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This article was updated in October 2022 to reflect the new release of NetApp Keystone

We are seeing a growing demand for storage-as-a-service (STaaS) offerings. Capital expenditures (CapEx) for on-premises storage systems are slowly declining, while operating expenditures (OpEx) for STaaS offerings are quickly increasing. It is projected that over the next five years, more than half of all on-premises storage will be replaced with fully managed STaaS or deployed as a consumption-based service.

Product offerings such as NetApp Keystone are designed to allow organizations to leverage the cloud's agility and flexibility through a comprehensive hybrid cloud solution.

In this article, we will delve into the NetApp Keystone features and benefits and discuss how they enable organizations to leverage both existing on-premises solutions and cloud-based IT services for optimal hybrid cloud implementation.

What is NetApp Keystone?

NetApp Keystone is a suite of payment solutions coupled with storage-as-a-service (STaaS) and a seamless hybrid cloud offering that enables organizations to achieve a greater degree of flexibility, agility and financial risk reduction in hybrid cloud environments. The portfolio of utility consumption models enables substantial cost efficiencies through the dynamic provisioning of IT resources. With NetApp Keystone, firms are no longer saddled with improperly allocated resources and the bottom-line consequences of overbuying and over-provisioning.  

How NetApp Keystone works

NetApp Keystone consists of a suite of services that supplant traditional on-premises modes of IT consumption—modes that typically involve significant capital expenditures (e.g., servers, storage, networking equipment) and significant operational overhead. With the NetApp Keystone primary offerings—NetApp Keystone Flex Pay, NetApp Keystone Flex Subscription and NetApp Keystone Flex Utility—organizations can maintain unprecedented control over their environments while leveraging a full OpEx based consumption model (e.g., no assets to report on the balance sheet).  

Also, NetApp Keystone customers can save time and effort spent on operational tasks (e.g., migrations, security updates and patches, hardware upgrades) while enjoying the comprehensive control and flexibility of a hybrid infrastructure.  

Cost-effective planning for growth

NetApp Keystone is ideally suited for firms looking to adopt a unified subscription billing model for all their IT environments, both on-premises and in the cloud. Similarly, organizations looking to pay for their data storage on a utility, pay-per-use basis will benefit from the flexible Keystone consumption models. Using a combination of payment, subscription, and usage-based services, NetApp Keystone delivers a consistent hybrid cloud and storage architecture that offers both unprecedented scalability and cost-efficiency.  

This addresses the needs of both firms looking to migrate their workloads to the cloud (or vice versa) as well as enterprises with sophisticated hybrid/multicloud environments. In the case of the latter, enterprises with highly optimized, fine-tuned infrastructures with a high rate of asset utilization will also find that NetApp Keystone fits lockstep into their existing service architectures.  

NetApp Keystone's modular offering enables them to utilize the solution suite for addressing whatever service gap or use case is in question—be it for infrastructure bursting to the cloud, data migration and backup, disaster recovery, and service tiering, just to name a few.

NetApp Keystone options

  • NetApp Keystone Flex Pay: A pay-as-you-grow solution portfolio that combines traditional equipment financing/leasing and fixed/variable options with a seamless hybrid cloud platform experience. For example, the innovative FlexPod consumption model enables enterprises to facilitate their most demanding application and user needs and effectively manage data from the edge to the core/cloud—all while reducing data center costs.
  • NetApp Keystone Flex Subscription: A subscription-based service that delivers the experience of the cloud, but on-premises through a NetApp-operated outcome-based service option.
  • NetApp Keystone Flex Utility: A unified subscription-based service (e.g., a data fabric service) for both on-premises and cloud services that aligns cloud/data costs with the actual number of resources used by the organization.

Benefits of NetApp Keystone

NetApp Keystone enables organizations to leverage familiar on-premises architectures while reaping the economic benefits of a hybrid cloud deployment model. Chiefly, the portfolio allows customers to align their IT resources with shifting business requirements and priorities.

The following are just a few of NetApp Keystone's key benefits.

Complete OpEx service offering

NetApp Keystone Flex Subscription is ideal for both internal and external service providers wishing to better align their costs with actual usage and derived revenue. For example, in the case of a reseller or application service provider looking to optimize their cost models across the value chain. In these cases, NetApp's Active IQ integration offers a streamlined dashboard for both Flex Subscription services and existing NetApp systems. Whatever the case may be, customers enjoy a pay-for-performance model based on service tiers (e.g., levels contingent on input/output operations per second, latency and other factors) and their need vis-a-vis workload requirements: Extreme, Premium, Standard and Value.

Cost-effective scaling/reconfiguration/deployment

Typical on-premises solutions  are costly to deploy initially and scale/configure after the fact. With NetApp Keystone, users have a flexible solution to deal with unpredictable workloads and shifting data usage/demands, as well other more specialized use cases such as creating a single platform for cloud orchestration/provisioning/management and bringing workloads back on-premises from the cloud (i.e., repatriation).

Flexible pricing, hardware options and operations

NetApp Keystone users receive bundled pricing for hardware, core OS, and support for a one $/TiB price. Additionally, file/block/object and cloud storage services are invoiced together in a single interface, with a series of flexible terms and options (e.g., 12 months, 100TiB or more/site, 12 months with auto-renew or month-to-month).  

Organizations can leverage auto-tiering capabilities to realize even greater operational efficiencies and savings. For example, the solution's automatic tiering feature can be configured to place infrequently used data on a lower-cost storage tier (e.g., lower cost object storage, whether on-premises or with another public cloud service).

How World Wide Technology can help with NetApp Keystone

To learn more about NetApp Keystone, as well as other solutions in NetApp's storage-as-a-service, cloud data storage and infrastructure management portfolio, check out WWT's expansive coverage of NetApp's products and solutions—or better yet, contact us today to learn more about our services.  

Update: New release of NetApp Keystone

In October 2022, there was a major new release of NetAppKeystone. This new release brings highly differentiated capabilities that highlight how to simplify a customer's hybrid environment.

The new release is significant because it establishes NetApp Keystone as the only STaaS offering that simplifies hybrid operations by delivering the following capabilities: 

  • Single subscription service for hybrid cloud: One subscription spans capacity on-premises and CVO running in one or more clouds. This simplifies the purchase, operation, support and billing of hybrid environments.
  • Freedom to transition workloads to the cloud: Flexibly reallocate the on-premises capacity to the cloud within the same monthly bill. Ideal for customers with plans to transition to the cloud over time.
  • Integrate NetApp Keystoneas part of hybrid management: NetApp Keystone management is now integrated into Cloud Manager to monitor the health, service level attainment and billing, with much more coming soon.
  • Newly integrated data protection services: Simplified data protection and data-tiering services are now integrated into the base offer.
  • New subscription terms: New terms that match CVO subscription terms for consistency across on-premises and cloud.
  • Begin with as little as 25TB: Start small and grow with the industry's lowest minimum capacity to meet the needs of more customers.
  • NetApp Keystone Advisor in Active IQ: Map existing ONTAP clusters to NetApp Keystone Service levels and estimate their monthly pricing.

NetApp Keystone is recognized as a leader in STaaS by analysts such as Gartner and GigaOm. It represents an important new business model that they continue to invest in and innovate to address growing market demands. Today, NetApp Keystone has over 30PB of capacity under management and joint offerings with Cisco, Kyndryl, NVIDIA and Equinix.