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Software Vendors and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Finding Solutions for SaaS Challenges and DevOps Challenges

This blog post is part of a series in which we explore how various vertical markets are looking to the cloud to meet key, sector-specific challenges. The previous post focused on the Media sector. In this post, we focus on the enterprise software sector. In 2018, worldwide IT spending on enterprise software is expected to reach $391 billion. By 2022, that figure is forecast to exceed $500 billion, with the largest segments being platforms that support core business processes such as ERP, CRM, BI, and SCM.

It is safe to say that the software industry has already been transformed by the cloud, both in terms of development processes (DevOps) and business models (SaaS). According to the latest RightScale DevOp Trends Report (2016), DevOps adoption increased from 66% in 2015 to 74% in 2016. This growth trend continued in 2017 during which the DevOps penetration rate into large and small organizations reached 84%. Regarding SaaS, in 2018, the public cloud SaaS market is expected to reach $73.6 billion in revenues, having grown by 134% since 2015 ($31.4 billion) and projected to grow by yet another 60% to $117.1 billion by 2021.

What follows is a description of some of the unique SaaS challenges and DevOps challenges facing software vendors today, with real-life examples of how such companies have leveraged NetApp

 ONTAP to achieve maximum business value in the cloud for themselves and their customers.

SaaS Challenges and DevOps Challenges

Cloud SaaS Market IncreaseCloud-based SaaS software companies often evolve rapidly from small, dynamic startups. The SaaS model is also employed by large companies for their enterprise application software.

In both cases, the greatest challenges are how to scale quickly while keeping costs under control, as well as how to establish robust processes and governance while staying fast and agile. They often rely on DevOps pipelines, which are all about automated provisioning of resources to support rapid-fire dev/test iterations for new features, enhancements and services.

Agility, Faster Turnaround to Production and Time To Market

Automated, on-demand, and instant availability of data is the lifeblood of any SaaS developer or DevOps team, requiring high-speed volume creation and deletion. For SaaS companies, getting their users new features and products without harming the normal use of the app requires extensive and non-intrusive testing. However, the creation of massive numbers of volume clones for automated dev/test cycles can be very costly in terms of network usage and storage if not managed carefully. And in the era of containers, DevOps teams have to be able to meet persistent storage demands and spin up workloads with data.


SaaS developers need cloud-based tools and methodologies that can support automated continuous development and deployment cycles—without disrupting production operations. They must ensure governance by implementing repeatable and integrated automation, orchestration, and compliance processes.


Because SaaS applications are now entirely hosted by the company that provides them, unlike in the past, when the user entirely stored the software as a product, it has become imperative to cut the costs of hosting all that data. Data usage for the app itself and all the user data is the biggest cost-concern of a running SaaS, and for startups, one that can potentially ruin the company without an adequate solution.

Data Protection

With their user bases and app data volumes growing exponentially, SaaS developers must rely on the highest level of enterprise data protection and cloud backup solutions. That means protecting production data with highly available storage and robust disaster recovery processes. This includes provisioning for high availability, point-in-time snapshot regimens, and robust disaster recovery procedures.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP Benefits for SaaS in Cloud Computing and Cloud DevOps

NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP, which runs on Azure or AWS or GCP, is an enterprise data management platform that optimizes cloud-based data storage for SaaS applications and DevOps teams. Its key features, together, provide high levels of performance, availability, data protection and governance:

    • With the service model of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, which is controlled by the user, data storage costs can be reduced by as much as 50-70%. Able to cut down on storage costs by leveraging thin provisioning, data compression, deduplication, and compaction features that optimize both network transfer and enterprise cloud storage costs. And automated data tiering detects “hot” and “cold” data, shifting data accordingly between high-performance, more expensive block storage on Amazon EBS or Azure Standard or Premium disks to higher-latency but less expensive object storage on Amazon S3 or Azure Cool storage.

    • SnapMirror replication of dataData protection: Using Snapshots® for zero-loss data recovery, a unique block-pointer approach allows Cloud Volumes ONTAP snapshots to be created in seconds, no matter the size of the volume being copied, with no impact on app performance and minimal storage requirements. In hybrid deployments, or when creating and maintaining secondary copies for business continuity purposes, it is often necessary to shift large quantities of data to and from the cloud. SnapMirror® efficiently and cost-effectively replicates data at the block level from NetApp storage devices to the cloud.

    • Easily spin up dev/test environments or provision new machines: FlexClone® leverages ONTAP Cloud Snapshots to instantly create writeable cloned volumes with zero capacity penalty and incurring only incremental storage costs.

    • Support for containers: ONTAP Cloud is fully integrated with NetApp’s open-source Trident project, which translates the sophisticated persistence demands of containerized applications into an automated and orchestrated infrastructure response.

    • Single-pane management, monitoring and automation across complex environments: With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Cloud Manager supports enterprise-grade control and governance, ensuring unified and repeatable processes and best practices across the organization and across infrastructures.

Software Customer Success Stories

This section presents selected examples of how NetApp software customers are using Cloud Volumes ONTAP and its cloud-based tools to stay ahead of the curve, whether running exciting new startups or putting out massive cloud-based enterprise software.

Wirestorm: Dramatic Productivity Boost

Wirestorm is expert in business intelligence, big data, enterprise mobility applications, cloud computing, application development, and technical staffing solutions. Its clients include Microsoft, Corbis, Providence Hospital, Schneider Electric, and other Fortune 500 companies.

Wirestorm’s business challenges were to lower cloud cost and server spend as well as reduce deployment time. They implemented Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA pairs on AWS and achieved the following benefits:

  • Eliminated the need to own or maintain on-premises infrastructure.
  • Dramatically reduced their overall cloud spend by spinning up ONTAP Cloud systems on demand.
  • With FlexClone, they were able to reduce the time to copy data and create new environments from more than 20 hours to less than 1 minute.

To find out more about how Wirestorm used Cloud Volumes ONTAP to increase their abilities in the cloud, read the full case study here.

EngageYa: Cloud Disaster Recovery

EngageYa’s free content-suggesting widget exposes readers to new content and potentially increases engagement. Publishers and bloggers distribute their content to millions of related pages across the customer’s network.

EngageYa’s business challenges were to reduce the cost of disaster recovery for their on-premises data center as well as to reduce the complexity of their cloud-based DR solutions. They implemented Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS, with which came:

  • Cost-effective creation and maintenance of an exact replica of their on-premises environment in AWS.
  • Business-critical data continuously replicated to the cloud, ensuring zero-loss data recovery in the case of a disaster.
  • The simplicity and scalability of the Cloud Volumes ONTAP solution that offers them a chance to expand their production workloads in the cloud.
  • To read more about EngageYa and their new capabilities with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, check out the full case study here.


When it comes to developing software and providing computing solutions for clients today, the industry demands the capability for companies to move fast, bring new products out without disrupting normal usage, and control costs and governing capabilities that come with the SaaS model, DevOps and cloud-based data storage. In short, it takes the best software possible to make software possible: that’s why so many companies in the software market are turning to the cloud-based tools and abilities of NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. The next post in this series will examine the NetApp Cloud benefits for the cloud-based HR solutions sector.

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP gives you storage efficiencies via Cloud Volumes ONTAP, data protection with fast and efficient Snapshots, zero-data-loss high availability, easy clone creation with FlexClone technology, secure data movement with Cloud Sync and SnapMirror, and governance capabilities with Cloud Orchestrator, APIs, and Cloud Manager.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager