UPDATED 14:31 EDT / NOVEMBER 13 2014

NetApp brings its storage OS and backup service to AWS in hybrid cloud push

NetApp-image-for-2014-techology-predictionsNetApp Inc. is bringing two of its most strategic software solutions to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in hopes of tapping into the cloud juggernaut’s growing enterprise momentum. The move comes amid faltering demand for the storage vendor’s traditional arrays, which dragged its revenue down 0.5 percent in the third quarter.

Organizations have that decline to thank for the fact that it’s now possible to deploy the software-only version of the company’s ONTAP operating system directly from the AWS Marketplace. The platform comes with all the benefits of the version that ships with NetApp’s on-premise appliances, including unified file- and block-level access that can accommodate different workloads and the ability to create multiple logical pools of capacity with different characteristics. Plus, users can complement that functionality with third party software from other vendors that have made their solutions available on Amazon’s cloud.

But even more significant is that deploying ONTAP in the public cloud allows NetApp customers already using the software in their private data centers to have a common management platform across their on- and off-premise deployments. That continues the pattern of vendors repositioning their offerings for the hybrid cloud, with EMC Corp. having acquired a startup called TwinStrata Inc. in July that developed a technology making it possible for users to treat infrastructure-as-a-service as just another tier in their storage environments. Microsoft Corp. joined the fray the same month with the launch of two new arrays that hook up to its Azure public cloud out of the box.

But merely connecting the dots between private and public clouds is not enough to deliver on the promise of hybrid computing – users must also be given a means of harnessing that functionality. Microsoft caught on to that and introduced its systems together with an integrated data protection and business continuity service, a move that NetApp is copying by pairing the launch of ONTAP on AWS with the release of its SteelStore backup service for the platform.

The vendor bought the product from Riverbed Technology Inc. in October for $80 million in as part of the network equipment maker’s investor-pressured strategic reorganization. The service integrates with a wide range of on-premise backup software solutions and leverages deduplication to reduce the amount of data that has to travel over the network by up to 90 percent, thus reducing bandwidth requirements while speeding up backup windows. It’s also secure, providing encryption for data both at rest and in transit.

SteelStore is set to launch on the AWS Marketplace sometime in NetApp’s third quarter while ONTAP is available immediately at $1.65 an hour or a six-month subscription option that customers can buy directly from the company.

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