As NetApp transforms its current hybrid cloud into the next generation data center (NGDC), NetApp IT has prioritized building a development platform for cloud aware applications using cloud aware application architectures through DevOps and automated deployment cycles.


The team has set a target via application rationalization for the next 3-5 years, that 70% of its apps will be Software as a Service (SaaS), like SAP HCM, Cisco WebEx, and MS Office365 and Sharepoint.  The remaining 30% comprises apps not available from SaaS providers.  For these apps, IT will use DevOps methodologies and cloud-aware referenced architectures to convert its remaining enterprise applications to use hyperscalers and private cloud, or its NGDC.


There are many things impacting applications in IT organizations, including cloud, containers, microservices, DevOps and more. For our cloud-first strategy to run optimally, we need to change the way we create applications in IT to ensure that NetApp captures to the economic benefits of cloud.

Why create applications differently?

Hypothetically, NetApp IT could take the existing enterprise architected applications and forklift them up to Amazon, where it’s certain that they will run. Yet you must recognize that these applications were built to run in an enterprise class data center on capital intensive hardware that’s depreciated over three years and intended to run constantly forever.  They are not designed to take advantage of the capabilities of a cloud.


In this situation there is no resource awareness or dynamism. By taking existing app architectures and development models and “forklifting” them into a cloud, a lot of money is spent with the cloud provider, which then becomes the one to capture the economic benefits of the cloud—not NetApp IT.


If we change the way we build applications and move to a cloud-aware application architecture, we ensure that IT captures the economic benefits of the cloud.



The potential benefits of cloud aware applications include:

  • Ability to dynamically scale applications on demand and not have assets installed at max load—even better with microservices
  • Shorter development cycles because of increased release velocity, greater developer flexibility, and reduced risk with smaller changes
  • Better fault isolation with independent microservices
  • Ability to deploy and decommission application environments on demand, e.g. no need for multiple development, test or stage environments
  • Portability with containers that provide ability to code and deploy applications anywhere and eliminate vendor lock-in

The Role of NetApp Technology

To accelerate our journey to building a cloud aware enterprise, we rely on three important NetApp products:  NetApp Cloud Volumes for data storage in the hyperscalers, NetApp Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) for containerized applications with combined storage, networking and virtualization compute, and AFF All Flash Arrays for demanding workloads, data analytics, and databases. Looking to the future, our CIO Bill Miller envisions business process automation through machine learning, federated cloud, bots and more. NGDC and cloud-aware application architecture will serve as a catalyst to accomplish this goal.



This blog is part of a “Building a Cloud Aware Enterprise” series on how NetApp IT is making meaningful changes to evolve their hybrid cloud and move from traditional IT infrastructure toward next generation data centers. This series will cover not only the technology involved, but the people and process components to ensure IT’s success. 


Robert Stumpf

As a Senior IT Director of Enterprise Solutions, Robert and his team are responsible for all the business applications development and delivery of IT projects at NetApp. They bring cloud-ready solutions to NetApp’s corporate business applications and play a vital role in our IT transformation. Together they manage large enterprise projects with a focus on deploying new business functionality quickly while minimizing operational risk.

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