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NetApp unveils updates to industry’s ‘only unified data storage solution’

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NetApp, a cloud-led, data centric software company, has made updates to what it describes as the industry’s only unified data storage solution, including new block storage products, multiple improvements to public cloud storage services, and updates to NetApp Keystone Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) – all designed to drive simplicity, savings, security and sustainability for customers. 

Over two decades ago, NetApp introduced unified storage to the industry. Now, NetApp has extended the definition of unified data storage to an entire architecture that enables file, block, and object workloads. Unified data storage provides a common storage operating system that spans multiple on-premises storage offerings and every major public cloud, unified by a common API set and single control plane.

This includes the leading unified all-Flash storage, NetApp AFF, the new block-optimised all-Flash storage, NetApp ASA, and the only first-party, cloud-native storage solutions running on all of the three largest public clouds with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, Microsoft Azure NetApp Files, and Google Cloud NetApp Volumes. 

“As we unveil updates to our enterprise-grade storage portfolio, we’re setting the stage for a transformative era in data management,” said Harv Bhela, chief product officer at NetApp. “NetApp’s portfolio, spanning on-premises and all major public clouds, reinforces our dedication to customers to deliver unified storage solutions that meet the evolving needs of modern enterprises and provide unmatched simplicity, savings, security, and sustainability.” 

Delivering unmatched savings and sustainability for block storage 

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Earlier this year, NetApp introduced the AFF C-Series system, an industry-leading unified-capacity flash storage offering, and it has become the fastest ramping product introduction in company history. 

Over 20,000 customers trust NetApp for block workloads running on its mission-critical SAN infrastructure. To better serve these customers and the overall block storage market, NetApp introduced the NetApp All-Flash SAN Array (ASA) earlier this year. The NetApp ASA provides enterprise-grade block storage with guaranteed availability and efficiency.  

“NetApp’s all-flash SAN storage made a big difference in our critical infrastructure environment, including VMware and S/4 HANA,” said Tristan Roberts. digital infrastructure leader at TasNetworks. “It greatly simplified our data management with integrated data protection and disaster recovery and enabled us to achieve simplified business continuity with MetroCluster. We are always interested in enhancements to the product set, including the greater outcomes for cost-efficiency and sustainability with ASA C-series.” 

Driving capacity flash and block storage innovation even further, NetApp announced the new NetApp ASA C-Series family today at NetApp INSIGHT 2023. The ASA C-Series uses capacity flash for the best balance of performance and cost savings in the industry, with leading sustainability. Delivering the speed of flash at close to disk prices, the NetApp ASA provides a 4:1 storage efficiency guarantee and a Six Nines (99.9999%) data availability guarantee*. With industry-leading cyber-resilience, the ASA C-Series is also eligible for the NetApp Ransomware Recovery Guarantee*, and is cloud connected to allow for disaster recovery, backup, and tiering to cloud, allowing organisations to modernise their environments, optimising data storage for VMware vSphere, and accelerating SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL database workloads, with integrated application-aware backup. 

“NetApp ASA storage provides customers with a tailored solution to deliver high-performance and guaranteed high availability (99.9999%) storage for critical applications, databases, and VMware infrastructure, without creating bespoke infrastructure silos,” said Sandeep Singh, senior VP and GM of Enterprise Storage at NetApp. “Our ASA C-Series now redefines block storage, combining these unmatched ASA storage capabilities and capacity flash, making enterprise-grade block storage more affordable and sustainable than ever.” 

To help customers make a no-regrets move to a NetApp block storage solution, a variety of services are now available at no additional cost. This includes up-front solution design assessment that includes the evaluation of any existing architecture, free data migration, software license and services, or three months of complimentary NetApp storage support during the migration period and free training workshops.* 

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Ongoing enhancements to the only first-party, cloud-native storage across the three largest public clouds 

NetApp first introduced its enterprise storage into the public cloud nearly a decade ago, in 2014. Today, NetApp has the only first-party, cloud-native storage offered on all three of the largest public clouds. 

Google Cloud NetApp Volumes was just introduced in August 2023, and already is being enhanced with a new Standard service layer, driving an over 30% reduction in cost/GB, while still supplying the same multi-protocol files services with integrated data protection, available across 14 Google Cloud regions.  

Meanwhile, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP will lower overall TCO by taking advantage of VPC Peering to connect to VMware Cloud on AWS. The addition of unified file and object access via the ONTAP S3 API simplifies data access for cloud native applications developed to utilise object storage. Microsoft Azure NetApp Files now has enhanced capacity scaling, enhanced performance for Oracle databases and support for transparent automated tiering of data to the Azure Cool Blob tier for improved cost savings. 

Delivering new Storage-as-a-Service options and improved assurance with NetApp Keystone. 

NetApp continues to drive new options for customers to consume the strongest enterprise storage portfolio. Earlier this month, Equinix and NetApp announced NetApp Storage on Equinix Metal, powered by NetApp Keystone, lets organisations power business-critical workloads with a full stack solution, through a single monthly invoice 

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NetApp has enhanced its Keystone Storage-as-a-Service, delivering the most comprehensive set of guarantees for a STaaS offering. Customers can now take advantage of integrated performance and availability guarantees. The previously announced Keystone sustainability service-level agreement (SLA) helps companies reduce their carbon footprints with automated data tiering, sustainability monitoring, and cancellation of overprovisioning, on premises and in the cloud. NetApp is also previewing a goal to offer a ransomware recovery guarantee for Keystone in the next 90 days.

Ashish Nadkarni, group VP and GM, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies and BuyerView Research at IDC, said: “NetApp continues to drive innovation across the enterprise and the public cloud with its unified data storage portfolio.

“Customer demand continues to grow for simplified storage at a lower cost and less environmental impact, and the new NetApp ASA C-Series will be a formidable option for these customers. NetApp’s Keystone program continues to grow, offering customers the guarantee they need.” 

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: NetApp, Storage

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Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

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As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

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Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

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Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

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With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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