NetApp on Tuesday rolled out a private storage connection to Microsoft Azure so customers can offload their hybrid datacenters to the public cloud.
The storage company already has a similar arrangement with Amazon Web Services and plans to offer connections to multiple public cloud providers via Equinix as a co-location partner.
NetApp Private Storage (NPS) for Microsoft Azure uses a connector called ExpressRoute, which ties datacenters to the cloud via a high-speed low-latency connection. Microsoft Azure's ExpressRoute is very similar to Amazon Web Services' Direct Connect.
Phil Brotherton, vice president of NetApp's cloud solutions group, said that customers were asking for Microsoft Azure connections in addition to AWS. NPS is located at a co-location facility at Equinix and that allows for the connection to Microsoft Azure.
NetApp, like other hardware vendors, is increasingly catering to hybrid datacenters that couple public cloud with on-premise infrastructure. Brotherton said that NetApp's collaboration with Microsoft can be used for everything from hybrid approaches to disaster recovery to enterprise workloads for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and SAP. NetApp's NPC also includes FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.
The general idea for NetApp is to get data as close to servers as possible — on-premise and via the cloud — because transporting data can be costly. "We're looking to connect with as many clouds as possible," said Brotherton. "How open is open? Two is a good start."
It's worth noting that NetApp defines cloud providers as hyperscale and then everyone else. Azure, AWS, Google and IBM's SoftLayer are hyperscale players, but it may make sense to partner with others such as Verizon's Terremark as enterprise demand warrants. NetApp and Verizon are already cloud partners.
NPS for Microsoft Azure is immediately available via resellers and partners.