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Multi-Cloud vs. “Stacking”: The NetApp Choice

May 21, 2017

Topics: Cloud Volumes ONTAP 3 minute read

Within a twenty-minute trip from my front door, I have a number of shopping options. I can hit one of ten grocery stores for food, or a variety of convenience stores, walk-in restaurants, sit-down places or even food trucks for meals.

Big box as well as hole-in-the-wall stores sell items across all spectra of goods, and of course I can just as easily shop on the internet if I don’t need a delivery for a while. That set of possibilities took years to develop, of course, but the sheer variety of options leads to one inescapable conclusion – we don’t want to be tied down.

The days of the general store, or even the giant megawarehouse store, seem quaint.

I was thinking of this the other day while considering the so-called “stack vendor” in the technology business. For those of us who’ve been around awhile, every ten or fifteen years the concept of the “full stack” gets hot again.


But every time it’s slightly different. Mainframe morphed to distributed systems from a single vendor and that morphed to common software on multiple vendors’ gear.

Then that morphed to hypervisors which abstracted the gear below, which further changed to cloud operations with common look and feel. And now we find container-based development on various platforms, various hypervisors, various gear, but still common look and feel. That’s today’s “stack.”

Looking at that progression, it’s hard to argue that any “stack vendor” can entirely control the delivery of technology to a customer. The tendency is toward the same type of variety we see in our daily lives, not toward a single stack, even if it is tied to a cloud endpoint.

Building a technology direction that’s just associated with one service provider or one cloud provider reminds me of horse-drawn wagons pulling up to a dusty dry-goods store in an old western movie; um, we’ve got more than that one option now.

Multi-Cloud vs Stacking in the workplaceNetApp’s strategic direction towards the multi-cloud environment makes total sense in this context. We assume, right from the beginning, that your company will need to create multiple pathways to the various service providers, aaS vendors, and hyperscalers in the marketplace.

You won’t just build one cloud-stack, you’ll build a framework that allows you to move around between 10 or 20 cloud endpoints.

In fact, as I commonly tell my customers, the future isn’t about the storage of your data, it’s about the movement, and thus the usefulness of your data.

Want an example of this at work?

Think about a database running in multiple endpoint locations at oncePerhaps in 2 geographic zones and among three cloud providers. You have built-in redundancy if one pathway becomes unavailable, can spin up more instances at will at any location, and could even auction services if necessary (“What am I bid for 100 servers for a week? Lowest bid wins!”). Again, that’s analogous to being able to shop where you want, for what you need, and at the right time.

NetApp’s committed to the type of software, hardware, API’s, and technological underpinnings that make the multi-cloud workplace a reality for our customers. Because being tied down just isn’t a part of your plan, and we agree.

Want to get started? Try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP today with a 30-day free trial.

Deputy CTO – Americas South Region