NetApp Reveals Its Partner-Centric Cloud Strategy

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-08-25 Print this article Print

NetApp also introduced the Data OnTap 8 platform, which serves as its cloud computing package for data centers. And the company has rounded up an impressive list of partners to supply the cloud computing components that it does not provide: servers, networking, applications and services.

NetApp, which has long specialized in networked storage platforms-the very foundations of cloud computing-on Aug. 25 clarified its go-to-market cloud computing strategy, and it is very partner-centric.

The company also introduced its Data OnTap 8 platform, which serves as its cloud computing package for data centers. And it has rounded up an impressive list of partners to supply the cloud computing components that it does not: servers, networking, applications and services.

Having a large number of well-known partners-such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, BMC, Fujitsu, CA and several others listed below-allows for many options for customers, who probably already have a wide range of components from different manufacturers running in their data centers.

The key underpinning term for all of this is one we've all heard before, but it nonetheless remains important: flexibility.

"One of the fundamental principles of cloud computing is that you don't know what applications the infrastructure will be supporting when you're building it," Jay Kidd, NetApp chief marketing officer, told eWEEK. "So you must be prepared to be very adaptable to what applications are thrown at you."

Deployments have to be efficiently administered. "If you're going to run a business offering as a service, you've got to do it at a profit, and you have to be more efficient than the end user can be on their own," Kidd said.

NetApp already has done this with a large number of customers, Kidd said, and has the experience and expertise with the methodology and can "package that with our products, and can offer that up to people looking to build cloud [structures]."

OnTap 8 Fulfills Five Key Cloud Requirements, NetApp Says

NetApp's Data OnTap 8 handles the storage for cloud deployments. Kidd said that NetApp has identified five key requirements for efficient storage for cloud deployments: secure multitenancy, application service automation management, data mobility, storage deployment efficiency and integrated data protection.

All these features are included in OnTap 8, Kidd said.

"You must be able to assure multiple clients that their data will be protected from the other clients," Kidd said. "We offer a feature called MultiStore, and we feel it is a unique offering that securely partitions the data-as a virtual filer-in one of our storage controllers."

OnTap 8 also features something called Data Motion, which allows seamless data migration across storage systems, Kidd said. Data Motion requires no downtime for storage capacity expansion, scheduled maintenance outages, technology refreshes or software upgrades.

Data Motion also features real-time load balancing and adjustable storage tiers.

NetApp also said it will make available new Performance Acceleration Modules-some of which include solid-state flash drives for disk shelves and caching. Solid-state drives for storage arrays are much faster-up to 80 percent speedier-than spinning disk drives, use up to 40 percent less electricity than HDDs, and have lower carbon footprints.

NetApp partners in the cloud strategy are as follows:

  • Cloud services management software: BMC, CA, Citrix, Fujitsu, Microsoft
  • Networking: Brocade, Cisco Systems
  • Applications: SAP, VMware
  • Cloud infrastructure services: Joyent, Rackspace, Siemens, Terremark, Tata, T-Systems
  • System integrators: Accenture, Avanade, CSC, Unisys
  • Channel VARs: Avnet, Long View, INX

For more information on NetApp's new cloud strategy and product offerings, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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