NetApp today made several announcements addressing data challenges in the cloud. The announcements, made at NetApp’s Insight conference, revolve around storage, compute, containers and virtual desktops in the cloud. Taken together, they are designed to position NetApp as a cloud-led, data-centric software company.
“NetApp understands that the conversation has shifted,” said Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “We used to talk about storage, and now we talk about data. In the cloud-native, container-focused world, data can live anywhere, and users want to be able to both use and protect that data regardless its actual storage location.”
The announcement with the biggest buzz is Spot Storage, a set of managed services to help organizations build and run storageless applications in the cloud. The goal, said Amiram Shachar, vice president and general manager of Spot, is to help organizations determine and deploy the ideal mix of compute resources needed to ensure availability and scale capacity efficiently while minimizing costs.
By “storageless,” NetApp is talking about a way for teams to build and run applications without architecting persistent size and shape, including throughput, maintenance and capacity provisioning. In some ways, it’s like serverless computing; the storageless model also focuses on the application rather than total storage allocation.
“It’s autonomized, optimized and managed for users so that they don’t need to worry about how they’re building and running applications—just that they can do so easily,” Shachar said.
Spot uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to predict further in advance when a spot instance will disappear, and automatically move compute and data. Combining Spot Storage and Spot Ocean, NetApp’s serverless capability, helps organizations build, deploy and run microservice-based applications both stateless and stateful on Kubernetes, without having to administer servers or storage, he added.
NetApp made a slew of other announcements at the Insight conference that address data challenges in the cloud. One of those was the release of the NetApp Virtual Desktop Managed Service (VDMS), a managed, cloud-based service powered by a hybrid cloud virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) design. This model turns provisioning, orchestration and management to NetApp, in exchange for a monthly fee. VDMS uses NetApp Cloud Volumes to optimize performance and NetApp Cloud Insights for full visibility into VDMS usage and application statistics. It also includes software-as-a-service (SaaS) backup for Microsoft 365 environments.
With these new cloud and cloud-native offerings, NetApp is showing that it is serious about keeping pace with customer requirements, McDowell said.