Customers across industries are finding that new applications in social, mobile, big data, and cloud are driving massive data growth in rich content. Petabyte-scale content repositories are no longer a rarity as healthcare, automotive, financial, and other content-intensive institutions create digital objects that grow in size, quantity, and lifespan. More than ever, this data must be accessed by various teams in multiple locations, and often in a fast-paced, collaborative manner. Data-driven businesses are starting to realize the true cost of storing petabytes of actively referenced, long-lived unstructured data in the public cloud (for example, Amazon Simple Storage Service, or S3). On-premises and hybrid object-based storage (OBS) solutions are proving to be the right choice to maintain the balance of scale, costs, and complexity. For OBS to live up to its promise, however, its deployment and administration must offer flexibility and choice. Operations must be able to scale the platform horizontally across tenants and use cases to achieve economy of scale. The latest version of the NetApp OBS, NetApp® StorageGRID® Webscale 10.4, delivers on that promise.


With version 10.4, customers can now deploy NetApp StorageGRID on bare-metal servers, in addition to virtual machines and NetApp engineered physical storage appliances, all in the same object store. StorageGRID nodes run as Docker containers on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or CentOS host enabled by a StorageGRID host services daemon in a bare-metal deployment. The host services daemon provides a command-line tool for basic container management, with commands such as start node, stop node, node status, and migrate node to different host (requires shared storage between hosts). Thus, customers do not need to be familiar with Docker or container orchestration tools to reap the benefits of container-enabled bare-metal deployments. Customers now can take advantage of third-party storage with a lighter-weight and cheaper option than running virtual machines (VMs); implement bring-your-own-hardware (BYOH) appliances with their choice of commodity servers; and scale up the node-to-server ratio to suit high-transaction, small-object workloads.


Meanwhile, Operations performs deployment, expansion, decommissioning, upgrades, and administration with one common toolset (a centralized web GUI and HTTP REST management APIs) across all three platforms (bare metal, VMs, and appliance). These platforms can all be in the same grid. Deployment on VMs and bare metal uses industry-standard tools: VMware vCenter and OpenStack APIs for VMs, and for bare metal, Red Hat and CentOS RPMs, which can be automated using configuration management tools such as Ansible, Puppet, or Chef. By combining bare-metal nodes with NetApp appliances, customers can serve different workloads and handle the data lifecycle. For example, customers can load-balance requests from an application running a high-transaction-rate, small-object workload to a “performance pool” of densely packed storage node containers. At the same time, customers can direct requests from an archiving application writing large objects to an “archive pool” composed of capacity-optimized NetApp appliances. Customers can also use the StorageGRID object lifecycle management policies to move older, infrequently accessed objects from the performance pool to the archive pool, and even reduce the data footprint. For example, they can reduce the number of replicas, or switch to erasure coding.


Version 10.4 also brings new and enhanced features to help Operations scale OBS across more use cases and tenants. Operations can control tenant capacity usage by setting stored data capacity quotas by tenant, and by setting autodelete-on-expiry policies on noncurrent versioned objects. Version 10.4 introduces the new tenant administrator role, which allows Operations to delegate tenant-scoped administration, such as creating local users and groups, importing federated users and groups from the tenant’s LDAP/AD server, and implementing Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies within the tenant. For Swift clients, 10.4 now supports OpenStack Keystone v3 authentication that integrates with Keystone-defined projects, groups, and users, and autoimports them as Swift tenants in StorageGRID. Operations can host S3 tenants and Swift tenants in the same grid. A revamped NAS Bridge (version 2.0.2) significantly improves write-throughput performance and increases stability, giving Operations a POSIX-compliant file system target to migrate stale data trapped in NAS. Finally, NetApp is instituting new subscription-only pricing for the StorageGRID software, where customers can pay for software in a prepaid opex model based on consumption.


With StorageGRID Webscale 10.4, NetApp has raised the bar in deployment flexibility and customer choice. To learn more, read the press release, or tune into the latest edition of the Tech ONTAP Podcast.


Ronnie Chan