Like many IT organizations, NetApp IT finds burstable compute resources available through public cloud providers to be very attractive. Yet as cautious IT professionals responsible for NetApp’s data, we consider data privacy, compliancy, and security to be of utmost importance. The challenge for all of us is figuring out how to use the cloud on our own terms and still maintain control, access, and management of our data. It’s about recognizing that data has mass—i.e. is difficult to move—when choosing your “best of cloud” solution.
Inside NetApp IT we find that NetApp® Private Storage (NPS) is a solid and cloud agnostic solution because it is like bringing your own storage to any public cloud. Today, over 80% of our current cloud workloads use the NPS solution.
Best of all, NPS allows a single dataset from within our private cloud to be accessed by multiple cloud providers depending on the architecture. We can use the best public cloud option while preserving data ownership, because the data resides on a dedicated system inside Equinix, a cloud-connected colocation facility that is physically close to the cloud providers. Moreover, if we must change cloud providers, we can quickly realign because the data is always under our control. There is no lock-in.
Equinix offers cross-connects to the cloud providers using high-throughput direct connections that support the low latency required by databases. For most of our workloads, we target the latency to be under 2 milliseconds.
There is some upfront work involved in setting up of the colocation and connectivity. You need to consider egress costs because NPS is outside the public cloud environment; you will be charged for data that exits the cloud and goes to NPS. For us, egress data charges are less than 1% of our total Amazon bill every month. But for workloads with heavy writes, you should definitely estimate egress charges ahead of time. We replicate our dataset from our private cloud to NPS by using NetApp SnapMirror® technology. SnapMirror keeps the data synchronized and allows it to be available to any cloud provider. NPS is an extension of our hybrid cloud offering that can scale according to application needs. One example is the NetApp Active IQ® digital advisor, a key customer system that differentiates NetApp from its competition.
Kamal Vyas is the Chief Infrastructure Architect for NetApp IT and is responsible for NetApp IT’s hybrid cloud architecture, translating the NetApp IT vision into an infrastructure design that spans the public and private clouds. Kamal is a cloud evangelist, advocating for organizational adoption of and business transformation through the cloud and Data Fabric. Kamal has expertise in strategy, architecture and design of next-gen infrastructure solutions and transition to an IT as a Service model.