Snaps before could only work in Ontap-to-Ontap environments," Brotherton said. "Now the snapshots can move to other solutions like AltaVault, or be migrated all the way to the cloud, with catalog and search capabilities."