Gone are the days of storage products being “one-trick ponies”, as organisations would need to deploy separate SAN, NAS, Object, all-flash and hybrid platforms. Instead what’s needed is a single solution, available in all-flash and hybrid, that can provide unified SAN (iSCSI, FC & NVMe), NAS (SMB & NFS) and Object (S3) protocol support.
It must be able to start small and scale to PBs, offer excellent value for money in terms of cost per IO and per TB, have a broad feature set and address as many use cases as possible. It should also be software-defined so it can run on a hypervisor, in the cloud, and on multiple generations of purpose-built hardware.
NetApp ONTAP powered storage solutions can meet all of these requirements, with the historic exception of a single file system could only scale to 100 TBs. To address this the FlexGroup volumes feature was added a number of years ago, which enables a single volume to scale to 20+ PBs and hundreds of billions of files – with linear scaling of performance and capacity.
Traditional scale-out NAS solutions have been node based with each supporting a single “tray” of drives, therefore you needed a large number of expensive compute nodes (controllers) to scale the solution. It would be far better if you could scale-out and scale-up to keep the number of controllers down to a sensible minimum – this is exactly what FlexGroup volumes allows you to do.
FlexGroup volumes is one of the most important features in ONTAP, it’s a game-changer in terms of cost-effectively managing storage at scale and of course it’s able to fully take advantage of ONTAP’s legendary data protection, efficiency and cloud integration capabilities. It’s also not just for file shares, as it’s an ideal solution for high-performance VMware vSphere environments – datastores can span an entire storage cluster with the VMDKs automatically load-balanced across the controllers.
If your organisation needs to store and protect large quantities of data then you should take a close look at what NetApp ONTAP has to offer.