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NetApp launches BlueXP as single console across on-prem and cloud

BlueXP gives customers monitoring and control over all NetApp storage on-site and in multiple clouds. Meanwhile, its Ontap OS has added S3 object storage access

NetApp has announced BlueXP, a hybrid- and multicloud storage management platform that aims to give customers a single view of their on-premise and cloud NetApp storage, with the ability to monitor performance, migrate data between locations, and predict capacity and performance bottlenecks.

The announcement came at the company’s Insight events this week. NetApp also announced an upgrade to its Ontap operating system, which introduced S3 access, and full integration of its Instaclustr and CloudCheckr acquisitions to its Spot cloud management platform.

BlueXP will provide a single control plane in which all NetApp storage is visible. That includes on-site Ontap (NAS, etc), E-Series (flash-equipped SAN) and StorageGrid (object storage), as well as NetApp storage in AWS, Azure, Google and IBM public clouds.

The aim is for a single, unified environment across the datacentre and cloud(s) that can allow data to be moved and synchronised between them. Drag-and-drop operations or use of menus are the means for such functionality.

Ronen Schwartz, NetApp SVP and GM for cloud storage, said BlueXP is a response to customers who want to simplify their operations across on-site and potentially multiple cloud locations.

Customers will broadly be able to take two approaches – one where they have detailed control over all aspects of storage management, and one where they can settle for BlueXP-generated recommendations.

“The journey to the cloud has been happening for a long time now and for most customers, it is hybrid- and multicloud and on-prem,” said Schwartz. “We call it ‘the evolving cloud’, in which IT departments are asked to do more to support their own datacentre, a cloud they use frequently and maybe another cloud too.

“Customers want simplicity, and help in multicloud environments with security, compliance, consistency, sustainability and to make savings.”

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Workloads envisaged in which BlueXP could help customers would be those such as “customers running new SAP workloads, including Hana, where operations spanned on-prem and cloud working”, said Schwartz.

NetApp’s BlueXP move is similar to the direction other storage suppliers are taking, such as Pure Storage with its Pure1 platform, which integrates monitoring of its products across customer estates with consumption models of purchasing.

Meanwhile, upgrades to Ontap include tamper-proof – ie, non-deletable – snapshots to tackle ransomware. But a key announcement here is that all data stored in Ontap will be accessible via S3 commands.

The idea here is that data will be stored in S3 as a tiering layer, or “an efficiency layer”, said Schwartz, which may indicate longer access times.

But the integration of S3 accessibility is an interesting development that could appeal to users of, for example, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) workloads where they want to retain large amounts of unstructured data in object storage and more-rapidly available block and file data, all under NetApp Ontap-based hardware.

Here again, this reflects moves among storage suppliers to provide file-based and object storage in the same array. The driver here is increased prevalence of demand for unstructured data storage in both formats resulting from AI/ML and analytics operations, and its use in data warehouse and data lake scenarios.

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