Case Study: Varonis and Cluster-Mode NetApp


By Brian Vecci, Director of Education and Development at Varonis


Brian Vecci is a 15-year information technology veteran, having held roles in application architecture and development, project management, technical services and system architecture. He currently serves as the Director of Education and Development at Varonis systems.




NetApp is a core platform for Varonis, and we've supported NetApp ever since the first versions of DatAdvantage. We recently worked closely with a customer who was investigating storage options to meet new business requirements, and it's ended up being a valuable case study in how to leverage both Varonis technology and some new features coming from NetApp this year.


Previously, this customer used DatAdvantage to discover data owners and automate permissions management on  a single NetApp NAS with a few dozen terabytes of CIFS and NFS data – gathering audit and classification metadata to make sure that access was properly maintained on a huge unstructured data store. Using the big data analytics provided by Varonis, however, they began to realize that different datasets within the NAS had different business requirements. Some data was business critical and could benefit from higher-performance controllers and disks. Other data, however, was less critical and could be moved to cheaper storage areas – this was true of some entire volumes, it turned out. Once all of these requirements were engineered, though, the actual upgrades and other changes to the environment could mean a significant disruption to the business. These sorts of challenges aren't uncommon, especially in an enterprise with lots of data and significant investments in infrastructure.



As we worked with them to come up with possible solutions, it became clear pretty quickly that a Cluster-Mode (or C-Mode) NetApp infrastructure would meet many, if not all of these needs. Without going into too much detail, the newer versions of ONTAP provide ways to solve most of these problems through a virtual storage environment. At a high level, Cluster-Mode offers:


  • Flexibility though seamless volume movement, a single namespace across virtual arrays and a single shared storage infrastructure.
  • The ability to transparently (and automatically) move data based on workload needs, even across different controllers and disk types.
  • Always-on upgrades with no downtime for processing or client configuration


A Cluster-Mode virtual array using a single namespace ended up being the right architecture for this customer and with ONTAP 8.2 they’ll be able to continue leveraging DatAdvantage map permissions, audit use, find data owners, and detect abuse. Changing infrastructures didn’t make sense if they were going to lose the benefits that DatAdvantage provides: making sure only the right people have access, all use is monitored, and abuse is flagged.



View the video below and visit our Solution Profile on NetApp Solution Connection for more information.