Infinite Volume Technology for Enterprise Content Repositories

Guest blog by Reena Gupta, Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer, NetApp


There is an explosive growth in the data generated by all kinds of organizations, whether it is human generated or machine generated. Applications are creating petabytes of data including digital images, photos, logs, analytical reports, news; content that all require much denser and highly scalable storage. It’s becoming increasingly challenging for the storage infrastructure to store, manage and retrieve content in a reliable and efficient manner, as well as retain the data for long term. Traditional storage solutions can’t scale to address the requirements for such big content repositories and deep archives for Enterprises.


NetApp developed Infinite Volume specifically to address the scalability needs of enterprise content repositories; it eliminates the complexities of managing data in multiple small containers. NetApp Infinite Volume is a software abstract hosted over Data ONTAP 8.1.1 operating in Cluster-Mode. Now, you may ask, “How infinite is an Infinite Volume?” Well, it doesn’t have unlimited capacity. But, it’s pretty darn big. It provides a single mount point that can scale to 20PB or 2 billion files, and it integrates with NetApp’s proven efficiency technologies and products, such as deduplication, compression, NetApp SnapMirror® replication technology, and System Manager.


An Infinite Volume is a location independent compound volume in which the data is distributed across multiple constituents on multiple aggregates across all the nodes in a cluster. The namespace hierarchy is stored in a namespace constituent for the entire content repository, which serves as a namespace redirection layer to distribute file data among all data constituents. In other words, the directory structure is kept separate from the actual data, where the end user doesn’t have to worry about the boundaries of a small volume or the location of the data. All that the user would see is the directory structure, especially when the data is generated from an application workflow, where too much customization of the process is not desired to keep placing the files in multiple smaller volumes. You can have a smaller Infinite Volume in the beginning and grow as the data grows non-disruptively. Data is automatically load balanced across the Infinite Volume at ingest.


In addition to the simplified application workflows, reduced administrative overheads and increased scalability, Snapshots for data protection and replication purposes are performed at the Infinite Volume level across all data constituents to provide data consistency. Infinite Volume leverages the storage resiliency and high availability features of a Data ONTAP cluster including nondisruptive operations and advanced storage efficiency features.


The icing on the cake is delivered via a simplified GUI management tool, OnCommand System Manager 2.1, allowing you to manage all the functions of Infinite Volume in a very simple and intuitive manner.


To learn more about the solution, visit the Enterprise Content Repository solution page. For more details on the Infinite Volume, check out the TR4037: Introduction to NetApp Infinite Volume.