Tech ONTAP Blogs

Request granted. Azure NetApp Files optimized for cost and scale


NetApp and Microsoft kick off NetApp INSIGHT® 2023, reinforcing a firm commitment to continuing to innovate together to benefit our customers. From the earliest days, the two companies have partnered to create leading-edge solutions that solve real-world challenges for our shared partners and customers. We’re excited to announce new improvements to Azure NetApp Files—a Microsoft Azure storage service powered by NetApp—that optimize cost for small and large deployments and expand the number of workloads that are ideal for the service.


Leading transformation in times of cloud adoption and beyond

Many customers have large file repositories that mostly don’t change but must remain accessible by users. Storing all data on the highest performing (and hence more costly) storage often isn’t economically viable. This is where Azure NetApp Files standard storage with cool access makes a difference. You can configure when data is deemed “cool”—that is, not accessed frequently—and the system will automatically tier the data. It’s a simple set-and-save task. Standard storage with cool access saves money by transparently moving cold data off to lower-cost Azure storage accounts, while retaining access to data for all users. Users won’t see any difference in the way data is presented, and they’ll continue having access to all files and folders.


Do you want to see how much you can save? Go to the Azure NetApp Files Standard tier cool access cost savings estimator. The following diagram is an example from the estimator and shows the savings from tiering for 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years.




Cost optimizations for enterprise-grade storage

Azure NetApp Files now supports a lower limit of 2TiB for capacity pool sizing with standard network features. You can now choose a minimum size of 2TiB when creating a capacity pool. This enhancement provides a more cost-effective solution for running workloads, such as SAP-shared files and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), that require lower capacity pool sizes for their capacity and performance needs. When you have less than 2–4TiB capacity with proportional performance, this enhancement allows you to start with 2TiB as a minimum pool size and increase with 1TiB increments.


Solution expansion to more workloads

Improvements to Azure NetApp Files large volumes and volume user and group quotas enable a variety of use cases and workloads that require large volumes with a single directory namespace, with increased performance for each tier. In some scenarios, you might want to limit this storage consumption of users and groups within the volume. With the new volume user and group quotas, you can now do so. These quotas enable you to restrict the storage space that a user or group can use within a specific Azure NetApp Files (large) volume, while still sharing the performance of that large volume. This combination of features makes Azure NetApp Files extremely interesting for high-performance computing and AI use cases.


Customer-managed keys for Azure NetApp Files volume encryption and standard network features for new volumes are now available in select US Gov regions. These two features provide enterprise security architecture to U.S. Government customers, enabling them to bring their on-premises security architecture to Azure and expand the workloads available for Azure NetApp Files. Customer encryption keys are protected from attacks for maximum security of their Azure NetApp Files volumes. This increased security can now protect customer-managed encryption keys within the secure confines of select US Gov regions. Standard network features provide an enhanced virtual networking experience that’s seamless and consistent, with security for all workloads including Azure NetApp Files.


Azure NetApp Files enhanced Oracle database performance

Many customers are seeking ways to move Oracle workloads to Azure, but as these typically have high (storage) IO demands they require storage with extreme performance and scalability. This is where the recent improvements in performance with multiple Azure NetApp Files volumes for Oracle on Azure infrastructure can meet those demands and even push past some of the constraints that exist with Azure virtual machines alone.


The gold standard in the Azure cloud

Azure NetApp Files is built (in my opinion) on the gold standard for storage and data management—industry-leading NetApp® ONTAP® software. But it’s delivered as an Azure service, natively within Azure data centers. What this means is that your application performance will be as good as a bare-metal, on-premises platform—just available as a cloud service to use as you see fit and delivering the equivalent of a multimillion-dollar infrastructure environment with simply a few clicks. You can access large amounts of I/O with submillisecond latency or a large amount of bandwidth for scale-up or scale-out environments.


Fulfill your cloud-first mandate—meet your Azure monetary commitment

With Azure NetApp Files, you can create NFS and SMB file shares quickly and reliably for any workload. The speed and reliability are as good if not better than on-premises solutions—but it’s Azure, so you can scale up or down on demand. You get a consistent service model and fast turnaround for almost any business need.


Want your own Azure NetApp Files?

See for yourself what everyone is talking about: Watch this demo.


We’re excited about Azure NetApp Files, and we know you will be, too. Azure NetApp Files—it’s about as good as cloud gets.

If you have any comments or questions, reach out to me personally: