Guest Blog: Microsoft Partners with NetApp to Drive Efficiency and Agility in the Data Center

By Lee Gates, Senior Manager – Microsoft Solutions Engineering at NetApp


NetApp and Microsoft jointly announced a new three-year strategic partnership focused on deepening our technical integration efforts for virtualization, private cloud computing and storage management for Microsoft infrastructures and applications including Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server and other workloads.


This announcement reflects the work that our respective product teams are doing to help our mutual customers design and implement truly dynamic data centers based on flexible, cost-effective infrastructure.

Admittedly, as soon as we start tossing around terms like “flexible” and “cost-effective” this starts to look like marketing fluff. So let me give you some specifics.


Microsoft’s Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center Will Help Us Enable Our Joint Customers to Rapidly Provision a Virtual Infrastructure


Since last summer, NetApp, a charter member of Microsoft’s Dynamic Data Center Alliance, has been working closely with the Microsoft Windows Solution Accelerator Team as they develop the Microsoft Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center (aka DIT-SC; availability scheduled in the first half of 2010). The DIT-SC is a free, partner-extensible toolkit that provides a framework for creating agile, virtualized IT infrastructures. IT teams can leverage the toolkit with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and SCVMM 2008 along with partner extensions to plan, operate and deliver the foundation for a private cloud.


Many analysts agree that NetApp is the leading innovator in storage for virtual environments, and we’ve been working closely with Microsoft to align our solutions. For example, our newly released SnapManager for Hyper-V product supports new Windows Server 2008 R2 capabilities such as Cluster Shared Volumes and we recently released a new Management Pack enabling centralized storage monitoring for virtual and physical environments via System Center.


By partnering with Microsoft on the DIT-SC, we enable our joint customers to take advantage of our unique capabilities as they progress in with their private cloud implementations, plus capabilities associated with a multitude of other products and tools from other Microsoft partners through a single common Microsoft interface.


One initial area of focus for the toolkit involves enabling our joint customers to rapidly provision a virtual infrastructure. NetApp’s cloning technology has a unique value-add in this area that enables VMs to be provisioned near-instantaneously with space-efficient virtual copies of golden VM images. We enable rapid cloning with a set of PowerShell scripts and cmdlets that integrate with SCVMM that are called by the DIT-SC as part of the workflow for provisioning VMs.


Our engineering, product, sales, and marketing teams are excited about the joint solutions NetApp and Microsoft are developing and enhancing together. Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted on our integration with the DIT-SC with regular updates on the NetApp for Microsoft Environments blog.


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