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NetApp opens spigot for Cloud Ontap software, some won't drink

NetApp Cloud Ontap makes it easier to get data to and from the cloud, but doesn't help companies that primarily use on-premises storage.

LAS VEGAS -- NetApp customers invested in the cloud applauded the vendor's decision to launch Cloud Ontap, a software-only...

version of the Data Ontap operating systems. Others say it's a non-issue because the cloud is off-limits to them.

NetApp added Cloud Ontap during the opening of its Insight partner and user conference this week. Cloud Ontap was rolled out for NetApp Private Storage on top of Amazon's Elastic Block Storage service.

Cloud Ontap clearly isn't for everyone, though. Some NetApp customers have already ruled out hybrid cloud storage because of regulatory compliance and the need to control data locally.

News and information company Thomson Reuters, for example, has been asked by Germany to serve its government content from within the country's borders and is installing filers in local data centers to handle the load.

"I don't see us putting lot of data in cloud, because the economics don't work at the scale we do things," said Mark Bluhm, a senior vice president of data center operations. ”Cloud is great for bursting, but for running content 24/7, we find it's cheaper to do storage on-prem.”

Cloud Ontap also is not an option for MUFG Union Bank, which is owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. The bank must comply with complex federal rules governing the treatment and storage of financial data, said Don O'Connor, its senior vice president of technology operations.

"We consider protection of customer data to be paramount. Our storage will remain on-premises. The only time we use the cloud is to access compute power or take advantage of bursting when demands are placed on us," O'Connor said.

But Cloud Ontap is a compelling option for companies such as Trace3, a cloud storage consulting company. Bret MacInnes, its senior practice director, said he is impressed with the tight integration of Cloud Ontap with NetApp's snapshot and data reduction technologies.

"The cloud is great at getting data in. It's really tough at getting data back out," MacInnes said. "Sticking Cloud Ontap inside Amazon Web Services gives you the ability to send your data there, and once you're done with compute, makes it really easy to extract it back out.”

At least one private cloud provider is hoping to run a non-Amazon installation for Cloud Ontap. IlliniCloud, a private community-based cloud that stores data for approximately 600 school districts in nine states, said it already has contacted NetApp executives about Cloud Ontap.

IlliniCloud presents an entirely different use case for Cloud Ontap, said its chief architect, Jason Radford.

"We need the ability to host Cloud Ontap so our customers can move data on-prem to us. Because we deal with state, local and federal government regulations on student records, we don't tier to public clouds. But we present an entirely different use case for Cloud Ontap and would love to be part of that ecosystem," Radford said.

Next Steps

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Wow, you guys only listened to HALF the message. Cloud onTAP is for data that CAN be put in AWS, but NPS (Netapp Private Storage) is for the exact use cases you mention above, where customers must maintain custody of their data, but access that data from servers in the hyperscalar cloud providers. Listen to the whole offering before making judgements about one piece of the puzzle.
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This article does a very good job describing some of the benefits of Cloud ONTAP -a virtualized instance of Data ONTAP running in the cloud that provides multiprotocol access, Snapshots, dedup, SnapMirror, FlexClone copies, etc, etc, etc... But as GdekhayserNJ noted, there is a distinction between Cloud ONTAP and NetApp Private Storage. NetApp Private Storage (NPS) is storage on a physical NetApp FAS platform “next to the cloud” in a datacenter physically very close to a hyperscalar, which allows the use of compute in the cloud with data storage outside of the cloud. Because of the proximity, latencies between the cloud and the storage are low. The ability to move data between on-prem FAS, NPS next to the cloud, then into the cloud, and back again is the real value. You should have the same replication technologies and data management functionality available to you everywhere. You should be able to mirror data to the cloud and instantly spin up multiple writable FlexClone copies of that mirror for your development team; or start a new project in the cloud, then migrate the data on-prem if the project is a success; or migrate your legacy apps to the cloud when you no longer want to maintain them on-prem. There are an enormous number of possibilities. - Opinions are mine alone
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You can do Cloud and the on premise on a pay per hour storage as a service model with Zadara Storage in AWS, Azure and your own data centre. Just create a VPSA with dedicated cpu, drives, no noisy neighbour problems. Encrypt your data you own the keys. snapshot and replication, block and file unified a true hybrid cloud play.
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