NetApp Private Storage for Amazon Web Services -- a new offering -- is a sign of things to come for VARs, MSPs and cloud integrators that want to connect the dots between public and private cloud services. Plus, the Amazon-NetApp relationship could signal Avnet Technology Solutions' growing influence as a bridge between the traditional IT channel and the cloud services market.

NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) announced the private storage solution during the AWS re:Invent conference last week. The offering leverages AWS Direct Connect, giving customers the ability to link existing on-premises storage infrastructure to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) public cloud storage.

Over the next six to 12 months, I suspect most major on-premises storage companies will offer some sort of bursting option that allows customers and partners to extend into Amazon's cloud.

Meanwhile, there's Avnet's emerging role in all this. Although I don't have any confirmed information, I strongly suspect Avnet Technology Solutions (NYSE: AVT) -- which runs the Avnet Cloud Solutions business -- helped NetApp and Amazon to find common cloud ground. I could be wrong but I believe Avnet may be the only distributor that's working with both NetApp and Amazon. And within the NetApp-Amazon annoncement, Avnet VP Tim FitzGerald is quoted in support of the relationship.

According to NetApp's Tom Shields (cloud solution marketing) and Tim Donovan (service provider architect), the Amazon-NetApp deal will help customers and partners because it offers:

  • Access to Big Data Analytics: Here, partners and customers can levetrage NetApp Private Storage along with Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) to accomplish big data analysis "at a fraction of the cost of running on premise," the companies claim.
  • Gain cost-effective data protection: Here, partners and customers can leverage Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) in failover scenarios; also, NetApp partners can leverage tiered disk backup and recovery using Amazon S3 as a more reliable alternate to a tape archive, the companies claim.
  • High performance NFS, CIFS, and support for secure data replation across AWS regions.

I believe the NetApp-Amazon relationship also allows channel partners to build pay-as-you-go services for end-customers -- basically shifting traditional on-premises deployments from a CapEx to an OpEx business model.

According to the companies, NetApp Private Storage for AWS is immediately available through a select group of resellers in North America and will be available in Europe and Asia in the near future.