NetApp Expands Cloud Capabilities With NFS On Azure, Adds IBM Watson To Support Services

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NetApp Tuesday said that Microsoft has added the storage vendor's Network File System, or NFS, technology as a native part of the Azure cloud.

NetApp also added new cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, including a new capability built using IBM Watson services, to its support capabilities as a way to introduce a high degree of automation to customer environments.

Both moves, unveiled during the NetApp Insight 2017 conference being held this week in Las Vegas, represent NetApp's focus on helping customers change the way they work with data, said Jennifer Meyer, NetApp's senior director for cloud products and solutions marketing.

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NetApp's storage legacy and its focus on cloud data technology has made the company the data authority in a hybrid on-premises and cloud world, Meyer said.

"Data is a key customer focus," she said. "We believe the way a company either grows or fades away depends on how they manage data. We provide advisory-level information to help them make the right decisions."

NetApp and Microsoft introduced the Azure Enterprise NFS service powered by NetApp, a new capability under which customers will be able to manage native NFS data on the Azure cloud.

NetApp's NFS technology is being embedded in Azure, giving all businesses access to file services on Azure whether they are NetApp customers or not, Meyer said.

"People want what they want when they want it," she said. "But they don't want to deal with the storage details. With this new relationship, Azure users don't have to take on the storage duty. NetApp is taking care of it."

However, the benefit for NetApp customers is clear, Meyer said. "This is based on our Ontap operating system, so anyone who knows NetApp will find it familiar in the Azure console," she said. "And everyone else knows enterprise NFS."

With Azure Enterprise NFS service powered by NetApp, businesses will be able to provision, automate and scale NFS services via RESTful APIs, and take advantage of new data protection services starting with on-demand automated snapshots. The new service also will integrate other Azure services including analytics, SQL Server, and SAP Hana for Azure, Meyer said.

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