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Multicloud Storage

GigaOm Findings: Dramatic Cost and Time Savings in Multicloud Environments with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

A recent GigaOm report described NetApp BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP as “an imperative element” for enterprises looking to overcome the complexity of managing multicloud storage environments.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside the GigaOm report, including a major finding about Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s ability to reduce total cost of ownership: the report found a 50% reduction in storage costs and a 42% reduction in labor costs using Cloud Volumes ONTAP in enterprise multicloud deployments.

Read on for more, or use these links to jump down:

Challenges in Multicloud

Before we dive into the report, let’s look at some context. A large part of the findings in the report stem from a major challenge that enterprises face today: multicloud deployment orchestration.

Multicloud has become the default network architecture for many enterprises because of its advantages in terms of agility, flexibility, business continuity, and service optimization between cloud providers. However, multicloud comes with its own challenges to overcome.

  • Data mobility challenges: Multicloud configurations can lead to data silos and make it difficult to automate workflows, increasing the risk of data loss. This is in part because each cloud provider generally wants data stored in its proprietary cloud, rather facilitating storage usage on other cloud architectures.
  • Duplication and reworking of workflows: Optimizing workflows in different clouds can be time consuming because of the different options available on each cloud service. While adopting one cloud can present time-consuming training costs for personnel, multicloud deployments can multiply that training burden on IT and DevOps teams, distracting them from business-critical projects.
  • Cost management: Even with a single cloud, innovation costs can balloon. With multiple clouds, it’s easier for costs to get out of hand. Data duplication may follow workflow duplication, and data management costs can skyrocket without sophisticated data management tools.

The GigaOm study was designed to assess how BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP addresses these issues of data mobility, workflow management and cost reduction in multicloud environments.

Criteria for Field Test Success for Cloud Management

In assessing NetApp BlueXP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the GigaOm team tested the consistency of the solution in Google and AWS environments, as well as in comparison to the performance on each of those cloud providers. The following functionality was tested:

  • Moving data between clouds. The assessment included moving data for data replication, disaster recovery, and data synchronization.
  • Cost reduction. The GigaOm team evaluated cloud storage costs through storage efficiencies, tiering, and performance characteristics workflows.

Based on the assessment, the team went on to calculate the total cost of ownership savings using Cloud Volumes ONTAP, taking into account the personnel costs for the IT and DevOps teams managing the multicloud deployments.

Benefits Found by GigaOm for Multicloud Solution with NetApp BlueXP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP

The GigaOm team assessment considered NetApp BlueXP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

BlueXP provides a central control panel for management of data across an organization’s data estate. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a cloud-based data management layer backend storage based on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud IaaS resources. Cloud Volumes ONTAP makes it possible to leverage native cloud infrastructure, with BlueXP providing a single-pane management console.

How could these services combine to benefit multicloud deployment? This is what the GigaOm team found:

  • Ease of Use

    BlueXP’s interface makes it simple for operations teams to manage a multicloud environments without having to learn the ins and outs of each individual cloud storage environment. Using a single-pane interface provided a consistent experience for IT and DevOps personnel and reduced the complexity of multicloud management.

  • Cost Benefits

    One of the major themes in the study was the dramatic reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprise customers who require data mobility workflows. BlueXP provided a straightforward tool for managing multiple cloud provider interfaces and APIs. The advantage to enterprises was the ability to leverage multicloud for its flexibility and agility, without the downsides of complex management and higher overhead costs.

    Emphasizing the cost savings and increased uptime, the GigaOm assessment pointed out the following three measurable outcomes:

    • 50% reduction in labor costs associated with storage management
    • 42% reduction in labor costs associated with incident and operations
    • Zero downtime when making configuration changes to storage properties, versus outage rates of 100% when using cloud-native configuration of storage properties

    In terms of cost reduction, the GigaOm tests revealed a number of ways in which BlueXP lowered the total cost of ownership of multicloud platforms. The study cited three ways in which cost reduction was accomplished:

    Fundamentally, the BlueXP and BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP allow for more efficient data management. Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s storage efficiencies can deduplicate data, compress data, and compact data. BlueXP tiering makes it possible to tier infrequently used data to object storage until it’s needed, at which point it can be automatically tiered back to block storage for rapid use. These combined features have a huge impact on costs.

    GigaOm tested this BlueXP tiering. The testers followed a simple four-step process to perform object storage tiering, which they found to be much simpler than the limited tiering available from AWS, which provides file storage tiering but not tiering from block to object storage.

    Of major importance was the fact that BlueXP allowed them to make tiering and storage class adjustments with zero downtime and no impact on the operations of the cloud volumes. Natively, both AWS and Google Cloud required taking the system offline for any changes in performance characteristics. The ability to implement these changes while continuing full functionality of the enterprise cloud is a major advantage for performance-critical applications.

  • Data Mobility Benefits

    In the area of data mobility between clouds, the assessment team replicated a volume from Cloud Volumes ONTAP on AWS to Cloud Volumes ONTAP on Google Cloud and back again. BlueXP enabled them to simply drag and drop the volumes from the source to the target, creating an exact replication.

    This capability shows that NetApp BlueXP replication provides reliable synchronization for creating secondary copies and business continuity applications. Neither AWS nor Google Cloud support data replication natively, so BlueXP’s capabilities demonstrate significant improvement in functionality both within and between clouds.

    Read more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP and BlueXP can leverage secondary copies in multicloud deployments here.

    The GigaOm team also found that using BlueXP copy and sync further streamlined moving of data among multiple clouds. Using data-in-transit encryption, BlueXP copy and sync protects against man-in-the-middle attacks. The testers also noted that the BlueXP copy and sync supports non-cloud environments and also non-NetApp solutions. The drag-and-drop interface allowed them to perform synchronization easily.

    The main advantage GigaOm identified is that creating snapshot copies come at a cost on both Google Cloud and AWS, in addition to the cloud storage they consume. With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the snapshot capability does not incur extra costs or duplicate storage, and the tests showed it to provide flawless and instant access to the data copies.

Analyst Assessment of NetApp BlueXP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP

While the report cited a number of operational advantages, such as reduced downtime, lower cloud storage requirements, and reliability of the data, the GigaOm analysts found the primary advantages came down to three main points:

  • Cost savings in terms of moving data between clouds and maintaining multicloud deployments.
  • Simplifying multicloud usage by reducing the complexity created with multiple APIs, multiple user interfaces, and multiple proprietary service experiences.
  • NetApp offers an expansive ecosystem of cloud-based technologies, enabling organizations of any size at any stage of the cloud journey.

The tests also made apparent that even when an enterprise is using AWS or Google Cloud, there are advantages to using BlueXP solutions in terms of improved functionality for snapshots, object storage tiering, and storage cost reduction.


The benefits provided by BlueXP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP led the GigaOm testers to assert that “Cloud Volumes ONTAP may be viewed as an imperative element for enterprises” looking to leverage multicloud as well as hybrid cloud architectures. It provides both the needed agility and ease of use that will save IT and DevOps teams time, and the ability to reduce overall costs.

To read the full report, check out GigaOm Benchmark Report on Cloud Volumes ONTAP – Tested with BlueXP.New call-to-action

Robert Bell, Product Evangelist

Product Evangelist