Part two of two


In my last blog post, I talked about why Azure NetApp Files is offering more choice for customers for building a more robust and risk-free roadmap to the public cloud.


In this post, I will explore some of the use cases I think are the most relevant for clients to explore.

About Azure NetApp Files

Azure NetApp Files is purpose-built to deliver a tier-one, bare-metal, high-performance data management service that you can turn on and off on-the-fly without the need for special skills to set up or optimize. Something you can set up in a few minutes from the Azure portal using your Azure Enterprise Agreement without needing any special skills.


I know. It’s mind-blowing.


Azure NetApp Files provides both the agility and the performance that our customers want from a public cloud. For a traditional hyperscale environment, agility is a given, but maintaining consistent performance for high-performance workloads is not.


Azure NetApp Files ensures that you get that low-latency, high-performance throughput that you need for demanding applications.


What we are seeing is that many of the new applications involve a lot of analytics. AI and machine learning are becoming more critical and our customers need that consistent deliverable performance that is now achievable through a service like Azure NetApp Files.


Azure NetApp Files provides the cloud flexibility that customers are looking for, while ensuring they get that consistent performance. And certain application stacks are going to need that. While it always depends on the workload and the need, there is tremendous business value, especially because NetApp brings all of our data transport tools such as Cloud Sync to rapidly move data up into Azure.

Steve Collins Predicts – The Most Relevant Use Cases for Azure NetApp Files

I was asked to talk about where we will see Azure NetApp Files being used the most. Here is where I think it will make a big impact for customers:

Mergers and Acquisitions

For companies doing a lot of mergers and acquisitions, dealing with a wide variety of implementations and seeing a sprawl of data and systems, Azure NetApp Files makes it simple and easy to move some of those workloads up into Azure.  With the multiple tiers of performance offered by Azure NetApp files, we expect many customers to run many file-based applications, even extreme performance applications like SAP HANA, against an Azure NetApp Files storage footprint. This use case gives tremendous flexibility as companies begin to consolidate, and can enable not just flexibility but speed. Azure NetApp Files can help accelerate consolidation efforts.

Information Distribution

When you need to distribute information, such as video information or other types of rich data, where it needs to go to a wide variety of locations, and your own internal file systems and infrastructure are not well suited for carrying that out, Azure NetApp Files can house both the data and the application as well as deliver high performance streaming. With support for both Windows and open file systems, such as Linux, this simplifies the global distribution of information to a wide variety of locations where anyone can have access to an Azure cloud-based connection.

Smart Factories and IoT

IOT comes to mind with smart factory implementations. This is where you’re collecting data at the edge, some of which you either want archived into the cloud or to be accessible for big data processing or analytics processing in the cloud. It will always depend on the use case in terms of whether a company decides to move that to the cloud or not, but there are clear advantages for when someone needs to do that. For example, whenever we sit down and work with a customer, we are often exploring how they might take some of that edge-based data collected from devices all around the world, move it into Azure and begin processing it to drive better intelligence. Whether it is customer service-focussed or product improvement-focussed, the idea is how quickly you can get the most insight from the data you are collecting.

Energy & Resources

We are seeing a lot of innovation across power and resources companies. For example, if you’ve got wind turbines or solar panels that are out at the edge, you’re collecting certain statistics and data off of those devices. And now companies want to use that information and run analytics against that information in ways that traditionally weren’t being done in the past. As those devices get more intelligent and they’re able to capture that information, customers are asking questions such as: What maintenance cycles do we need on that equipment out in the field? Are we spending too much time maintaining them, or not enough? What is driving spikes in power consumption? And more.


If you’re using intelligent sensors, you may realize that you are over-maintaining equipment and the downtime being experienced during maintenance windows is costing more than is really necessary. It is also impacting our customer’s ability to consume the service that’s being provided. Alternatively, perhaps those maintenance windows in certain locations are not enough and there are unforeseen outages that are impacting customers and resulting in cost impacts to the business.


Working off actual data rather than a generalized recommendation is far superior in the long run for the business, but those are big numbers that need crunching and the cloud is often the best place to do that.



In summary, I think we are just at the beginning of how cloud is revolutionizing industries. In the next 12 to 18 months, we will see new use cases dominate that we aren’t even considering today. It all is tied back to customer value. How much agility can we deliver? How can we reduce risk? How can we reduce cost? How can we enable scale? How can we ensure that privacy and compliance are satisfied?


It will be a hybrid world for a long time but I predict that Azure NetApp Files will play a role in just about everybody’s data center architecture for the long run.


If you want to know more, register today for the Azure NetApp Files preview – we’ll let you know as soon as GA is available.

Steve Collins

Steve is a self-confessed technology geek who loves the impact that technology has on driving business forward. When he is not saving the world with data management strategies, he loves to have fun racing his 700-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee or spending time enjoying life with his kids and his family.

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