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NetApp storage array now spans into Amazon's cloud

Signaling a continued effort by Amazon Web Services to make its cloud more appealing to enterprise users, the company has announced a partnership with storage provider NetApp that will allow customers to have a consistent storage array powered by NetApp on both their own premises and in Amazon's cloud.

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The partnership marks the first major storage vendor that Amazon has a partnership with, according to NetApp officials. "Enterprises love the cost and agility of the public cloud, but there are certain challenges holding people back from taking advantage of the public cloud as much as they can be," says Tom Shields, product marketing with NetApp. "Whether there is a perceived or real risk around data availability, security and compliance, people want to be able to run business critical apps in the cloud, but the performance of storage just hasn't been up to the task."

NetApp announced the news at AWS's user conference in Las Vegas, in conjunction with Amazon. Shields says the system can be architected in a variety of ways, but one of the most common he expects will be to have a common NetApp storage component that is controlled by the customer residing either in their data center or in a collocation facility, as well as having a second NetApp storage array hosted in Amazon's cloud. They can then be constantly mirrored to ensure they are both consistent, or the common architecture across both sites could allow data to migrate easily from one site to the other as resources are needed.

Shields says he envisions this being used most heavily for legacy applications that enterprises may want to expose to Amazon cloud resources to be able to scale, but they still want to be housed within NetApp storage arrays. Many NetApp customers run Oracle and SAP software in NetApp, for example. Amazon does offer SAP software as a hosted solution, but Shields says some enterprises still want to keep a copy, or even have the master copy of such programs on their own premises.

NetApp plans to distribute the new architecture through its channel of value-added resellers (VAR), such as Abnet, an integration company that works with Netapp, Amazon and Equinix, in case a customer wants to use collocation services.

The move marks the latest appeal by AWS to enterprise customers, which Vice President of Marketing for AWS Adam Selipsky says has been a concerted effort for the company in the past year. "Enterprises have been a focus for us for several years," he says. "Enterprise adoption has accelerated rapidly and enterprises are a significant portion of AWS adoption."

He points to other recent announcements, like the Redshift news, as well as announcement about Glacier - a long-term storage service - as being other indications that AWS is focusing on enterprise-class services.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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