January 17, 2017

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NetApp and the Storage Industry

Rising security and backup concerns along with the ever-evolving customer expectations to experience non-disruptive services are rapidly changing the way data is stored today. The challenges of storing data in a reliable way has given impetus to the Storage Industry and the key players that have emerged are NetApp, HP, EMC, Hitachi and IBM.

To know what NetApp does, let's understand a few terms.

  1. Redundant Array of Drives (RAID) - Multiple drives in a computer, so that the failure of one or more drives can be handled.
  2. Network Attached Storage (NAS) - If one wants to access data over a local network from another computer, file sharing is set up, so that the machine can access the data stored on that RAID. This is referred to as Network Attached Storage (NAS).
  3. Storage Area Network (SAN) - It is possible to distribute the data not only across redundant drives, but also redundant servers, which provides a network infrastructure to enable high-uptime access to storage.

NetApp package computers are doing hard-core NAS and RAID into the boxes. In other words,

NetApp optimizes storage appliances at all levels from OS to the UI, to maximize storage capacity.

What is a NetApp Filer?

In the tech jargon, a "NetApp filer" is the controlling device to which you can attach a bunch of disks. Oher vendors of the storage industry refer to the same as a controller.

What is ONTAP?

The filers run NetApp's own operating system (based on FreeBSD) called Data ONTAP, which is tuned for storage purposes. Data ONTAP 8 has two distinct operating modes: 7-Mode and Cluster-Mode.

What makes NetApp unique?

  1. Ease of administration : NetApp provides the users with a web based application called "My AutoSupport" which helps to analyse and optimise storage, identify issues and provide plans to avoid disruptions.
  2. Protection: NetApp "MetroCluster" software protects against major causes of failure, viz., power and network faults.
  3. Disaster Recovery: NetApp has developed "SnapMirror" which assists in data replication and data movement and "FlexClone" which is responsible for creating space-efficient copies of data.
  4. NetApp FlexShare: It provides workload prioritization for a storage system, which allows increased capacity without any major impact to critical applications.
  5. NetApp FlexVol: FlexVol volumes give a lot of options for managing the size of the volume. The size can be as small as 20 MB and as large as the volume capacity that is supported for the storage system.

Thus, NetApp storage systems offer IT efficiency and simplified storage management that is unparalleled and provides significant advantage to the businesses.

References:

1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetApp

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetApp_filer

3) http://www.slideshare.net/hbshashidhar/netapp-storage-fundamentals

4) http://www.netapp.com/us/products