NetApp, Microsoft Announce Tighter Technology Integration

After announcing a three-year strategic alliance with Microsoft in December 2009, NetApp has now unveiled tighter integration with Microsoft technology to enable the growing number of joint customers and service providers to better optimize their infrastructure while dramatically reducing costs, streamlining management, and increasing business agility. Customers can now use familiar Microsoft management tools to monitor and manage their virtual environments, which include NetApp storage, and build internal and public clouds.

“Tight integration with leading partners, like NetApp, enables our joint customers to better manage their storage and all of their physical and virtual environments in a more cohesive manner using Microsoft’s System Center management technology,” says Garth Fort, GM, Systems Center Marketing at Microsoft Corp. “Together, we are offering customers an optimal solution to manage their virtualized infrastructure by tightly integrating NetApp’s storage efficiency technologies with System Center.”

Building on Microsoft’s extensible management framework, NetApp is unveiling a new management pack that enables Microsoft customers to manage NetApp storage efficiency technologies, plus basic self-healing capabilities, with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager. ApplianceWatch PRO 2.1 includes new PRO Tips that provide granular control and include auto-remediation for common storage utilization, replication, and configuration issues that can affect Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). In addition, Microsoft customers can now create automated reports, troubleshoot storage issues, and view mapping of storage to individual VMs via Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.

“As part of our strategic alliance, NetApp and Microsoft continue to deliver on our promise to help customers transform their data centers to achieve greater efficiencies, increase agility, and respond faster to changing business needs,” says Patrick Rogers, VP of Products, Alliances and Solutions Marketing at NetApp. “Our joint vision with Microsoft centers on delivering a unified architecture for customers to design and build highly efficient, virtualized, and dynamic data centers to enable enterprises, integrators and service providers to deliver IT as a Service.”

Among the companies benefiting from the NetApp-Microsoft combined technologies are WhiteWater West, which is achieving significant efficiencies through streamlined monitoring and management, and Avanade, which is successfully transforming its IT environment.

“WhiteWater West manages our virtual environment, which includes NetApp storage, using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager,” says Dan Morris, senior systems engineer at WhiteWater West.  “We spend about 10 ten minutes each month – just enough time to log in, check reports, and log out – and have set up centralized reporting using ApplianceWatch PRO to trend our storage utilization and deduplication savings. We’re saving more than 3 terabytes, or 50%, and we store more than 6 terabytes of data on a NetApp system, which has physically less than 4 terabytes of storage. The space we’ve saved through NetApp deduplication alone will support one year’s data growth with enough capacity left over to integrate one of our international offices into our Microsoft Exchange system.”

Patrick Cimprich, VP and chief architect at Avanade adds: “Avanade runs more than 500 virtual machines across our production, test and development environments using Hyper-V and NetApp storage, along with integrated management through Microsoft System Center,” said “In April, we launched an automated, self-service portal that enables users to request and immediately receive virtual machines for up to three weeks. So far the results are impressive, with virtual environments provisioned within minutes instead of days. In fact, we’re already seeing significant time-to-market gains and estimate we’ll save more than 1,000 IT hours by the end of the year.”