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Today marks a milestone for Service Providers who are seeking to enter the public cloud market, or to expand and enhance their current offerings. Together with our key Partners Desktone by VMware, Cisco and Equinix we are launching the Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) OneStep Program at the VMware Partner Exchange in San Francisco.


Our goal is to provide a completely turnkey best-of-breed option for Service Providers globally who want to offer a DaaS service to their customers. So what is it all about? Well, there are two components to the story. One is a story about taking the concept of partnering to a whole new level. The second one is about building a technology infrastructure for a specific workload in a specific use case environment.



In the past year cloud-based hosted virtual desktops, now commonly known as DaaS, have rapidly emerged as the next high-growth cloud service workload. Service Providers are seeing increasing demand from their customers for a better way to manage their desktop experience from any device. Smartphones, tablets, super-thin laptops, in-car technology and even wearable technology has provided an ability to be “always connected”, however, this has placed significant pressure on IT departments and self-supporting end-users to create a high-quality, consistent, device independent desktop experience. Cloud-based DaaS can alleviate this burden and provide additional benefits to both the end-users and IT support personnel.


DaaS is based on a virtualized technology platform and takes advantage of the performance, scalability and cost-efficiency that virtualization is renowned for. It is, however, a workload that needs to leverage a best-of-breed technology “stack” in order to maximize the value it provides to end users. Service Providers who seek to build a DaaS offering for their customers generally focus first on the software that enables the desktop to become virtualized in a multi-tenant cloud delivery model. This is often a relatively simple exercise as there are a limited number of vendors to choose from who specialize in this area. The choices become a lot broader when identifying the appropriate infrastructure to incorporate into the final DaaS production design. Furthermore, the data center requirements to house a cloud-based service with strict Service Level (SLA) and non-disruptive operations (NDO) expectations create a scenario that can often overwhelm the Service Provider.


One low-risk place for a Service Provider to start when considering building any cloud service offering is with converged infrastructures. Significant advances have been made in the development of converged infrastructures in the past few years. The fewer architectural customizations or design decisions that need to be made, the faster sourcing and implementing processes can be, resulting in an accelerated time-to-market. The challenge presented by some converged infrastructures is that they are not workload optimized. In the quest for infrastructure convergence and standardization sometimes the trade-off can be a diluted ability to align workload-specific requirements to technology features. The ideal scenario is a best-of-breed converged infrastructure purpose-built to meet the unique characteristics of a specific workload, in this example, DaaS. To date “nirvana” has not been very elusive, however, a unique technical collaboration between four leading technology vendors has now changed that.


NetApp, VMware, Cisco and Equinix all have Service Providers as customers. Independently, they all provide key components that enable Service Providers to build and operate successful cloud services. All four organizations have a culture of innovation, listening to their customers and partnering to achieve successful customer outcomes. Each organization has been hearing the same message from Service Providers; building cloud services is harder than it should be. This message has resulted in a unique collaboration to create a best-of-breed technology solution designed specifically for DaaS. Problem identified. Problem understood. Problem solved.


Working together to achieve a common goal, NetApp, VMware, Cisco and Equinix have created a purpose-built, cost-effective, validated and globally available option for Service Providers to launch a DaaS offering with the security of knowing that four highly reputable vendors have undertaken the “heavy lifting”.


With four sizing options to choose from, ranging from 1020 desktops to 5100 desktops, the DaaS OneStep Program achieves a true turnkey platform that can take a Service Provider from concept to full production in less than one hundred days. It leverages the IDC-rated No.1 Integrated Infrastructure (FlexPod by NetApp, Cisco and VMware) together with the winner of 2013 ‘Best Data Center Innovation’ (Equinix) and the pioneer of DaaS functionality (Desktone by VMware). The DaaS OneStep Program not only provides a best-of-breed technology “stack”, but it takes advantage of the latest in data center optimization, management functionality and global network interconnectivity.


In brief, the technology “stack” is built around:

  • VMware ESXi hypervisor,
  • Desktone by VMware virtual desktop multi-protocol software, Connection Broker and Resource Manager,
  • Cisco Unified Computing System,
  • Cisco Unified Data Center architecture incorporating Nexus access layer,
  • NetApp secure multi-tenant virtualized FAS storage incorporating FlashCache SSD and FlexClone



In order to put DaaS to the test, Service Providers can take advantage of a free Proof-of-Concept (PoC) trial in one of four state-of-the-art Equinix Solution Validation Centers around the world. Furthermore, at the completion of the PoC the Service Provider has the option to create a production environment in the exact image of the PoC design for a set monthly per-desktop fee. There is even a comprehensive financial model available that identifies clearly how competitive market pricing can be achieved whilst incorporating pricing metrics Service Providers need to operate a successful business.



The four partners behind the DaaS OneStep Program firmly believe that we have been able to address the problem statement articulated by Service Providers (building cloud services is harder than it should be). This has been achieved technically, financially and logistically and marks a true collaboration leveraging the concept of common goal partnering to achieve an outcome that Service Providers have been asking for. The DaaS OneStep Program showcases what can be achieved when innovators in specific fields combine their resources to achieve an outcome that could not be achieved independently of each other.


True partnering needs to be more than just words on a mission statement or a glossy brochure full of promise but vague on executable outcomes. It requires a shared understanding of the problems needing to be solved. It requires agreement of the benefits all participants can provide for their customers if the problems are solved. It requires a level of commitment that may need to last beyond the next month or the next quester. Lastly, it requires getting deep into the details to ensure that what looks logical and feasible will translate into something executable.


The DaaS OneStep Program provides Service Providers with a whole new reason to revisit their cloud services strategy and ask themselves a new question, “what if is wasn’t so hard to do?”


To obtain a more detailed understanding of why it is no longer “harder than it should be” to build a DaaS cloud offering, Service Providers simply need to contact their account manager from NetApp, VMware, Equinix or Cisco.   


More information can be found at the following sources:


Video summary of the DaaS OneStep Program partner value:


Forbes article on Common Goal Partnering:



The news that VMware has purchased Desktone marks a major milestone in the Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) marketplace. Furthermore, it highlights the power of partnerships to develop relevant and successful Cloud-based technologies to provide a compelling value proposition to a demanding and vibrant customer base.


For anyone who had doubts, DaaS is now mainstream. Public Cloud technologies have matured beyond Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and virtual machine-based offerings and into the Workspace. Anywhere. Anytime. Any device.


As evolutionary journeys go, DaaS has been both relevant and rapid.


NetApp launched their Service Provider Cloud strategy in 2009 after undertaking extensive research from both customer and external sources. This led to a focus on four workloads deemed most likely to move to the Cloud in the near term. DaaS was one of those and had technical requirements that were synergistic with NetApp’s core Cloud value propositions of multi-tenancy, storage efficiency, performance (combining flash and disk) and cloning. As the only Alliance Partner focusing exclusively on DaaS at the time, Desktone became an obvious choice to develop a joint DaaS offering for Service Providers.


Since then DaaS has been on a consistent growth curve amongst NetApp’s Service Providers. The “bring-your-own-device” momentum in enterprise customers (of all sizes) has presented challenges for many IT departments. DaaS offerings from Service Providers have created a secure, flexible and cost-effective way to meet the BYOD challenge head on. By creating a set of comprehensive design, architecture, implementation and operational materials Desktone and NetApp have enabled Service Providers to offer DaaS as means to satisfy customer demand with fast go-to-market launch timeframes. The heavy lifting was already done.


So where does DaaS fit in relation to traditional VDI?


Traditional VDI solutions built on NetApp technology provide enormous value to customers who want an in-house built and operated solution. DaaS assumes a multi-tenant environment synonymous with Public Cloud models. The key for success is in providing a “fit-for-purpose” model that leverages the most appropriate components and features from innovative technology partners. Generally, this approach provides opportunities for proven best practice technology components such as VMware’s Horizon View for single-tenant use cases and Desktone for multi-tenant use cases. Subtle differences in feature sets can often have significant flow-on impact to the user community. In the desktop virtualization space differences between single and multi-tenancy characteristics and requirements amply demonstrate the need for a “fit-for-purpose” approach.


Innovation does not happen overnight, just as great working partnerships don’t.


VMware and NetApp have an amazing partnership that has existed for over ten years. But the synergies go back further than that. Top of my “Great Minds Think Alike” list is the following fact:

  • In 2001 VMware revolutionized the server landscape when they launched ESX
  • In 2001 NetApp revolutionized the storage market when they launched MultiStore (now matured into Storage Virtual Machine – SVM)


While the partnership between VMware and NetApp was not formally developed in 2001, it is clear that the focus on innovation, combined with a recognition that virtualization was the future for technology, created a philosophical bond between the two organizations. Today, this partnership has evolved to one with over forty thousand shared customers.


Similarly, the partnership between Desktone and NetApp was built on the shared belief that Service Providers would build Cloud offerings to provide choices to customers in relation to how they consumed a desktop experience. In 2009 this belief was definitely a minority view inside the IT industry but that is what innovation and technology leadership is all about. Seeing the future and building a roadmap to meet it head on.


By all industry metrics the growth in DaaS has been exceptional. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is a phenomenon not limited to only mature Cloud markets such as North America. Recent new Service Provider DaaS offerings built with NetApp and Desktone include markets as diverse as Japan and Colombia and have provided an entry to Cloud offerings for some Service Providers who are new to the concept.


On behalf of the numerous Service Providers who have invested in a combined NetApp, Desktone and VMware value proposition to bring DaaS to their market I want to congratulate VMware for the acquisition of Desktone and look forward to innovating together in the Service Provider space well into the future.


For further information related to the acquisition of Desktone by VMware see the press release here:

and VMware Partner testimonials promoting the announcement:


Innovation is a core component of the role IT does, or needs to, play in a contemporary enterprise context. Cloud is all about innovation. Before one innovative new aspect of Cloud is executed another two or three are coming along behind. The sheer pace of innovation in Cloud means that enterprises now have more choice than ever before in how to supplement their own IT organizational delivery capabilities.


Like many other IT professionals I was drawn to VMworld in San Francisco last week. For anyone in the Cloud business this is a superb forum to see first-hand what is new and innovative, both now and in the near-term. While it is sad to see that some technology companies still rely on big-time gimmicks to attract attendees to their booths it is also enlightening to see some familiar faces with brand new value propositions to showcase.


Asigra are the leading light when it comes to Cloud Backup and Recovery technologies. Their solution has enabled enterprises to leverage Clouds for offsite data retention and management for over a decade. From a technology perspective their track record in innovation is unparalleled. I had the pleasure to catch up with Eran Farajun, Executive Vice President of Asigra at VMworld and learn about some innovation that Asigra have created for the Service Provider community that is not technical but can have a significant impact on the way Clouds can provide value to enterprises who want to leverage the technology innovation but with a cost structure that reflects the realities of a contemporary use-case.


Here is what Eran had to say:


“With continued data growth in IT environments, backup professionals are under increasing pressure to manage this information influx while containing costs. The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently polled IT managers and technical/financial buyers to find out just how much pressure they are experiencing—particularly when it comes to reducing backup and recovery expenditures amidst rising data growth costs.


The research found that three out of four respondents expect to see data growth expand at a rate of up to 20 percent a year. Companies that have over 50TB of data understandably have higher cost estimates for their data growth than companies with less data.


The analysis additionally discovered that the majority of IT professionals surveyed (two-thirds) feel at least “some pressure” to reduce their current IT spend. Larger companies (annual revenue >$500M) report “very strong pressure” more often than their small to mid-sized counterparts.


So what are backup and recovery buyers to do when they are caught in the middle between escalating data volumes and increasing demands that they contain costs? Companies with high data growth rates—where the growth of data exceeds the percentage of data that is recovered over time—require a new metric for pricing. Without a pricing model revision, the price of backup software and services will quickly become out of sync with its derived value.


Asigra, a strategic NetApp partner, has come to the rescue of beleaguered tech buyers everywhere with the recent release of its Recovery License Model® (RLM), a performance-based pricing model for the backup and recovery industry. This cloud computing pay-per-use model represents a change from capacity or agent-based backup software pricing to one based on actual successful data recoveries.


Here’s how it can help control inflated IT costs:


The Asigra Recovery License Model ties the price directly to how the software performs in a data recovery situation by using Asigra Recovery Tracker™, powerful analytics software which shows the percentage of data that a company recovers over time. The Recovery Tracker is a software component that sits within the backup infrastructure to capture recovery events throughout the customer environment.


With the Recovery License Model, the cost of backup licenses is separated, or decoupled, from the cost of recovery licenses. The cost of backup is fixed, and the cost of recovery is variable but never will exceed more than 25 percent of the total protected data volume. This means that even if you ever need to recover more than 25% of your data, you’ll never be paying to do so. The Recovery Tracker monitors these levels and provides real-time feedback to the customer on all recovery activities. The customer is billed based on the volume of data recovered during the year. The savings are sustainable and the costs are predictable because costs are capped at 25% and pricing is decoupled from data growth.


The Asigra Recovery License Model, a performance-based pricing model, will be available to interested NetApp channel partners. For more information about this new model, visit or contact Asigra at 416-736-8111 ext. 1457.


  It is very motivating to see a leader in the Cloud industry recognize that innovation in licensing models is just as important as innovation in the technology value. Asigra has seen their business grow year-on-year due (largely) to a continually innovating technology value proposition but rather than rest on their laurels they have gone where very few others in the industry have ventured and taken a hard look at their business from a completely non-technical perspective. RLM is the result of that reflective analysis and will provide customers with an enhanced Cloud option for their data retention and restoration requirements that marry innovative technology with equally innovative business models.

San Francisco-based Recovery as a Service (RaaS) developer nScaled recently launched a DR Cloud service with a twist (check out the webinar “RaaS with nScaled and NetApp” here: nScaled offers cloud-based storage and disaster recovery for midsize companies with sophisticated data security needs. Historically only available to the largest enterprises, true disaster recovery in the cloud is cost-effective and easy to manage. It's a great example of the strength of cloud technology.




"RaaS has been hailed as a 'killer' cloud app for disaster recovery, but the reality is that there has been much hype and some truth," said John Morency, research vice president at Gartner


Cloud-based disaster recovery is often like the search for Bigfoot. You see some fuzzy photos here and there, some plaster casts of enormous footprints shown on the weekend news, and maybe some interesting sound effects. But really, where's the actual proof?


In relation to recovery of valuable data I think nScaled has changed the game here, the actual proof DOES exist. Knowing that your data is “out there and in safe hands” is one thing but getting it back when and how you want it is something else. nScaled's customers validate the value proposition of RaaS.


In general, disaster recovery is challenging for small business and midsize enterprises with limited human resources. It requires more than a few technically expert IT managers (read….high paid humans who are worth every penny) to maintain. So most midsize companies compromise and implement less costly data storage strategies that often don't include true disaster recovery solutions. Think onsite backup with maybe an offsite media storage provider stopping by on Fridays. It “works” in a 1970’s sort of way for local file recovery, but a regional disaster like a hurricane in New York, a flood in Thailand or a tsunami in Japan might mean customers and employees would be unable to access systems for many days. This, research has shown, can be fatal for businesses.


So obviously this compromise comes with risk. Along the lines of "I'm a really safe driver so I'll save some money and not insure my car" kind of risk. Best avoided.


Numerous studies calculate the high hourly cost of data or services downtime. Downtime negatively affects customers, employees, and partners. So automating the complex, challenging and time-consuming tasks of backup, data recovery and disaster recovery (DR) to prevent this downtime should be a priority for every midsize company. This scenario is perfect for the strengths of the cloud.


Generally, Cloud-based solutions deliver higher functionality at lower price points, and without high capital investments. The nScaled team tells me most of their customers pay about the same for this innovative cloud platform as they did for their outdated, traditional local backup and recovery apps.


This is where nScaled steps in and provides a clear IT return on investment path. As a cloud-based platform, nScaled delivers enterprise-class disaster recovery capabilities at a fraction of the cost of separate, traditional backup, recovery and DR solutions.


This hybrid cloud model enables businesses to recover any file or server in under 15 minutes and recover data centers in less than 2 hours. With true disaster recovery (with a capital “R” on Recovery). It means smaller companies get the business continuity that the big guys have enjoyed for decades, thanks to cloud technology. Their hybrid cloud storage model lets you choose where to run primary applications, where to back up, and where to failover.


Now simply backing up to the cloud doesn't mean you're ready in case of a disaster, either natural or man-made. The nScaled platform allows you to test and verify your disaster preparedness. Essential for IT professionals who want to show value to their management team and to give Boards confidence in being compliant to regulations.

So why RaaS? And why nScaled? On the NetApp platform, nScaled offers a cloud-based, all-in-one disaster recovery, online backup, and data storage solution that increases functionality and proves that cloud technology is the way smaller companies even the playing field with the big guys.


So now that we've found that RaaS from nScaled works in the wild, let's start on finding Bigfoot. Just like that thesis I put onto a CD in 2002…………’s out there somewhere.


  Learn more about nScaled here

Back in September, I blogged about how clouds have fundamentally changed the tape vs. disk debate. If you will remember, I made the following prediction:


Service Providers who offer Public Cloud services which store (keep) and manage non-current data for customers are now in a position to offer a portfolio of ways to leverage the data. Many Service Providers are doing it already but there is still more innovation to come in this space.”


Well, it turns out that I wasn’t wrong (am I ever?). One of our innovative Service Provider partners, SunGard Availability Services, has taken NetApp technologies like FlexClone, SnapMirror, and SnapVault, and turned them not only into a “pay-as-you-go data-protection-in-the-cloud” solution, but also into an “unleash-the-full-potential-of-your-data-in-the-cloud” solution. (Pardon me if I’ve committed any improprieties while using hyphens to create new terminology.)


SunGard AS, a long-time provider of disaster recovery and managed services, has partnered with NetApp to offer Managed Vaulting for NetApp. How does it work and whom does it benefit? Well, let’s say you’re not at a point where you can expend the capex to build out a recovery site. Or even if you have, maybe you aren’t yet able to populate that recovery site with a second NetApp storage system. In that case, since you’ve already got SnapMirror or SnapVault on your primary NetApp system, you can use it to replicate your data from your production NetApp storage device to a shared NetApp system at SunGard’s recovery center.  You don’t have to spend a dime of capex, and you’re no longer carting trucks full of tapes over to a vault and keeping your fingers crossed that they will work if and when you ever need them.


Better yet, once a copy of your production data is sitting at SunGard’s recovery site, you can treat it like your own personal dev/test playground. With NetApp FlexClone, you can access your native data – current and historical – anytime you want. You can spin up as many FlexClones as you like on the NetApp storage infrastructure at SunGard, and then take advantage of the compute power from as many of the thousands of live, SunGard standby servers as you may require. You can  use those FlexClone copies to develop new applications, test software upgrades and disaster recovery failover, or even run scalability simulations or mine big datasets for business insights – all without impacting production whatsoever.


Check out our new joint white paper about how to best select the data protection solutions that unleash the full potential of your data. While you’re at it, check out our new joint video describing SunGard’s Managed Vaulting for NetApp service as well – you just might find the motivation to finally get off of tape altogether.