Guest Blog by NetApp: Delivering Practical, Proven, Integrated Cloud Solutions

By Wally MacDermid, Director of IT as a Service Solutions at NetApp

The word “dynamic” is very appropriate when discussing topics such as cloud and the transitions in customers’ data centers.

A year or so ago many of my conversations with customers, partners, and fellow NetApp employees included questions such as “What is cloud?” or “We have been told to build a cloud ... where should we start?”  Today, our customers want to talk about the reality:  “OK. I get it. Expanding my virtual environment to include a private cloud may be the key to addressing cost constraints and time to market demands. So tell me how we’re going to do it.” 

That’s where we see the critical need for deep, collaborative partnerships such as the one between Microsoft and NetApp.

Microsoft & NetApp’s joint integrated solutions provide virtualized infrastructure building blocks   

Almost by definition, it will be difficult for a single IT vendor to provide end-to-end, virtualized, service-oriented infrastructures on their own. From application to server to network to storage – with integrated management from end-to-end – there are significant challenges to be addressed and capabilities required at each layer of a virtualized infrastructure. Microsoft is a leader in application, server, and management solutions. NetApp is a leader in highly efficient and flexible storage solutions.  By integrating our solutions, Microsoft and NetApp are able to jointly show the customer “how to do it” by providing the virtualized infrastructure building blocks.

There's a great new video where Microsoft's Zane Adam discusses infrastructures for private clouds and how our collaboration on the Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center will help customers deploy cost-effective IT as a service infrastructures.

As Zane points out, Microsoft and NetApp are jointly developing integrated solutions for:

§  Server, storage, and management: Integrating Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Microsoft System Center and NetApp® storage technologies and leveraging the Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Centre (DIT-SC) to create an end-to-end architecture that helps streamline VM provisioning, backup, recovery, and the overall management of virtualized infrastructures.

§  Application, storage, and management: Integrating Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, and Microsoft SQL Server with NetApp storage systems improves communications and collaboration plus can greatly accelerate software development and testing.

§  Enterprise IT customers as well as Service Providers and Hosters: while many aspects of virtualized, service-oriented infrastructures are similar between internal/private clouds and external/public clouds, there are certain differences (variety and nature of service levels, cost and chargeback processes, etc.). Microsoft and NetApp have dedicated teams working with both types of customers to understand their specific requirements and to tailor our integrations to meet these requirements.

In fact, last month NetApp and Microsoft announced a formal three-year strategic partnership focused on continuing to deepen our technical integration efforts for virtualization, private cloud computing and storage management.

What will the “dynamic” world of enterprise IT bring us over the next year? I believe far less confusion and discussion about what terms and words, and many more practical, proven, integrated solutions that solve real problems as customers continue to build out their dynamic data centers. 

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