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New Astra release has something for everyone

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Sayan Saha

We're excited to announce the general availability of the latest update for NetApp® Astra™ Control. The update has two major themes: Adding finer control of the Astra Control application data management capabilities; and making it easier than ever to use Astra Control at enterprise scale.

Astra Control is an application-aware data management solution that protects, recovers, and moves data-rich Kubernetes workloads in public clouds and on premises. Astra Control enables data protection, disaster recovery, and migration for your Kubernetes workloads by leveraging NetApp’s industry-leading data management technology for Snapshot™ copies, backups, replication, and cloning.

Astra Control has two variants – Astra Control Service (ACS) and Astra Control Center (ACC). ACS is a fully managed SaaS offering operated by NetApp, and ACC provides the same functionality delivered to customers packaged as a self-managed software suite.

Selective restore using inclusion and exclusion filters

Many of the customers that our team works with need more granular control over which Kubernetes resources to include or exclude during restore operations. Being able to select specific resources streamlines the restore. With this update, Astra now offers the ability to specify what you want to restore by using simple inclusion and exclusion filters, giving you the control to select or deselect specific resources; for example, secrets, and NodePorts.

Application form

Support private self-managed OpenShift clusters

Astra Control Service now supports private self-managed OpenShift clusters in the public cloud. These clusters do not have any outbound internet access; they only have private subnets. Your applications on private OpenShift clusters can be protected with Astra like any other cluster. The full range of Astra functionality is supported. The testing has been done with OpenShift clusters hosted in Azure.

Data-only protection

Astra protects your Kubernetes application data and metadata. You can now use Astra to easily protect only the persistent volumes associated with your application. In the previous releases this was done using labels and label selectors. Now you can define an Astra application to back up only the data volumes that belong to your application, making it even easier to migrate just the data and/or to adopt GitOps workflows where application metadata can be protected separately.

Easily migrate away from persistent volumes backed by ONTAP qtrees

If you currently use the Astra Trident ontap-nas-economy driver to allocate persistent volumes (PVs) backed by NetApp ONTAP® qtrees but want to take advantage of Astra for backup and DR of your K8s workloads, you can now do so easily by using Astra.

With this release of Astra Control Center, you can back up an application using qtree-based PVs, which can be subsequently restored to use PVs that are allocated using the Astra Trident ontap-nas, ontap-san, and ontap-san-economy drivers. The operation allows you to easily migrate your applications to use PVs that Astra can protect without tedious data movement operations involving data moves or copies from qtrees to ONTAP FlexVol® volumes.

Simplify Astra Control Center evaluations and installations

Until now, Astra Control Center evaluations required downloading and applying a separate evaluation license to ACC after deploying it in a separate step. ACC now includes an evaluation license with the downloaded bits to make evaluations even easier. You can also choose to apply a paid license at any time during the evaluation period. 

Astra Control Center now automatically performs preinstallation checks for dependencies to provide a more straightforward installation experience. The checks include ensuring minimum worker node resource requirements, the presence of a CSI driver, the presence of an ingress controller, and other requirements that must be met for ACC to function correctly once deployed.

And we’re not done yet. We’ve also added support for enabling Istio ServiceMesh for ACC’s observability services, which enables you to use Istio fully with ACC.

Exclude OpenShift infrastructure nodes from licensing

The Astra Control Center licensing model attributes the vCPUs of all the worker nodes in a managed K8s cluster toward the licensed cores. Although this works well in most cases, OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) introduced the concept of infrastructure nodes in OCP 4, which are generally used for hosting infra components for logging and metrics. These nodes are not used for running applications and are exempt from OCP licensing. We’ve matched that in this release by excluding the vCPUs on infra nodes from ACC licensing, making it even more cost effective to protect OpenShift applications with ACC.

Summary and next step

This Astra Control update delivers exciting new application data management functionality and addresses many customer pain points associated with Kubernetes data protection. Free trials are available for both Astra Control Service (ACS) and Astra Control Center (ACC). Get started today by signing up for a free trial.

Sayan Saha

Sayan Saha is a product executive with open-source software product management experience spanning Linux-based platform software, containers, Kubernetes, high-availability/clustering software, virtualization, hyper-converged systems, and software-defined storage. At NetApp, he runs product management for Astra—a fully managed (SaaS) multihybrid cloud data management platform for Kubernetes applications. Before NetApp, he was a product management leader at AWS and Red Hat, where he led cloud file storage, distributed storage, and Kubernetes storage products.

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