NetApp Clustered Data Ontap 8.2 OS Highlights Software-Defined Storage, Service Quality

NetApp on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its Clustered Data Ontap storage operating system focused on non-disruptive operations to make it easier to work in cloud and multitenant environments.

Clustered Data Ontap 8.2 expands on the traditional non-disruptive operations, efficiency and seamless scalability previous versions have offered with new capabilities, said Brendon Howe, NetApp's vice president of products and solutions.

Those capabilities include storage virtual machines for software-defined storage, software quality of service, improved scalability and volume-based snapshots for backups, Howe said.

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The continuing consolidation of IT infrastructures brings with it a desire to apply IT services as quickly as possible, Howe said.

"We're trying to bring that to storage, which has not traditionally done as well as server architecture," he said. "When dealing with the complexity of storage, it's a tough problem."

Mark Teter, CTO at Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider and NetApp partner, said NetApp has enhanced its Clustered Data Ontap operating system while making it easy for customers and users to get up to speed on the new version.

"My engineers love NetApp," Teter said. "Every time something new comes out, they know the product. They just need to learn a few new features."

It is a capability unique to NetApp, Teter said.

"Clustered Data Ontap 8.2 is allowing NetApp to provide a solution for our customers that can continually be upgraded and renewed without disrupting the users for all protocols including NFS, CIFS and Fibre Channel," he said. "No other vendor can do that."

The introduction of Clustered Data Ontap 8.2 follows last year's introduction of Data Ontap 8.1.1, which focused on the introduction of flash storage and virtualized storage infrastructures.

New with Clustered Data Ontap 8.2 are storage virtual machines, or SVMs, targeting the burgeoning software-defined storage architecture.

SVMs are similar to the company's existing Virtual Filer, or vFiler, technology, Howe said. However, unlike the older vFilers, SVMs are completely divorced from the underlying hardware and can be migrated to different hardware with full quality of service capabilities, he said.

SVMs are central to NetApp's software-defined storage strategy, which allows customers to provision storage resources neatly and quickly while making them adaptive to necessary changes, Howe said.

NEXT: NetApp Clustered Data Ontap 8.2 And Software-Defined Storage

Software-defined storage is not just an issue of running the software independent of the hardware, NetApp's Howe said. Instead, it includes three elements.

The first, he said, is the ability to create a level of storage from a pool of common hardware specific to an application, which includes SAN and NAS, cloning, snap, and/or data protection capabilities.

The second is customer choice in terms of hardware, which Howe said really means running on a customer's choice of NetApp technology including the company's Filer series of storage solutions, its vFiler virtual storage appliances, in an integrated stack such as the joint NetApp-Cisco FlexPod architecture, or on the Ontap Edge, a virtualized version of NetApp's FAS2220 entry-level storage appliance.

"SVM is an element of Ontap," he said. "SVM is a part of all four types of NetApp offerings."

Clustered Data Ontap also includes a granular quality-of-service capability across NetApp's hardware and software to ensure application performance service levels in multitenant and multiworkload environments, Howe said.

That granular quality of service control lets customers and partners set SLAs for SAN and NAS storage from the entry level through the enterprise, Howe said.

That is a huge capability, Advanced Systems' Teter said.

"This is very important in our multitenant environments," he said. "Cisco UCS brought quality of service all the way to the blade server. Now 8.2 brings it down to the storage pool. So it's a complete end-to-end quality of service we never had before, one we can use for cloud deployments."

Peter Howard, NetApp's new channel chief and vice president of global channel sales, said it is NetApp's belief that 80 percent of storage in the future will be in shared virtual infrastructures, a trend that requires the ability to offer a strong, assured quality of service.

"For partners, we allow them to do more than they could before," he said. "We allow them to take quality of service into the enterprise.

Scalability is also a big part of Clustered Data Ontap 8.2. The storage operating system now allows customers to configure up to 49,000 LUNs in an eight-node cluster or up to 12,000 volumes in a 24-node cluster.

It also supports next-generation backups using the company's volume-based SnapVault technology for fast backups, Howe said. Backup volumes can be compressed and deduped, with all the settings able to be migrated to another cluster, he said.