In my role as a system engineer at NetApp it has become a cast iron guarantee that during any customer engagement the term “cloud” is used. IT teams are becoming cloud skilled and are therefore aware of the benefits of a cloud first strategy. Therefore rather than vendors inserting the word cloud into every corporate PowerPoint presentation in order to stimulate a sense of relevance they must innovate and execute in order to stay relevant.
This is a new era of IT, one that is a huge threat to traditional vendors revenues unless they accept that hybrid cloud is the dominant model for the future of IT. NetApp first announced its hybrid cloud vision in 2014 – Data Fabric, this represents NetApp’s desire to offer consistent data management across multiple cloud resources.
The showpiece of this capability so far has been the ability to drag and drop data from on-premise into AWS but with todays hybrid cloud launch NetApp cements its move to this new world with the addition of several new capabilities. The best part of it for me – you don’t need to own any NetApp storage for this launch to be relevant.
There are a few things to cover but i’m going to start with my favourite – a service which offers the ability to backup Office 365. Whilst Office 365 does retain multiple copies of your data it does not protect you against accidental or malicious deletes. This new service from NetApp not only solves this problem but allows you to backup your Sharepoint Online, Exchange Online and Onedrive data to another location. Backup targets include Amazon S3, Azure BLOB, aswell as the NetApp product suite. Below is a video from Insight 2016 that shows how easy it is to configure the service and restore an individual item.
Continuing with the backup theme NetApp has announced a cloud backup solution for NAS file services. This integrates ONTAP 9.1 with the latest release of Altavault and SnapCenter to provide incremental forever backups into the cloud. This solution utilises the first example of cross platform replication that NetApp has developed. Customers will now be able to orchestrate backup and recovery of NAS file shares from ONTAP to the cloud through the SnapCenter GUI using simple drag and drop. This will leverage snapmirror in order to ensure that replication is fast and efficient. Additionally SnapCenter includes file cataloging to make sure that finding that file is easier than ever.
Finally on the backup front is support for AWS Snowball, for those not in the know Snowball is a physical appliance that AWS uses to securely move large amounts of data to and from S3. Snowball is it’s own shipping container and uses a Kindle to display shipping information. Used in conjunction with AltaVault this allows for seeding of large backup datasets without having to transfer that data over the network.
The integration work means that a Snowball device is ordered from the AltaVault , data is then de-duplicated, compressed and encrypted before moving to the Snowball. Once the seed is complete the shipping label automatically changes address to Amazon and a courier is ordered. Once the data is in the Amazon datacentre the only data that is transferred over the wire is the incrementals from the AltaVault which lowers cost and reduces the initial window for data seeding.
You can learn more about Amazon Snowball here.
One of the benefits of AWS is the ability to spin up huge amounts of resource on demand and equally shut them down when no longer required. In the world of analytics the ability to spin up thousands of compute nodes on demand directly impacts the speed at which a business is able to make a decision and keep one step ahead of the competition. The Cloud Sync service from NetApp and AWS allows for even quicker decision making by continuously synchronising your data to AWS and triggering EMR (Elastic Map Reduce) jobs.
Cloud Sync moves data much quicker than traditional migration technologies and converts data on NFS natively to S3 on the fly. No software is required to be installed locally and data never leaves your control as the data broker sits within your Amazon VPC. Cloud Sync is also available for a 30 day free trial and doesn’t require you to have NetApp storage, click here for more information.
The final piece I wanted to cover is the update to NetApp’s object storage platform (StorageGrid Webscale). StorageGrid provides a single global namespace across multiple sites with node and geographical erasure coding providing cost effective durability. It provides policy driven information lifecycle management that controls how your data is protected and where it resides.
The new release adds support for:
- S3 Versioning
- Much faster performance
- Simpler installation & GUI
- Policy simulation
There is more to this hybrid cloud launch including new professional service offerings , NetApp Private Storage as a service and also ONTAP Cloud for Azure (which I have purposefully omitted as I intend to cover this in a separate blog).
I think it’s fair to state that with todays launch adding to already existing cloud integrations across the NetApp portfolio such as ONTAP and Solidfire the NetApp Data Fabric is much more than a PowerPoint slide.