NetApp and AWS boost FSx for ONTAP performance

NetApp and AWS say they have given the FSx for ONTAP file system a ninefold performance boost.

FSx for ONTAP was introduced two years ago as a first-party managed file system service in AWS. It included ONTAP’s APIs, thin provisioning, FlexClone, SnapMirror, and SnapVault services. There was a primary storage tier based on EBS SSD-backed volumes, with up to 192 TiB of capacity and a tier that could expand to pebibytes. Now we have scaleout FSx for ONTAP with much more performance and primary tier capacity.

Edward Naim, GM File Storage at AWS, said: “With scale-out FSx for ONTAP file systems, customers can now bring and run their most compute-intensive ONTAP workloads to AWS without needing to change how they manage their data.”

Ronen Schwartz, SVP and GM Cloud Storage at NetApp, added: “With these new capabilities, more customers can leverage our market-leading data management and security capabilities as they look to the cloud to scale operations or quickly adapt to changing market conditions.”

The original scale-up FSx for ONTAP, using a single pair of servers in an active/passive high-availability zone, provided up to 4 GBps throughput and 160,000 IOPS from the SSD-backed primary tier. 

Scaleout FSx for ONTAP supports a single clustered system composed from two to six high-availability pairs of ONTAP file servers, each delivering up to 6 GBps throughput and 200,000 SSD-backed IOPS. A six-pair system can provide up to 36 GBps of bandwidth and 1.2 million IOPS, with sub-millisecond latencies from primary storage. Capacity (disk-based) storage latencies are in the tens of milliseconds area. Capacity in the primary (SSD) tier has risen from 192 TiB to 1 PiB.

NetApp says compute applications get a boost from the higher aggregate performance. The single petabyte-scale namespace and single storage system simplifies large dataset management. Customers can lift and shift, extend or deploy new high-performance workloads on AWS, using ONTAP’s data management features along along with AWS’s agility, scalability, and security.

AWS scaleout FSx for ONTAP will help NetApp compete more effectively with VMware’s Cloud Flex Storage in AWS. This also has primary and capacity tiers, and provides up to 400 TiB of storage capacity with 300,000 IOPS per file system.

Amazon Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr states in a blog post: “This new level of performance will allow you to bring even more of your most demanding electronic design automation (EDA), visual effects (VFX), and statistical computing workloads (to name just a few) to the cloud.” Barr’s blog has details on creating a scale-out FSx for ONTAP file system.

This use of six paired nodes, 12 in total, makes AWS scaleout FSx for ONTAP clusters smaller than on-premises ONTAP file-based clusters, which can have up to 24 nodes in total. That suggests the AWS scale-out FSx could scale out even more. We have asked NetApp why this disparity exists, and have also asked if the scale-out AWS FSx approach will be extended to NetApp’s first-party ONTAP services in the Azure and GCP clouds.

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP scale-out capabilities are now available in the following AWS regions: US East (Ohio, North Virginia); US West (Oregon); Europe (Ireland); and Asia Pacific (Sydney).