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Introducing new TCO and data protection capabilities for VMware Cloud on AWS with FSx for ONTAP

PuneetD
NetApp
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At VMware Explore this year, we are delighted to introduce new capabilities for our customers who use VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP. These new capabilities will improve their overall total cost of ownership (TCO) and data protection capabilities.

 

What’s new since VMware Explore 2022

Before we dive into the announcements, let’s review our journey over the past year. At VMware Explore 2022, we announced integration of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP with VMware Cloud on AWS, providing the first VMware certified external datastore for VMC. Jointly engineered with VMware and AWS, this solution enables high-performance NFS datastores on FSx for ONTAP to be used by VMware Cloud on AWS clusters in a software-defined data center (SDDC). By decoupling storage from compute, customers can easily scale storage as needed without having to scale compute, resulting in TCO savings of 25% to 50%. To adapt to their changing business needs, customers also get the flexibility to optimize storage by dynamically changing throughput, IOPS, and size of the file system, and the ability to increase or decrease volume capacity. We launched the solution with support for Multi-Availability Zone FSx for ONTAP deployments, providing customers with highly available and durable storage across two Availability Zones.

 

To further cost savings and improve architectural simplicity, in February 2023, AWS launched support for the single Availability Zone (AZ) option of FSx for ONTAP with VMware Cloud on AWS. Single-AZ file systems provide high availability within an AZ for workloads such as dev/test, secondary data copies, etc. Recently, VMware also optimized the client NFS stack to use multiple TCP connections (nConnect), doubling the available throughput per NFS datastore from 512MBps to 1GBps.

 

Together with VMware and AWS, NetApp is continuing the pace of innovation. This year at VMware Explore 2023, we are pleased to announce new capabilities to further improve overall cost savings, simplicity, and data protection for our customers.  For an in-depth overview of the new capabilities, please read the FSx for ONTAP supplemental NFS datastores – Technical capabilities and enhancements journey blog.

 

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) peering support for single-AZ FSx for ONTAP configurations

Reducing total cost of ownership as well as infrastructure complexity is top of mind for most customers. VPC peering helps in both areas, enabling connectivity of NFS datastores on single-AZ FSx for ONTAP file systems to ESX clusters in an SDDC. This new option announced by VMware will simplify setup, improve performance, and reduce TCO relative to the existing VMware Transit Gateway (vTGW) solution. Unlike vTGW solution, there will be no data transfer charges associated with VPC peering used to connect the VMware cluster to a Single AZ FSx for ONTAP filesystem in the same availability zone. You can also calculate your savings potential utilizing the VMC and FSx for ONTAP TCO tool available at https://bluexp.netapp.com/vmc-aws-fsx-ontap/roi.  

 

Introducing data protection via BlueXP backup and recovery for VMs

Customers can now use NetApp BlueXP™ backup and recovery to efficiently backup and restore their virtual machines running on VMware Cloud on AWS with FSx for ONTAP hosting the NFS datastores. With space-efficient NetApp Snapshot™ copies managed at the storage layer, BlueXP backup and recovery enables near-instantaneous backups of virtual machines or datastores with no impact on production workloads. Backups can be created on demand or scheduled to run automatically according to protection policies to ensure compliance with target protection SLAs. VMware administrators will also appreciate the simplicity of managing backups; the user interface is fully integrated with the familiar vCenter interface. To protect against a region failure, customers can also use NetApp SnapMirror® to automatically replicate backups to another FSx for ONTAP instance in another AWS region. BlueXP backup and recovery for VMs is available at no charge to customers who are using FSx for ONTAP.

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By using BlueXP backup and recovery for VMs, customers can now simplify and enhance data protection of their workloads running on VMC. We also have an exciting roadmap that includes application-level protection, granular restores, and a lot more. Stay tuned for more improvements in this space. For more information about how to use BlueXP backup and recovery for VMC environments, read the Protect FSx for ONTAP datastores and VMs on VMware Cloud using NetApp BlueXP Backup and Recovery blog.

 

Disaster recovery for on-premises VMware and NetApp environments with BlueXP

To ensure business continuity, protecting applications against primary infrastructure failures is top of mind for our customers. However, they are often challenged by the cost and complexity of implementing and managing a disaster recovery solution. They also need to be confident that the plan will actually work when there is a real disaster, and that there is an easy path to fail back to a primary location.

Using public cloud resources to lower the overall cost of a DR infrastructure offers a compelling alternative to hosting a secondary data center. Customers who are running VMware on premises with NetApp storage can simplify data management by using the familiar ONTAP capabilities available in FSx for ONTAP. To help simplify disaster recovery operations by automating the overall setup, testing, failover, and failback capabilities, today we are launching a public preview of NetApp BlueXP disaster recovery. BlueXP disaster recovery will initially target managing DR and migration use cases for on-premises VMware and NetApp infrastructure to VMware Cloud on AWS with FSx for ONTAP.

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Using the BlueXP disaster recovery service, which is integrated into the NetApp BlueXP console, customers can discover their on-premises and AWS resources, create a disaster recovery plan, associate it to the target virtual machines, and test or execute failover and failback. Using SnapMirror, customers can take advantage of storage-level block replication to keep the two sites updated with incremental changes to achieve an RPO of as low as 5 minutes. And they can also easily test DR procedures without impacting the replicated datastores or incurring additional storage costs. BlueXP disaster recovery takes advantage of NetApp FlexClone® technology to create a space-efficient copy of the NFS datastores from the last completed snapshot copy on the DR site. When the DR test is complete, customers can simply delete the test environment, again without any impact to actual replicated production resources. When there is a need (planned or unplanned) for actual failover, with a few clicks, the BlueXP disaster recovery service orchestrates all the steps needed to automatically bring up the protected virtual machines on AWS. The service will also reverse the SnapMirror relationship to the primary site and replicate any changes from secondary to primary for a failback operation, when needed. For more information on the BlueXP disaster recovery service, read the BlueXP disaster recovery service for business continuity with VMware Cloud on AWS and Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP blog.

Your next step

Sign up for the BlueXP disaster recovery public preview. We welcome you to try the new service for non-production workloads.  

 

It’s been an exciting journey over the last year to help our customers take advantage of the flexibility, agility, and cost advantages of running their VMware workloads with FSx for. With lots more planned on our roadmaps, we’re just getting started!

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