NetApp Extends Software-Defined Storage for a More Responsive IT Organization

By Ingo Fuchs, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, NetApp


In a thriving natural ecosystem, many organisms work together symbiotically for mutual benefit. Bees pollinate plants, which produce oxygen and sustenance for wildlife, which in turn produce the vital carbon dioxide to sustain plant life.


Why are we talking about environmental science in a post about the cloud? The answer is that the symbiotic relationships that allow sustainable growth in natural environments are applicable to the virtual cloud ecosystem.


Customers today require an IT infrastructure that is more responsive to their organization, allowing them to make rapid and well-informed decisions about their business. Organizations are looking to pool data storage resources and to seamlessly move data around, regardless of location, to keep applications and operations running nonstop. This separation of software management from the underlying hardware is at the heart of software-defined storage (SDS) and seamless data management across hybrid clouds.


As a result of this transformation in IT, it is critical for vendors to work together in cooperative relationships, developing solutions that simplify implementation across any infrastructure, leverage existing investments when appropriate, and push the boundaries of this new unbound cloud. The need for greater interoperability with legacy equipment and third-party arrays should be a major consideration for any solution provider in developing a cloud strategy.


Enabling technologies, such as virtualization and private and public clouds, can offer improved levels of agility and efficiency to deliver the full value of next-generation data centers built on a shared virtual infrastructure. Scale-out solutions in particular are next-generation architectures that offer the optimal storage environment to increase agility, scale, efficiency, and performance for enterprises of all sizes. Shared IT infrastructure, whether through large-scale virtualization or cloud, is the future of IT.


With this in mind, we at NetApp have just launched some exciting new additions to our enterprise systems portfolio that support the customer’s journey to the cloud — our new FAS8000 systems, FlexArray virtualization software, and an updated release of clustered Data ONTAP.


The new NetApp® FAS8000 series is the first storage system to unify SAN, NAS, and storage virtualization into a single hybrid array. It is NetApp’s first FAS platform designed specifically for scale-out storage environments built on clustered Data ONTAP®.

NetApp FlexArray storage virtualization software enhances customers’ return on investment and makes legacy storage cloud-ready. The software enables the FAS8000 to virtualize and manage third-party arrays and delivers a 9-month payback guarantee.

The new release of clustered Data ONTAP extends nondisruptive operations and improves data security and management of CIFS environments.

It’s no secret that customers who are moving to the unbound cloud today struggle to manage their data freely across both private and public clouds. To address this challenge, NetApp delivers new unified, scale-out innovations that enable enterprise customers to flexibly and efficiently manage and control their data through a single storage and data management platform.


Over the years, NetApp storage solutions have been built on the same principles as SDS. The foundation for NetApp’s SDS capability is clustered Data ONTAP, which allows us to deliver the world’s richest storage management capabilities on the industry’s broadest range of hardware.


NetApp has long viewed software as the delivery vehicle for storage functionality and hardware as a means to scale storage performance and capacity. We have been shipping Data ONTAP on multiple hardware platforms for more than a decade, providing customers with a multitude of choices.


Today, Data ONTAP is available on our optimized FAS arrays, in third-party storage arrays enabled by NetApp V-Series systems, on virtualized servers running on commodity hardware, and in the cloud with NetApp Private Storage for Amazon Web Services. We are also working with partners like Verizon Terremark to enable Data ONTAP running as software in a public cloud infrastructure, further enabling flexibility and efficiency for our enterprise customers and service provider partners.


With the new FlexArray storage virtualization software, NetApp V-Series becomes a software option that can be licensed on the FAS8000. FlexArray enables the FAS8000 to virtualize and manage multivendor data storage platforms, paving the way for software-defined storage. In addition, with FlexArray, customers can now leverage Data ONTAP management capabilities for third-party arrays.


As the cloud ecosystem continues to flourish, solutions that enable organizations to seamlessly move, manage, and control data across the cloud, regardless of the infrastructure employed, will thrive just like the symbiotic relationships found in natural environments.


Regardless of whether organizations move from private to public clouds or to a hybrid model, the primary concern remains maintaining control of data and simplifying operations across a multicloud environment. Customers today want companies like NetApp to reduce the risk of integrating public cloud resources by giving them the confidence, control, and flexibility to flourish in their businesses.