Blog - Enterprise Application Scalability.jpgEnterprise applications demand the full attention of IT. Any disruption is unpleasant, including disruptions for periodic reconfiguration of storage systems due to requests for higher performance or capacity expansion.


Since business operations can be negatively affected whenever enterprise applications require infrastructure changes, the infrastructure must be designed to operate dynamically, without interruption. At the storage layer, this requires the following capabilities:


  1. The ability to seamlessly expand storage capacity
  2. The ability to seamlessly migrate application data between performance tiers
  3. The ability to provide Quality of Services (QoS) throttling
  4. The ability to perform a tech refresh of storage controllers on-the-fly
  5. The ability to incorporate faster storage protocols as they become available

Lets take a look at how NetApp FAS storage systems match-up against these requirements:


Seamless expansion of storage capacity


NetApp’s Data ONTAP clustered operating system supports up to 8 SAN nodes or 24 NAS nodes. Each node is comprised of a storage controller and X number of storage shelves, containing either HDD or SSD devices. A basic FAS 8000 configuration of 2 nodes, each with a single storage shelf, can grow to house up to 17,280 storage devices with 24,000 volumes (1,000 per node) and 103 PB of storage capacity when configured as a NAS cluster, while a single SAN cluster can scale up to 5,760 storage devices, 98,304 LUNs (12,288 per node), and 34 PB of storage. From the smallest to the largest configuration, capacity upgrades are performed nondisruptively and are transparent to applications and the people who use them.


Seamless migration of data between performance tiers


NetApp LUN Move and Vol Move provide the transparent movement of application data between alternate resources within a NetApp storage cluster. LUN Move/ Vol Move can be used to migrate data between storage device types as performance requirements increase (or decrease), for example, from SATA to SAS or from SAS to SSD – matching the performance characteristics of the application.


When a LUN or Vol is moved within the cluster, the cutover is nearly instantaneous. Writes are processed at the destination, while reads are pulled over from the source as needed. This immediately reduces load on the source and provides for nondisruptive migration of enterprise applications between storage tiers.


Quality of Services (QoS) throttling


NetApp QoS allows an administrator to limit the number of I/O operations per second (IOPS) or raw throughput (MB/sec) on defined QoS groups of LUNs, Vols, or files within a cluster. Limiting noncritical workloads helps to prevent resource exhaustion and insures critical workloads have adequate performance headroom. NetApp QoS policy limits can be changed on-the-fly and are applied immediately.


Tech refresh of storage controllers


Upgrades of storage controllers are potentially the most disruptive event that can occur for enterprise applications, since storage controllers must be powered off for hardware upgrades or complete replacement. At times, however, this becomes necessary as part of a hardware tech refresh. Fortunately, NetApp Aggregate Relocate (ARL) allows for nondisruptive controller hardware upgrades.


Nodes in a NetApp storage cluster are grouped in High Availability (HA) pairs. ARL provides a “no-copy” reassign of storage devices on the primary controller by logically assigning those devices to an HA partner node – without requiring lengthy physical data migration or causing disruption to the client or host applications.


Instead, the storage devices are simply logically relocated to an alternative controller during the upgrade. The data stays intact on its original storage; while client and host I/O requests are serviced by the alternative controller for the duration of the ARL sequence.


Incorporating faster storage protocols


With new and faster data storage protocols on the horizon, such as Gen 6 Fibre Channel and 40GB Ethernet, an important aspect of storage system design is the ability to incorporate these new standards as they become available.


The NetApp Unified Target Adapter Gen 2 (UTA2) is a next-generation storage interconnect . Based on QLogic FlexSuite technology, the UTA2 currently provides both 10Gb converged Ethernet and Gen 5 Fibre Channel connectivity, thus supporting FC, iSCSI, FCoE and NAS protocols in a single network adapter.


To accommodate newer, faster, protocols, the UTA2 storage protocol personality can be changed at the port level via a firmware update. The update can be done in the field with no need to remove hardware from the storage system.


For more information


Download the IDC Technology Spotlight (sign-in required):

“Modernizing Enterprise Application Environments to Drive Innovation, Reduce Risk, and Increase Operational Efficiency”


Read the Infographic below and check out what IDC has to say about additional requirements for application modernization:



Larry Freeman