Hoping to ease customers' migration to the cloud, NetApp has released a reference architecture for deploying its storage systems as part of a Microsoft Hyper-V cloud system.

The reference architecture should help enterprises virtualise their NetApp block-based storage systems so they can be managed from Microsoft System Center.

The architecture is part of Microsoft's Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track programme, which Microsoft introduced last November. The reference architectures can be used by customers for "building turn-key private clouds," said Robert Wahbe, Microsoft corporate vice president for servers and tools.

The reference architecture could "save months of configuration work," according to Phil Brotherton, vice president and general manager of the Microsoft Business Unit at NetApp. The architecture includes a design guide, a bill of materials and a template for requesting price quotes from channel partners, system integrators and service providers that might build the clouds.

The NetApp Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track architecture provides a blueprint for assembling NetApp storage area network hardware and software, along with Cisco and Microsoft components, into a functioning cloud system.

"We've done some early validation of systemwide configurations," said Ryan O'Hara, Microsoft senior director for System Center. NetApp is showing a system built using this architecture at the TechEd conference.

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The architecture deploys NetApp unified storage systems running the Data OnTap storage operating system, with a software bundle that includes the NetApp OnCommand 3.0 plug-in for Microsoft, slated to be commercially available in August. It also uses Cisco Unified Computing System servers and Cisco Nexus switches. Also included in the design are Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 and Microsoft System Center components, including Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, Microsoft System Center Service Manager and Opalis Integration Server.

NetApp is not alone at TechEd in releasing Fast Track reference architectures for Microsoft software. Cisco released a new set of SQL Server Fast Track reference architectures for building data warehouses. The Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 for Cisco Unified Computing System provides a template for building data warehouses using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 on Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Servers, along with NetApp or EMC storage.

A second Cisco architecture, entitled Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 OLTP reference configuration for Cisco UCS, is optimised for online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads, using UCS C-Series Rack Mount Servers, the Microsoft software stack and EMC unified midrange and enterprise storage configurations.