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Storage - Why Kiwi businesses should embrace cloud on their terms

Cloud adoption, in all its private, public and hybrid glory, is on the rise. Here’s how to Kiwi businesses can benefit from storage
  • IDG staff (New Zealand Reseller News)
  • 11 June, 2015 11:19

Cloud adoption, in all its private, public and hybrid glory, is on the rise.

While this is no longer groundbreaking news for the industry, as more organisations across New Zealand take to the skies, business conditions are changing fast.

Amidst such a seismic industry change, growing volumes of data are avalanching down on IT decision makers, as cloud storage becomes an integral part of Kiwi business strategy.

During the past twelve months alone, many changes have impacted this new age of data for organisations, as the future of the storage market continues its ascension.

“There have been two clear trends in the New Zealand storage market during the past few years,” says Matt Hurford, Systems Engineer Director, NetApp Australia and New Zealand.

“Firstly we have the move to cloud, which according to a number of analysts has reduced the size of the addressable storage market for traditional storage vendors.”

The second disruption, according to Hurford, has been the rise of the storage startup. As competition increases within the marketplace, the emergence of startups in New Zealand, and across the world, are helping to shake up the status quo with innovative technologies.

Throwing a number of All Flash storage vendors into the mix also, while the new players are not taking much market share, Hurford believes they are helping to redefine the storage buying criteria.

“NetApp is well placed in the Flash market and with the All Flash FAS (AFF) offering providing the most complete Flash solution in the market today,” he adds.

“NetApp does not run its own cloud services, rather it supports and enables service providers and hyperscaler cloud providers who can leverage NetApp technologies to build best of breed cloud services.”

In the Australian and New Zealand markets, NetApp supports over 20 local cloud service providers, as well as providing storage solutions with AWS and Azure with the company’s Data ONTAP operating system ranking as the number one cloud storage OS globally.

At the heart of growing adoption of cloud storage is NetApp’s Data Fabric strategy, labelled within the industry as a key driver in positioning the company as a global data management titan.

Yet despite NetApp’s widely held belief that customers require a more unified view of enterprise data, Hurford accepts that confusion remains as to the best combination of on-premise and off-premise cloud architecture.

“A good analogy of this is when you purchase a house, you look at the rooms, but don’t really look at the plumbing, but this is crucial because if the plumbing doesn’t work, well you get the gist,” he explains.

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For Hurford, the same is true when considering cloud infrastructure. It’s not so much about which cloud or on-premise vs. off-premise but more about how data can move seamlessly between those environments through the ‘plumbing’ that connects them.

“Overall NetApp believes that while some customers will move entirely to the cloud, most will adopt a hybrid cloud model, running the right workloads in the right place, at the right time,” Hurford adds.

“You need agility to really gain the benefits of fast evolving cloud landscape and at its core that is what the NetApp Data Fabric vision is all about.

“The hardest thing to move in a hybrid cloud model is the data, and NetApp provides the ability to manage and move your data between a private on-premise cloud, the hyperscaler clouds and a number of local service providers who run NetApp as their data management platform.”

When purchasing cloud infrastructure, and in assessing the key criteria organisations should consider, Hurford urges businesses to understand what can be moved to the cloud, and crucially, what can be moved back off the cloud service.

In New Zealand specifically, there all also considerations around International data costs, and data sovereignty rules while the recent exchange rate fluctuations with the USD have also impacted the viability of some of the hyperscaler solutions.

“Ultimately moving to a cloud model is about changing your procurement model and it requires discipline to control the costs and gain the true value in a cloud OPEX model, and understanding the operational changes an organisation needs to make is key to success in the transition,” Hurford adds.

“Not many organisations turn off the servers they aren’t using to save money; but that might need to become best practice in a hyperscaler world.”

Hurford, in echoing NetApp’s approach to the cloud, believes that customers require a seamless data fabric, so that regardless of where the data lives, and what hardware it lives on, customers are able to access and move data around easily.

“One of the key components of the Data Fabric enabled by NetApp is the SnapMirror replication software,” Hurford adds.

Ranked as the number one data replication software solution, SnapMirror possesses the ability to “thin” replicate 4K block that have storage efficiencies applied over an IP link, meaning it can be applied to most use cases.

“NetApp can also provide cloud backup services using the AltaVault solution, and this can push encrypted, storage efficient backup copies from onsite to cloud object stores in AWS or Azure,” Hurford adds.

“Management of these cloud based replication processes can be managed from a single pane of glass with the OnCommand Cloud Manager software.”

Compared to competing cloud vendors, Hurford believes that with NetApp, a customer has the “greatest choice” for cloud services.

“Not only do we have a vast number of local service providers running NetApp solutions, but we are unique in that we can offer co-location services with AWS and Azure as well as software only offering inside the AWS marketplace,” he explains.

“We can run any application, using any protocol, on any storage media, in any cloud.”

With a dedicated cloud division across both Australia and New Zealand, performing at the leading edge of innovation for over five years, Hurford says NetApp’s local team is tasked with ensuring partners can setup, sell and differentiate cloud services built on NetApp.

To try NetApp’s cloud offerings, visit poc.netapp.com