CFD13 – Day 1 – “The Cloud” acquiesces to Enterprise Storage

I was as surprised as anyone to hear that in the Fall of 2021, AWS announced the general availability of FSx for NetApp ONTAP. Immediately, I visualized racks of co-located storage arrays with custom NetApp “Cloud” Storage logos hung on each cabinet door.

No, that’s not very cloudlike, that can’t be it, I thought. My mind then went to the possibility of fleets of ONTAP virtual appliances deployed in automated fashion and attached to customer VPC’s. The virtual appliance model isn’t very “cloudy”, either. It’s hard to imagine an official AWS service offering based on that approach, but it’s possible.

Fortunately, as the NetApp team clarified during their presentation and roundtable discussion at Cloud Field Day 13, the partnership with AWS has resulted in a deeper level of integration than the scenarios I was envisioning. The joint engineering effort has apparently resulted in a fully-fledged cloud service, where the functionality of ONTAP is hosted and exposed using the same approach as other core AWS services (although the details couldn’t be shared).

I am not going to speculate as to why the specific vendor and technology decision was made, rather than extending the functionality of existing offerings to provide the full suite of expected Enterprise data services, like multiprotocol support, replication, snapshotting, and disaster-recovery orchestration.

It’s worthwhile to simply look at this service-offering strategy as an acknowledgement of the continuing importance of infrastructure-level services, and the potential barrier to cloud adoption that matters of storage represent.

The practicality of historical comfortability has clashed with the idealism of what the cloud “should be”, and the cloud has adapted. It’s an interesting development.

Tune in tomorrow for more Cloud Field Day 13.

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