NetApp Blue XP now offers improved recovery with immutable backups and strict encryption controls.

Jeffrey Schwartz

July 7, 2023

7 Slides

NetApp has enhanced the security and data protection capabilities of its new NetApp BlueXP multicloud management software and added support for automated backups. NetApp recently outlined recent updates to BlueXP, including releasing a sustainability dashboard and support for AIOps features designed to improve operational efficiency.

Launched in November 2022, NetApp BlueXP evolved from NetApp Cloud Manager and is a SaaS tool that provides a unified control plane for managing hybrid cloud environments. NetApp bundles BlueXP with its storage hardware, including NetApp AFF, FAS and StorageGRID. It is available for existing deployments.

Besides NetApp storage infrastructure deployed on-premises or in colocation facilities, BlueXP manages stored data distributed among the three largest hyperscalers. The dashboard presents a shared view and management using AIOps-type infrastructure health monitoring and NetApp’s Active IQ telemetry scanning.

BlueXP is core to NetApp’s data services strategy, said Ronen Schwartz, senior VP and general manager of NetApp’s Cloud Volumes business. Schwartz told Channel Futures that more than 5,000 customers and MSPs have begun using BlueXP to manage all of their workloads running in data centers and in the cloud in a unified manner.

“Adoption has been very fast since its introduction,” Schwartz said. “We’ve gotten really positive feedback on it.”

Schwartz pointed to a recent Gartner report forecasting that 35% of data center infrastructure will be managed from a cloud-based control plane by 2027. Last year that figure was under 10%.

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NetApp’s Ronen Schwartz

“Data centers are shrinking and migrating to platform-based colocation providers,” according to a Gartner post. “Combined with new as-a-service models for physical infrastructure, this can bring cloud-like service-centricity and economic models to on-premises infrastructure.”

NetApp BlueXP: Enhanced Backup and Recovery

Schwartz emphasized improvements to the backup and recovery capability provided with NetApp BlueXP. The enhancements focus on recovery. According to Schwartz, BlueXP now offers better data protection than third-party offerings, though he stopped short of calling it a replacement.

“If what you want to back up is NetApp data, it is superior to anything else because it works on a very low level with a lot of efficiencies,” he said.

Futurum Group senior analyst Dave Raffo said BlueXP’s enhanced backup wouldn’t result in organizations and MSPs replacing or forgoing third-party backup tools, except perhaps in rare environments with only NetApp storage.

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Futurum Research’s Dave Raffo

“Most NetApp customers have data in other places too, so they’ll still need some third-party backup,” Raffo told Channel Futures.

The new backup capabilities in NetApp BlueXP provide the benefit of enabling backup and recovery from the cloud control plane, noted NetApp product marketing manager Richard Treadway. It also provides the automation of 3-2-1 backup strategies, the popular practice of creating three copies of data on two different forms of media and at least one copy stored offsite.

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NetApp’s Richard Treadway

“Existing tools fall short when it comes to implementing a 3-2-1 backup strategy because they require manual intervention at every step of the process,” Treadway wrote. “BlueXP automates the full 3-2-1 backup spectrum, even taking it to the next level by including variants such as 3-2-2, 3-2-1-1-0, and 4-3-2. You can choose the right strategy for a given workload, optimizing the cost for your implementation without adding complexity.”

Ransomware Recovery Enhancements

NetApp BlueXP provides ransomware monitoring and mitigation through NetApp’s Keystone usage-based storage-as-a-service offering. Schwartz noted that other ransomware detection and recovery capabilities are a significant focus of the latest release. The added capabilities include automated blocking of file changes, support for immutable backups and strict controls over encryption and end-user permissions.

“NetApp detection technologies leverage AI and ML to detect anomalies in real-time by looking at file system and user behavior anomalies that may indicate ransomware, compromised user accounts or malicious insider activity, wrote NetApp marketing strategist Jason Blosil.” In the event an anomaly is detected, Snapshot recovery points are created, and user account access to storage is blocked.”

A breakdown of other new NetApp BlueXP features appears in the slideshow above.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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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