Doubling Down on Microsoft Private Cloud

By Calvin Nieh, Product Marketing Manager, NetApp


This week, thousands of IT professionals – including myself – will be converging on Las Vegas to attend the annual Microsoft Management Summit (MMS). I’m betting that Private Cloud will be the talk of the town throughout the event – I’ll even put two chips down at the Black Jack table. But, the question to ask is, how can you maximize the benefits of private cloud, and what solutions in the market best suit your needs? And, if I may, how do NetApp and Microsoft enable customers to harness the power of private cloud?


What a Year!


To answer this, I need to give you a bit of context.  One year ago at MMS, NetApp and Cisco announced FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud as the first Private Cloud Fast Track solution validated with System Center 2012, reflecting the market leadership we’ve been able to drive through our investment in Microsoft integration.  Since that time, customers such as the University of Waterloo and ING Direct have been touting the outstanding results FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud has achieved for their businesses. Specifically, ING Direct’s Bank-in-a-Box project built on FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud enabled the bank to provision copies of the bank quickly and efficiently, amplifying available storage by 4000%. We here at NetApp even recognized this project with an Innovation Award last summer.


Shortly after MMS 2012, Microsoft recognized NetApp as their Private Cloud Partner of the Year for 2012. They recognized us for the deep integration we built into our solutions for Microsoft Private Cloud, which includes a critical piece of software called OnCommand Plug-in for Microsoft (OCPM).  OCPM enables management, automation and orchestration of NetApp storage via System Center 2012, which is one of the key differentiators between virtualization and true private cloud capability. Around the world and in buildings in Redmond, I’ve personally heard our solution is touted by Microsoft engineers as “the most integrated solution” for the Microsoft private cloud stack. 


Deep Integration with New Microsoft Technologies


Another great example of our deep integration with Microsoft technology is NetApp’s OnCommand PowerShell Toolkit.  Infrastructure admins love the ability to script and automate routine operational tasks, which makes their work more accurate, repeatable and makes them more productive.  With over 1,200 NetApp developed PowerShell cmdlets, administrators have a wealth of automation capability in their hands.


Of course, the release of Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 meant we couldn’t rest on our laurels.  NetApp engineers have been hard at work developing new products, testing, documenting and validating towards the updated Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validation program and support of new features within Windows Server 2012.  We worked in conjunction with Cisco to validate an updated FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud solution, and now as Microsoft is rolling out the first validated solutions for Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 at MMS 2013, you guessed it: FlexPod is there.


Additionally, for small to mid-size virtualization deployments, we’ve released ExpressPod with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, providing a simple yet comprehensive converged infrastructure that enables companies to accelerate deployment of shared virtual infrastructure, including integrated server, storage and networking.


Viva Las Vegas


No doubt, with all of the new capabilities within Windows Server 2012, including SMB 3.0, ODX, and improvements in Hyper-V, attendees of MMS this week will be keen to learn how NetApp and other companies are supporting this technology and how they can deploy and harness the power of a best in class private cloud solution.


To learn more about our announcements and demos at MMS this week, check out our Trusty Guide to All Things NetApp at MMS 2013 and sign up for an upcoming online Executive Roundtable on FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud. I – along with the rest of the NetApp team – am excited about how our customers are able to harness the power of private cloud with NetApp and Microsoft.


I’ll see you in Vegas.