NetApp's hybrid cloud plan targets storage for any virtual systems

Storage vendor says it can provide a common data management layer across public and private clouds

Hybrid is a hot word in the cloud right now. All the cloud vendors seemingly have a hybrid strategy that they say gives users a common management platform between public clouds and their on-premises deployments.

This week, storage vendor NetApp made its intentions clear that it too wants to play in this hybrid world.

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“We see an opportunity to provide a capability allowing CIOs to think of hybrid clouds with a more common data platform,” NetApp CTO Jay Kidd says. “There needs to be a way to stich this all together.” 

Data governance, protection and backup; moving data between on-premises locations and a hosted environment, and extending applications to take advantages of resources both on and off premises are some of the advantages that come with having a common hybrid cloud storage platform, Kidd says. NetApp isn’t looking to replace vSphere or OpenStack as the software that a cloud is built on.

There's a lot of talk about orchestration and management (in the cloud), nobody's talking about the benefits of stitching together the infrastructure.

— Jay Kidd, CTO of NetApp

Instead, NetApp wants to work in conjunction with those platforms. Management tools like OpenStack, VMware, CloudStack or many others on the market, provide the ability to create new virtual machines and deploy resources. NetApp says it can provide the backend storage for those resources.

“There’s a lot of talk about orchestration and management, nobody’s talking about the benefits of stitching together the infrastructure,” Kidd says.

This is not entirely new territory for NetApp. Late last year in a partnership with Amazon Web Services, the company’s On Tap appliance – which sits on customer sites – became a direct connection point to AWS’s public cloud, in effect creating a hybrid cloud architecture. NetApp is going to be significantly ramping up that product with new partnerships on both the public and private side, Kidd says. He hinted at expanding these connections with more public cloud service providers – although it didn’t say who yet.

NetApp also hopes to become more involved in open source cloud platform projects – with a focus on OpenStack. NetApp sees itself as being able to provide a storage layer for OpenStack clouds. Kidd says the company will also look to work with hyperscale cloud vendors to deploy NetApp storage in their operations.  

By partnering with vendors like Cisco and VMware and on both the public cloud and the private cloud management sides, NetApp can get in on this hybrid game.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here.

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