How NetApp IT uses Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP

By Matt Norton

ONTAP is now in the public cloud as a first-party citizen.

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP brings the data management capabilities of NetApp’s storage platform  to AWS, leveraging the scalability and agility of the cloud. It gives users the features, performance, and APIs of ONTAP in a fully-managed AWS environment.

So, what does this mean to the end user? You can launch, run, and scale storage easily. Migration to AWS is simplified. Disaster recovery and backup are enhanced. Real-time data protection is top of the line. Data is automatically tiered to reduce costs.

It’s a new product, but also familiar to anyone that has used ONTAP in the past.

It’s all the things ONTAP is – but you don’t have to own it.

Our Journey

Our journey to FSx for ONTAP started in 2019 with NetApp Private Storage (NPS). This cloud agnostic solution brought our own physical storage to the public cloud. By 2020, approximately 80 percent of our cloud workloads were using NPS.

In 2021, we moved to Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO), which reduced our costs and physical footprint. We were comfortable with CVO – until we heard about FSx for ONTAP.

I remember sitting in an IT all-hands meeting when FSx for ONTAP was announced and already available in the AWS Console. My manager messaged me during the meeting and told me to kick the tires ASAP. So, I checked it out.

In about 30 minutes, I had a FSx for ONTAP active/passive cluster up and running and serving data.  A perfect marriage of a best-of-breed storage solution in NetApp ONTAP, with the convenience, scalability, and integration of a native hyperscaler solution.

How FSx for ONTAP has Impacted NetApp IT

Significantly, Amazon FSx for ONTAP made it easier to scale out to multiple regions. What used to take weeks of coordination between multiple teams now takes minutes.

We’re also finding other advantages:

Cost – We’ve done deep analysis into cost comparisons and FSx for ONTAP holds up favorably. It’s cheaper – sometimes significantly so – than the other options we have used.

Performance – Using a variety of industry benchmarks, we have found that FSx for ONTAP is capable of delivering blazing performance and compares favorably to past implementations of NPS and CVO.

– Scalability – The service scales to meet your needs. For example, if you have configured 256MBps of Network Throughput but need to bump to the next step of 512MBps, that can be done on-the-fly within minutes.  The same can be said for PIOPs and SSD capacity.  Scale up or down as it suits you, no need to waste money on resources you are not using.

Management – There’s no hardware to manage and maintain and no upgrades to deploy. That burden no longer lives with the customer. Just like other fully managed services, AWS is responsible for updating ONTAP releases and managing their data center infrastructure in order to meet specified outcomes or SLAs.

If you’re looking for more information, I recently did a full webinar on our experience with FSx for ONTAP that you may want to check out.