June 2016 – ONTAP 9 Month on the Tech ONTAP Podcast!

A couple weeks ago, I hinted at some news that was coming to the Tech ONTAP Podcast in June. Now, that news is finally here – ONTAP 9 has been announced!

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We kicked off the month with an interview with Lee Caswell, the VP of Product and Solutions Marketing at NetApp to talk about why NetApp decided to go with the new ONTAP 9 version rather than another 8.x release, as well as how the ONTAP software release cadences are changing.

You can listen to that here:

The entire month is listed under a playlist here:

What changed?

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With the new release, there is a focus on the following:

Simplicity

  • New AFF deployment templates for Oracle, VDI, SQL to speed up set up (<10 minute set up)
  • Improved and re-vamped management GUIs (Dave Morera does a nice job covering this)
  • Unified data management across on-prem (flash and disk) and cloud datacenters

Maximizing Data Center Agility

Improved Performance

  • 20x faster response times
  • Up to 60% more IOPs than 8.3.1

There’s also a series of new features being offered in ONTAP 9. We discussed some of those with Lee Caswell (see his blog here), but we will also be covering them in upcoming episodes this month.

For a short list of the new features:

  • Support for 15TB SSD
  • Inline data compaction
  • SnapLock® software for data compliance
  • RAID-TEC triple-parity protection
  • Headroom for visibility of performance capacity
  • MetroCluster enhancements
  • Onboard key manager (Included for FREE)
  • FlexGroups (PVR only in 9.0)
  • Workgroup mode for CIFS/SMB

A few of the NetApp A-Team Members wrote up some blogs for the new stuff:

Upcoming schedule

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The following is the tentative podcast schedule for the rest of the month, where we talk about all things ONTAP 9!

Week of June 3: Lee Caswell on “Why ONTAP 9”; ONTAP 9 overview with a special SolidFire announcement in a mini-podcast! (2.5 podcasts in one week!)
June 10: ONTAP 9 features: Data Protection
June 17: ONTAP 9 features: Flash Perf
June 24: ONTAP 9 features: ONTAP Select and SAN
June 30: ONTAP 9 features: FlexGroups
July 4: ONTAP 9 features: Manageability Tools

Stay tuned for great things!

How I learned to stop worrying (And love the concept of the Data Fabric)

I am an Amazon Prime member.

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I love the service – I get free 2-day shipping, movies I can download for free and take with me on trips and music I would never buy outright to stream for my toddler, plus a variety of other perks.

The other day, I got an email:

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Of course, this is the natural progression of things. In the race to the bottom, whether it’s all-flash storage systems, televisions or electric cars, as commodities (such as SSDs, electrical components, etc) get cheaper and companies jockey for market share, products for consumers get cheaper. In this case, FREE.

Amazon offering free storage for photos is simply the next shot in the war between cloud providers and a way to further take market share from Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc in the race to the bottom of cloud storage.

Which I am TOTALLY fine with, as a consumer. I like free.

But what this deal underscored for me was… how on earth do I move all those thousands of photos of me, my toddler and various other things from my Apple photos to Amazon?

Like any good techie, I Googled it.

And I saw how much of a bear it was going to be. So much so, that even the draw of “free” can’t overcome my reaction of “I have to do what??” Apple photo storage is already cheap enough (and free up to a certain storage capacity). So, as a consumer, I have little motivation to move. This is a good example of “cloud lock in,” in my opinion.

I can’t imagine having to deal with this on an enterprise level as a customer. I’m dealing with maybe GBs of photos. But enterprises? PETABYTES of real, live money making data. So they’d have even LESS incentive to move stuff around, especially when you factor in change control windows, approvals, down time, etc. Then it hit me…

This is a job for… the Data Fabric!

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If you’re not a storage person, you likely have no idea what a NetApp is. And if that’s the case, you have less of a notion of what a Data Fabric is.

Even if you are a storage person, you might not know much about the NetApp Data Fabric.

Essentially, it’s this: Avoiding vendor lock-in by giving the owners of data control over their own data by providing a way to move it around seamlessly and quickly across clouds, anywhere, anytime.

There was a pretty effective demo done at NetApp Insight by @NetofromBrazil on this very concept:

But like many things, it takes a use case that personally impacts you to drive that point home – something as simple as “where do I put my photos now?”

Granted, the NetApp Data Fabric won’t help you solve that specific problem, but the same concept applies. It gives data owners the option to actually own their data, as well as where it lives.

Who knew that control would be so valuable?

 

Also, check out Paul Stringfellow’s post on the Data Fabric:

https://techstringy.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/a-stitch-in-time-and-data/

TECH:: NetApp is kicking some flash!

Picture this…

You’re a storage administrator, and your boss has just told you to go out and find a suitable flash array for your production workloads. The problem is, everything you’ve heard about flash is that there isn’t a flash array that can do unified protocols (SAN and NAS) *and* deliver the top-line performance with built-in data protection at the lowest cost per GB out there.

That changes today.

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Customers and partners alike have been asking for an affordable, dependable and reliable high performance, enterprise-ready all flash system – and NetApp listened.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about flash replacing disk as a primary storage mechanism in a datacenter. Because of the price point, performance and other factors, flash storage has become coveted in IT organizations.

There are plenty of storage vendors out there, but only one has the proven track record in enterprise environments and the ability to offer unified protocol support, flash-to-disk-to-cloud, non-disruptive operations (NDO), and integrated data protection on a single storage system.

NetApp All Flash FAS is stepping up its game with a new, aggressive pricing model that allows enterprise IT departments to implement a scale-out All Flash storage system without needing to sell a kidney to do it.

Now, you can get:

  • Consistent high performance at a low latency
  • Ability to scale up to 4 million IOPS and 16PB of effective capacity
  • The enhanced features, non-disruptive operations and flexibility of clustered Data ONTAP
  • The only all flash array that supports combining hybrid and all flash systems into a unified storage resource!

Best of all, it’s very competitive in the industry – as low as $5/GB!

This includes software license bundles, support, and a 3 year basic warranty. So, for competitive, if not superior pricing, you get world-class, enterprise-ready flash storage from the only vendor that can offer enterprise-ready flash storage!

Think that’ll make your boss happy?

Flashpoint

Just think about how happy he/she will be when you tell them that you bought an all flash system that can also incorporate spinning disk for all those workloads that don’t need to live on flash, such as archives, home directories and other things that aren’t so performance hungry.

Because, let’s be honest with ourselves – you don’t need flash for everything.

If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re being purely dishonest.

That same unified storage system that has the performance and efficiency benefits of flash, also has the ability to do non-disruptive moves of data to spinning disk when those performance needs are filled.

Have a seasonal workload that needs top line performance for a short period of time, but doesn’t do anything the rest of the year? Use your All Flash FAS nodes for the performance and then use volume move to migrate the data to spinning disk, freeing up valuable flash storage real estate for your needy workloads.

That gives you a storage system that is ideal for any and all workloads. Want to do VDI, Oracle databases and SQL on flash and archives, home directories and other capacity-based workloads in the same namespace?

NetApp is the only vendor that offers that option.

What about 8.3.1? Does that get me anything?

Heck yes!

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With the new inline data compression enhancements in clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.1, you get:

  • Support for all workload environments
  • Performance and efficiency optimization for All Flash FAS (AFF) systems (where compression is enabled by default) known as “FlashEssentials”
  • Adaptive compression 
  • Improved read performance
  • Sub-file clone support on compressed volumes

In fact, in some workload scenarios, using inline compression in clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.1 with AFF brings better performance than not using inline compression in cDOT 8.3!

That’s right! You get faster results using compression than not using it. Faster performance and lower capacity? Yes, please!

For more information on 8.3.1 features, check out my post on specific enhancements in clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.1.

Is it cloud ready?

You’re in luck – clustered Data ONTAP is ideal for the cloud.

Got a private cloud? Cool. Use your volume moves to non-disruptively move data between flash and non-flash storage.

Want to move data to a public cloud like AWS? Awesome. NetApp allows you to replicate and manage your data in the cloud via Cloud ONTAP and NetApp Private Storage.

Want to tie it all together and leverage a hybrid cloud without any constraints across your choice of resources? Then check out the NetApp Data Fabric.

NetApp’s All Flash FAS solution is the only all flash product that provides full flash-to-disk-to-cloud data management within the NetApp Data Fabric.

Still not sure?

No problem. NetApp offers a “Try and Buy” program, where you can get an All Flash FAS system into your datacenter to test various workloads and see the performance gains and advantages with your own eyes!

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My NetApp AFF game face

For some more information on the NetApp Data Fabric, check out Jarett Klum’s blog!

For the Reg article on this offering see NetApp cackles as cheaper FlashRay lurches out of the door.

For Dmitris Krekoukias’s excellent take on this, see NetApp Enterprise Grade Flash.

For ESG’s Lab Review of AFF and 8.3.1 see ESG Lab Review: NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.1 and All Flash FAS AFF8080 EX

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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.

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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 DataCenterDude.com!

Harnessing the Power of pNFS in the Cloud with NetApp

TECH:: Amazon AWS: File services enter the cloud!

This week at Amazon AWS Summit, the new Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) was announced.

From the EFS product page:

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) is a file storage service for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Amazon EFS is easy to use and provides a simple interface that allows you to create and configure file systems quickly and easily. With Amazon EFS, storage capacity is elastic, growing and shrinking automatically as you add and remove files, so your applications have the storage they need, when they need it.

Amazon EFS supports the Network File System version 4 (NFSv4) protocol, so the applications and tools that you use today work seamlessly with Amazon EFS. Multiple Amazon EC2 instances can access an Amazon EFS file system at the same time, providing a common data source for workloads and applications running on more than one instance.

This is HUGE news – and not just for Amazon. As the Technical Marketing Engineer for NFS at NetApp, you can imagine how excited I am about this.

Why?

Amazon has just validated using NAS in the cloud.

For the longest time, cloud access has been limited to object-based storage and REST APIs. Now, users can access data via file-based NFSv4 through Amazon Web Services. It is time to…

enter-the-cloud

To read more, see my post on DataCenterDude.com!

Amazon Announces EFS