NetApp plays Spot the difference in cloud services build-out

NetApp today issued a fistful of public cloud announcements at the NetApp Insight conference, covering containerised app deployment, predictive monitoring and Windows VDI.

On the Spot

The new containerised app deployment service springs from NetApp’s acquisition of Spot, a cloud broker, in June. Today, the company introduces Spot Storage, a “storageless” service that works with Spot Ocean, an existing serverless facility. The launch means that Spot now abstracts server and storage details from Kubernetes-deployed containers.

Spot Ocean sets up serverless containerised app instances in the public cloud. “Serverless” means the cloud service provider (CSP) sets up the server instances needed to run the application containers.  The CSP also manages the details for Spot Storage, which means the user does not need to specify volume capacity, throughput, storage class and so forth.

B&F expects NetApp to provide integration between Spot and its Project Astra Kubernetes data lifecycle software,

Cloud Manager

NetApp today launched NetApp Cloud Manager, a public cloud-hosted service. This is a “new autonomous cloud volume platform, providing a single experience to manage NetApp hybrid, multi cloud storage and data services [with] full visibility and control across on premises, Azure, AWS and GCP storage.”

However it actually seems to be not entirely new – NetApp mentioned this in January 2018; “Hybrid Cloud Management with NetApp Cloud Manager (formerly OnCommand Cloud Manager).” 

Cloud Manager in 2018 provided “a single-pane view of your storage system irrespective of whether your system is deploying in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, or on-premises;” – not a lot different from what NetApp is announcing today.

OnCommand provided a cloud storage service catalogue, facilities to analyse cloud storage delivery, automated data and virtual machine (VM) movement, and user self-service, as far back as 2011.

How does Cloud Manager differ from Cloud Insights? NetApp told us: “Cloud Manager is the global control plane which provides a single interface for the provisioning, deployment, and management of NetApp’s cloud storage services.

“Cloud Insights is an enterprise-class monitoring tool designed specifically for cloud-drive architectures, and providing visibility into both infrastructure (NetApp and other) and application resources. From a topological perspective, Cloud Insights sits ‘above’ the Cloud Manager-based resources, taking all of those into account along with the rest of the customer’s infrastructure.  Cloud Insights only monitors the infrastructure, it does not control it.”

Windows VDI deployment manager

NetApp’s new Windows VDI deployment service hails from the company’s CloudJumper acquisition in April.

The NetApp Virtual Desktop Management Service orchestrates Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in AWS, Azure and GCP as well as on private clouds. The fully managed, cloud-based service is accompanied by a validated hybrid cloud virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) design.

VDS automates many tasks such as setting up SMB file shares (for user profiles, shared data, and the user home drive), enabling Windows features, application and agent installation, a firewall, and policies. The VDS offering specifically supports Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) on Microsoft Azure.