AWS Extends Scope of Cloud Storage Services

    Amazon Web Services has extended its alliance with NetApp to create a fully managed cloud storage service based on the NetApp ONTAP file system.

    At the same time, AWS has enhanced the S3 cloud storage service based on an object storage system to make it easier to deploy applications that span multiple regions. The cloud service provider has also improved upload/download performance for the S3 service by up to 60% and revamped the Amazon S3 Intelligent Tiering service to remove the minimum duration requirement for all objects stored and removed fees for objects smaller than 128 KB.

    AWS has added an Amazon Elastic File System Intelligent Tiering capability that makes it easier for customers to optimize costs for storing data on different tiers of services when access patterns for data change and an AWS Transfer Managed Workflows feature that reduces the manual tasks required for preprocessing data for file transfers

    Finally, an audit manager tool for AWS Backup Audit Manager and support for 64TB snapshots when employing the Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) service.

    Providing Managed Services

    When it comes to storage, AWS is best known for its S3 service. The cloud service provider has been working closely with NetApp to enable files to be stored on its cloud. The managed service now extends that effort to include a managed service through which the NetApp ONTAP file system is managed by AWS on behalf of customers. The goal is to make it easier for organizations to shift applications that depend on accessing files to the cloud using NetApp ONTAP, the open source Lustre file system, or the Windows file system, says Edward Naim, general manager, Amazon FSx.

    File systems are widely employed in on-premises IT environments and in many ways make it easier to organize data than an object storage system that typically scales higher. “File systems have some advantages over object,” says Naim.  

    In general, NetApp remains committed to providing access to ONTAP regardless of where IT teams store files, says Anthony Lye, executive vice president and general manager for public cloud at NetApp.

    Also read: Edge AI: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Edge Computing

    Use Cases for OnTAP

    In addition to on-premises IT environments that deploy NetApp storage systems, the ONTAP file system can be deployed in the cloud or at the network edge to store data as close as possible to the applications that consume that data via the NetApp application programming interface (API).

    Use cases will span everything from intelligent tiering and cloud bursting from on-premises IT environments to the building of data fabrics spanning a heterogeneous IT environment, adds Lye. “Anything that writes to the NetApp API will be compatible,” he says.

    Most new cloud applications are employing object storage, but the bulk of existing applications that are being lifted and shifted to the cloud require access to a file system such as NetApp ONTAP. It’s not clear yet if object storage will one day eliminate the need for file systems. However, if that day were to arrive it’s still years away. The challenge now is finding the best way to manage all of the different classes of storage services that applications now routinely employ in a way that best preserves the sanity of the IT organization.

    Read next: Implementing IT Service Management Changes with CloudOps

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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