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How Linux is Winning in the Azure Cloud for Tier One Workloads

Jeff Whitaker

"The industries that are spending the most – discrete manufacturing, professional services, and banking – are the ones that have come to recognize the tremendous benefits that can be gained from public cloud services. Organizations within these industries are leveraging public cloud services to quickly develop and launch 3rd Platform solutions, such as big data and analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), that will enhance and optimize the customer's journey and lower operational costs," - Eileen Smith, program director, Customer Insights and Analysis, IDC

As the public cloud matures, companies are looking for more from a flexible, on-demand architecture to help them solve their perennial IT challenges.

Executives and operations managers responsible for technology spend are asking the real questions: My renewal is up on infrastructure for my mission-critical, high-performance Linux workloads – do I invest the six or seven figures to refresh? Or can the public cloud finally support all of my Tier One applications? And how much time, cost and special skills are needed to migrate Hadoop, SAP, Oracle, and other Linux workloads, particularly since the file capabilities in the cloud are different than you get in the data center?

The scale, agility and economics of public cloud such as Microsoft’s Azure Cloud are attractive to enterprises, which have been using public cloud for many secondary workloads such as Dev/Ops, Testing, Back-Up, Archive, DR and other non-mission-critical applications.

But deploying Linux file-based applications in Azure has been a challenge because there are few options. From the complex path of creating, managing and maintaining your own file server built on compute and storage resources to the extensive (and expensive) re-architecting of applications, duplicate administration and management, and difficulty managing costs, when it comes to Tier One Linux workloads in the cloud, most organizations have been stuck between a rock and a hard place.

NetApp and Microsoft Engineers Meet the Challenge

It was a question that NetApp and Microsoft decided to tackle about a year ago, and the results of our jointly developed solution – Azure NetApp Files – have since been tried and tested by many of the biggest brands in the world.

Customers working closely with us represent oil and gas, fin/serve, retail, manufacturing, public sector, media, healthcare, transportation, technology and more.

“Now you can take your native applications to hybrid and public cloud,” said Tad Brockway, GM, Microsoft Azure Storage. “This powerful new concept for customers is fundamentally unique.”   A one-of-a-kind service running natively in Azure, Azure NetApp Files sits in Azure. It supports multiple protocols, integrated data protection, security and compliance features – all first-party Azure. This complete file service reduces management overhead and essentially has zero learning curve, as you only need to choose your file capacity and required service level and you are set. NetApp brings advanced features to the service that help you protect your data, comparable to that of native data center environments.

The service provides a new way of provisioning workloads in the cloud, putting the power of cloud into the hands of customers and their users, and allowing the migration of Linux applications and the development of new solutions in Azure.

Watch NetApp CMO Jean English demonstrate just how easily Azure NetApp Files can be deployed for your cloud environment.

Industry use cases that suit Azure NetApp Files include Oracle Workloads, Healthcare and Genome Research Datasets, Oil & Gas Exploration and Field Data Analysis, Media Content Streaming, Application Development and more.

Azure NetApp Files has been purpose built to:
  • Bring any workload to Azure in minutes
  • Support tiered levels of service that can be changed on-the-fly
  • Support NFS, including NFSv3, which accounts for nearly 80% of all Linux file environments
  • Manage everything directly through the Azure Portal, or automate via API
  • Run exceptionally fast on a platform optimized for rich datasets
  • Eliminate hundreds of hours of specialist time needed to re-architect applications
While there are manual utilities and work-arounds, until now there was no enterprise-quality solution that provided you with sophisticated management of large datasets or offered a platform optimized to run your critical workloads exceptionally fast. Your enterprise is all about the data, and now your large, Linux file-based applications can easily reside in the cloud with speed and simplicity so you can get back to the job at hand - helping your business be more successful.

It’s just that simple.

“Formerly, applications owned the data,” said Anthony Lye, SVP, GM of Cloud BU, NetApp. “Now, with our service, it’s the data that owns the application. We’ve clearly proven to NetApp customers that anything they’ve done with engineered, on-premises systems, they can use in the public cloud, with the wonderful resources and the consistent endpoints Azure offers.”

Jeff Whitaker

Jeff Whitaker is the Sr. Manager, Cloud Solutions Marketing at NetApp. When he is not carving out new horizons in product marketing for Azure NetApp Files for Microsoft Azure, he can be found racing motocross up and down the west coast. You can reach Jeff directly at

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