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Amazon offers NetApp OnTap for managed AWS file storage

Amazon rolled out new AWS features and improvements at its Storage Day 2021, including a file storage service with NetApp's OnTap, the first managed service for AWS files.

Enterprises can now use NetApp's OnTap managed service to migrate on-premises applications that require network-attached storage into AWS.

During the annual AWS Storage Day this week, Amazon and NetApp launched Amazon FSx for NetApp OnTap. Previously, Amazon FSx only supported Windows File Server and open source file system Lustre. Amazon FSx for NetApp OnTap offers a familiar interface and features for on-premises NetApp customers, but the cloud-based service is sold and maintained by AWS.

AWS and NetApp executives said use cases for the service include lifting and shifting on-premises applications to the cloud, disaster recovery and backup of file applications, and building new file applications natively in the cloud.

"This provides customers a really easy path for migrating those applications," said Edward Naim, general manager for Amazon FSx. "It allows them to use all the [tools] they're familiar with."

Amazon FSx features, pricing and flexibility

Unlike prior FSx offerings, the managed service of FSx for NetApp OnTap provides additional features which would normally require manual implementation such as software patching, automatic replacement of failing infrastructure, and cloning.

Pricing for the service is determined by several factors, including total storage used, throughput, backups, and the user's data center location.

The flexibility offered by Amazon FSx for NetApp OnTap enables organizations originally overwhelmed by hybrid or multi-cloud deployments to have a faster on-ramp into the cloud, said John Webster, a senior partner and hybrid cloud analyst at Evaluator Group.

"Having the ability to migrate workloads, for example, using the same storage environment on both sides of the migration takes a big load off the shoulders of the users charged with making them successful," Webster said. "They at least know that the storage in the cloud will function the same way and offer the ability to leverage the same features and functionality sets they use on prem."

The popularity of NetApp's OnTap among enterprises likely spurred the partnership between the two companies, according to Ray Lucchesi, president of Silverton Consulting.

It moves the whole storage into native AWS solutions. It performs better and has more features and functions.
Ray LucchesiPresident, Silverton Consulting

"NetApp has offered their OnTap services on the [AWS] marketplace for a long time now," Lucchesi said. "It moves the whole storage into native AWS solutions. It performs better and has more features and functions."

NetApp OnTap is the company's storage operating system, which can provision storage for numerous vendor databases as well as automatically tier data.

New S3 and EFS features unveiled

During the Storage Day virtual event, Amazon also rolled out new features and services for AWS, including multi-region access points for S3 applications and intelligent storage tiering for Amazon Elastic File System (EFS).

The EFS' intelligent tiering enables users to automatically monitor the access and use of files across the four different file storage tiers of AWS. The feature, according to Amazon, will help organizations control costs by automatically storing files in cold storage according to an organization's policy.

"It's something that on-prem storage admins who are also managing cloud storage want to see," Webster said. "It makes the cloud storage environment more like the on-prem environment from the standpoint of efficiency."

AWS S3 Multi-Region Access Points was also unveiled. The new feature enables multi-region applications using S3 object storage to use the same architecture of a single region, bypassing the need for multi-region architecture by defining global endpoints in buckets across multiple AWS regions.

"It provides a central entry point for multiple S3 regions," Lucchesi said. "It makes development easier for S3 applications."

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