Marching to the beat of its own drum; how clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 leads with innovation

By Matt Hurford, systems engineering manager, NetApp ANZ

In a fast moving and competitive business landscape, it is natural for market trends to emerge rapidly and burn brightly as they are hyped, debated and often quickly forgotten. At NetApp, we have seen this cycle repeat more times than we could recall.

It is important to be part of topical and relevant industry conversations, however it is also crucial not to be distracted by them. With market trends constantly exploding and fading away, and technologies emerging and evolving, business objectives remain a constant. Maintaining a focus on the business realities that impact and challenge our clients and strategic partners should remain a focus, and it is this approach that has allowed NetApp to stay above and ahead of the latest trends.

It is also why we are so excited about the launch of clustered Data ONTAP 8.2. As many of our competitors race to ‘software-define’ themselves, clustered Data ONTAP is not about riding this market trend. Instead, it is about meeting and exceeding our customers’ intensifying and serious business challenges in a way that adds value and offers genuine solutions.

As the explosion of mission-critical information forces many organisations into a sprint as they try to keep pace with their technology needs, the rising cost and complexity of scalability creates a consistent strain on resources.

For many of today’s enterprise organisations, slow service delivery, debilitating downtime and spiralling costs are an unrelenting reality. At the pace of today’s business, any one of those factors can pose a serious threat. Taken together, they represent a perfect storm.

Clustered Data ONTAP addresses these challenges head-on, with an industry-leading suite of solutions. As NetApp’s next generation storage platform, clustered ONTAP has been designed specifically to handle issues of scale, offering non-disruptive operations, proven efficiencies, and seamless scalability.

Clustered ONTAP introduces Storage Virtual Machines, a new means to deliver storage services to application and end users in the form of virtual storage arrays. Storage VMs abstract data services from the underlying cluster hardware allowing storage resources to be assigned from one or more physical controllers. The virtualization of the data access point is key in providing non-disruptive operations and seamless scalability.

Non-disruptive operations allows storage teams to manage the data infrastructure without impacting the applications and end users they host. This means that for the first time ever, IT teams can manage the common and critical storage operations such as maintenance, upgrades and service without impacting business operations.

Seamless scalability expands on this capability by allowing the storage resources provisioned to an application to be reconfigured or adjusted without requiring any changes to an application’s configuration or running state. Seamless scalability ensures that applications receive the appropriate level of storage services based on their requirements over the application’s lifecycle. The benefit of seamless scalability can be profound as it eliminates future data migrations and workload rebalancing.

Clustered ONTAP 8.2 introduces granular Quality of Services (QoS), where scalability and non-disruptive operations increase service availability. NetApp’s new granular QoS ensures service levels separation and assurance by limiting, guaranteeing, and prioritising storage IO. Essentially, this means that mission critical applications take precedence over background services such as backup or replication. QoS allows customers to have confidence that enterprise applications and virtual infrastructures can all run on a shared hardware platform.

More than ever before, the increasing complexities inherent in scalability pose serious challenges to today’s enterprise organisations and cloud service providers. Clustered ONTAP mitigates these complexities with three primary, critical solutions: non-disruptive operation, seamless scalability, and greater quality of service. By operating outside the confines of industry trends, NetApp allows customers to harness the true potential of their data with an extremely powerful storage operating system, designed expressly to address their most critical pain points.