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August 25, 2009

NetApp product upgrades take it into the cloud

Cloud infrastructure to improve storage efficiency and scale-out potential

By CBR Staff Writer

Storage vendor NetApp has taken the wraps off its ‘strategy for the cloud’ announcing new and upgraded products that have been designed to bring additional levels of storage efficiency and some new scale-out possibilities to enterprise storage procedures. 

The company said that a series of product announcements made today included some of the ‘most important upgrades’ to its core operating platform that have been made for four or five years.

The focus was around the latest release 8 of the NetApp Data ONTAP operating platform, but the company also flagged the arrival of a new product call NetApp Data Motion for moving data transparently and without disruption between systems and a second-generation Performance Acceleration Module, one of a series of flash-based caching options.

John Rollason at NetApp told us the company had been working for the past 18 months on efficiency improvements which, when blended with some new scale-out capabilities, caters very well to latest market demand for the foundations of a cloud-based infrastructure.

“The cloud calls for a very different type of requirement to the traditional approach of fixed silo storage,” he said. “There is a need for secure multi-tenancy, and there is need to move storage volumes around the infrastructure if we are to be able to build limitless storage pools.”

NetApp describes the latest Data ONTAP 8 as providing a platform that meets stringent cloud requirements and addresses the challenges in deploying a cloud storage infrastructure. 

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Notably, these include secure multi-tenancy so that IT shops can deploy a shared infrastructure across separate user groups or enterprise customers, and transparent data motion to achieve non-disruptive data access during mandatory shutdowns or upgrades.

Many of the product developments stem from work undertaken with T-Systems, whose own cloud developments have helped set some of the feature requirements, Rollason explained. 

Apparently, T-Systems already provides over 170 enterprises with cloud services for key applications like SAP and Microsoft Exchange as part of its Dynamic Services offering.

The ONTAP and Performance Acceleration Module product releases are slated for September, with NetApp Data Motion planned for commercial release in January 2010.

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