Much has been written about the impact of digital transformation on businesses today. Organizations of all sizes recognize the growing need to transform IT operations and to leverage data so that they can make better informed business decisions and respond more quickly to the changing market landscape. NetApp and IDC partnered to study 800 global companies to evaluate the companies’ success in the market based on their use of data. The study found that companies who maximize the value of their data (data thrivers) are much more successful than companies who do a poor job of leveraging their data (data survivors). That result might seem obvious on the surface, but the degree to which thrivers outperform survivors is significant, as the following chart shows.

According to a 2017 article in The Economist, data has replaced oil as the most valuable economic currency. As data becomes the essential asset to drive business success, deploying the right solution or solutions to maintain access to your data should be a top priority. With NetApp® MetroCluster™ technology, you get the data availability that’s critical for your business to thrive.

Virtualization Requires Increased Uptime

Not long ago, the standard for reliability was five nines (99.999%) of uptime. The digital transformation and the need for data accessibility have increased those uptime requirements. It’s now common to expect six nines of availability when you procure IT resources. Increased availability is especially important for applications that are in the critical path of revenue, such as retail sites or manufacturing, or for systems that are relied upon when people’s lives are at stake. No one wants to be on an airplane that’s approaching a landing strip when the airport radar and communications systems go offline.

 

In today’s highly virtualized IT environment, applications that were once considered tier 2 or tier 3 now collectively affect business operations in a major way. Most high-end servers can host 10, 20, 30, or more virtual machines. Any one of the virtualized applications might by itself have little immediate impact on the business. But when the applications are combined, the overall impact could be significant. When combined on a shared infrastructure, virtual desktops, email systems, and other lower-tier databases or applicationseven home directoriesmight represent a tier 1 environment.

 

In these cases, organizations like yours must maintain high availability in the event of a failure or a site outage. You need an infrastructure that can support a zero recovery point objective ([RPO] zero data loss) and a near-zero recovery time objective ([RTO] almost instant recovery). To achieve these RPO and RTO goals, redundancy of the local hardware combined with mature software are a given. MetroCluster technology adds redundancy between storage systems or between remote sites to complete a high-availability solution.

Protect Your Business with NetApp MetroCluster

NetApp MetroCluster software is a continuous-availability solution that protects your critical data and provides data availability 24/7. You get ease of use, versatile configurations, and proven technology.

 

Ease of use. MetroCluster is “set-it-once” technology. After you configure MetroCluster, you operate and administer it the same way that you do for any NetApp ONTAP® based storage system. As your environment grows with new applications and workloads, data is automatically replicated and protected; you don’t incur any change management or administration overhead.

 

MetroCluster mirrors data synchronously at the storage level, so it is completely transparent to any application. You don’t need any active-activeaware applications or file systems. Its symmetrical architecture on both sides means that you get reliable and predictable performance if a switchover occurs. After a switchover, response times, throughput, and capacity are identical. And that reliability means that you get predictably superior performance when you use MetroCluster on the new NetApp AFF A800 system, which runs ONTAP 9.4.

Through rapid and application-transparent negotiated switchover, MetroCluster also makes it easy for you to perform regular testing or to respond to planned maintenance events. You can use the negotiated switchover for periodic disaster recovery process testing, anticipated weather events, planned power shutdowns, and much more. You simply switch over in advance and switch back when it’s convenient for you.

 

Versatile configurations. With MetroCluster, you can scale vertically and horizontally, with a wide range of deployment options to match your environment, future growth projections, and budget requirements. No matter how you choose to deploy it, you get consistent operational behavior.

 

MetroCluster is intrinsically and seamlessly embedded into ONTAP software, so your system automatically inherits the richness of ONTAP functionality for availability, efficiency, and control. Here are just some of the NetApp ONTAP benefits that you get:

  • Flexible quality of service (QoS)
  • Data deduplication, compression, and compaction
  • Local takeover and giveback
  • Nondisruptive data movement for balancing and maintenance
  • Robust multitenancy
  • SAN and NAS protocol support

MetroCluster scales from a software-defined storage (SDS) solution to a hardware appliance. You can use our recently announced NetApp ONTAP MetroCluster SDS software solution, which is based on ONTAP Select. Or you can choose from hardware appliances that are available in 2-node, 4-node, and 8-node configurations, whatever is best for your environment. Or to support different application requirements, you can even mix the all-flash arrays of NetApp AFF and hybrid flash NetApp FAS controllers in the same 8-node configuration. You can also deploy MetroCluster within a converged infrastructure, such as the FlexPod® platform, or by using the NetApp FlexArray® license to virtualize third-party storage.

 

“All of our mission-critical applications are on the MetroCluster array—things like 911 and State Patrol, where lives are at stake. Now we can ensure uptime. We can instantly fail over from one site to the other, and we have zero RPO and near-zero RTO.” – Ed Toner, CIO, State of Nebraska

 

Proven technology. Enterprise-grade resilience doesn’t happen overnight. MetroCluster has consistently offered proven performance and scalability for customers of all sizes and in all industries who have entrusted their mission-critical applications to NetApp. In line with an enterprise-grade product, the MetroCluster specific supported product matrix gives you performance and interoperability without compromise.

 

We thoroughly test functionality and throughput to confirm application performance in steady operation and to confirm the capacity to handle bursts and spikes. With NetApp technology, you get enterprise-grade resilience and end-to-end high performance. And our functional testing of solution components, including all hypervisors and operating systems, means that you can implement MetroCluster and any NetApp solution with confidence.

Become a Data Thriver

If your business relies on data to drive growth, data availability is critical. By deploying the right solution to maintain data access, you can free your IT administrators to focus on strategic projects without worrying about whether your system will remain online. NetApp MetroCluster delivers the ease of use, versatility, and proven performance that you need for today’s data-driven world.

 

Learn how you can transform from a data survivor to a data thriver with NetApp. Visit the MetroCluster Business Continuity page on our website or, for detailed information, read our technical report, TR-4592: Oracle on MetroCluster.

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Jason Blosil

Jason Blosil is a senior product marketing manager with over 22 years of product marketing, product management, and corporate finance experience. Jason’s assignments at NetApp have focused on product marketing of data protection solutions, SAN and NAS storage, software defined and cloud technologies. Prior to joining NetApp in 2008, Jason spent 7 years with Adaptec in both product management and product marketing roles associated with server based RAID controllers and network storage systems. A five year stint at Ford Motor Company in product development finance offered a chance to explore a passion in automobiles. Jason is a former chair of the SNIA Ethernet Storage Forum. When out of the office, he enjoys cycling, cooking, golf, volunteer work, music and college sports. Go Cougs!