Storage vendor NetApp a year ago bought Spot to bring greater infrastructure optimization and automation to its burgeoning cloud business. It is now buying CloudCheckr to expand its CloudOps platform to give enterprises and managed service providers deeper visibility into their multicloud environments and lower their overall cloud costs.
NetApp will fold CloudCheckr into its Spot by NetApp offering, company officials said this week. No financial details of the deal were released. After the deal closes in the next 30 days, NetApp will have another tool that will help organizations get a handle on their sprawling cloud costs.
“With 81% of organizations already running applications in the cloud, the number one question for businesses now is not why, when, or even how, but how much,” Anthony Lye, executive vice president and general manager of NetApp’s Public Cloud Services business unit, wrote in a blog post. “CloudCheckr helps solve the issue that surveys say is topping the list of today’s customer and partner challenges: how to get control of their escalating cloud costs and maintain secure cloud configurations while moving faster to and on public clouds.”
Visibility and Automation
The addition of CloudCheckr will bring “cost visibility with automated actions, secure configurations, deep insights, and detailed reporting to our Spot portfolio’s continuous optimization,” Lye wrote. “Spot and CloudCheckr will provide a market-leading solution for customers and partners who are seeking to address their highest priority challenges.”
Like most traditional data center hardware vendors, NetApp is making a hard push into the booming multicloud and hybrid cloud world. The company is continuing to grow its IT infrastructure and operations business, but also is focusing on cloud operations, Amiram Shachar, vice president and general manager of Spot By NetApp, told Enterprise Storage Forum.
The acquisition of Spot was a key step in that direction. When Shachar founded Spot in 2015, it offered a range of automation capabilities in such areas as the way they bought commitments to the cloud to how they bought spot instances.
However, all that automation came too early for many companies that were still trying to get their cloud legs underneath them, he said. Many said they wanted to better understand what was happening in their cloud before putting automation in place.
“We never had that as a company that was very focused on automation and we realized that we needed to add this visibility part in order to win the entire pie for these enterprises.” Shachar said.
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Cost Control is Key
That’s what CloudCheckr, which was founded in 2011, brings to NetApp and Spot. The company’s CMx offers a range of features that address everything from cloud visibility and cost optimization to security and compliance, resource utilization and pricing and billing.
The software runs across cloud environments on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, analyzing costs and diving deep into an enterprise’s cloud operations, such as resources and configurations. With that information, organizations can get a better handle on what they are doing and spending in the cloud. The vendor boasts that enterprises using its platform can reduce costs by 30 percent to 50 percent.
“CloudCheckr adds value to our Spot portfolio, complementing Spot Eco, Ocean, Cloud Analyzer, and Spot PC capabilities, with cloud billing analysis and cloud configuration, monitoring, and assessments,” Lye wrote in his blog post. “Customers and partners will be better able to monitor, understand, and continuously optimize their cloud costs with the combined portfolio.”
Growing CloudOps Business
With CloudCheckr in the fold, NetApp and Spot by NetApp will be able to offer a broader range of CloudOps capabilities to organizations that are expanding their cloud environments.
“That gives us the ability to go and talk to enterprise, but also public sector customers,” Shachar said. “And also managed service providers that we haven’t worked with at scale before and use the go-to-market motion and the technology that CloudCheckr has developed over the years as a door opener to give a long-term technology and a journey for the customer and start from the basics up to all the advanced stuff that we already know how to provide really well.”
Managing cloud costs has been an ongoing challenge for enterprises over the past several years. Cloud cost optimization vendor Grumatic says there are several reasons for the problem, from the lack of visibility into what a company is spending in the cloud and inaccurate budget forecasting for cloud costs to billing complexity and few options for cloud optimization.
Lye wrote that the combination of Spot and CloudCheckr will give NetApp a broad range of tools in the emerging FinOps (financial operations) space.
“Leveraging CloudCheckr, Spot by NetApp will deliver a portfolio for cloud cost, security management and desktop as a service, designed to meet the unique needs of MSPs and cloud distributors,” he wrote. “The combined CloudCheckr and Spot by NetApp FinOps solution will blend detailed billing and usage data for a cloud or multiple cloud environments, analytics highlighting cost-saving opportunities, secure configuration risks, and automated, continuous optimizations.”
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NetApp Grows its Cloud Business
The company further built out its cloud capabilities in June when it bought Data Mechanics, a managed platform provider that enabled organizations to leverage Apache Spark to process and analyze the massive amounts of data that are being generated both on premises and in the cloud. Its platform provides large-scale data processing and machine learning in Kubernetes. Through the platform, enterprises can identify operating efficiencies and cost reductions, as well as automate many manual processes.
NetApp has seen momentum in its cloud efforts. According to its most recent quarterly financial report, the company’s public cloud revenue increased 155 percent year-over-year and hybrid cloud revenue grew from $1.27 billion to $1.38 billion.
Shachar noted that over the past four years, NetApp has grown its cloud business from nothing to about $340 million in annual recurring revenue. He also said that about 70 percent of customers buying from the company have never purchased from NetApp before.
“That means that NetApp was able to transform their existing storage technology into something that is cloud-ready, so customers that never purchased NetApp are just using it for their cloud applications and also showing that NetApp is building a very strong portfolio of products that surrounding that storage with compute and optimization and CloudOps and big data that is giving these customers more reasons to buy from NetApp,” he said.
Shachar added that NetApp is “a company that does way more than storage. We happened to start with storage, but there is a whole new portfolio, a whole new way to help customers in the cloud.”
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