Do you have the right insights?

Are you transitioning to cloud? Do you have the right insights for that?


In my last blogpost I wrote about NetApp being more than just a storage vendor. I explained that NetApp is a cloud-led data-centric software company that helps organizations unlock the best of cloud. In this blogpost I’ll explain what NetApp does in the area of Monitoring & Optimization of cloud infrastructure and applications.

As most modern companies are becoming more and more digital and need to innovate to be more competitive, cloud technology can help them achieve this. Why? Because cloud makes data and applications easy to consume through self-service, simple to setup due to high levels of automation, is highly flexible and scales on demand. This helps businesses to innovate faster.

But transitioning to cloud isn’t easy. So, where to start? And what are your primary objectives?

Do you want to modernize your infrastructure and applications? And if so, which applications are suitable, and which are not? And the once suited, what resources do they need in the cloud and can these be optimized by right-sizing?

And when your applications and your data run in the cloud, either private or public, how are they performing? Are they running in the right place? What are the associated costs and can these spends be reduced?

It all starts with getting the right insights. Without this you are not able to make informed decisions.

NetApp can help. Cloud Insights and Spot are two NetApp cloud solutions that can help businesses to get more insights in their cloud infrastructure, analyze & optimize it, solve problems faster and reduce spend.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper in each solution.

Cloud Insights

Cloud Insights is a SaaS-based hybrid multi-cloud infrastructure monitoring tool. It can monitor your complete infrastructure stack from storage up to the application and provide a unified view. It uses analytics to automatically build relationships between monitored components, correlate metrics for faster problem solving and detect threats in real time to gain visibility into possible attacks on your data set.

Cloud Insights is heterogenous and therefore supports not only NetApp but also infrastructure solutions from other vendors such as Dell/EMC, Pure, IBM, HP, Cisco, Brocade, VMware etc. including the three major hyperscalers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.


Because it’s a SaaS solution you do not have to run and maintain servers for on-prem installation, it’s always up to date running the latest features, scales automatically as your on-prem and cloud resources grow and is deployed in minutes. One collector, called an acquisition unit, is all that’s required to monitor your cloud infrastructure.


Once up and running it gives you full stack visibility from the public cloud to the datacenter, infrastructure and applications, from hundreds of available collectors. Even when your application is containerized and running on Kubernetes, Cloud Insights lets you identify performance issues and resource constraints, internal to the cluster, or on the infrastructure supporting it.


With a gallery of dashboard widgets, you can create relevant dashboards instantly very easily and customize them to your specific needs.


Cloud Insights advanced analytics correlates metrics and detects greedy or degraded resources and resource contention. With targeted and conditional alerts which you can customize precisely you create less noise and more relevance.


Effective resource management lets you control waste by finding unused, orphaned infrastructure and right-size it to fit your needs. By optimizing usage, you can defer spending and achieve more with your limited budget and maintain sanity before, during, and after migration to public cloud.

Cloud Insights comes in three editions: Basic, Standard and Premium.

The basic edition is free for all NetApp customers but is limited to NetApp only and has a data retention of only 7 days. Although, it is a great way to start and learn the capabilities of Cloud Insights.

If you have a more demanding cloud infrastructure, have the need for a higher data retention and want full stack visibility across all your infrastructure and applications, the Standard edition is more suited. It has a data retention of 3 months and supports multiple vendors and hyperscalers.

The Premium edition has a data retention of 13 months and adds API access, a data warehouse with custom reporting, user data access auditing and ransomware detection with actionable intelligence.insightsLicensing of the Standard and Premium edition is based on the number of Managed Units (MUs). An MU is defined as:

  • Compute: 1 MU = 2 hosts (virtual or physical)
  • Storage: 1 MU = 4TB of unformatted external capacity in a physical or virtual storage device

For example, if you have 50 hosts and 100TB of storage, this translates into (50/2) + (100/4) = 50 MUs.


Spot by NetApp is a suite of products to analyze your public cloud usage and automatically and continuously optimize your spend across your cloud environment using an ideal mix of purchasing models and instance types but ensuring the same, or even better, levels of performance and availability.

By reducing on-demand resources and replace them with Spot instances plus optimizing capacity commitments, Spot can save you up to 90% on compute while maintaining SLAs and SLOs.


Spot by NetApp delivers a comprehensive portfolio of services to provision, run, and scale applications in the cloud.


Cloud Analyzer will give you full visibility in cloud cost & usage and the ability to take action to reduce cloud costs and improve cloud efficiency.


This is where ElastiGroup and Ocean come in. These services automate and optimize cloud infrastructure pricing and right-sizing to deliver availability and performance at the lowest possible cost.

Eco continuously optimizes the portfolio of reserved capacity and respond to changes in usage automatically.

So, how does it work?

Analytics is the main ingredient. Spot has gathered, and still does, a lot of data regarding compute usage, availability and pricing. By leveraging machine learning Spot is able to predict spot instance behavior, capacity trends, pricing and interruption rate and translate this in a Spot Market Score across all available regions and instance types.

By predicting interruptions and fluctuations, ElastiGroup is able to proactively rebalance clusters to prevent interruption while optimizing your cost up to 90%


What ElastiGroup does for web-scale applications does Ocean for cloud-native applications.

Ocean is a serverless computing service that lets you run containers without provisioning or managing VMs. You simply deploy your containers via kubectl or favorite CI/CD pipeline and Ocean does all the work to execute and scale your containers with high availability, maximum performance and the lowest possible cost.

It does Tetris scaling to ensure that all pods have resources to run on and systematically selects the most suitable instance type that will facilitate the containers requirements and validates that your instances are fully utilized before spinning up a new one thus enabling an additional layer of cost efficiency.


It also monitors and analyzes container utilization and modify in runtime their resource limitations for performance and lowest costs.



Ocean seamlessly integrates with any Kubernetes control plane whether you’re using Amazon ECS or Kubernetes orchestrators such as AWS EKS, Azure AKS or GCP GKE or even on-prem solutions like Rancher.


Full integration with tools such as KOPS, CloudFormation, Terraform and Ansible make it even easier to deploy Ocean enabled Kubernetes clusters and/or ElastiGroups.

Besides web-scale and cloud-native applications, most enterprises also run persistent types of workloads like databases which are more difficult to right-size.

Eco does a comprehensive analysis of these types of compute workloads and ensures that they run at optimal pricing using a sophisticated Reserved Instances (RI) and Saving-Plans (SV) strategy.


Eco is fully automated and defines, executes and manages your savings strategy continuously, maximizing ROI by analyzing 1000s of scenarios.

The advantage of Spot is that it has no cost upfront. It uses success-based pricing. When you achieve savings, Spot receives a percentage of these savings. And just as Cloud Insights, it’s very easy to start and setup in minutes. Within 48 hours Spot will analyze your public cloud usage, show you where you can achieve savings and give you the ability to setup cost optimization, fully automated, resulting in reduced cloud spend up to 90%

Cloud Insights and Spot can be used separately but are also complementary. Cloud Insights is focused on gaining insights in what you have, how you’re using it, reduce waste and solve problems faster while Spot helps you to analyze & optimize infrastructure and applications you moved to public cloud to reduce spend but maintain the same levels of performance and availability.

In upcoming blogposts, I will dig a bit deeper in how to setup, configure and use both solutions.