In August 2022, VMware and NetApp announced the first, groundbreaking integration of their cloud technologies. I have worked for NetApp for many years, and an ever-present constant is the fact that we don’t try to do everything. We focus on the things that we’re good at—data-centric management, protection, security, and mobility. We recognize that by forming close alliances with industry-leading vendors and by integrating our solutions, we bring forward the potential for unique customer propositions.
NetApp and VMware have had a very strong relationship for over 20 years, and we have more than 20,000 joint customers. Over this time, we have jointly innovated on projects and integrated our products. Together we offer the best compute and storage virtualization integration solutions on the planet.
Our innovation with VMware continues at pace as customers plan to migrate their operations to the cloud. Yes, we do have overlapping functionality in some areas. But jointly we know where the integration of our products solves the customer challenges that individually we can’t fully address.
As anyone who has worked in workload capacity and performance planning (myself included) will tell you, workloads vary widely in their consumption characteristics and growth profiles. Data-intensive, storage-heavy workloads are good examples of instances where compute and storage don’t grow symmetrically.
Indeed, the custodians of such workloads expect to be able to scale compute, storage, and performance independently so that they can optimize their workloads on their own terms. It follows that deploying this type of workload on a system that uses an aggregated hyperconverged infrastructure model, which forces symmetrical scaling, doesn’t deliver the best TCO outcome in the cloud.
The recent VMware and NetApp announcement solves the cost and efficiency challenges in the cloud for customers with storage-heavy, data-intensive workloads. Customers expect to be able to scale and to rightsize compute, storage, and performance independently. The goal that NetApp and VMware set was to solve this challenge for customers in all major clouds.
Integrated cloud solutions of this caliber from other vendors are nonexistent. NetApp® first-party, fully managed, enterprise cloud solutions are not just file stores, they’re enterprise-class, fully integrated, data storage systems. NetApp is the first company to offer these solutions in all major cloud providers. No other vendor can match this level of integration.
So, if you choose another vendor, then don’t expect to simply and easily move your critical workloads to and from the cloud provider of your choice.
First to launch was the integration of an AWS fully managed cloud file system, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP and VMware Cloud. In this design, NetApp and VMware have integrated FSx for ONTAP as their only NFS supplemental datastore.
By enabling you to independently rightsize compute and storage, the VMware Cloud and FSx for ONTAP integration helps solve the TCO challenges that I highlighted earlier.
The second joint solution to launch meets the same challenges for the native Azure VMware Solution, which also has TCO challenges for storage-heavy, data-intensive workloads. The integration of Azure NetApp Files with Azure VMware Solution, alongside Azure disk pools, again gives you choice and flexibility to independently scale your compute and storage.
A solution for VMware in Google Cloud will follow, so watch this space for more news.
The direction of travel is toward optimization of storage-heavy, data-intensive VMware workloads in any cloud. The other major benefit is the fact that this approach delivers a consistent, repeatable, and predictable data management plane for your operations across all clouds.
If you’re using multiple clouds, you have experienced the diversity in the operational deployment of storage and its associated applications across multiple cloud vendors. Just set yourself up with a Free Tier account in each vendor, set up the instance of your choice, configure some storage, and then compare your experience.
By deploying NetApp cloud storage solutions for VMware, you immediately abstract the inconsistencies in cloud vendors’ native solutions into a consistent data management layer. You get more choice and flexibility, reduced operational costs, and access to the following rich data management features.
|Data protection and continuity||High availability; disaster recovery; NetApp SnapMirror®, Snapshot™, and FlexClone® technology; replication across regions; and meeting of recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO)|
|Security||FIPS 140-2 encryption, access control, role-based access, multifactor authentication|
|Performance||Submillisecond latencies, a selection of performance profiles|
|Cost optimization||Compression, deduplication, low headroom, capacity-free Snapshot copies, dynamic service-level selection|
|Hybrid cloud||Consistent operation with multisite NAS|
|Development and testing||Instant cloning of environments for DevOps pipelines|
|Data center migration||VMware HCX and NetApp SnapMirror for simple cloud migration|
|Application support||Databases and enterprise applications|
|Data intensive||Independent compute and storage scaling, lower TCO|
To help you determine actual capacity costs and to model accurate TCO projections, NetApp has developed TCO calculators that work with cloud vendor APIs. With these calculators, you can test and compare your choice of configurations and determine the relative TCO savings. To get started, check out the following TCO calculators:
VMware Cloud on AWS and Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP savings calculator
Azure NetApp Files and Azure VMware Solution savings calculator
Laurence is responsible for driving market awareness for NetApp’s products across EMEA. His focus is on business growth and aligning NetApp’s offerings with customer and market needs. Laurence works across all of NetApp’s products and has an in-depth understanding of diverse customer requirements to deliver value across the entire range of the product suite. Working with a dedicated and experienced team, he now assists in developing and implementing campaigns that support the positioning of NetApp’s Cloud Infrastructure products. Laurence has many years’ experience working with all aspects of Enterprise IT and held roles at Oracle, Sun Microsystems and StorageTek. For nearly 20 years he was Principal IT Consultant at the UK Meteorological Office.