When it comes to cloud computing, one of the biggest challenges faced by IT organizations is that the cloud creates another isolated stack of computing to manage. In fact, the total cost of managing that additional stack of computing can wind up negating any of the savings derived from leveraging infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in the cloud.
What most enterprise IT organizations need in the cloud is an environment that looks and functions in much the same way their own internal data center does. Looking to help IT organizations achieve that goal, NetApp today previewed a federated instance of its Clustered Data OnTap storage management platform that can be deployed across private and public cloud computing environments.
According to Phil Brotherton, vice president of the Cloud Solutions Group (CSG) at NetApp, within the data center, NetApp has always provided an operating system for unifying the management of storage. It’s only natural, says Brotherton, for NetApp to extend those management capabilities into the cloud as part of an effort to make external cloud storage appear to be a natural extension of the enterprise.
Brotherton says this new instance of Clustered Data OnTap allows for easily porting of data between cloud computing environments, making it much simpler for IT organizations to use the cloud to support both new and existing applications via what NetApp calls a universal data platform.
That approach, says Brotherton, not only creates a unified storage system that will span VMware, Microsoft and OpenStack environments, it provides the foundation for managing the security and compliance requirements associated with moving data between cloud computing platforms.
Hybrid cloud computing is going to be inevitable for most IT organizations. The real issue is how to best manage cloud platforms based on diverse sets of cloud infrastructure. It will simply be a lot harder than managing instances of hybrid cloud environments that share a common set of infrastructure, and that may narrow the range of cloud service providers with which an IT organization can work. But like most things relating to enterprise IT, over the long term, the cost of acquiring something is nothing compared to the total cost of owning it.