Enterprise Private Clouds and Scale-Out NAS Benefit From Clustered Storage

by Jim Lyons, NetApp

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Cloud ONTAP Use Case: Cordant Group

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A new generation of clustered storage technology is now available, removing  constraints and increasing efficiencies for IT organizations and the businesses they serve. Nondisruptive operations eliminate downtime; proven efficiencies free up budget dollars for new projects; and the ability to dynamically scale capacity, performance and operations enables companies to thrive in spite of rapid change.

The latest release of the clustered Data ONTAP® operating system delivers all of these capabilities and more, and was specifically designed to address the demands of private clouds, scale-out NAS workloads and enterprise applications.

Clustered Storage for Private Clouds
Today's virtualized environments are rapidly evolving into private clouds, and IT organizations are now expected to function as service providers. This fundamental change places new demands on the storage infrastructure. In cloud environments, storage infrastructures must be able to:

  • Consolidate a mix of workloads onto a single, standardized architecture.
  • Scale applications up and down to meet changing demand.
  • Serve multiple tenants at the same time—securely, and without one application clobbering the performance of the others. 

Clustered Data ONTAP allows you to isolate each tenant and workload in its own storage virtual machine—the storage equivalent of an application VM. This structure enables secure multi-tenancy and lets you control the service level for each workload independently. Additionally, clustered Data ONTAP allows you to reduce costs and increase utilization through built-in efficiency features, including advanced Snapshot® technology, deduplication, data compression and thin provisioning. And standardizing and consolidating your storage environment onto a unified architecture enables you to manage a single, scalable platform rather than multiple, incompatible platforms, creating operational efficiencies. 

Clustered Data ONTAP also addresses the Achilles' heel of virtualized environments: managing planned downtime. With clustered Data ONTAP, a workload being served by a storage VM can be shifted nondisruptively to other storage assets whenever maintenance is required. It can then be returned to its original location once maintenance is completed, with no outage and no interruption to the business. This ability to shift workloads in a cluster without disrupting applications is a true game changer. It enables you to perform storage maintenance, hardware lifecycle operations and software upgrades without interrupting the business. 

How today's agile data centers can benefit from clustered Data ONTAP.

Clustered Storage for Scale-Out NAS
Scale-out NAS customers were among the first to deploy clustered storage to meet a range of new challenges, including unstructured data growth, managing large-scale digital media projects and storing big data for some of the world’s most advanced research and development programs. Key storage requirements for these environments include:

  • Linear performance scaling.
  • Predictable high performance with low latency.
  • Managing capacity at scale.

As capacities increase, the need for storage efficiency also becomes critical, and this is another area where clustered Data ONTAP excels. It is not unusual to hear about capacity savings of up to 50%—as in 50% fewer disks required.

Clustered Storage for Enterprise Applications
Enterprise applications are traditionally deployed on SAN platforms and require high performance, high reliability and high availability. When it comes to performance, clustered storage for enterprise applications must take advantage of flash technology, real-time storage tiering and scale-out SAN hardware to deliver cost-effective performance and low latency. Bulletproof reliability is required for a range of workloads and workload sizes, along with storage quality of service and the ability to provide uptime performance of 99.999% or higher.

In addition, the management of application availability across asset lifecycles continues to be one of the toughest challenges storage teams face in these environments. In many cases, lease agreements have become a trigger for a recurring cycle of data migration events,  with data moved from system to system every time a lease is about to expire. With clustered Data ONTAP, IT organizations can perform nondisruptive data migrations based on the needs of the business and not the demands of a lease agreement. 

Clustered Data ONTAP
Clustered Data ONTAP does for storage what server virtualization did for servers: It breaks down the physical barriers that bind data to specific hardware, enabling greater mobility, greater operational efficiency, greater availability and lower cost.

For more information on the benefits of clustered storage, best practices and in-depth interviews with storage experts, visit the NetApp Tech OnTap® community.

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