Backup & Disaster Recovery High Performance Hybrid

VMware on Azure..even better with NetApp

Azure VMware Solution delivers a comprehensive VMware environment in Azure allowing customers to run native VMware workloads on Azure. You can now seamlessly run, manage, and secure applications across VMware environments and Microsoft Azure with a common operating framework. You will be able to capitalize on your existing VMware investments, skills, and tools, including VMware vSphere, vSAN, and vCenter while leveraging the scale, performance and innovation of Azure. 
VMware workloads on Azure can easily be modernized through integration with Azure services such as Azure Active Directory, Azure AI, and Analytics enabling new, intelligent experiences.

One of the hardest things to do when you purchase an infrastructure, on-prem or in the cloud, is to size for its predictability from a performance and a storage perspective.
For customers planning to host storage-intensive workloads and scale-out on any cloud-hosted VMware solution, the default hyper-converged infrastructure dictates that the expansion should be on both the compute and storage resources.
By integrating Azure NetApp Files or Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure, customers now have options to independently scale their storage, and only add compute nodes to the SDDC cluster as needed.

Here are a couple of things to be aware of :

  • VMware does not recommend unbalanced cluster configurations, hence expanding storage means adding more hosts, which implies more TCO.
  • Only one vSAN environment is possible. Therefore, all storage traffic will compete directly with production workloads. This is not a great model.
  • vSAN effective (usable) capacity is heavily impacted by Failures To Tolerate (FTT) Default config is FTT1=RAID1 (classic mirroring) w/3 Node cluster.
  • There is no option to provide multiple performance tiers to align application requirements, performance, and cost.
  • It is very easy to reach the limits of storage capacity of vSAN built on top of the cluster hosts. Use NetApp Cloud Volumes to scale storage to either host active datasets or tier cooler data to persistent storage.

Azure NetApp Files (ANF) and Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO) in Azure can be used in conjunction with guest VMs. Azure NetApp Files can be used for storage heavy applications like: Databases, Home directories for virtual desktops, Application file sharing, SAP, HPC and by using desktop brokers such as Horizon together with robust ANF SMB services
CVO can be leveraged for storing large archive data sets, backup, and low-performance applications, while also benefitting from ONTAP’s built-in Efficiency mechanisms like deduplication, compression, compaction, and the ability to tier cold blocks of data to Azure Blob storage.

This hybrid storage architecture consists of a vSAN datastore that holds the guest operating system and application binary data. The application data is attached to the VM through a guest-based iSCSI initiator or the NFS/SMB mounts that communicate directly with, Cloud Volume ONTAP, Azure NetApp Files respectively. This configuration allows you to easily overcome challenges with storage capacity as with vSAN, the available free space depends on the slack space and storage policies used.

Keep In Mind that:

  • In hybrid storage models, place tier 1 or high priority workloads on vSAN datastore to address any specific latency requirements because they are part of the host itself and within proximity. Use in-guest mechanisms for any workload VMs for which transactional latencies are acceptable.
  • Use NetApp SnapMirrorĀ® technology to replicate the workload data from the on-premises ONTAP system to Cloud Volumes ONTAP to ease migration using block-level mechanisms. This does not apply to Azure NetApp Files. For migrating data to Azure NetApp Files, use NetApp XCP, Cloud sync, rysnc or robocopy depending on the file protocol used. Cross Region replication allows customers to replicate from one Azure Region to another at the volume level.
  • Testing shows 2-4ms additional latency while accessing storage from the respective SDDCs. Factor this additional latency into the application requirements when mapping the storage.
  • For mounting guest-connected storage during test failover and actual failover, make sure iSCSI initiators are reconfigured (in case of CVO), DNS is updated for SMB shares, and NFS mount points are updated in fstab.
  • Make sure that in-guest Microsoft Multipath I/O (MPIO), firewall, and disk timeout registry settings are configured properly inside the VM.

Why use ANF/CVO with AVS as a guest mount ?

Common Benefits:

  • Improves compute-to-storage density by scaling storage independently of compute.
  • Allows you to reduce the host count, thus reducing the overall TCO.
  • Compute node failure does not impact storage performance.
  • Prevents over-provisioning, storage resources are added only when needed.
  • Efficient Snapshot copies and clones allow you to rapidly create copies without any performance impact.
  • Helps address ransomware attacks by using quick recovery from Snapshot copies.

ANF specific:

  • The volume reshaping and dynamic service-level capability of Azure NetApp Files allows you to optimize cost by sizing for steady-state workloads, and thus preventing over provisioning.
  • Scale capacity to 100 TB per volume without adding any nodes.
  • Scale performance from Standard to Ultra with a simple menu choice.
  • Provides efficient incremental block transfer-based regional disaster recovery and integrated backup block level across regions provides better RPO and RTOs.

CVO specific:

  • The storage efficiencies, cloud tiering, and instance-type modification capabilities of Cloud Volumes ONTAP allow optimal ways of adding and scaling storage.
  • Leverage ONTAP’s full suite of Datamanagement Capabilities like FlexCache, Flexclone,SnapLock, SnapVault etc..
  • Max Capacity per CVO instance 368 TB

Azure NetApp Files Datastores for Azure VMware Solution is coming soon

Microsoft recently announced that Azure NetApp Files will also be able to act as a landing zone for NFS Datastore when used with Azure VMware Solution. The Private Preview has started and is available for some selected regions.

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