NetApp is doing some truly interesting things under their OnCloud heading, including Cloud OnTap, Private Storage for Cloud, and AltaVault. While some of them are definitely OnTap centric and the kind of thing we have come to expect from NetApp, there are some parts of the story that suggest they no longer feel that OnTap is the answer to every question.
NetApp Cloud OnTap is a software-only version of OnTap that can run in a cloud environment. The first version is designed for Amazon AWS, and gives you a cloud version of the same storage operating system that you’re already familiar with running in the Amazon cloud. Among other things, it can be a moderately performant storage device for AWS instances, and a destination for SnapMirror and SnapVault backups from your onsite NetApp filers.
NetApp Private Storage for Cloud is the opposite of Cloud OnTap. It’s an actual NetApp filer running Clustered Data OnTap (cDOT) placed in an Equinox data center, which gives it a direct connection to three cloud providers: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Softlayer. This gives VMs running in those cloud services access high-performance, dedicated enterprise-class storage in their cloud environment. Backups of that filer can then be replicated into Cloud OnTap or even to a filer running in a local data center.
When watching the NetApp presentation at Storage Field Day 9, the products that most caught my interest were the NetApp AltaVault and the OnCommand Cloud Manager. AltaVault is the new name for the SteelStore product that they acquired from Riverbed in 2014. It is a backup target that has the ability to deduplicate and replicate backups into various cloud providers. When they acquired the product, it only accepted backups from traditional backup software products; however, they have added the ability to accept SnapMirror and SnapVault backups from cDOT. Cloud Manager is a not-yet-shipping product that will orchestrate all sorts of things in the cloud, including restores to/from AltaVault.
Both products were demo’d at SFD9, and you can see the demos here, and they showed just how far NetApp has come in this area. Even more than that, it shows just how high they’ve set their sites in the cloud. In this demo, you can see them taking a backup that came from a cDOT filer, and restoring that backup into an AWS environment, all via a nice drag-and-drop interface. The demo focused on cTOP and AWS, but you could see that this is only one step in the development process, and that eventually this product will be able to backup all different kinds of data and restore it into many different cloud environments, as well as orchestrate many other interesting things that may have nothing to do with OnTap.
From their acquisition of SolidFire (obviously a non-OnTap product) to its development of their own cloud orchestration product, they are clearly looking outside the comfortable trappings on Data OnTap. The AltaVault product gives them the ability to accept non-NetApp backups and restore them into non-NetApp environments. And the upcoming OnCommand product could make things even more interesting once it is fleshed out. NetApp is spreading their wings for sure.