NetApp announces upgrades across hybrid cloud portfolio

Many of the enhancements are part of the new version of NetApp’s ONTAP software, which include ransomware protection, NVMe over TCP support and expanded data services.

At NetApp’s virtualized INSIGHT 2021 event on Wednesday, the company announced a series of new and enhanced solutions across their hybrid cloud portfolio. These include the latest release of their ONTAP software, which adds a major focus on ransomware detection, as well as NVMe over TCP support and expanded data services.

They also enhanced their data services, with new digital wallet capabilities for NetApp Cloud Manager. The NetApp Keystone Flex Subscription has been expanded, and a new hardware system, the AFF A900, was announced.

“I’m passionate about relentless innovation,” said Octavian Tanese, SVP of Hybrid Cloud Engineering at NetApp. “This event is all about innovation, including customer-driven and partner-driven innovation. There is massive innovation in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform. People whose data is still in data centres want to take advantage of flexibility in the cloud. Security is still a major force in the desire to modernize data centres. That’s what we believe is top of mind for the customers.”

NetApp unveiled their new ONTAP 9.10 Enterprise Data Management Software, with enhancements that protect against ransomware and provide customers with advanced detection and enhanced recovery capabilities.

“We continue to evolve our ONTAP franchise, both in the traditional data centre and in the cloud,” Tanase said. “Ransomware detection is major focus, using machine learning with pre-emptive detection and new capabilities based on file entropy that enable rapid recovery.”

The ONTAP software also adds NVMe over TCP support, complementing and in many ways in improving on the NVMe over Fibre Channel support they introduced three years ago.

“We came out with NVME over Fibre Channel first because it was much faster to get to market,” Tanase indicated. “It took less time for Linux vendors to implement that spec. NVMe over TCP is better suited to today’s more modern technologies like high speed networking, however. Now, NVMe over TCP is coming to market with support from VMware and the Linux vendors.”

This new ONTAP release will also power the upcoming NetApp AFF A900, a new all-flash system for business-critical workloads that gives customers an easy upgrade from the AFF A700.

“The AFF 900 will be our new flagship platform, and while it is initially flash, it  will be eventually be hybrid,” Tanese said. It is scheduled for November availability.

Data Services have been announced with new digital wallet capabilities available in NetApp Cloud Manager, such as license mobility, pre-paid license credits, and the ability to view usage of cloud service licenses in a single pane.

“The digital wallet is significant in the way that it enables flexible licensing,” Tanese noted. “We are looking to enable additional integrations of services, which is why we are also integrating our Active IQ, an AI platform which collects data from most systems customers deploy and enables AI analysis. Some of the professional services we have built around hybrid cloud management are very transparent to our partners, and we hope many of them will build something similar to what we do, so we can better enable them.”

Other ONTAP-related announcements include enhancements to NetApp Cloud Backup and Cloud Data Sense services, simplified deployment of Cloud Volumes ONTAP with new customer-ready templates, and deeper integrations with NetApp Cloud Insights and ONTAP software to support Kubernetes workloads.

NetApp’s Keystone subscription service sold on a consumption model, whose unveiling was the focus of the last physical NetApp INSIGHT in 2019, has received another upgrade, Workload Analysis, to provide a consistent multi-cloud experience, on and of premises, with financial flexibility.

“The Keystone subscription continues to grow, and is being used by both medium and large companies,” Tanese said. “The number of partners using it is also growing. For the channel, the work we are doing with Keystone is very important, because many partners are looking to modernize their offers.”

Other consumption related news was the announcement that NetApp is now offering a new freemium service tier for Cloud Volumes ONTAP, giving  customers  access to a fully featured, perpetual license to use ONTAP in the cloud for workloads needing less than 500GB of storage. This consumption flexibility allows using enterprise-grade data services for small workloads such as Kubernetes clusters at no initial cost. A subscription is needed only if the workload scales as it matures.

On the cloud front, NetApp announced a new service with Google Cloud that makes it easier for the customer to port VMware-based applications to Google Cloud

“We have been co-creating with the big hyperscalers around ONTAP,” Tanese stated. “We have integrated our Cloud Volumes Service with Google Cloud VMware engine. This complements a similar integration we have with AWS, and we believe that this will have massive impact.”

NetApp also announced an expansion of their relationship around Azure NetApp Files, a fully managed, first-party service that Microsoft sells.

“We have had a successful partnership around NetApp files, and we are now announcing some interesting new capabilities around backup and cross-regional replication,” Tanese said. These include the general availability of Azure Cross Region Replication, a public preview of Azure NetApp Files Backup, and of Spot PC for secure, optimized Azure Virtual Desktop-based Cloud PC environments.