End Users will win big when NetApp delivers Data ONTAP as software in the Cloud

This post was originally published on NetApp 360

By Tom Shields, NetApp Service Provider Solution Marketing

People may not know it but Data ONTAP is the most widely deployed enterprise storage operating system in the world. More data is managed under ONTAP than in any other single storage architecture. Hundreds of thousands of customers use ONTAP in their enterprises.  ONTAP has also proven itself in the cloud with data management capabilities like storage efficiency, secure multi-tenancy, integrated data protection and non-disruptive operations that are particularly well suited for building cost effective, secure, available, high-SLA services.  Today over 175 NetApp Service Provider Partners deploy NetApp storage, running Data ONTAP, as the foundation for over 300 service offerings.  However, the Verizon announcement represents the first time a cloud provider will deploy Data ONTAP as a virtual storage appliance.   This has important implications for both service providers and end users.

For NetApp Service Provider Partners like Verizon it presages new architectural flexibility to use the power of ONTAP as a software appliance to address new requirements and reach new classes of customers.   It also further demonstrates the value of NetApp’s partner centric approach to cloud.  Is NetApp willing to develop new business models that promise to make our service provider partners even more successful in the cloud?  The answer is “Yes, let’s get creative.”

For end users this signals the beginning of a new era of innovative cloud offerings.  In the case of Verizon, customers will be able to activate the enterprise-grade feature set of NetApp on a high performance Verizon public cloud infrastructure where they benefit from reserved performance, while paying only for the IOPS, storage and bandwidth they need on an hourly basis.  As we move forward, providing Data ONTAP software to service providers promises to spur a wave of creativity and ultimately choice for end users, with ONTAP end points across a spectrum of new cloud services. 

The best part is that all clouds using Data ONTAP can efficiently connect with on premises and other ONTAP-enabled clouds using NetApp data movement and portability technologies. Clouds built using ONTAP as a Virtual Storage Appliance will connect with on premise clouds using the same techniques that move data between remote physical NetApp storage devices. Facilitating data movement across clouds with stewardship is a core NetApp strength and increasingly critical as IT seeks leverage a hybrid data center to lower costs and increase agility.  Our goal is to support IT with a reliable cloud data fabric across all types of clouds as they evolve from builder operators to service brokers.

I for one am very happy to take this significant step toward software defined clouds with a visionary service provider partner like Verizon.  It’s a path we are committed to as we move forward and I can’t wait to see what innovative Data ONTAP based clouds are around the corner.

on ‎2013-10-29 12:28 PM

I am curious about the statement: "Our goal is to support IT with a reliable cloud data fabric across all types of clouds as they evolve from builder operators to service brokers."

I read a lot about this in the industry, and sometimes it is difficult to take this abstract level of product line development into practical reality. As a member of numerous programs and with many colleagues in the industry, that is the internal IT department industry and enterprise, I am not seeing the mass migration and transformation in accordance with the statement above. The statement about IT becoming service brokers and not IT builders has been used in many industry publications, IHV, and ISV marketing programs, and even in Federal Government. Nonetheless, I see very few organizations moving toward that model. In fact, I see quite the contrary, where many organizations are moving back from the cloud with mission critical applications that they found too expensive or too impractical to run. Three colleagues I spoke with at major enterprises (Fortune 500 and 1 State Government) advised me that they have either stopped plans to increase utilization of public cloud or have actually pulled back. Another colleague just recently advised me that they are pulling everything back from public cloud due to lack of flexibility and cost (they were a startup that has grown rapidly). At a user group meeting, and an impromptu luncheon, I have also found many peers have taken the approach of hybrid cloud is as "far as they will take it" despite the hype.

Is NetApp's belief such that they are targeting service providers as their primary market and "IT" as the consumer of those services? Will NetApp discontinue innovation in the "on-prem" portion of the hybrid cloud model that will be here for the indefinite future? Statements that generalize all IT like the above can be powerful and I think it is important that an IHV like NetApp act carefully with how generalized statements like the above are made.

on ‎2013-10-30 10:40 PM

Dana you make a great point.  While we were highlighting new breakthroughs in public cloud architectures built using software ONTAP in this article we don't see organizations swinging over to a completely outsourced model.  Rest assured, NetApp will be offering on-prem solutions for IT builder operators indefinitely.  However, we do see many organizations wanting to also tap outside cloud resources, public and private, for select workloads and needing to manage data movement and stewardship across on-prem and off-prem data centers. That is where our goal of helping IT in that service broker role comes into play.  We can do that by creating a reliable cross-cloud data fabric.