"NetApp and OpenStack" by Jason Danielson

Jason Danielson is NetApp’s Solutions Marketing Manager for Media & Entertainment globally and is our guest blogger for the entry below.


NetApp’s Internet, social media, and studio customers are currently investigating OpenStack and various object storage technologies so I thought you might want an update on where NetApp stands with the OpenStack community.

A few weeks ago NetApp co-sponsored, led sessions and otherwise participated in the semi-annual OpenStack Summit. It is the semi-annual get together of the OpenStack community. “What?” you might ask, is an enterprise storage vendor like NetApp doing in a place like the OpenStack Summit? Isn't OpenStack all about getting away from enterprise storage. Isn’t OpenStack all about solving enterprise and cloud-scale storage problems with commodity disks? Actually, not in our view.

To NetApp, data management infrastructures are a multi-tiered (pardon the expression) solution stacks. OpenStack will certainly allow some enterprises and cloud service providers to build large storage pools in news ways. OpenStack APIs for Cinder (block storage) and Manila (shared file systems) enable a variety of physical storage media to be managed across heterogeneous environments across multiple geographies. That’s the good news.

But it’s much more complicated than that phrase alludes to. In NetApp’s view, today media companies and the IT world at large hold exabytes of critical media and data on hundreds of thousands of disk drives. Data that enterprises and cloud customers don't wish to leave behind. How does the data migrate to this promised land? Does it make sense to migrate all this data off of the enterprise storage it currently resides on? And when or do you ever leave behind the 20 years of data management software functionality, data efficiency tools and disk array resiliency schemes? Not to mention the robust, enterprise-reliable and power-sipping disk enclosures? And then there is the elephant in the room, that when you buy petabytes of enterprise-class storage you are also buying into enterprise service contracts.

You can’t open source service contracts. If you want commodity disks with no vendor standing behind the integrity of the overall storage infrastructure, that’s fine but you’d better build up an internal world-class service organization at the same time. Some organizations are big enough and profitable enough to do this. For others it just doesn't make sense.

For media, entertainment and Internet companies that want to maintain resiliency and reliability at the storage hardware level, data migration and data efficiency tools (that are still far off in OpenStack’s future) and a world-class service and support partner there is NetApp. But back to the OpenStack Summit.

The semi-annual summit is where developers discuss their latest releases and users learn about the latest OpenStack innovations.  This season’s was the largest Summit to date with a total of 4,600 attendees, many of whom are from the open source development community. 

NetApp has been an active member and leader in the OpenStack community for three years now - driving solutions to bring NetApp value to our customers and to offer them choice in their cloud strategy. We continued our leadership role at this Summit and highlighted new additions to the Icehouse release including new “Cinder” block drivers for the E/EF-Series platforms.  This completes NetApp’s OpenStack block support across the portfolio for both FAS and E-Series.  We also continued to drive new innovation - evangelizing our efforts to get shared filesystem services added to OpenStack with the “Manila” project.

NetApp presence at the conference included a booth in the Marketplace pavilion, a Demo theater presentation on the show floor a brown-bag session and five main technical sessions.  In our technical sessions NetApp pulled a total of over 500 attendees.

Each of the NetApp sessions were recorded and posted.  To learn more about our OpenStack message, and the current state of OpenStack, view the YouTube links below. 

     NetApp Storage for OpenStack

     Manila: The OpenStack File Share Service

     Considerations and Lessons Learned Deploying OpenStack

     Creating Differentiated Storage Offerings Using Cinder Volume Types

     Optimize Cloud Storage with NetApp

     Ask the Experts: “Storage Considerations for OpenStack.”

     OpenStack Atlanta User Survey

NetApp is gaining real-world experience along with the OpenStack community. The Atlanta attendees reported that NetApp has over 60 production and proof of concept (evenly split) deployments. That is more than EMC, HP, IBM, HDS, Dell and Solaris combined. The report also shows that, after academic research, Telecommunications and Film/Media are the two largest vertical markets during this early adoption phase.

At NetApp, we are dedicated to data mobility. Many of our customers have been with us for over ten years precisely because they have been able to easily maintain access to their data through generations of Data ONTAP. Today data mobility means much more than just being able to maintain or migrate data through generations of a single vendor’s storage. It means being able to move content between continents, move content from on-site to the cloud and move content between clouds.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but the OpenStack community is building a new world of storage possibilities quickly and NetApp is proud to be part of this innovation.

- Jason Danielson, July 2014