NetApp Finally Enters Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Market With Focus On Enterprise-Grade All-Flash Capabilities

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NetApp on Monday made its long-awaited entry into the burgeoning hyper-converged infrastructure market by unveiling an offering combining its SolidFire all-flash storage technology with NetApp's traditional scale and cross-management capabilities.

The company also enhanced its OnTap Select software-defined storage capabilities to better meet remote and branch office needs and integrate with VMware, a new consumption-based model for its storage, and enhancements to its OnCommand Insight for hybrid cloud migration.

NetApp is making sure partners and customers know it has the portfolio needed to help with their digital transformation strategies, including capabilities aimed at the cloud, DevOps, and micro-services, said Brett Roscoe, vice president of NetApp's product and solutions marketing.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: NetApp CEO Kurian On Turning Corner On Growth, Competing With Dell EMC And Fending Off Pure Storage]

NetApp is doing this in three ways, Roscoe told CRN.

"We helping customers modernize their infrastructure to accelerate applications and add more services around them," he said. "We're helping them develop next-gen data centers with flexible environments for VMware and OpenStack. And we're focused on delivering cloud capabilities."

NetApp's new hyper-converged infrastructure offering, for now known simply as "NetApp HCI," combines the best of NetApp's technologies to provide a scale-out architecture, full management of compute and capacity, SolidFire's quality of service technology, and more to make it available for enterprise-scale applications, Roscoe said.

While NetApp HCI is the vendor's first-generation hyper-converged infrastructure offering, it is by no means a first-generation appliance, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time NetApp channel partner.

"You can say NetApp is late to the market," Woodall told CRN. "But this gives them the ability to look at their SolidFire storage, their proven Element OS 10 software, their proven OnTap software. This is not new. It's proven, enterprise-grade technology."

Dale Degen, director of product and solutions marketing for NetApp's SolidFire business, told CRN the NetApp HCI comes in a 2U rack-mount chassis with storage capacity based on the SolidFire all-flash array technology.

It offers SolidFire's scale-out quality of service technology along with file services based on NetApp's OnTap storage operating system, and is managed with NetApp's OnCommand Insight management platform, Degen said.

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