NetApp Teams With Microsoft to Protect SMB Data in the Cloud

By Doug Allen Comments
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Storage and data management vendor NetApp has stepped up its focus on SMBs, partnering with Microsoft on an enhanced cloud-data protection toolkit, and rolling out a new professional services suite for provider partners and direct sales reps, following up on its new NetApp Partner Program for service providers, announced last month.

On the product side, NetApp has upgraded its integration efforts with Microsoft’s Dynamic Data Center Toolkit for Hosters, extending enterprise-class protection capabilities to the SMB market. NetApp is the only storage vendor that currently interoperates with the Toolkit, which offers ample code and instruction for cloud service creation based on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and the Microsoft System Center Suite. Service providers can better protect data in the cloud through NetApp features such as disaster recovery, clustered failover, backup and recovery, enabling them to offer SMBs stronger SLAs at reduced costs, and giving customers the option to backup their private cloud data in their provider’s (public) cloud.

"SMB customers have many of the same disaster recovery and business continuity requirements as large enterprise organizations, but often times don't have the necessary skill set or budget needed to achieve the desired results," said Laura DuBois, program vice president, Storage Software and Solutions, IDC. "Solutions that address this gap by providing enterprise-level data protection along with the support and guidance needed to deploy will be integral in helping SMBs realize the true benefits of a cloud infrastructure."

As for its partner plans, NetApp has introduced a host of new consulting materials and design guidance documentation for Microsoft environments to help providers drive sales by supporting tougher SLAs. Providers can better assess ways to engineer a shared infrastructure deployment through educational tools and NetApp’s dedicated consulting team covering assessment, planning, architectural design and best-practices-based implementation. Specifically, the documentation focuses on core cloud offerings such as Exchange-, SharePoint-, Infrastructure-, Storage-, and Desktop-as-a-service.

And for those providers offering NetApp’s data protection as a service, NetApp has partnered with InControl software for SLA monitoring and management, providing provider administrators with real-time performance metrics so they can react proactively to network events or issues.

"The Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Toolkit allowed us to leverage NetApp technologies, which are a fundamental building block of our Guardian GeoCloud solution, to deliver a unique service and set ourselves apart in the marketplace," said Robert A. Bye, executive vice president at nGenX. "Using NetApp storage efficiency technologies such as thin provisioning and deduplication in Microsoft Hyper-V environments helps us maximize infrastructure utilization and lower costs for the end user. As a result, we use 50-60 percent less storage than we would otherwise need to support cloud services for our customers. We are really exploding some myths about the affordability of enterprise-class disaster recovery for our customers."

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