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Top features of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP

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Louis Frankel
Louis Frankel
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After being away from NetApp working as a lead in the Enterprise Support Organization at AWS for more than 5 years, I became accustomed to the AWS native storage options. I began to forget about all the great features that we provided to our customers in the on-premises world when I was a Professional Services architect at NetApp. Returning to NetApp and working with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, I find that many of the same features that customers relied on in their on-premises environments are still very relevant in the cloud. Just because you are building cloud-native modern application stacks doesn’t mean that you need to use an inefficient storage layer that lacks enterprise features and capabilities.

In this blog post I highlight some of the features that NetApp® ONTAP® brings to the table with the 100% cloud-native first-party Amazon service, FSx for ONTAP, available in the AWS console under the Amazon FSx service. 

FSx for ONTAP multiprotocol access

Multiprotocol access makes it easy to create a highly available file-sharing platform for employee home drives and team shares that are accessible over SMB and also over NFS from Linux systems. This ability eliminates the need to move scripts and other files from a user’s home drive mapped to their Windows or Mac workstation to their Linux development systems by mapping the shared location to both systems.

With multiprotocol access you can create both a Windows share and an NFS mount to the same underlying volume. It's no longer necessary to synchronize or move files from a Windows share to an NFS server.

For more information, read the blog post, Enabling multiprotocol workloads with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP.

NetApp ONTAP SnapMirror replication

SnapMirror® easily creates a second copy of your volume that always stays in sync. It can be used to create a replication relationship between on-premises volumes and the cloud, or between different cloud providers.

I have never seen an easier and more native method of keeping volumes in sync across different environments in a hybrid cloud environment. SnapMirror is a perfect choice for on- premises to cloud migration, migration between clouds, keeping dev/test environments in sync with production, or creating and keeping disaster recovery environments up to date.

Read more about the ONTAP SnapMirror disaster recovery feature.

Storage efficiencies with FSx for ONTAP

FSx for ONTAP offers data efficiencies that can save up to 65% of your storage costs. When it comes to native AWS storage services, if you have 1,000 employees and they each have some common files, the storage subsystem saves the entire document for each of those employees. With FSx for ONTAP, data deduplication replaces the redundant files on disk with pointers, saving storage overhead and greatly reducing the cost of storage. Data compression removes any unneeded zeros from the binary data that represents the file, providing even more savings.

Learn more about storage efficiencies with FSx for ONTAP and how to enable them.

FSx for ONTAP volumes are thin provisioned

Unlike EBS volumes, where you pay for the entire volume you create regardless of how much space is used, only the used space of your volumes counts against the capacity you have provisioned in your FSx for ONTAP file system. By provisioning larger iSCSI volumes for your clients, and monitoring the available capacity at the file-system level using Amazon CloudWatch, you can configure alerts and grow your file system dynamically. This means that your clients' volumes don't need to be increased as often, greatly reducing the amount of time your teams spend resizing disks in the OS.

Add this time savings to the savings of up to 65% provided by the ONTAP storage efficiencies of deduplication, compression, and compaction, and you can reduce your storage cost by up to 90% and reduce management overhead as well. 

(To reach the 90% savings, it is assumed that your EBS volume usage was around 50% and you migrated this amount to FSx for ONTAP file systems where you maintain only 20% of free space. This number also uses the typical 65% storage savings from the storage efficiencies mentioned earlier, which is an average that we see in general-purpose workloads. Actual savings will vary depending on how much empty space you have in your EBS footprint and the type of data you are storing.) 

Learn more about NetApp thin provisioning.

FSx for ONTAP FlexClone

With NetApp FlexClone®, you can create a near instantaneous clone of any data volume for use in your dev/test environments. This ability allows your development teams to refresh their databases with a copy of the production data without any impact on the production workloads.

Read more about the NetApp FlexClone feature.

FSx for ONTAP metrics

Metrics are sent to Amazon CloudWatch for monitoring, along with your other AWS services. You can create alerts and alarms to notify your administrative staff or trigger automations. You can also use NetApp Cloud Insights to get a holistic view of your entire storage environment, whether it's on premises, in FSx for ONTAP, Azure NetApp files, NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud, or all of the above!

Find out more about NetApp Cloud Insights.

simplified and streamlined operations of FSX netapp ontap

Louis Frankel

Louis Frankel is a solutions architect in the Office of the CTO for NetApp Public Cloud Services. He has spent the last 20 years working in enterprise infrastructure architecture for companies like IBM, EchoStar Communications, and Amazon Web Services.

View all Posts by Louis Frankel

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