Hybrid Cloud And Data Fabric
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Hybrid Cloud And Data Fabric

Where and how corporate data is stored and the structure of the data itself are decisive factors in IT. They are also key to the success of companies in the digital age. However, this requires a consortium that can cover all aspects conscientiously. The Hybrid Cloud Community met at the beginning of May this year in Amsterdam and discussed the current Cloud and data trends.

The Hybrid Cloud is the best location for saving corporate data. NetApp has created an architecture in collaboration with Microsoft, Suse and Cisco. This architecture is flexible, open, transparent and secure for existing SAP customers. The customizing is done in collaboration with the NetApp partners All4-One Group, LNW-Soft and Accenture. This holistic architecture concept and implementation was presented to the SAP community for the first time in May of this year.

“Companies are increasingly introducing new, data-driven business models that give data a central role as a strategic resource. The requirements for data availability are also increasing,” says Eric Burgener, Research Vice President, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group at IDC. “NetApp Cloud Connected Flash solutions combined with a Data Fabric strategy offer users easy operation, availability, agility and performance, which companies require during their digital transformation. New and innovative business models can be further derived or developed from the Hybrid Cloud infrastructure.”

Corporate data is available in different formats and classifications. In a Hybrid Cloud architecture, an organizational model must be assigned to this data structure, which ensures transparent and secure storage of data and processing based on process logic.

NetApp introduced the “Data Fabric” concept a few years ago, and this concept has been elevated this year as The Technology Trend of 2019 by the market research company Gartner. Data Fabric provides seamless communication of data in an heterogeneous IT architecture. This not only guarantees secure data management, but also ensures maximum benefit from data for each user.

According to Gartner, the worldwide market for Cloud service is expected to grow this year by 17.5 percent to a total of 214.3 billion US dollars. It was estimated at 182.4 billion US dollars last year. The fastest growing market segment will be Cloud system infrastructure services or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It is expected to grow by 27.5 percent to 38.9 billion dollars in 2019.

“Cloud services are shaking the industry,” says Sid Nag, Research Vice President at Gartner. “In our company we only know providers or service providers whose business models and revenue growth are being influenced by the increasing application of Cloud First strategies in companies. This is only the beginning. Gartner is of the opinion that the market size and growth of the Cloud services segment will be three times the growth of all IT services by 2022.”

Data Fabric based on the Hybrid Cloud

The “Data Fabric” concept goes far beyond a simple product offering. NetApp understands this comprehensive and holistic requirement and has initiated a partner landscape especially for the SAP community. This community covers all functions and knowledge concerning customizing the Data Fabric based on the Hybrid Cloud.

The NetApp portfolio offers all the tools required for a heterogeneous IT landscape. Thus existing SAP customers always receive the required performance, without having to change their own hardware or software platforms. With intuitive solutions from NetApp, users can quickly make all the required adjustments to achieve faster Cloud success.

The data center is often the core of an IT infrastructure. But only modern hybrid IT helps companies to provide the required resources and business platforms to its departments in a flexible, agile and scalable manner. The efficiency of Private Clouds, Hybrid Clouds and Multiclouds depends on whether technical innovations such as virtualization solutions, software-defined infrastructures, and orchestration solutions – as well as convergent or hyperconvergent systems – are implemented.

Innovations in the data center are short-lived. Therefore, organizations must check the maturity level of their data centers regularly to adjust their strategy and keep up with the requirements of the market.

Forrest Consulting conducted a study (on behalf of Virtustream) based on a global survey among more than 700 decision makers for Cloud technology in companies with 500 or more employees. The study analyzes the current status of IT strategies of organizations in the case of Cloud-based workloads and provides information about the growing interest of IT decision makers in multi-use Cloud architectures as well as the associated requirements.

The IT leaders surveyed mentioned a variety of use cases for their Hybrid Cloud strategies. At the same time, they also believe that such an approach creates significant benefits for their companies – from increased performance and agility to improved efficiency and lower costs. In particular, the performance and cost savings are considered as the most important success factors and companies use these for evaluating their strategies. The study participants rank the ability to react quickly and efficiently to changes and challenges within the company as the third most important advantage.

Hybrid Cloud Roadmap

Hybrid Cloud deployments are highly complex. Almost all companies surveyed had difficulties when it comes to the provisioning and use of different Cloud environments. Even though 61 percent of the study participants think that their cloud strategy is well-aligned to their business goals, the challenges in terms of security and management are always the biggest pitfalls when using, migrating and provisioning Cloud services.

As a reaction to these challenges, many companies try to collaborate with Cloud service providers who have profound knowledge in this area and provide managed services.

The SAP community is on its way to a Hybrid Cloud architecture. The objective is clear for existing SAP customers and the roadmap has to be discussed with all stakeholders.

“Even if the global market for Cloud infrastructure and Platform as a Service will be around 83 billion USD in 2019 (according to an estimate by Crisp Research), this is not enough for the leading hyperscalers. These companies have understood that a different wind is blowing in the Enterprise IT segment and CIOs have very clear requirements with regard to their Cloud transformation as well as hybrid IT operations. The world is not just black or white,” writes Carlo Velten, CEO of the IT research and consulting company Crisp Research, in a blog article.

The fundamental requirement for this development is the increased use of the Hybrid Cloud. It is already the standard for many companies and the perspective on Cloud usage has changed drastically: from a paradigm that the Public Cloud is the best location for everything to a strategy of placing applications exactly where they fit best. And anyone having a choice of a Hybrid Cloud can make a decision on a case-by-case basis.

FabricPool from NetApp now supports Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud, in addition to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud Storage. This reduces the costs of primary storage: organizations can lower the cost of primary storage by automatically tiering cold data to any major Public Cloud or to a NetApp Private Cloud.

The data management specialist NetApp wants to provide Hybrid Cloud data services based on its proven Ontap software in Microsoft Azure. This offer relates to tracing, notifications, access, control, protection and security of data for customers who move to Azure. Many organizations are using the Hybrid Cloud to benefit from greater flexibility and simultaneously to keep the benefits of classic on-premises methods with regard to data efficiency, protection and knowledge.

Microsoft and NetApp

“Companies need the Cloud developments from Microsoft and the broad Azure services portfolio to remain competitive in the age of digitalization,” said Alexander Wallner, NetApp managing director EMEA, during the event in Amsterdam. “With this new level of our strategic alliance, we are expanding our data services to Azure. We help customers to modernize their business and to pursue new growth opportunities.”

Microsoft and NetApp have a deep understanding of the requirements of global enterprises. Both companies offer a variety of solutions, with which customers can use data to secure their competitive advantage.

Their collaboration has contributed to protecting and expanding the availability of Microsoft application data inventory. Together they provide a flexible infrastructure, which supports virtualization and Hybrid Cloud implementations.

Hybrid Cloud and FabricPool

The collaboration between Microsoft and NetApp also covers the integration of the latest NetApp FabricPool functionality, which reduces the costs for cold data. FabricPool can automatically push data from the data center to the Cloud and use Azure Blob Storage. And Azure will be available in the future as a back-up destination for the NetApp Cloud Control SaaS offering.

Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, explained: “NetApp is a strategic partner for Hybrid Cloud data services in Microsoft Azure. Global enterprise customers are using NetApp data solutions. Our collaboration will introduce new services. Customers, who use NetApp and Azure, receive more freedom to develop and deploy applications as required.”

“Data centers are facing major challenges today to meet the growing requirements from departments and also to provide new offerings through innovative methods. Modern IT is always striving to convert added value inherent to data into a financial advantage for companies. Technologies such as the Cloud supplement their own data centers, serve as extended workbench and lead to ‘make or buy’ decisions with regard to the services offered,” explained Roland Wartenberg, NetApp Senior Director Global Strategic Alliances SAP, in Amsterdam.

The Hybrid Cloud provides the option of placing data and workloads where they work the best – even in in-house data centers. Challenges in case of data center failures, high costs, latency problems and issues of control, security and compliance lead to a new trend: the return of workloads and data from Public Clouds to Private and Hybrid Clouds. The problem of data gravity is the major driver here. In the future, this problem will prevent the transfer of large data volumes due to increased costs for network transfers.

Above all, companies are looking for flexibility when it comes to setting up solutions and services that are flexible enough that they can grow along with the company. These companies do not prefer one side over the other.

When companies evaluate the best IT infrastructure for their workloads, a hybrid IT with a mix of Public Cloud, Private Cloud and local solutions will become the norm. Since Cloud-ready applications are distributed over Hybrid Cloud environments, future IT teams will have to use technologies such as a Service Mesh, which connects the applications with the required services – wherever they are located.

NetApp delivers from one single source all components companies require for developing their customized Data Fabric architecture consisting of Hybrid Cloud and on-premises environments. Applications in the SAP environment, which address the individual requirements of existing customers and decisive analysis data, are possible with these Data Fabric and NetApp solutions.

“New technologies show that companies will soon be in a position to generate, record and process huge data volumes. Anyone who is not equipped to face this challenge will be quickly overwhelmed,” says Joel Reich, Executive Vice President, Storage Systems and Software at NetApp. “With NetApp Ontap companies can master and overcome the challenges which accompany these data-intensive technology innovations. It is a smart, powerful and proven solution that is designed to extract the maximum benefit from data.”

This is the first article of a series. If you want to read the next one, click here.

E-3 Magazine July/August 2019 (German)

About the author

Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

Peter M. Färbinger is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at E-3 Magazine, B4Bmedia.net AG, Munich, Germany. He can be reached at pmf@b4bmedia.net

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