TECH::How pNFS could benefit cloud architecture

Yesterday, I was speaking with a customer who is a cloud provider. They were discussing how to use NFSv4 with clustered Data ONTAP for one of their customers. As we were talking, I brought up pNFS and its capabilities. They were genuinely excited about what pNFS could do for their particular use case.

What is pNFS?

pNFS is “parallel NFS,” which is a little bit of a misnomer, as it doesn’t do parallel reads and writes across different object stores (i.e., striping). Instead, it establishes a metadata path to the NFS server and then splits off the data path to its own dedicated path. The client works with the NFS server to determine which path is local to the physical location of the object store. Think of it asALUA for NFS.

In the case of pNFS on clustered Data ONTAP, NetApp currently supports file-level pNFS, so the object store would be a flexible volume on an aggregate of physical disks. pNFS is covered in detail in NetApp TR-4063.


Great! So, what’s cool about pNFS?

There are a number of things that makes pNFS a cool new NFS feature, such as:

  • All the benefits and security of standard NFSv4.1
  • Metadata and data separation
  • Transparent-to-client data migration – data agility!

For more, check out the full post on!

Harnessing the Power of pNFS in the Cloud with NetApp


2 thoughts on “TECH::How pNFS could benefit cloud architecture

  1. Dear Justin,

    can we have ALUA-like traffic *load balancing across Ethernet ports* with pNFS and next scheme: 4x IP Data LIF (two IP address on each node) with 2-node cluster, each IP on its own Ethernet port?
    Will pNFS distribute all the traffic equally between *two ports* which form optimal path to the data?


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