Storage Back in the Spotlight with NetApp


By Lori MacVittie, Sr Product Manager, Emerging Technologies


Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on cloud computing, cloud and application security, and application delivery responsible for education and evangelism across F5’s entire product suite.


In the early days of cloud computing, storage as a service was the talk of the town. Primarily this was because storage adapted rapidly to the concept and implementations were quickly available across a variety of cloud computing providers.


Given that applications rely heavily on storage, that shouldn't have been surprising.


In the intervening years (yes, it really has been that long) storage took the back seat to provisioning, auto-scalability, and a spate of "as a service" offerings as cloud picked up steam. Then SDN exploded onto the scene and the network took back center stage as the darling technology du jour.


And yet SDN, like cloud and every other technology whose ultimate purpose is to provide the means to deploy and deliver applications still needs reliable (and increasingly flexible) storage. It should be no surprise, then, that software defined storage is making its way onto the scene. Given its prominence in the market, it should also be no surprise that NetApp is in the fray.


NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP

NetApp recently announced a new version of its flagship storage operating system – clustered Data ONTAP. This new version is rife with industry-leading capabilities such as non-disruptive operations, seamless scalability, and operational efficiency as a result of a unified and multi-tenant architecture.






Its goal, like most infrastructure offerings, is maximum application uptime and optimal performance. When part of a converged infrastructure like FlexPod or ExpressPod, the qualified interoperability between BIG-IP and NetApp's data replication offering - SnapMirror - using clustered Data ONTAP enhances the existing reliability, capacity and rapid scalability required to support and deliver today's mission critical applications. 


F5 BIG-IP enhances NetApp's storage, compute and layer 2 networking components with its own layer 4-7 services. F5 BIG-IP improves the performance,  security and scalability of applications and, when working in concert with NetApp solutions, provides a comprehensive set of reliable network and application services.


In a converged infrastructure, F5 BIG-IP provides:

  • Increased Capacity
    Offloads CPU-intensive processes from virtual servers, freeing up resources and increasing VM density and application capacity
  • Improved Performance
    Accelerates end-user experience using adaptive compression and connection pooling technologies
  • Transparent and Rapid Scalability
    Deployment of new virtual server instances hosted in FlexPod can be added to and removed from  BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) virtual pools to ensure seamless elasticity
  • Automated Disaster Recovery
    F5 BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) provides DNS global server load balancing services to automate disaster recovery or dynamic redirection of user requests based on location.
  • Accelerated Replication Traffic
    BIG-IP WAN Optimization Manager (WOM) can improve the performance of high latency or packet-loss prone WAN links. NetApp replication technology (SnapMirror) will see substantial benefit when customers add BIG-IP WOM to enhance WAN performance.


Because F5 BIG-IP solutions are based on a common platform, organizations can realize significant benefits both for applications with security, performance, and availability services and operations as well. A common platform means common management and operations across a variety of application services. As a highly programmable platform, F5 BIG-IP also enables automation and integration that further enhances operational efficiency.


Combining F5 application services with NetApp solutions will yield significant benefits in terms of resource utilization, cost reductions, and enable organizations to address critical components of operational risk without introducing additional burdens on already overwhelmed IT staff.