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Google Cloud + NetApp: File's journey to the cloud


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Zac Mitchell

Although no one would describe the pace of development in the cloud as anything but fast, all the major public cloud providers recognize that we are on a long, albeit fast-moving, journey. The second part of the proverb captures the underpinnings of the deep relationships that are growing and strengthening between the public cloud providers and NetApp.

NetApp’s exclusive Cloud Field Day was an opportunity to sit down with two of the best storage minds from Google Cloud for an open chat about the role of file storage in the cloud and what NetApp and Google are doing together to create the best solutions for customers' challenges.

Sean Derrington, a product manager of storage solutions at Google Cloud, is an industry veteran with 25 years of experience. Dean Hilderbrand, who currently serves as a technical director in the CTO office at Google Cloud, was still in school when he was doing work that contributed to scaling up the Network Files System protocol (NFS ) which found its way into NFS 4-1 and 4-2 protocols. Dean is currently working on Google’s file, block, and object storage strategy. You couldn’t wish for two more expert minds from one of the world's biggest cloud providers.

NetApp was one of the very first storage vendors to recognize the transformation that the advent of the public cloud was about to usher in. This insight has proven true with each passing year, as we see report after report of:

  • The shifts in IT budgets, from traditional infrastructure to the cloud
  • Estimates of the growth of the data sphere
  • The increasing proportion of data that resides in the cloud
  • The movement of increasingly core enterprise workloads
  • The native adoption by organizations that are building their infrastructure requirements from the ground up

The cloud is on a journey from the earliest hobbyists and academic projects, largely built on object storage, to a residence for the world’s largest enterprises and their core workloads. These workloads have critical and diverse requirements that span the capabilities of object, block, and file storage as well as various performance and availability needs.

This is the crux of the reason why over the past decade Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google have developed deep business and engineering partnerships with NetApp, with its 30+ years of storage and data management expertise.

Although object storage represents the largest storage pool in the cloud today, IDC forecasts that file and block storage will continue to outpace its growth. Why is that? Sean and Dean contemplated the different journeys that a customer may be on. Users who are on a journey to the cloud may be looking for the familiarity of file-based storage that they are accustomed to on premises. For native-cloud or born-in-the-cloud users, the choice of storage type comes down to using the right tool for the job. Object storage has its core strengths around size and flexibility, although it has greater latency. File storage offers a path to much lower latency than is typically enjoyed on premises and with certain data-sharing semantics. It's all about finding the right match.

So now we understand the diversity of options to meet the wide range of needs that any given application may have in the cloud. Buuuuut—the cloud is different. It's a different way of doing things, a different way of thinking about things. The delegates injected some thoughtful commentary into the discussion about the apprehension that the clouds' greater levels of abstraction may engender for those who are used to having a tremendous level of control and observability over their environments. This discussion spurred two interesting points. First, yes, there is a bit of a mental shift, a shift that requires an allocation of trust in the cloud provider, because the burden is on them to meet your SLAs. And second is the way in which cloud providers build and maintain that precious trust by delivering the performance, availability, etc. that the customer is counting on. And that's where NetApp comes in. We provide Google Cloud with capabilities to make sure that they maintain the most important thing they have with their customers—their trust.

Watch the whole conversation

There was so much more information in this conversation with Google.

Watch the full NetApp Cloud Field Day Exclusive on demand.

Learn More

Learn more about our multi cloud storage and data management services provided by NetApp on not only Google Cloud, but all of the clouds:

Zac Mitchell

Zac Mitchell is the Market Strategist for Private and Hybrid Cloud at NetApp. Over the course of his career Zac has always been driven to solve problems. At NetApp, his passion is understanding the biggest business and IT challenges of our customers and connecting them to the best solutions. He holds a BA in Mathematics and Psychology and an MBA. Offline Zac can be found skiing or hiking in the mountains of Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

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