NetApp makes its big Kubernetes play with Astra

NetApp CloudJumper

NetApp today officially released NetApp Astra, the company’s data management suite for Kubernetes workloads.

Astra is a SaaSy NetApp-managed service that protects, recovers and moves containerised applications. There is no software to download, install, manage, or upgrade.

Eric Han, NetApp’s product management VP for public cloud services, said in the launch statement: “Backup, cloning, disaster recovery, data lifecycle operations, data optimisation, compliance, and security are all critical to any organisation. Taken together, these challenges increase complexity. That’s directly at odds with Kubernetes’ goal of simpler, faster and more flexible application development and deployment – a vision that NetApp Astra will help to realise.”

Rushi NS, chief architect of SAP, is a fan: “Astra will make it dramatically easier to manage, protect, and move data-rich Kubernetes workloads across public clouds and on-premises. I look forward to collaborating with NetApp as they continue to develop Astra.” 

Astra details

Astra supports Kubernetes applications hosted on Google Kubernetes Engine clusters in Google Cloud, with NetApp’s fully-managed Cloud Volumes Service (CVS) for Google Cloud acting as the persistent storage provider. 

Astra screenshot.

Customers register their Kubernetes clusters with Astra. The service automatically discovers all applications running in these clusters, and provisions storage and storage classes, using NetApp’s Trident storage orchestrator. It then makes data management functions available for use. These include:

  • Protecting data with snapshots – to recover data inside a single Kubernetes cluster
  • Disaster recovery, using application-aware backup – backups can be sent to a remote Kubernetes cluster in the same region or a different one
  • Application migration with active clones – move entire applications and data to a different Kubernetes cluster, regardless of distance.

Today’s launch marks the completion of the initial phase of NetApp’s Project Astra. The company said it will soon add support for Azure, AWS and on-premises. Astra will support numerous persistent storage providers, application-awareness for popular cloud-native applications, and enhanced data management functionality.

Sayan Saha, NetApp’s senior director of product management, has laid out the direction of Astra development in a blog post: “We view Kubernetes as the next-generation cluster operating system that will run all workloads, both modern and traditional, over time.” 

NetApp Astra.


Kubernetes is heading to the heart of Enterprise IT. As NetApp’s Sayan Saha, writes: Kubernetes is now the strategic platform of choice for running next-generation workloads that include CI/CD pipelines, scale-out database clusters, machine learning, financial risk modelling, genome sequencing, oil and gas exploration, and media processing.”

Data wrangling for Kubernetes-orchestrated containers is the new storage frontier. Ionir, Pure Storage’s Portworx, Veeam’s Kasten, Commvault’s Hedvig, StorageOS, SUSE’s Rancher, MayaData’s Mayastor, Rook and many others are building products and services to mine this very rich, new seam.