UPDATED 17:45 EST / DECEMBER 06 2021


File storage could be as big on the Amazon cloud as S3, says NetApp CTO

With all the news happening at re:Invent this year, it was easy to miss that NetApp Inc. won Amazon Web Service Inc.’s Independent Software Vendor Design Partner of the Year award for Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP.

The award comes close on the heels of the launch of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP. It took two years of close collaboration and teamwork between AWS and NetApp to build the product from the ground up. And the first-party, file-based storage service has quickly become one of the fastest-growing services on the AWS Marketplace, according to Anthony Lye (pictured, right), executive vice president and general manager for public cloud at NetApp.

“The customer base recognizes not just the need for a file system, but the uniqueness and capabilities that ONTAP provides to those customers in how they manage their business and transformations,” Lye said .

Lye and Jonsi Stefansson (pictured, left), chief technology officer and vice president of cloud at NetApp, spoke with Dave Vellante, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during AWS re:Invent. They discussed NetApp’s partnership with AWS and what is unique about Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP. (* Disclosure below.)

NetApp rejects IaaS label, as company builds software stack on top of AWS cloud

File systems are integral to computing, and the gold standard for file has always been NetApp’s internal operating system ONTAP, according to Stefansson. File storage systems are familiar to any user, and its elegant way of organizing information has advantages over object storage that have made it the popular choice for cloud. Market intelligence company International Data Corp. “has file growing at almost twice the pace of object now on the public cloud systems,” said Lye, who predicts that file could be as big on the Amazon cloud as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (or S3) has been.

NetApp has completely reimagined ONTAP, rearchitecting it to be a scalable cloud service that is available through Amazon as a fully managed service.

“We didn’t want people to think about versioning and patching. We wanted to remove all of that,” Lye said. “Customers who’ve never been ONTAP customers can now take advantage of an enterprise-grade file system and all the great things that it does without having to understand how it works.”

Sixty percent of the customers signing up for Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP have never been NetApp customers before, according to Stefansson. Rather than any brand loyalty, they are seeing the value in the data management capabilities that the service brings to the market, he added.

The secret sauce of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is that it’s not infrastructure as a service, but a “very vast software stack” that NetApp delivers on top of AWS infrastructure, according to Stefansson. Winning the ISV award was a validation for the company, which is often mistakenly classed as on-premises storage hardware, according to Lye. Another point of pride for NetApp is that it is the first time AWS has ever allowed a third-party company to be as integrated into its console.

“This was a true collaboration of engineering teams,” said Stefansson, who gives the credit for the award to the NetApp and AWS engineers who coded Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP.  “To be behind the console, to be behind the Amazon [command line interface] and the Amazon API, you see the world very, very differently,” Lye said. “Being a core part of the AWS service itself that they sell, that they support, that they bill for, it’s a nice place to be.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of AWS re:Invent. (* Disclosure: NetApp Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither NetApp nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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