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Ungated Innovation: Azure NetApp Files

We are pleased to announce that as of today waitlisting has been removed for Azure NetApp Files.

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Ronen Schwartz
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Our customers see the world through the lenses of opportunities and challenges they face. Customers are often working to solve use cases that will help their company accelerate through digital transformation, in addition to growing their bottom line with new products and services, while driving down costs. When it is too important to lose, they rely on trusted leaders to reach their goals.

As the leader in both on-premises and cloud shared storage platforms1 we have a deep and highly specialized understanding of our customer’s opportunities and challenges. We pride ourselves on our ability to stay ahead of the market by anticipating new trends and technologies and by having the courage and creativity to re-imagine, build and serve up a powerful portfolio of solutions that allows us to meet our customers wherever they are, on whatever platform they want to use. We do this by tightly aligning our products and partnerships to meet our customers’ workload needs, thus resulting in superior business results. We believe in setting the bar high, achieving our goals, and then look for a new bars to set.2

So, it wasn’t surprising when the teams came together in 2017 with the bold vision to combine the richness of ONTAP, the world’s #1 storage operating system, and the power and simplicity of the Azure platform—to bring to Azure the same ONTAP performance, availability and data management that customers experience on-prem without any compromise. The goal was to build a high-performance, easy and cloud-consumable, elastic public cloud file service that could be easily used by either a storage expert, or an application developer who knows nothing about storage. We sought to break down barriers – without sacrificing an ounce of performance.

Both companies knew it had to be world-class in order to live up to expectations and to enable enterprise customers to accelerate the migration of their most demanding enterprise file workloads to Azure, and that we wanted to amp up that performance—take it to the next level. So, we asked our customers what the hardest obstacles were to running business critical workloads in the public cloud. Then we broke through those barriers.

We developed rich on-premises data management capabilities such as near-instantaneous snapshots, clones, backup and self-managed storage replication for self-controlled disaster recovery to the public cloud. We innovated with Azure compute and networking product groups to deliver consistent sub-millisecond latency and enabled the ability to perform continuous replication while enabling DR testing by combining these with volume cloning – to share a few examples.

Together we succeeded in co-engineering and delivering a world-class platform that has combined the strengths of industry leading ONTAP platforms, the Azure control plane and Azure networking innovations, enabling customers to run the most demanding SAP HANA, HPC/EDA, Databases, VDI, enterprise files, web applications, VMware and AKS/K8S workloads.

The result is Azure NetApp Files (ANF), a 1st party Azure service, sold, supported by Microsoft and increasingly available in 30+ Azure regions, including US Government. Azure NetApp Files customers have described it as a ‘lifesaver,’ a ‘powerhouse’ and another called it a ‘game changer.' And still others refer to it as the “Ferrari of files.”

We love this kind of feedback here at NetApp – it means we are focused on and delivering the right things! We pride ourselves on being more than just generalists in the storage and data world, we are specialists with deep expertise – this is what we do! Our mission is to help our customers get more out of their data than they ever thought possible – whether on-premises, in the cloud or anywhere in between.

Similarly driven, Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more – by helping organizations to run entire businesses in and to unlock the power of Azure. Our parallel missions, commitment to innovation and passion for delivering customer solutions has resulted in Azure NetApp Files, one of the fastest-growing Azure services to date.

We are pleased to announce that as of today waitlisting has been removed for Azure NetApp Files. Azure NetApp Files has been generally available since May 2019 and countless customers all around the globe have relied on it to run their most demanding enterprise workloads in Azure. Starting today Azure customers can directly consume Azure NetApp Files from the Azure portal, CLI, API or with SDK.

With this exciting milestone, users worldwide can instantaneously leverage Azure NetApp Files to accelerates and simplifies the migration of many complex enterprise mission-critical applications to Azure – the ones that are traditionally data center-centric. They can now be moved to Azure with confidence and ease. Service can be spinning up large, performant volumes in a matter of minutes – instead of months. "Migrating the un-migratable" is now available to everyone! Azure users can innovate faster than ever before counting on immediate simple to use multi-protocol shared storage.

We invite you to try out Azure NetApp Files and experience the many benefits our customers have already experienced. Spin up your first Azure NetApp Files volume NOW, and achieve more tomorrow!

Don’t just take our word for it, check out what Azure NetApp Files customers have to say:

Hansaflex – Getting 20 SAP systems into the cloud in record time

“We had IBM Db2 and SAP HANA—two completely different database systems. While executing the migration, we had to transform, reorganize, and compress the data, without being able to predict how much memory the database would ultimately occupy. Azure NetApp Files gave us a great deal of flexibility.

Without Azure NetApp Files, we would’ve had to provide up to five premium SSDs to meet the storage needs—only then to discover we needed significantly fewer than we thought. Expanding storage is easy, but reducing it, as we did for HANSA-FLEX, is a bit trickier. The scalability of Azure NetApp Files made backing up the data much simpler and meant we didn’t have to juggle multiple drives.”

- Markus Krenn, Arvato Systems

Italgas – Energizes its Oracle investments by switching to Azure NetApp Files

“With Azure NetApp Files, you can hot-resize the volume to match size and performance needs, perform instant snapshots or volume clones, and change the volume tier dynamically, without service interruption, interactively or by automation. Once adopted this is a game changer for us.”

- Giuliano Caglio, Cloud Services and Infrastructure, Italgas

FLSmidth – Transcends on-premises limitations with Azure high-performance computing

“Obviously, now that we’ve moved to Azure, we move data fast because of the massive backbones Microsoft has created. We engineers no longer experience latency issues because we have the availability we need to support our work.”

- Sam Zakrzewski, Fluid Dynamics Specialist, FLSmitdth

Petrofac – Energy company supercharges remote work with Azure Virtual Desktop

“Azure NetApp Files is a perfect fit for the bulky 3D engineering files that require a high-performance environment. Because Azure NetApp Files is a high-performance, low-latency, and scalable solution, it’s highly cost-effective for Petrofac’s demanding but fluid production needs.

We’re using Azure Virtual Desktop to spin up projects very quickly and add as many users as we need without file synchronization issues. That means faster time to market for us.”

- Vladimir Krdzic, Chief Digital Officer, Petrofac

1 GigaOm, Radar for Cloud File Systems, September 22, 2021; Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage Arrays, 30 November 2020

2 IDC, Worldwide Storage Software and Cloud Services Qview – 2021; Q2 September 9, 2021; #1 Storage & Device Management Software vendor – revenue share; Fastest Growing Top 5 Storage Software vendor - 2020Q2-2021Q2 YoY revenue growth, Fastest Growing Storage Infrastructure Software vendor – 2020Q2-2021Q2 YoY revenue growth; Fastest Growing Software-Defined Storage Controller Software vendor - 2020Q2-2021Q2 YoY revenue growth, Fastest Growing Archiving Software vendor – 2020Q2-2021Q2 YoY revenue growth

Ronen Schwartz

Ronen Schwartz is senior vice president and general manager of NetApp’s Cloud Volumes business. He is responsible for accelerating the Cloud Volumes business, building the robust Cloud Volumes platform across hybrid clouds and multiclouds, and expanding NetApp cloud data management services.

Before joining NetApp, Schwartz was executive vice president in charge of technology and ecosystem, operations, and strategy at Informatica, and senior vice president and general manager of Informatica Cloud. In those roles, Schwartz led product strategy, product management, and go-to-market strategy. During his 14 years at Informatica, he helped lead the company through its own transformation from on premises to the public cloud, from license revenue to recurring revenue.

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