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It is no news that enterprises are adopting fresh hybrid cloud strategies—and by hybrid we mean multi-cloud approaches that can blend multiple public clouds and on-premises environments into a single infrastructure. Some take this path strategically while others do it on an opportunistic basis, but the result is the same. Those who are strategically thinking about hybrid cloud are focusing on a relatively near future in which 40% to 60% of their applications and services will run in the cloud, while the rest remain on-premises.
There are several reasons for this focus on hybrid and multi-cloud, but it mostly comes down to achieving the best of both worlds:
- Combining the flexibility of the public cloud with the attractive costs of on-premises infrastructures
- Minimizing both the rigidity of on-premises infrastructure and the cost of public cloud
To achieve this goal, enterprises need to leverage next-generation platforms that enable seamless application and data mobility.
2. Meeting DevOps and Infrastructure Needs
With around 50% of infrastructures currently moving to the cloud, IT organizations must:
- Avoid mistakes that lead to the creation of data silos
- Minimize complexity
- Reduce management costs
- Find solutions that satisfy both infrastructure and DevOps teams
That last point is particularly important. Even though data storage has always been a fundamental component of every infrastructure (the only place where data is saved in a persistent and consistent way), developers possess a different view and approach into infrastructure that must be taken into account.
In fact, most of these teams were born in the cloud era and their infrastructure experience comes from the public cloud. As a result, they operate with a series of abstractions and paradigms that differ from on-premises engagements, such as self-service, service-level objectives, unlimited resources with limited resilience, instant provisioning, and so on. These new paradigms are leading many enterprises to rethink the way they manage infrastructures and development processes.
To build a consistent user experience and meet the needs of infrastructure and DevOps teams, a modern data storage infrastructure must be built across different environments and with a specific feature set that includes:
- Support for multiple access methods concurrently: The infrastructure must provide multiple protocol options, enabling users and applications to save and access data with the best method for that specific use case, without changing existing processes and applications.
- Multiple system management options: An API-first approach is mandatory for developers and highly automated environments, but easy-to-use GUIs and CLIs are still in high demand with data center operators and infrastructure teams. Strong analytics platforms are also vital to provide global visibility and predict potential issues before they become a problem.
Yesterday we were talking about unified storage as a storage system with the ability to support multiple protocols concurrently. Today our focus is on a multi-layered approach for creating a unified data platform that can serve multiple types of administrators and users, simplify the overall experience, and keep complexity at bay. Such an approach requires the following:
- Unified storage: seamless support for multiple protocols to optimize storage and access according to the specific use case
- Unified user experience: the same storage layer and services must be available in both on-premises and public cloud environments
- Unified management: a complete set of tools and features that enable different types of users to access the data storage resources seamlessly via APIs, CLIs, or GUIs, no matter where they are located
Figure 1. Hybrid Multi-Cloud Unified Storage Approach
3. The Way Forward
NetApp’s interpretation for enabling unified, hybrid multi-cloud storage stands out, and no surprise, the company has emerged as a leader and outperformer in three recent GigaOm Radar reports: GigaOm Radar for Cloud File Systems, Sept. 2021; GigaOm Radar for Enterprise Scale-Out File Systems, Dec. 2021; and GigaOm Radar for Primary Storage for Large Enterprises, Dec. 2021.
NetApp is building its product portfolio around a compelling vision, with a next-generation, hybrid multi-cloud unified storage approach that includes:
- Unified storage for different environments with interfaces that address traditional admins and cloud and DevOps teams alike
- Multiple options for customers to seamlessly shift workloads between different environments
- Financial tools to make the economic transition more cloud- and OpEx-friendly
Finally, it should be noted that NetApp is doing all this with its trusted data storage management software, NetApp ONTAP.
4. About Enrico SignorettiEnrico Signoretti
Enrico Signoretti has more than 25 years in technical product strategy and management roles. He has advised mid-market and large enterprises across numerous industries, and worked with a range of software companies from small ISVs to global providers.
Enrico is an internationally renowned expert on data storage—and a visionary, author, blogger, and speaker on the topic. He has tracked the evolution of the storage industry for years, as a Gigaom Research Analyst, an independent analyst, and as a contributor to the Register.
5. About GigaOm
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