NetApp partners with Google Cloud to maximise flexibility for cloud data storage

NetApp partners with Google Cloud to maximise flexibility for cloud data storage Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


NetApp, a data infrastructure company, has expanded its partnership with Google Cloud to make it easier for organisations to leverage their data for generative AI (GenAI) and other hybrid cloud workloads.

NetApp and Google Cloud are announcing the Flex service level for Google Cloud NetApp Volumes which supports storage volumes of nearly any size. NetApp is also releasing a preview of its GenAI toolkit reference architecture for retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) operations using Google Cloud Vertex AI platform.

More Flexible Data Storage Options for Google Cloud NetApp Volumes

Google Cloud and NetApp are announcing a new service level for NetApp Volumes called Flex that gives customers more granular control to adapt their storage and performance to match the exact needs of their cloud workloads.

“Increasing demand for data-intensive applications and insights has reinforced the need for a new approach to unified data storage that gives organisations the agility to move and store data wherever it is needed at any point in time,” said Pravjit Tiwana, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Storage at NetApp. “By extending our collaboration with Google Cloud, we’re delivering a flexible form factor that can be run on existing infrastructure across Google Cloud system without any tradeoffs to enterprise data management capabilities.”

With the addition of Flex, NetApp Volumes customers can choose from four service levels to leverage a fully managed file service built on NetApp ONTAPTM and operated by Google Cloud, including:

  • Standard: highly available, general-purpose storage with advanced data management capabilities and 16MiB/sec per TiB of performance, which is recommended to support workloads such as file shares, virtual machines (VMs), and DevTest environments.
  • Premium: highly available, high-performance storage with advanced data management capabilities and 64MiB/sec per TiB of performance, which is recommended for file shares, VMs, and databases.
  • Extreme: highly available, low-latency, high-throughput storage with advanced data management capabilities and 128MiB/sec per TiB of performance, which is recommended for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) high-performance databases and low-latency applications.
  • Flex: highly available storage volumes with scalability from one GiB to 100TiB and up to one GiB/s of performance depending on the size of the underlying storage pool. This adaptable service level can support a wide variety of use cases, including AI.

“Google Cloud NetApp Volumes remains a critical component of every enterprise’s digital transformation strategy,” said Sameet Agarwal, GM/VP, Google Cloud Storage at Google Cloud. “Utilising Google Cloud technologies, NetApp Volumes will power new capabilities that can improve how businesses operate and create real-world value for their organisations.”

The Flex service level will be generally available by Q2 2024 across 15 Google Cloud regions, expanding to the other Google Cloud regions by the end of 2024.

Unlocking Enterprise Data for Generative AI in Google Cloud

NetApp is also releasing a preview of its GenAI toolkit with support for NetApp Volumes. This offering, along with the accompanying reference architecture, speeds the implementation of RAG operations while enabling secure, consistent, and automated workflows that securely connect data stored in NetApp Volumes with Google Cloud Vertex AI platform. The result is a greater ability to generate unique, high-quality, and ultra-relevant insights and automations.

“As the intelligent data infrastructure company, we have unmatched capabilities to support data classification, tagging, mobility, and cloning for data wherever it lives so our customers can run efficient and secure AI data pipelines,” said Pravjit Tiwana, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Storage at NetApp. “Building on our partnership with Google Cloud to streamline RAG enables customers to tap into market-leading AI services and models to generate a unique competitive advantage.”

The NetApp GenAI toolkit helps optimise RAG processes with unique capabilities, including:

  • Common data footprint everywhere: NetApp ONTAP allows customers to easily include data from any environment to power their RAG efforts with common operational processes while reducing risk, cost, and time to results.
  • Automated classification and tagging: NetApp’s BlueXP classification service automatically tags data to support streamlined data cleansing for both the ingest and inferencing phases of the data pipeline, ensuring that the right data is used for queries and that sensitive data is not exposed to the model out of policy.
  • Fast, scalable snapshots: ONTAP Snapshot delivers near-instant creation of space-efficient, in-place copies of vector stores and databases, allowing immediate roll back to a previous version if data is corrupted or forward if point-in-time analysis is needed.
  • Real-time cloning at scale: ONTAP FlexClone technology can create instant clones of vector index stores to safely make uniquely relevant data instantly available for different queries for different users, without impacting the core production data.

“GenAI is a tidal wave of opportunity for the companies that can effectively apply their data to their industry,” said Miles Ward, CTO at SADA, An Insight Company. “At SADA we are fired up about pairing our extensive expertise with NetApp and Vertex AI to help customers accelerate their AI journeys. Why generate uninformed chats when you could generate unique, specific, relevant insights?”

The GenAI toolkit will be available as a public preview within the second half of 2024.

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