Microsoft and NetApp form a 3-year alliance on virtualization

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Not like we didn’t see this coming. Today Microsoft and NetApp announces a three-year alliance on virtualization, cloud computing and storage management.
The pact includes joint product development, technical integration, sales and marketing activities.

Finally the Hyper-V enterprise users will have a solid alternative to Microsoft Data Protection Manager (DPM) for virtual machines live backup when using the Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) technology.

The two companies together will release architecture blueprints for disaster recovery with virtualization (like this one), snap-ins to manage the NetApp storage inside the Hyper-V console, management packs for System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).
On top of this NetApp will work with the recently formed team that is working on the Microsoft Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering, to be the storage partner of choice when Azure customers ask for private clouds solutions.

NetApp is a major storage partner of VMware, which spent remarkable effort in these years to persuade the customers that its products can integrate with VI (and now vSphere) much better than the ones offered by the VMware’s parent company EMC. For NetApp, VMware is a cash cow, despite EMC. 
Nonetheless, the vendor now announces that it’s ready to become a major partner of Microsoft too, not just by supporting Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), but by signing a long-term agreement which even involves Azure.

This is just another effect of the VMware/Cisco/EMC (VCE, aka Virtual Compute Environment) coalition.
Pretty much like the acquisition of 3Com from HP. And the many more that will likely come.