December 12, 2017. Technical NextGen Data Centre Author: Marcus Burrows

Why I Like ONTAP - And So Will You

ONTAP is the name of NetApp's data management software. It would be tempting to regard storage software as being really rather dull, especially compared to other cool looking areas of IT such as smartphone technology, networking and cloud. 

However, ONTAP is a major component in the infrastructure and can facilitate business agility and profitability. Here's a few examples as to why.

Firstly, ONTAP is one of the few storage vendors which provides both NAS and SAN storage at the same time.

This means that both user files and structured data like a database can connect to the same NetApp cluster using different technologies. 

You don't need different storage technologies and devices for each set of clients. NetApp calls this "Unified Storage". This lessens the overall operational and training costs as we are now only managing one storage cluster for our company.



Secondly, ONTAP can be deployed as a hardware appliance, or as a virtual machine in your existing infrastructure, or by using different public cloud providers.

Each deployment flavour is managed using the same GUI tool by the administrator.

This means flexibility to the way we provide data storage to the business. Furthermore we can accommodate design and / or business level changes easily.

Copying, migrating and backing up data from one platform to the other is simple, using a point and click wizard.



Let's be honest, storage isn't cheap. NetApp has included multiple storage efficiency technologies to reduce how much data actually gets stored on disk. We can compress data, remove duplicate data, compact data and more.

These features get more impressive when we start to big savings on the more expensive SSDs. Some virtualisation environments have reduced their storage footprint by 95%!

In ONTAP 9.2 there is a new feature called Fabric Pool which allows the administrator to keep only recently used data ("hot" data) on the SSDs and automatically migrate infrequently accessed data ("cold" data) to a cloud provider where the storage cost would be less expensive. 



The final thought is this. As a former infrastructure engineer, I really hated being on-call and working unsociable hours.

If we only we had had an ONTAP cluster back then!

There are multiple features built in to ONTAP to prevent data loss and a service outage. You can even add and remove cluster nodes non-disruptively (i.e. during office hours)!

These are just some of the thoughts as to why I like ONTAP.

It's easy to use and contains some great features to improve profitability, return on investment and save precious engineer time!


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