At the 2014 Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington D.C., NetApp announced their new private storage solution for multiple clouds. Unfortunately, storing data in the cloud is something that IT administrators tend to shrink away from. In this post-NSA world, there are concerns about trusting your critical data security to the cloud. There’s also the issue of data access latency because, traditionally, the cloud just hasn’t provided the type of speed that you can get from your on-premises storage solutions. Finally, there’s the issue of cloud vendor lock-in. Interoperability between multiple clouds is a difficult challenge today, and businesses that use multiple cloud vendors typically use them in silos—each cloud operates and is managed independently with little to no integration and interoperability between the clouds.
I recently talked with Calvin Nieh, Microsoft Solutions Manager; Tom Shields, Cloud Services Solution Marketing; and Lee Gates, Director Enterprise Solutions and Cloud with NetApp about their new multi-cloud storage solution. NetApp’s multi-cloud private storage solution turns cloud storage on its head by leveraging NetApp storage, Microsoft Azure’s ExpressRoute, and Exquinix’s global network infrastructure to connect Microsoft Azure cloud compute resources to private storage using Azure ExpressRoute. Azure ExpressRoute is a low-latency, high-performance, private network connection between a local network exchange point and Microsoft Azure.
NetApp’s new multi-cloud private storage solution utilizes NetApp's ONTAP storage, physically located at Equinix data centers, to provide private storage for applications running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. The co-location with Equinix enables the NetApp storage to take full advantage of the high-speed low latency ExpressRoute connection to Azure by moving the storage as close as possible to the network connection. The people at NetApp pointed out that the ExpressRoute connection provided a 36% improvement in performance over VPN connections across the public Internet—a number comparable to local performance. Plus, a key differentiator is that the storage is highly secure; it’s not located in the cloud. The storage hardware itself is in a highly secure private Equinix datacenter. For a quick tour of Equinix’s Seattle datacenter, you can check out Equinix Connects the Multi-Cloud. You connect your private cloud storage to your NetApp storage in the Equinix facilities using NetApp’s SnapMirror and SnapVault technologies.
NetApp’s cloud storage leverages Equinix’s Cloud Exchange to connect to multiple clouds, which makes it unusual in today’s world of cloud-specific solutions. It can currently connect to both Amazon and Azure; NetApp announced support for Amazon’s Direct Connect in Novemeber of 2012. One of the coolest capabilities that NetApp’s multi-cloud private storage solution offers is the ability to setup a DR solution between Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. You can check out a demo of NetApp’s multi-cloud DR solutions at NetApp's Cloud to Cloud Failover Demo With NetApp Private Storage.
Availability for NetApp’s new storage solution is currently in the U.S. at the Equinix Silicon Valley and Washington D.C. locations. In the future, availability will expand throughout the U.S. and rest of the world as Azure ExpressRoute becomes available in other locations and NetApp completes its location testing. You can find out more about NetApp’s multi-cloud private storage solution at NetApp Private Storage for Microsoft Azure.