Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP: Features and Use Cases

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Explore the features and benefits of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP and how to protect the service from data loss.
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File shares are an integral part of enterprise workload architecture and organizations need to find a similar mechanism during their cloud adoption journey. Cloud file share services fill this gap by providing fully managed file shares. And Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is one of the leading managed file share services available in AWS.

In this blog, we’ll explore the features of Amazon FSx, its use cases, and the data protection for it offered by N2WS.

Amazon FSx for ONTAP

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is a fully managed file share service that offers scalable, reliable, and high-performance storage for your cloud workloads. It’s built on NetApp’s trusted ONTAP file system and provides features similar to a managed service. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the enterprise-class offerings from Amazon FSx for ONTAP.

Fully Managed

As the service is fully managed, customers don’t have to worry about setting up the backend infrastructure and associated maintenance. You can launch the service from the AWS console through a few clicks or API calls. Plus, you can manage it with familiar AWS tools like CLI and Management Console or using NetApp-native tools like ONTAP CLI, REST API, and Cloud Manager.

Petabyte Scale Support

In a single namespace, Amazon FSx for NetApp can support petabyte-scale data sets. With all organizations facing exponential growth in data, the service eliminates the tedious process involved in capacity planning and scaling. Due to the SSD storage it uses, FSx offers exceptional performance with submillisecond latencies while supporting your large data sets.

Multi-Protocol Support

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports access to data through multiple protocols, i.e., NFS, iSCSI, and SMB. You can thus mount the file shares on Linux, Windows, or macOS, which support these protocols. With the flexibility of using the same solution for applications that use different protocols, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is well-suited to meet the requirements of heterogeneous environments.

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NetApp Proprietary Features

Since Amazon FSx for ONTAP uses NetApp ONTAP in its backend, many NetApp proprietary features are available out of the box for customers to use. This includes NetApp Snapshot copies, NetApp FlexCache, NetApp FlexCone, etc. You can configure these services using the NetApp Cloud Manager interface or via AWS Management Console.

Highly Available 

You can deploy the service in a highly available architecture in multiple availability zones. This ensures that the service remains available even if zone-level failures happen, thereby avoiding downtime for mission-critical applications that use the service.

Storage Efficiency 

Amazon FSx for ONTAP also integrates NetApp proprietary features for efficient storage including data deduplication, compaction, compression, and thin provisioning. The elastic capacity-pool tiering feature of the service also enables tiering of infrequently accessed data to cheaper object storage. The tiering process is automated and transparent and does not impact the end-user experience. Thus Amazon FSx helps you fully leverage the storage capacity you’ve invested in.

Data Protection 

The NetApp Snapshot feature can be used to create zero-impact data copies for quick point-in-time backup and restores. The backup is block-level and incremental forever, which makes it very cost-efficient. In addition, you can automatically replicate the backup copies to multiple availability zones for resiliency. 

Use Cases

Due to the best-in-class features offered by Amazon FSx for ONTAP, it helps address some of the common challenges faced by organizations today, especially during cloud migration. Let’s look at a few use cases where Amazon FSx for ONTAP is a good fit.

Application Migration 

Amazon FSx for ONTAP helps ease the process of migrating workloads requiring access to file shares. This includes—but is not limited to—home directories, project shares, etc. that can be shared between multiple users. Having reliable and scalable file shares that can be accessed from popular client operating systems makes the migration process simpler.

Cost-Efficient Performance 

Due to NetApp’s proprietary storage-efficiency features mentioned above, you can reduce your storage consumption by a considerable amount. Since pay-as-you-go billing is used for the service, this lowers the overall cost of your cloud storage, generally resulting in savings of up to 50%.

Diverse Data Estate 

Amazon FSx for ONTAP is built to support the requirements of even the most demanding workloads, like SQL, Oracle, CRM, and SAP to name a few. It helps build highly available file share services required for mission-critical databases Oracle RAC and Microsoft SQL. As the service supports multiple protocols, customers don’t have to switch between services for their diverse data estate.

Security & Compliance

Amazon FSx for ONTAP is certified for industry-leading standards like ISO, PCI DSS, SOC, and HIPAA. Thus, customers in heavily regulated industries can consume the service with confidence. The file shares’ data can be encrypted both in transit and at rest using Kerberos for NFS/SMB clients and keys stored in AWS KMS.

SAP HANA Support

SAP has certified Amazon FSx for ONTAP for critical workloads like S/4 HANA, BW, the Data Mart solution, and Business Suite on HANA. This eases the SAP workload migration to cloud since Amazon FSx for ONTAP can handle the stringent throughput and latency requirements for the workloads. It also helps reduce the overall migration overhead, accelerates project timelines, and supports rapid innovation in the cloud.

N2WS Protection for Amazon FSx for ONTAP

As organizations use Amazon FSx for ONTAP for many mission-critical workloads, it’s important to have the right data protection strategy in place for the service to protect you from unexpected data loss or corruption. 

N2WS offers a comprehensive backup and recovery service to protect Amazon FSX for ONTAP file shares. You can deploy it from AWS Marketplace and use it to backup and restore Amazon FSx file shares across multiple AWS regions and accounts. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits offered by N2WS Backup & Recovery for Amazon FSX for ONTAP.

Quick Recovery

N2WS provides 1-click recovery of Amazon Fsx file shares to help bring applications back online in a matter of seconds. This allows you to meet even the most stringent Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Service Level Agreement (SLA) requirements. You can perform a direct restore or execute a predefined recovery workflow to achieve the same.

Infra Protection 

While data recovery is crucial, it’s also critical to make sure your infra setup is restored so that the recovered data can be accessed. N2WS supports backup and recovery of network entities like VPCs and transit gateways. Thus, the entire infrastructure can be recovered to a working state to ensure business continuity.

Restore Testing and Disaster Recovery Drills

You need to regularly test your BCDR to ensure that there are no surprises during an actual disaster. Through N2WS, customers can perform regular non-disruptive DR drills of recovery scenarios to ensure that their BCDR plans remain executable. You can even automate the process in N2WS with notifications so that it’s completed without additional operational overhead

Deploy N2WS to protect your Amazon FSx workloads in one place and monitor from a single console

Protecting workloads from potential data loss and corruption is a necessity no organization can overlook. N2WS Backup & Recovery provides assurance for your business workloads that use Amazon FSx for ONTAP. With enterprise-class features like automated backup, single-pane visibility, and 1-click recovery, N2WS ensures end-to-end protection of your Amazon FSx file shares.

N2WS offers a free fully-functional 30-day trial, so sign up today and get started. You can easily test recovery of NetApp ONTAP for FSx along with SAP HANA workloads to gain confidence that recovery plans are in place for your entire SAP HANA on AWS implementation. N2WS provides backup and quick recovery for SAP HANA instances, the SAP HANA in-memory database, and any associated file shares stored in Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP.

Interested in a proof of concept? N2WS is deployed quickly in AWS Marketplace and we cover the costs of testing the solution by providing AWS infrastructure credits. Start your (more than) free trial today.

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