Azure NetApp Files is a well-known service and deployed by many customers to meet their demanding file workload requirements. The service allows customers to move their NFS/SMB file-share workloads into Azure – even legacy applications – without rearchitecting their applications. Azure NetApp Files is highly secure and provides private end point by design, so there is no public IP address exposed for accessing the volumes. Azure NetApp Files utilizes a networking layer developed for this service that dynamically injects the storage from the underlying bare metal platform directly into the customer’s virtual network at full line rate, low datacenter level latency and with secure traffic isolation.
As the name indicates, it is built on industry leading highly available ONTAP technology. As you already know, Azure services are grouped into three categories: foundational, mainstream, and specialized services. Azure NetApp Files falls under the specialized category which is backed by specialized hardware and are already deployed into large number of regions. With built in HA capabilities, Azure NetApp Files protects the data from most common outages and offer an industry leading 99.99% of uptime SLA.
High Availability: End-to-End
The Azure NetApp Files bare metal fleets are configured in high-availability (HA) pairs with RAID technologies (to protect against dual disk failures for fault tolerance – Dual Parity RAID is being used to offer a higher level of data protection) and provides non-disruptive operations. If a node fails or if there is a need to put a node into routine maintenance, its partner will take over its functions and continue to serve data at all times. The partner then initiates give back when the node is put back into the service. The hardware resiliency of the bare metal fleet is implemented using a wide range of redundant components. If a redundant component fails, the surviving redundant component is used to ensure continuous operation. All of the above shows Azure NetApp Files is by design highly available and provides 4 9’s availability.
Cross Region Replication and Disaster Recovery
Although rare, an Azure data center can have an outage. When an outage occurs, it causes a business disruption that might last for few min or even hours. One option is to wait for your service to come back online when the data center outage is over, however with Cloud agility and availability of paired regions, most customers prefer to failover to meet their SLA and achieve the desired RPO/RTO times. This is where Azure NetApp Files Cross region replication feature (which is currently in Public preview) comes handy. SnapMirror® is the disaster recovery technology used behind the scenes, which is designed for failover from primary region to secondary region at a geographically peered remote site. As its name implies, it creates a replica, or mirror, of the working data in secondary region from which you can continue to serve data in the event of a catastrophe at the primary site. This is block level replication (which mirrors all the snapshots available in the primary volume), incremental by nature and the target is available as a read-only copy at any point in time and can be made read/write accessible when the region fails. The service level for the destination capacity pool can match that of the source capacity pool, or even a lower service level can be selected and in the event of the failover, dynamic service level change feature can be used to select appropriate service levels to meet the required performance. Having your data replicated continuously in two (or more) places opens the doors for disaster recovery and development. You can use the target as a backup, as a disaster recovery location, as a clone of the dataset, or as the source for a swarm of clones and copies for use cases like UAT testing, DR simulation (while production replication continues), analytics, new application development and so on.
Manifold of protective features
Through the combination of built in high availability, RAID technologies, non-disruptive operations, snapshots, cloud sync and cross-geo replication, Azure NetApp Files offers fault tolerant, persistent storage in the cloud. In the event of a disaster, customer data is always protected by this manifold of features—so cloud admins can focus on their job, without worrying about the availability, security and recoverability of cloud data and applications.
With all the availability features mentioned above, Azure NetApp Files is the ideal file storage for mission critical applications and the benefits include:
- No need to rewrite apps, because each volume provides POSIX compliance shares required by a broad range of file-based workloads (file shares, SAP, HPC, Databases, WVD, AKS, Analytics and more), including web and rich media content, as well as vertical specific (oil and gas, EDA, media and entertainment).
- Easily and quickly import data to and from on-premises and other storage repositories via NetApp Cloud Sync.
- Maintain business continuity with no data loss, fast failover, short recovery times, and nondisruptive upgrade processes.
- Schedule tasks to meet the most demanding file share needs with automation and orchestration capabilities.
Refer to Microsoft documentation for detailed solution architectures using Azure NetApp Files.
With Azure NetApp Files, Microsoft along with NetApp brings to bear decades of experience in building enterprise NAS/SMB solutions. This means that these services easily scale to meet the most demanding conditions, providing concurrent access to hundreds of client hosts and applications. Scalability to this degree is a difficult requirement for large-scale environments, and it is impossible to achieve with custom-built NAS/SMB solutions.
Azure NetApp Files provide rich features that help you to better manage your data with consistently high performance. Submit a waitlist request for accessing the Azure NetApp Files service through the Azure NetApp Files waitlist submission page to access cloud-native file services and learn how easy it is to manage, protect, and restore your file data.