Data is the most important part of an application. It’s what turns a generic invoicing system or contact list into a key component of a business. When it comes to enterprise storage, data is the most troublesome part to manage - it requires care, consideration, and control. Although the cloud has brought us new ways to write applications that can stay running at all times, that ability is predicated on the application being stateless: having no data.
A stateless application with no data is just a generic application without much value, at least not by itself. It needs the data to come alive.
New organizations that started in the last five years might be able to use this new way of writing applications exclusively. For everyone else, there are existing applications that are performing useful, important functions. Rewriting all those applications or completely changing an organization’s workflows to use cloud-based systems overnight isn’t realistic.
What is needed is a bridge to the cloud, enabling existing applications to run with existing enterprise storage data solutions.
Moving Enterprise Storage to the Cloud
Enterprise storage hasn't had a place in the cloud, until now. By moving trusted enterprise storage technology to the cloud, NetApp® Cloud Volumes ONTAP® (formerly ONTAP Cloud) enables enterprises to move data, and thus applications, more easily. It also creates new opportunities to leverage cloud computing for testing and rapid development.
NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP brings the benefits of an enterprise storage array to the cloud and makes it easy to use cloud in an enterprise manner. Cloud Volumes ONTAP creates a virtual NetApp storage array running on cloud infrastructure with all the features found in the data center.
Virtual compute instances can be activated in the cloud alongside this new storage solution, acting as a bridge for applications but also enabling cloud benefits.
Because data is so critical to applications, enterprises have always been careful about which storage devices they trust. NetApp has been at the core of the enterprise data center for more than two decades, and the NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP storage operating system has evolved to be one of the most trusted in the industry.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Volumes ONTAP?
Cloud Volumes ONTAP uses the same trusted Cloud Volumes ONTAP software, running virtually in the cloud as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) in Amazon Web Services (AWS).
It is scale-out Cloud Volumes ONTAP running on Amazon EC2 instances—the same software found in the data center, only with added drivers enabling it to communicate with Amazon’s virtual machine abstraction and Elastic Block Store (EBS) storage.
This means that all of the Cloud Volumes ONTAP features found in physical NetApp arrays have been brought to AWS, with some additional benefits. Cloud Volumes ONTAP instances can be accessed and managed just like on-site NetApp storage arrays. The same storage protocols are supported, including NFS, SMB/CIFS, and iSCSI.
NetApp Snapshot® capabilities make it simple to save and share point-in-time copies of data, and NetApp SnapMirror® replication software can be used to move data between arrays, even from the data center to the cloud.
Running Cloud Volumes ONTAP in AWS requires coordination with the underlying components, EC2 and EBS, just as a physical storage system, needs to coordinate with disk shelves and drives.
NetApp provides a software component for this, called, NetApp OnCommand® Cloud Manager, which uses AWS credentials to automatically configure all of the underlying elements required for an Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance.
The combination of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, OnCommand Cloud Manager, and AWS brings trusted and feature-rich NetApp storage systems to the cloud.