NetApp: Public cloud, public cloud we really love the... you're going to keep some things on-premises, right? Right?

Flashes AWS and Azure cloudification, ONTAP as cloud abstraction layer

At its Las Vegas Insight event, NetApp was quick to assure customers they could have the public cloud and NetApp products both – and that indeed, the two are better together.

NetApp is primarily the Data ONTAP storage software company with a on-premises FAS array platform and AWS/Azure public cloud ONTAP instantiations, with an overall DataFabric concept unifying the on-premises (called private cloud) and off-premises (public cloud) worlds.

Alongside ONTAP, the companion StorageGRID and SolidFire Element HCI (Hyper-converged Infrastructure) and flash array provide object and flash array storage where ONTAP is inappropriate.

Public clouds represent alternative and heterogeneous hardware and software platforms on which to run its data storing and protecting services.

The company's customers, of course, want to use multiple public clouds as extensions to their on-premises IT estate and also want to store more data overall, with faster access.

A canned quote from Anthony Lye, SVP and GM, cloud data services, NetApp, chimed in with this view: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that every time we create a product or service at NetApp, we always first ask ourselves what it will be able to do in the cloud. For our customers, the competitive demand to transform into a cloud-first organisation is now a given.”

Public clouds are an extension of on-premises IT for the typical NetApp customer, but not a replacement for it, clearly.

This is the background against which NetApp opens its Insight Conference in Las Vegas and makes a series of product and services announcements:

  • NetApp Cloud Insights,
  • Azure NetApp Files,
  • Cloud Volumes ONTAP,
  • NetApp HCI,
  • SaaS Backup for Microsoft Office 365,
  • NetApp Data Availability Services.

The HCI product is the only on-premises item in this list but there will be more on-premises news tomorrow.

NetApp Cloud Insights is a new departure for NetApp, being a SaaS offering designed to monitor and cost-optimise hybrid cloud systems orchestrated by Kubernetes and running micro-services.

This is probably related to NetApp's recent StackPointCloud acquisition.

Azure NetApp Files is ONTAP running in Azure, an OTAP enclave as it were. A limited preview will expand to US East and US West 2 Azure datacenter regions, enabling more customers to participate in the limited preview.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is the ONTAP storage service running in AWS and Azure, with built-in, high-availability, failover functionality. On-premises data can be auto-tiered to these targets with a NetApp Cloud Tiering Service.

SnapLock Enterprise support can help protect on-premises data against ransomware or cryptoviral extortion by having cloud-based data copies.

NetApp has also aimed new certifications at staffers who are looking after hybrid cloud admin: Hybrid Cloud Administrator and Hybrid Cloud Architect, and have created an Expert-level certification for NetApp. They require passing a NetApp Certified Hybrid Cloud Administrator (NS0-300) exam plus one of the following cloud provider certifications:

  • Microsoft: Architecting MS Azure Solution,
  • Google: Google Cloud Certified Professional,
  • Amazon: AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate,
  • Cloud Architect.


NetApp HCI now supports SnapMirror to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, formerly ONTAP Cloud. A snapshot of the HCI’s data store is sent to ONTAP running in AWS or Azure as a disaster recovery or test and dev measure.

There are two new HCI compute nodes: the H410C, with from eight to 40 cores, and the H610C with a brace of GPUs.

SaaS Backup

This provides backup and restore for Office 365 Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business data to secondary locations in the cloud or on-premises.

Service providers can offer SaaS Backup for Office 365 hosted in their own data centres, and provide business continuity with backup, find, and recover for email, calendars, contacts, tasks, site collections, sites, lists, and file data.

NetApp said it can ensure compliance with government regulations as a GDPR-ready SaaS backup service, with support for EXO, OD4B, SPO, Groups, and Shared Mailboxes.

NetApp Data Availability Services

In a nod to Veeam availability terminology, this is a cloud-native backup and restore offering backing data up to the cloud and allowing re-use of the copy in the cloud. It accelerates software development, testing, analytics, and reporting by re-using data on secondary ONTAP storage. Target workloads are backup, disaster recovery, test and dev, analytics, and reporting

A NetApp partnership with WuXi NextCODE, a genomic data platform and analysis company, involves WuXi using NetApp Cloud Volumes to store genomic data in the public cloud, including AWS and GCP. NetApp says WuXI gets an “HPC-like” storage infrastructure in the cloud.

The firm will be hoping all these partnership, product and services announcements, with their hybrid cloud focus, give NetApp customers sense that NetApp is responding to their needs and concerns. ®

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