Multiple clouds in a computer network

NetApp serves up common fabric for storage, data management across hybrid clouds

When organizations complement private cloud systems with public cloud services, they often need a common fabric to manage data and storage across all the resources.

NetApp said it is addressing this need with the Data ONTAP storage operating system, a common data platform that can be used across multiple cloud environments. NetApp’s vision is to create an enterprise data management solution with the Data ONTAP operating system at its core. That will span an organization’s data storage landscape, irrespective of data type or location, according to Jay Kidd, NetApp’s senior vice president and chief technology officer.

The Defense Department has used Data ONTAP for tactical missions, embedding it in Humvees or portable data centers as a separate operating system through a hypervisor, Davis Johnson, district sales manager with NetApp U.S. Public Sector, said during an interview. 

The operating system has also been used as a common data platform for government-run data centers and cloud service providers. The Agriculture Department’s National Information Technology Center (NITC), which just received Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program security accreditation, uses ONTAP as part of an infrastructure as a service platform it provides to federal, state and local governments, Johnson noted.

Data ONTAP is the storage operating system used in all NetApp products including the company’s FAS data storage systems, SNAPMirror data replication technology and FlexPod converged infrastructures, Johnson said. It can also be configured as a virtual storage appliance for commodity disk drives. 

In the coming months, NetApp and Cisco will enhance the integration of Data ONTAP into the FlexPod converged infrastructure, incorporating architectures aimed at large cloud service providers and enterprise multitenant environments.

FlexPod is an integrated data center technology that includes Cisco Unified Computing System blade servers and Cisco Nexus switches, NetApp’s unified storage system and VMware virtualization technology. 

Federal and municipal government agencies have deployed private or hybrid clouds based on FlexPod, including the Energy Department’s Hanford site in Washington state and the city of Melrose, Mass.

NetApp wants to expand its role in the software-defined storage market with clustered Data ONTAP, company officials said. NetApp plans to give users APIs to connect to hyperscale cloud providers and solutions like OpenStack and CloudStack. 

Software-defined storage is an approach to data storage in which the programming that controls storage tasks is decoupled from the physical storage hardware. Without the constraints of a physical system, a storage  can be used more efficiently and its administration can be simplified through automated policy-based management.

NetApp DATA ONTAP can be deployed in environments that do not have NetApp gear because the company supports all major cloud operating environments, virtualization frameworks, application deployment models, and cloud management solutions, Johnson noted.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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