NetApp Expands HCI with Support for Containers and Hybrid Cloud

NetApp has released hyperconverged infrastructure appliances integrated with the RedHat OpenShift Container Platform and support for Kubernetes and Docker container environments.

Jeffrey Schwartz

October 27, 2018

4 Min Read
IT guy in data center

Building on its vision of enabling service providers and enterprises to scale their data centers to multiple public clouds, NetApp this week has added Red Hat OpenShift container support to its recently launched hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

The new Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on NetApp HCI Validated Architecture, previewed at this week’s annual NetApp Insights conference in Las Vegas, will let service providers and customers host and scale cloud-native applications built in Docker containers in their data centers.

Introduced a year ago, NetApp HCI is the company’s entry into the field of hyperconverged infrastructure. NetApp HCI is hardware and software that offers turnkey compute, network and all-flash storage technology built with the SolidFire platform it acquired in 2016.

NetApp HCI recently began shipping as a validated VMware solution with vCenter integration and NetApp’s ONTAP Select software-defined storage management tool. The VMware version lends itself to managing, migrating and scaling traditional workloads to the cloud.

The new HCI boxes are available integrated with Red Hat’s OpenShift, the open-source container application platform. It’s a new option for those looking to run cloud-native workloads in their data centers.

“Only NetApp has this control plane that can span across the public clouds and crawl across your own HCI infrastructure, giving you the ability to build and define maintain and manage private clouds,” said Anthony Lye, senior VP and general manager of NetApp’s cloud business unit, speaking in Wednesday’s keynote session.


Anthony Lye

Anthony Lye

NetApp HCI can also scale to public clouds with newly added support for NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP service, showcased at this week’s conference. Customers and partners can back up and restore snapshots to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the capacity-based cloud storage service, with NetApp’s Trident, an open-source tool available on GitHub that automates storage provisioning and restoration of Docker, Kubernetes and OpenShift environments.

Intended for DevOps teams, Trident automatically selects available storage based on the service policy developers put into their code.

“Now I think increasingly, we have relevance with cloud architects and application developers,” Nye said.

In addition to working with NetApp’s HCI boxes, partners and customers can provision workloads with Trident to NetApp’s All Flash FAS (AFF) arrays and E-Series storage.

John Woodall, VP of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a NetApp partner, said he has an increasing number of clients who are looking at the new HCI solutions.


John Woodall

John Woodall

“I’ve got a lot of customers who are traditional VMware shops looking at Ansible and OpenShift,” Woodall said. “I think that’s a shift in the market that positions the NetApp HCI platform potentially very well.”

Flash-Accelerated Object Store for StorageGRID

NetApp is boosting its StorageGRID line with support for petabyte-scale capacity, all-flash and an object store. The StorageGRID SG6060 offers low-latency performance designed to process streaming workloads generated by IoT devices, video and AI, and for real-time analytics workloads.

The SG6060 consists of a 1U compute node that runs NetApp’s StorageGRID software, designed on the company’s Storage Node software, Docker containers and the Debian 9 variant of Linux. It also includes a 4U-based Storage Server with support for 60 SSD drives.

The appliance integrates with NetApp’s new Fabric Pools, which allows for the automated tiering of cold storage to Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service support for mirroring and search. Company officials said it is also slated to provide support for other object storage services.

MaxData Taps Persistent Memory

NetApp’s effort to boost the scale and performance of its – and other suppliers’ – hardware this week included the introduction of MaxData, new server-side software that taps persistent memory in the server by orders of magnitude, company officials said. Aimed at accelerating real-time analytics applications, NetApp claims in a test with a MongoDB application that it boosted performance by 11 times.

“The key difference here is we are improving the latency by orders of magnitude, improving the performance by orders of magnitude with no application rewrites,” said Bharat Badrinath, NetApp’s VP of storage systems and software marketing. “It’s for managing ever increasing amounts of data and for those trying to crunch it in ever-increasing amounts of time.”

While NetApp has talked about MaxData in the recent past, the company said it will initially work with servers running on-premises that run NetApp’s ONTAP software — and ultimately in the cloud. It will initially work with infrastructure running Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory.

“It has the potential to be very disruptive to some of their competitors,” Integrated Archive Systems’ Woodall said. “If you start thinking about storage-class memory products sitting on a CPU bus that accelerate reads and writes on the host, you can potentially drive millions of IOPS at the host at extremely low latencies with extremely high throughput.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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