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By Lee Caswell, Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing, NetApp
In my meetings with customers, I hear about the same IT challenges over and over again. Enterprises are grappling with the next wave of infrastructure consolidation. At the same time, they want to match the flexibility of the cloud and ensure they protect their precious data. In short, they’re under the gun to deliver more strategic IT value while minimizing capex and opex. It’s an interesting tension. For some, a scary one.
The good news is we have an answer. The NetApp visions of a Data Fabric can help enterprises address these challenges through low-barrier-to-entry starter kits. We call them Data Fabric Solution
OpenStack Solution Kit: Get up and running on an OpenStack private cloud in days, not months, with known costs and without the design and implementation risk.
Application Acceleration Solution Kit: Accelerate application lifecycle from development to production by adding non-disruptive optimization and access to elastic compute for DBs.
Snap-to-Cloud DR Solution Kit: A single replication solution for disaster recovery, business intelligence, data distribution and dev/test.
Infrastructure Consolidation and the Cloud
The expansion in discrete storage products and architectures has proliferated beyond the ability of many customers to manage the resulting complexity. I am seeing customers facing stress over how they will consolidate data centers, manage across a larger pool of storage resources and drive more IT projects with the same or fewer IT staff. We are now entering an era of consolidation where value is shifting to data management.
NetApp’s flash-to-disk-to-cloud capability gives these companies a great place to start. To clarify, flash-to-disk-to cloud doesn’t mean going sequentially from flash to disk to cloud. Rather, it refers to the ability to move, manage and protect your data across flash, disk and cloud resources using a single UI. The Data Fabric is what knits it all together. The flexibility enabled by flash-to-disk to- cloud is fantastic. Applications may be born in the cloud, for example, run on flash in production, backed up to disk and archived back to the cloud.
"A Data Fabric powered by NetApp allows you to integrate the cloud into a common data management framework that provides efficient transport and software-defined management of all your storage resources"
Try it out with our new Application Acceleration Solution Kit for database applications, which is ideal for deploying a small four-node flash and disk cluster that runs Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases. You’ll quickly see how we help you address the key challenges of needing
Match the Flexibility of the Cloud
Many enterprises are captivated with the services model of the cloud. They are fascinated with the software-defined everything model where services are consumed on demand and managed centrally. They want software-defined— storage, networking, and computation so that infrastructure can be delivered on demand and managed by service levels.
The economics of the public cloud are challenging, however, for customers with 24 x 7 x 365 service needs. What seems cheap to rent becomes expensive when fixed. At NetApp, we view the cloud as simply another resource. A Data Fabric powered by NetApp allows you to integrate the cloud into a common data management framework that provides efficient transport and software-defined management of all your storage resources.
If you have unpredictable workloads that you want to burst into the cloud, hyperscale public clouds are great. But if you have predictable, repeatable demand, then building your own cloud with all the functionality and agility of a commodity cloud provider starts to look attractive. Baylor College of Medicine is a leading institution that leveraged our FlexPod platform to build a private cloud that made infrastructure easier to access. Baylor’s private cloud, appropriately named “Discovery Cloud,” enhanced the institution’s research with easy-to-use, on-demand, self-service IT and saved $1.5 million in hardware costs.
NetApp’s new OpenStack Solution Kit is an integrated management package that lets you get up and running on an OpenStack private cloud in days, with predictable costs and without the typical design and implementation risk. OpenStack offers a new economic model for the private cloud because it is an open source cloud operating system, much like Linux is an open source operating system for servers.
An added benefit of the NetApp Data Fabric is performance—which differentiates it from what the cloud has to offer. One thing you can’t get from the cloud today is any sort of guaranteed performance. The cloud is essentially a collection of loosely federated, shared systems consisting of hundreds and thousands of nodes across multiple geographies.
Protecting Your Precious Data
Ask any customer about putting data in the cloud and the first question is always around security. There is no doubt that data location is the most strategic cloud decision because data is the only element that transcends the transactional nature of the cloud. It is not fast or free to move and ownership or loss has long-standing consequences.
But not all data is critically sensitive and not all IT organizations are able to deliver fast restores that can be critical to a business. Many businesses are looking at backup as an area that could be outsourced to the cloud. This elevates the need for mature data management services that form part of the Data Fabric vision.
BlackLine, a leading provider of applications that automate and control the entire financial close process, is an example of one of our customers that enjoys seamless control of its data in and out of the cloud, due in part to a Data Fabric enabled by NetApp that leverages the NetApp Data ONTAP operating system.
NetApp’s Snap-to-Cloud DR Data Fabric Solution Essentials Kit was designed for the customer that wants to leverage the cloud for backup and DR of less critical data where high probability restores are the highest priority. With Cloud ONTAP, Snap-to-Cloud is available today with a 30-day free trial on Amazon. Snap-to- Cloud lets you experience the power of the Data Fabric in a specific case. If you wish to expand to more general cases, the Data Fabric enables that.
While the Data Fabric Solution Essentials provide blueprints on how to get started with the cloud, the Data Fabric is designed to allow customers to choose the path that’s right for them. Navigating these choices is the hard part and we can help you with that too. Our experienced consultants and technical staff are ready to help you design and deploy the options you choose.