NetApp partners with Google for cloud-native file-storage service

NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform integrates with Google Cloud Platform (GCP)and brings together public cloud data services and cloud-connected flash storage.

Ann Bednarz May 09th 2018

NetApp is expanding its cloud data services range through a new partnership with Google that integrates NetApp’s flash-powered data services with Google’s cloud platform.

Announced today, NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform is a fully-managed storage service that's designed to make it easier for the companies' joint customers to run new and existing workloads in the cloud. The cloud-native file storage service links NetApp’s data services with Google Cloud’s application development, analytics and machine learning functions with a goal of speeding access to resources and simplifying management.

At the same time, NetApp rolled out a new high-end enterprise all-flash storage array and updated its ONTAP enterprise data management software. Software advances target increased data retention compliance, and new machine learning-driven analytics are aimed at reducing capacity costs.

NetApp’s partnership with Google follows similar deals with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

“What we’re doing is building state of the art technology here at NetApp and now delivering it in new and transformative ways to enable our customers to change the world with data,” said George Kurian, CEO of NetApp, in an interview with IDG Enterprise. “That’s a return of NetApp to our original mission, but in a transformative new way.

NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform

NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform is aimed at giving enterprises a simpler way to move data between on-premises environments and the cloud.

Enterprises can migrate file-based applications to the cloud, for example, or store databases in the cloud. Moving analytics workloads to the cloud could help make data-driven decisions faster, while DevOps teams could use Cloud Volumes to automate development and test environments. Enterprises can provision and automate the service through API calls or the Google Cloud Launcher GUI.

NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform is procured and sold through Google and jointly supported NetApp and Google. Customers can sign-up for a private preview of Cloud Volumes, and a public preview is scheduled for later in the year.

NVMe all-flash storage

On the hardware front, NetApp unveiled the AFF A800, a new enterprise all-flash array and its first to offer end-to-end NVMe. The vendor also announced a new release of its ONTAP software, ONTAP 9.4.

The AFF A800 combines NVMe solid-state drives with NVMe over Fabrics. It can achieve sub-200 microsecond latency from application host through to data storage and throughput of 300 GB/s through a combination of NVMe SSDs and NVMe/FC connectivity, NetApp says.

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New to ONTAP 9.4 is an upgrade to NetApp’s FabricPool feature. Previous versions allowed enterprises to automatically move archived data into cloud storage to reduce capacity costs. Now, enterprises also can automatically tier cold data from primary storage to Amazon Web Services and Azure. “It provides a native storage tiering that allows you to treat public cloud as a second or third tier of data storage for your flash system, and thus free up your flash resources to run the really active data and data that requires high performance,” says Brett Roscoe, vice president of product marketing at NetApp.

NetApp also updated its Active IQ technology, which uses cloud-based analytics for predictive analytics and to recommend software updates and workload placements, for example.

“Active IQ is basically our AI system that we leverage to help customers manage and remotely monitor their environment,” Roscoe says. “We do that by collecting 3.5 billion data points from all of our systems out in the field today. We then push those to a public cloud analytics engine, and then we provide those insights back to our customers in the form of these recommendations for automated responses within their environments.”

New features include the ability to predict the future performance needs of a workload; to identify unprotected data; and to recommend workloads that would benefit from flash storage.

On the compliance front, NetApp’s StorageGRID technology adds features that are designed to ensure tamper-proof retention of critical financial and personal data across public and private clouds. New in version 11.1 is the ability to prevent data from being modified, overwritten, or erased until the applied retention period and any legal holds have expired.