The conventional approach to application dev/test (i.e. physical labs) requires significant time and expense to build and maintain, which is at odds with the needs of business applications teams for speed and agility. As a result, many application developers end up turning turn to public cloud services, such as Amazon, when faced with tight schedules and IT roadblocks.


As described in a recent SearchCIO article:


“Traditionally, IT wants to begin at the beginning of an IT project — and follow the steps in order. If the business comes to IT having done some of the work already and wants help in finishing it up, that’s a problem at many IT shops. IT needs more “on ramps,” or ways in which the business can start working with IT at multiple points along the project.”


However, instead of embracing the attempts of business units to perform dev/test operations in the cloud, IT often resists (or prohibits) such activities. The reason is clear: IT’s charter is the control, delivery, and security of corporate data assets. Rogue developers thwart that charter, and IT resists.


This creates a classic standoff between IT and business ops – Ops want a faster development cycle and IT wants to maintain control. Fortunately, NetApp offers a solution that satisfies both parties-a data fabric that provides consistent enterprise management and the ability to move data to-and-from the cloud throughout an application’s lifecycle. To understand this fabric and how it can break the standoff, it’s important to understand how NetApp has extended Data ONTAP, its industry leading storage operating system (OS), to support data movement across hybrid clouds:


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A. Data ONTAP for NetApp FAS systems

  • NetApp’s enterprise storage OS supports two to twenty-four dedicated storage nodes and scales to multiple petabytes of flash and/or disk storage capacity. Data ONTAP offers an intelligent, adaptable, always-available shared storage infrastructure for highly virtualized environments and private clouds.


B. NetApp Private Storage for Cloud

  • NetApp Private Storage (NPS) for Cloud extends the reach of Data ONTAP into Hyperscale cloud environments. NPS is deployed within Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and IBM SoftLayer colocation facilities (next to, but not inside of the public cloud) where it is directly connected to cloud computing resources. NPS allows enterprises to build an agile cloud infrastructure that combines the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud with the data control and performance of Data ONTAP.


C. NetApp Cloud ONTAP

  • NetApp Cloud ONTAP for AWS is a software-only Amazon Machine Image (AMI) that runs Data ONTAP within an AWS EC2 environment and utilizes Amazon Elastic Block Storage. Cloud ONTAP brings Data ONTAP’s broad value set to the cloud, including the ability to seamlessly move applications in and out of the AWS cloud as business needs evolve.


D. Data ONTAP Edge

  • Data ONTAP Edge is a virtual server version of the Data ONTAP operating system. It runs inside a VMware vSphere VM and offers all the foundational features of Data ONTAP. Data ONTAP Edge delivers enterprise-class data management to environments that do not require a dedicated, network-attached storage system.


The significance of these four Data ONTAP deployment options is that they all contain the same fundamental data communication structure, regardless of location, storage protocol, or media type. This means that data can be moved quickly and seamlessly between any two points in the fabric, often on-the-fly without any application disruption.


At the core of the NetApp data fabric are the universal capabilities, ubiquity and versatility of Data ONTAP. From a dev/test perspective, this brings flexibility that up until now was unattainable.


Application projects or trials, for instance, can be quickly hosted on Amazon AWS using Cloud ONTAP, meeting the agility needs of business ops and the enterprise requirements of IT. Once the application is proven and ready to move into production, it can be seamlessly migrated (using NetApp SnapMirror or SnapVault) to a new ONTAP platform to increase performance, availability, and data security-to NPS or to on-premises infrastructure, for example. Applications that are subject to strict data sovereignty, compliance, or rigorous in-house controls would likewise be moved to NPS or on-premises systems.


If the application requires integration with remote branch offices, data can be migrated to and from branch offices as well as other points on the fabric. This might include requirements for backup and/or disaster recovery from branch offices to a central location.


As the application ages, at some point it may no longer require the attributes of on-premises or private storage, in which case it the data could be seamlessly migrated (again, using SnapMirror/SnapVault) to secure public cloud storage for end-of-life or archival purposes.


Combined with integrated data movement of Data ONTAP, and the management and automation capabilities in the NetApp OnCommand management portfolio, customers have common set of enterprise data services throughout the NetApp data fabric. Applications, like the data they contain, have a lifecycle that can benefit from the movement across points on the NetApp data fabric.

Larry Freeman