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Quick Take: NetApp’s Updates to Google Cloud Offering & GenAI Toolkit Reference

NetApp is expanding its collaboration with Google Cloud to enhance data utilization for generative AI and hybrid cloud workloads, introducing its Flex service level for Google Cloud NetApp Volumes.

Additionally, NetApp previewed its GenAI toolkit reference architecture that facilitates retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) using Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform.

New: Flex Service Level

The new Flex service level for Google Cloud Network Volumes caters to a wide range of storage needs, allowing customers to fine-tune their storage configurations to match the requirements of various cloud workloads precisely.

Key features of the Flex service level include:

  1. Scalability: It supports highly scalable storage volumes that range from one GiB to 100TiB. This broad range allows organizations to scale their storage up or down based on their immediate needs, making it suitable for everything from small, temporary projects to large, data-intensive applications.
  2. Performance: The performance of these volumes can reach up to one GiB/s, depending on the size of the underlying storage pool.
  3. Availability: As with other service levels offered under Google Cloud NetApp Volumes, the Flex service maintains high availability. This ensures that data is consistently accessible and protected against potential disruptions.
  4. Versatility: The Flex service level supports diverse use cases, including advanced AI and machine learning applications.

The new Flex service level will be generally available in the second quarter of 2024 across multiple Google Cloud regions.

New: GenAI Toolkit Reference Architecture

NetApp’s new GenAI reference is a framework designed to facilitate the implementation of retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) operations using the Google Cloud Vertex AI platform. This is part of NetApp’s efforts to enable organizations to leverage artificial intelligence more effectively.

Key components and features of the GenAI reference architecture include:

  1. Integration with NetApp Volumes: The architecture seamlessly integrates with NetApp Volumes on Google Cloud, allowing efficient data management and storage.
  2. Support for RAG Operations: The architecture specifically supports RAG operations, which combine information retrieval with generative AI models to produce relevant and contextual outputs.
  3. Automated Data Workflows: The architecture includes automated workflows that ensure data is classified, tagged, and managed throughout the data pipeline.
  4. Advanced Data Management Features:
    • Common Data Footprint: Ensures consistent data management practices across different environments, reducing operational complexity.
    • Automated Classification and Tagging: NetApp’s BlueXP classification service is used to tag data automatically.
    • Fast, Scalable Snapshots: Leverages ONTAP Snapshot technology to create quick and efficient snapshots of data stores.
    • Real-Time Cloning: Utilizes ONTAP FlexClone technology to clone data for diverse queries instantly.
  5. Enhanced Security and Compliance: The architecture ensures data handling complies with organizational policies and regulations, particularly in managing sensitive or regulated data.
  6. Scalability and Flexibility: The reference architecture is built to scale, accommodating growing data demands without compromising performance. It’s also flexible enough to adapt to various AI and data analytics applications.


The launch of the Flex service level for Google Cloud NetApp Volumes and the preview of the GenAI toolkit architecture exhibit NetApp’s responsive innovation in an increasingly competitive space.

NetApp’s Flex service level allows businesses to tailor their storage solutions precisely and easily adapt to varied workload requirements—a capability that is especially crucial as enterprises increasingly depend on flexible cloud solutions for a variety of emerging digital workloads.

Both of NetApp’s new offerings align well with the enterprise digital and data transformation efforts. The Flex service’s scalability features particularly cater to growing organizations that require dynamic storage solutions that can evolve with their changing needs.

The Flex service level and GenAI Toolkit Reference architecture will be well-received by customers and is an excellent addition to NetApp’s portfolio.

Disclosure: The author is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analyst firm, that engages in, or has engaged in, research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which may include those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.