Azure NetApp Files is moving beyond merely providing storage; it's now enabling a new, elite class of Azure applications that are superior in ability and quality. But what do we mean when we say “elite enterprise applications”? What is ‘elite’, essentially, in the context of the cloud?
The word ‘elite’ is generally used to denote a select group that’s superior to another group because of its prowess or excellence in an area. So when we say elite, we’re referring to Azure NetApp Files’ superior speed, reliability, throughput, and ease of use (check out these performance benchmarks for specific details).
Equally, the applications that our enterprise class users rely on are also elite; our customers tend to purchase top-of-the-line products for analytics, order management, customer service, and other high-performing, intensive database applications. Until now, some of these elite apps were impossible to create in, or migrate to, the Azure cloud; many other applications were next to impossible to migrate—meaning that it could be done, but not without great difficulty. With Azure NetApp Files, you have a secure, high-availability, cloud environment that can support NFS or SMB file shares without any code or configuration changes. This is a first for the cloud.
Azure NetApp Files: Supporting the Best
Azure NetApp Files is designed to support any enterprise applications that need the agility to rapidly scale up or down; that’s crucial across many application types, but in this case, it’s pivotal for high-performing workloads requiring high throughput. Azure NetApp Files is built for Azure applications that demand high-throughput, low-latency, high IOPS, and rapid recovery.
When companies approach us about Azure NetApp Files, they’re usually looking for one of three things. They want to build net new applications inside of Azure (according to Forbes, 80% of internally developed software is now cloud enabled or cloud native). Or they want to migrate existing applications to Azure (according to the Cloud Security Alliance, 69% of enterprises are moving their business-critical applications to the cloud). Our final, and very typical, use case for Azure NetApp Files, is customers who want to extract insights from data and AI applications in Azure.
“Azure NetApp Files is enabling customers to get faster restore times and more throughput, and more predictable performance. Consistent and predictable cloud performance is what clients are after,” says Dan Armistead, Portfolio Director of NetApp. That level of performance includes Linux-based applications in databases.
Azure NetApp Files Lays Down the Welcome Mat
Because Windows and Linux are no longer arch nemeses, and Oracle—as well as many SAP databases—run on Linux, Azure NetApp Files wants to enable customers using Linux applications to have a simple, fast, and seamless experience in an environment in Azure that is identical to their environment on-premises. Any app that runs on Linux that needs shared network-attached storage (NAS) across their enterprise is ideally suited to Azure NetApp Files and, along with lift-and-shift applications, may be the most prominent use case for Azure Net App Files adoption.
In a world filled with partly complete services that offer you half of what you’re after, and then require you to deliver the rest on your own (rearchitecting, APIs, for example), NetApp and Microsoft have created a joint product in Azure NetApp Files that offers a higher level of service—an elite level—and closes the gaps.
“What Microsoft is doing is they're taking 25 years of NetApp innovation, and they're folding that into Microsoft, and you're getting all the forward-looking features and the values and benefits that NetApp brings to the table complemented by what Microsoft has to offer,” according to Armistead.
No one company can be the end-all-be-all. Microsoft needed NetApp.
And that partnership between Microsoft and NetApp—the two lay out the welcome mat for SAP and Oracle and all Linux-based applications in the Azure cloud—will help solve many of the data management challenges that our customers have. That’s good news for enterprises with file-based workloads currently running on-premises; many on-premises customers thought they were trapped in the data center, a jab that was felt particularly sharply for big workloads that run on databases like Oracle and, particularly SAP.
This is the first part in a two-part blog series about how Azure NetApp Files is enabling an elite class of enterprise apps. Part two will look at advancing the cloud-first mandate.
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