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“As a long-time Microsoft partner and as part of a cloud advisory group for Azure File Shares, I’ve been talking to Azure senior engineers for some time about when they would connect to a real active directory. I’m happy that that time has come with Azure NetApp Files.” – Dan Gordon, Co-Founder and CEO MyWorkDrive
Dan Gordon, Co-founder and CEO of MyWorkDrive and Co-founder and Partner of Intivix, senses game-changing technology like divining rods sense water, sensing potential long before it's visible to most others.
With 30 years of IT management experience, including time spent digitally transforming the University of California’s IT infrastructure, Gordon built a successful career analyzing enterprises´ digital systems and sniffing out niches to fill industry voids with cutting edge technologies. In other words, Gordon has built his career successfully identifying a need and betting on the next big technology to fill it.
Now He’s Betting on Azure NetApp Files. Here's Why.
With the release of Azure NetApp Files (ANF), cloud file storage for Windows-based organizations in Azure has continued to rapidly evolve. And users are sensitive to the rapid changes in cloud technology going on around them, excited by both the application’s current capabilities and what future developments mean for a vast cache of applications.
“We're constantly being asked about this type of file share service. That's why we had a big interest in Azure NetApp Files—because people have been clamoring for an option like this for quite a while,” says Gordon. With ANF, customers may host file shares in Azure without the 4TB Azure File Shares limit and Active Directory is managed by customers on their virtual machines.
“We have a customer,” Gordon continues, “with 50,000 users in Europe looking at using MyWorkDrive, as well as ANF. Currently, they have to manage their own data center in the Netherlands. So, having something like Azure NetApp Files where they can get rid of that extra management piece is huge for them.”
Benchmark Testing Supports ANF’s Top-of-the-Line Performance
Gordon, as a specialist in Azure implementation and secure Hybrid Cloud Network design, was so excited about ANF that he decided to conduct a little IT research, performing his own benchmark tests to support his excellent experience with the product.
“We actually brought up machines and tested Azure File Shares and Azure NetApp Files working in tandem with our software. The bottom line for us is that, for enterprises of any size and scope, Azure NetApp Files is a better choice to work side by side with our software. With Azure NetApp Files, clients are able to better integrate into their own active directory and do things like single sign-on and multifactor authentication. Those activities really tie into our My WorkDrive software seamlessly.”
For a more technical deep-dive into Gordon’s findings, check out this article.
Azure NetApp Files is Ideal for Highly Sensitive Applications
Gordon works with several high-profile government and educational organizations. In general, government and higher education are limited by permissions issues and compliance standards and can’t, as a result, access the cloud as freely as other enterprises. Regulations, though necessary, often require complex and expensive solutions. Not so with ANF. Azure is an economical choice because of its scalability and ease of use. However, government and educational institutions may still balk at meeting those security mandates on any cloud platform.
While the public cloud is cheaper, organizations often risk losing data sovereignty and ownership. The last thing they want is to migrate to the cloud and encounter cloud vendor lock-in because they’ve changed, for example, their file formats. Azure NetApp Files lets government and higher education entities keep files in the native Windows file format (SMB), meaning they’re never locked in with one particular vendor because of the particularities of NAS protocols. That makes them flexible and autonomous, free from the shackles of a single-cloud or on-premises environment.
ANF has built-in capabilities, ensuring data is protected at all times in Azure. Its security features are beneficial to organizations across the board, because, in addition to having access to Microsoft’s world-class support, ANF features:
- Always-on encryption
- Point-in-time data copies
- Role-based access control
- Active Directory authentication
ANF is a premium experience suitable for enterprises of any size. “Azure NetApp Files is just awesome because organizations get rid of all the overhead costs of managing a huge infrastructure,” says Gordon. "With Azure NetApp Files, customers get the integration they're looking for and the performance that they would have on premises.”