Today, at Amazon's 5500-attendee user conference, re: Invent in Las Vegas, NetApp announced NetApp Private Storage for Amazon Web Services. This is a tremendous validation of the value NetApp's Agile Data Infrastructure can bring to large-scale Cloud infrastructures and it's customers.
Amazon Web Services is a large player in providing Elastic, on demand, Web, Development, DR and Burst Compute environments for a wide range of customers. Typically these customers are looking to build out their compute environments without the risk and associated capital cost requirements of building and hosting it themselves. In true cloud fashion, Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and S3 (Simple Storage Service) are self service, on-demand, elastic and pay per use services.
The solution gives customers a way to better leverage a combination of public clouds and private data resources by essentially coupling an actual NetApp FAS system with Amazon EC2. The customer owned, NetApp FAS is hosted in an AWS Direct Connect facility (http://aws.amazon.com/directconnect), essentially a Colocation allowing for low latency, high bandwidth connections directly into the Amazon Web Services Datacenters. Customers are able to SnapMirror or simply copy their dataset to this Colocation facility for immediate use via iSCSI, NFS or CIFS to and from their EC2 environment. All the core efficiencies and functionality NetApp FAS, with DataONTAP delivers, are made available for the Amazon customer to leverage.
Two weeks ago, Amazon Web Services announced certification for SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) applications. NetApp has a rich product and solution portfolio around SAP and thus most of this portfolio would be available to AWS customers who implement the NetApp private storage solution. Click here for more possibilities around what SAP applications in combination with NetApp could look like.
One of the more interesting cases on the financial side are the combination or hybrid-financial models which could exist. This solution would allow for the coexistence of an OpEx & CapEx or, with the help of a 3rd party, a pure OpEx model. In this case the OpEx for EC2 and CapEx for NetApp private storage is interesting because the compute side tends to be more ‘bursty’ and variable in utilization levels whereas the storage tends to be more static. Off course all the powerful NetApp data efficiencies are also fully exposed and available for the customer to take advantage of.
This new Cloud service, I believe, really changes the dynamics for everyone involved. For Amazon they are able to expand into accommodating private storage for their customer base. NetApp has the opportunity to help their existing customers harness the benefits of EC2 while utilizing private storage they’ve come to know and love. On the IT Partner Ecosystem side of things, this opens up a lot of opportunities for Cloud experienced or non-Cloud experienced NetApp partners to participate in Hyperscale Cloud offerings like Amazon while still remaining true to their go to market model.
I’m truly proud to see this sort of solution coming to market and my imagination runs wild, thinking about the possibilities of how this can be taken further.
Share your own ideas on what possibilities you can envision around this solution in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.