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NetApp digs into Talon Storage for Cloud OnTap

Talon Storage cache-and-sync suite is tacked on to NetApp cloud fabric to give end-to-end migration as enterprise data centers shift data to public cloud.

The NetApp cloud ecosystem gained some muscle for shared file with the acquisition of software-defined vendor Talon Storage.

NetApp said the Talon Storage Fast software suite is already integrated in NetApp Cloud OnTap as part of an ongoing partnership. Talon provides global file caching and syncs data locally from public clouds to a company's remote branch offices. The NetApp integration does not include local OnTap clusters.

The NetApp cloud file storage is available with two products. NetApp Cloud Volumes OnTap allows a storage administrator to run NetApp storage in the public cloud in the same manner as on premises. Customers also may run NetApp file storage as a service in Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

Those NetApp cloud offerings have direct connectivity and integration with Talon, said Anthony Lye, a NetApp senior vice president and GM of its cloud business unit.

Talon Storage is designed to mitigate the performance penalties that occur when shared cloud is used for local processing. The Talon technology runs as a virtual machine. Ctera Networks, Nasuni and Panzura are Talon's chief competitors. NetApp did not disclose the purchase price, or how many Talon employees will join NetApp.

Cloud storage works well with cloud-native applications, but performance breaks down when more and more data is consumed locally. Major cloud providers are addressing the issue with products by placing storage closer to on-premises users, including AWS Outposts and Google Anthos.

"Talon is a nice acquisition for NetApp. Small player, but good technology," said Steve McDowell, a senior analyst for storage and data center technologies at Moor Insights & Strategy, based in Austin, Texas.

Support for Talon Storage customers

Lye said Talon gives NetApp new tools to help customers shift more data workloads to the cloud. He added that it lowers the cost for organizations that need to sync data between multiple locations.

 "The only way you could get low response times historically was to sync the files between all the different remote offices and branch offices. Talon uses memory on the remote machine and has an intelligence to place frequently accessed files into the memory. The files are cached remotely, even though the source of truth still exists on the back-end file server," Lye said.

NetApp has been exposing functionality to third-party vendors via RESTful APIs, which Lye said helped speed up the Talon integration. He said NetApp has gained more than 1,000 Talon Storage customers. He said NetApp will support Talon customers regardless of their back-end storage.

"We are promoting aggressively to new prospects a bundle that would include Talon Storage and NetApp Cloud Volumes, at a significantly lower TCO," Lye said.

Talon Storage is the fifth NetApp cloud software acquisition since 2017. The company added compliance software vendor Cognigo last year and Kubernetes specialist Stackpoint.io in 2018, one year after landing memory startup Plexistor and cloud orchestration player GreencloudIQ.

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