NetApp Insight: NetApp Significantly Expands Ability To Treat On-Premises, Cloud As One


NetApp Tuesday showed its commitment to being a major force in the cloud with the introduction of several new capabilities related to automating the movement and management of data and increasing its performance across on-premises and public and private cloud infrastructures.

The changes, unveiled during the opening of the NetApp Insight 2018 conference in Las Vegas, illustrate very clearly that NetApp's Data Fabric strategy has evolved from a vision four years ago of where NetApp wants to be with the cloud to a platform that customers are using to make major changes to how they approach the cloud, said Glenn Dekhayser, field chief technology officer at Red8, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based solution provider and longtime NetApp channel partner.

NetApp is focused on providing the same services it does for on-premises infrastructures on as many clouds as possible, Dekhayser said.

[Related: NetApp Channel Connect: CEO Kurian Tells Partners NetApp Ready To Lead In Cloud, HCI, Flash]

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"Being able to provide high-performance, highly secured, encrypted and recoverable unstructured data platforms, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud, that's NetApp's future," he said. "They put this stake in the ground four or five years ago when they started talking about Data Fabric. We are now, I think, in a mature Data Fabric world."

NetApp is emphasizing its role as a driver of customers' move to implement digital transformation, said George Kurian, NetApp president and CEO.

Kurian, speaking at a press conference before the official opening of NetApp Insight 2018, said the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company plays a critical role in digital transformation by helping customers use their data as part of the process.

"If you are a traditional business, meaning not born in the cloud, your information about your business, your clients, is the one thing your competitors do not have," he said.

NetApp is helping customers get their data in several ways, including helping to transform the data for new ways to use it including for cloud services, as well as making it a resource that can be easily and quickly used, Kurian said.

"With traditional businesses, scale was the competitive advantage," he said. "But in the digital world, speed replaces scale."

The drive to help customers with their digital transformation was behind the introduction of several new cloud-facing technologies, said Jennifer Meyer, NetApp's senior director of cloud product marketing.

NetApp introduced NetApp Cloud Insights, a SaaS-based tool to give customers monitoring and cost optimization in hybrid cloud-based infrastructures, with an emphasis on monitoring modern cloud architectures including containers and micro-services.

NetApp Cloud Insights is a SaaS version of NetApp Insights, and provides monitoring and cost optimization across on-premises and public and hybrid cloud infrastructures, including competitors' on-premises storage equipment, Meyer said.

"If we can give [our customers] visibility into their entire suite, we can help them solve their cloud problems," she said.

Cloud performance is an issue that many customers struggle with, Red8’s Dekhayser said.

"I talk with a lot of companies who migrate workloads from on-premises to cloud," he said. "But they don't know until after they move them whether their end users are going to be happy or not. So their strategy has been to move the workload and endure the pain, and then see 20 percent of those workloads moved back to on-prem, according to IDC. Those 20 percent come back, not because of cost, but because of security or poor performance."

NetApp Cloud Insights is all about performance management of applications from a cloud perspective, Dekhayser said.

"Customers need this data to be able to make intelligent decisions on where they are going to put their workloads, what cloud infrastructures they're going to throw at them to make sure they validate their designs. Without this, they're flying blind."

NetApp also updated NetApp Cloud Volumes Ontap, which provides high-availability failover functionality to customers' Ontap instances running in Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services environments, Meyer said.

NetApp Cloud Volumes Ontap is the company's native cloud service that packages data management and data protection capabilities that NetApp offers for on-premises storage in such a way that they can run natively on public clouds. This includes providing NFS, CIFS,= and iSCSI file services while making storage highly available.

New for NetApp Cloud Volumes Ontap is the extension of SnapLock compliance capabilities to the cloud, the ability to provide high availability for Azure environments, support for the open-source Trident containers, and a new cloud tiering service, she said.

NetApp is also extending its Data Fabric to its Element operating system, the base on which its HCI hyper-converged infrastructure platform and SolidFire storage are formed.

Meyer said Element now supports SnapMirror to Cloud Volumes Ontap. "We want people to feel we are taking their public cloud experience to HCI," she said.

Also new is SaaS Backup for Office 365, which allows service providers to provide their hosted customers with data backups, searches and recoveries for email, calendars, contacts, tasks, site collections, lists and file data.

Finally, NetApp unveiled NetApp Data Availability Services, or NDAS. NDAS is aimed at streamlining operations for the full range of data protection services to help lower the cost of protecting Ontap data and making it easier to create data copies in the cloud for protection, development and testing.