NetApp Private Storage adds an Azure cloud option

Customers' own storage at collocation facilities can now link to Microsoft's cloud as well as AWS

Microsoft Azure just became the next cloud connection for NetApp Private Storage, which can already link enterprise storage to Amazon Web Services.

With NetApp Private Storage (NPS), organizations store their data in collocation centers to get it close to cloud computing services. In most cases, it's on the enterprise's own storage gear, though some data-center operators provide the equipment and sell a managed service, according to Phil Brotherton, vice president of NetApp's Cloud Solutions Group.

Public cloud services such as Azure represent an alternative to in-house storage as well as to on-premises computing infrastructure, so in the long term they could prove stiff competition for NetApp's core business. But as the range of options grows, many enterprises are embracing hybrid approaches today.

NetApp launched NPS in 2012 with a version for AWS. The idea was to let enterprises use a cloud service to gain flexibility and save money on computing infrastructure but keep the data under their own control. Within a collocation center, the storage gets a fast connection to the cloud. With NPS for Microsoft Azure, that link is over Azure's ExpressRoute technology, which is designed for private paths to the cloud service that don't go over the public Internet. NetApp says ExpressRoute can offer 36 percent better performance than a VPN (virtual private network) on the public Internet.

In addition to typical enterprise workloads such as SAP and Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases, NPS for Azure is well-suited to testing and development, NetApp said.

NPS for Azure is available now. Equinix is the first collocation partner offering direct ExpressRoute connections from NPS to Azure.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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