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Microsoft, NetApp Partner To Bring NFS to Azure

An Azure-native enterprise version of NetApp's Network File System (NFS) will be ready for public preview in early 2018, part of an ongoing partnership between Microsoft and NetApp.

The two companies have previously collaborated to let enterprises move their enterprise storage workloads to Microsoft Azure. The upcoming Enterprise NFS Service, which is based on NetApp's flagship Data ONTAP storage operating and management platform, was announced this week at NetApp Insight, the company's annual customer and partner conference.

Administrators will be able to access the new service from the Azure console, which NetApp said will appeal to cloud architects and storage managers seeking to bring NFS services natively to Azure for workloads such as database-oriented analytics, e-mail and disaster recovery. According to a statement by Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Microsoft's cloud business unit, the solution will provide "visibility and control across Azure, on-premises and hosted NFS workloads."

The offering will enable the provisioning and automation at scale of NFS services using RESTful APIs, with added data protection offered through the ability to create on-demand, automated snapshots. The service will support both V3 and V4 workloads running in Azure, as well as hybrid deployments, according to NetApp. It will also include integration with various Azure services, including SQL Server and SAP HANA for Azure.

NetApp also said the pack calls for integrating Data ONTAP software with Azure Stack, which CEO George Kurian said in a recorded video presentation will speed the migration of enterprise applications to Azure Stack and Azure.

Kurian also said Microsoft and NetApp are integrating the latter's all-flash-based FabricPool technology, which "manages cold data by tiering in a cost-effective manner to the cloud and integration of fabric pools together with Azure Blob Storage. It gives customers a really capable hybrid cloud data service and allows them to optimize their own datacenters."

NetApp's Cloud Control for Office 365 now supports Azure Storage and will soon be available in the EMEA and APAC regions, allowing local instances of Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint. Microsoft and NetApp are working to provide more extensive integration with Cloud Control for Office 365 and NetApp's AltaVault archiving platform, enabling customers to choose between hot, cool and cold storage options in Azure for backup and disaster recovery requirements.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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