Tech ONTAP Articles

Software-Defined Storage with ONTAP Select


October 2016

Tudor Pascu
Technical Marketing Engineer

My name is Tudor Pascu, and I work for NetApp as a technical marketing engineer in our New York City office. In my job, I am responsible for providing education and best practices for our products. Recently, at the NetApp Insight® conference, I presented a technical deep-dive session for our new software-defined storage (SDS) product, NetApp® ONTAP® Select. In this article, I will describe some of the key points of ONTAP Select.


ONTAP Select: What is it?


Many people wish that they could have cloudlike agility in the comfort of their own data center. These people typically are familiar with public cloud storage and appreciate how they can quickly spin up resources; add capacity in small, inexpensive increments; and leverage existing server, storage, and networking gear as their needs dictate. ONTAP Select was designed with those people in mind.


ONTAP Select is also a part of the Data Fabric enabled by NetApp, which means that it can quickly communicate with and transfer data between other storage endpoints across the fabric. These endpoints include those constructed by using ONTAP, ONTAP Cloud, or NetApp Private Storage, with other platforms to come. With this diverse set of storage architectures built on a common fabric, data is available at the right time, in the right location.


A closer look at ONTAP Select


ONTAP Select is the NetApp ONTAP based software-only platform for the private cloud. ONTAP Select uses commodity servers with direct-attached storage (DAS), but adds the enterprise data management services that ONTAP is famous for. ONTAP Select supports both block and file protocols (NFS, SMB/CIFS, and iSCSI) and is licensed in 1TB increments. There are two types of licenses, a standard license that supports HDDs only and a premium license that supports both HDDs and SSDs.






ONTAP Select is installed on VMware hypervisors, specifically vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.0 Enterprise/Enterprise Plus. For full redundancy, ONTAP Select is configured as a 4-node cluster (2 HA pairs), which provides <60-second failover during planned or unplanned outages. Each node supports up to 100TB of storage capacity, or 400TB per cluster (4 x 100TB). Nodes in an HA pair must have the same capacity, but in a 4-node configuration, the HA pairs can have different capacities. The ONTAP Select standard license (available now) supports from 8 to 24 internal HDDs per node, and the premium license (available by year-end) also includes support for 4 to 24 SSDs.


Key to its integration with the Data Fabric, ONTAP Select is compatible with NetApp’s management suite. This suite includes NetApp OnCommand® Insight, OnCommand Performance Manager, OnCommand System Manager, OnCommand Workflow Automation (WFA), SnapMirror®, SnapVault®, SnapManager®, and SnapCenter® technologies. ONTAP Select contains its own setup GUI, called Deploy. Deploy also supports the CLI and REST API for easy scripting and integration with the client’s existing automation infrastructure or with NetApp WFA.


The server hardware requirements for ONTAP Select are an Intel Xeon (Haswell) CPU with 4 cores and 16GB RAM for the standard license. The premium license requires either 4 cores with 16GB RAM or 8 cores with 64GB RAM. For performance and local resiliency, each server should have a RAID controller. RAID 5 or RAID 6 configurations are supported for the local drives, and it is important to note that ONTAP Select does not introduce any additional RAID/parity overhead at the software layer. Because each ONTAP Select node is part of a cluster, the minimum network requirements are 2 x 10Gb to handle the intracluster traffic without adding latency.


After the servers have been configured and ONTAP Select has been installed by using Deploy, each HA pair acts just like a traditional NetApp FAS controller pair, which includes full takeover and giveback capabilities. And because ONTAP Select operates as a cluster, one HA pair could contain SSDs and another HA pair could contain HDDs, utilizing the vol move command for real-time and nondisruptive movement of data between the pairs to meet SLAs.




Sometimes, you just don’t have the time or the money to order and deploy new hardware to capitalize on a new idea or to begin a new proof of concept. Because ONTAP Select is a software solution, you can purchase and deploy it in less than a day by using existing servers and get new projects up and running quickly. And, because it’s a connected point within the Data Fabric, data can be quickly moved to and from ONTAP Select systems for a truly agile infrastructure.


In this article, I have summarized some of the key points of ONTAP Select. For more information, check out these resources:


ONTAP Select product page


ONTAP Select configuration and best practices



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ONTAP Select 9.0 is now available as a GA release. It includes a new setup GUI, called ONTAP Deploy, that simplifies installation and deployment.


Additionally, for those interested in an easy evaluation of ONTAP Select, a new .ovf release is available that makes it easier to spin up a trial version of the software. Existing customers can download the software on the NetApp Support Site. Prospective customers can get help from your NetApp reseller.




Thanks for the article, ONTAP Select sounds are a wonderful solution. Now the only problem is to find a way to start it on KVM.

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