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Azure Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

More and more enterprises are shifting production workloads to the cloud, increasing the demand and expectations for robust data protection and management capabilities. Companies need to continue to meet the same SLAs for performance and availability that they had on premises, without compromising data security or privacy. Solutions must provide visibility and control across complex environments. In enterprise Microsoft Azure migrations, all of these demands come into play. 

NetApp® Cloud Volumes ONTAP® runs as an instance on Azure disks to provide secure and proven data management capabilities for any workload, including file shares and block-level storage serving NAS and SAN protocols, disaster recovery, backup and archiving, DevOps, databases, and persistent volumes for containerized workloads.

This blog post introduces you to Azure cloud storage and explores several Azure case studies to show how enterprises are using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure to securely, efficiently, and cost effectively manage and monitor their cloud data.

Why Use Azure for Enterprises?

Through Azure, Microsoft offers a full set of infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS), and application (SaaS) cloud services. Currently, 95% of Fortune 500 companies use Azure in their businesses, and its market share has been growing steadily. Many companies have years of technical investment in the Microsoft ecosystem, and using Azure is the logical next step.

With heavy investment in security and compliance, Azure and its large network of partners offer enterprises an environment that integrates well with their existing on-premises and edge deployments.

Now let’s look at some Azure case studies to see how Cloud Volumes ONTAP is making these services more accessible and less expensive for major enterprises around the world.

How Enterprises Use Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure: Case Studies

Mellanox Drives Innovation

Mellanox is a global company that develops and markets networking products for high performance and reliability. It serves many market sectors, including high-performance computing.

With the company viewing data as a catalyst for innovation, the Mellanox storage team sought a unified and shareable cloud storage solution so that its worldwide operations could get cutting-edge products to market faster. The solution had to be reliable, scalable, cost effective, and easily integrated with the company’s on-premises storage deployment.

After a three-month proof of concept with Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure, Mellanox put the solution into production, which included a cloud-based MongoDB database of production logs and other data.  

The benefits Mellanox gets from its Cloud Volumes ONTAP deployments on Azure include the following:

  • NFS file shares give production engineers access to logs from all Mellanox factories, promoting innovation through actionable insights.
  • Staff can easily scale and share dev/test environments by using NetApp FlexClone® technology to quickly spin up and tear down cloned volumes with a near-zero footprint.
  • Superior data protection by using the centralized scheduling capabilities and policies of NetApp Cloud Manager.
  • Storage costs are reduced through automatic tiering of “cold” production data to Microsoft Azure Blob storage.
  • Cost-effective secondary backup and disaster recovery solutions by using SnapMirror® for efficient data replication.

Read the full Mellanox case study here.

McKesson: Healthcare Innovation and Invention

McKesson is the largest healthcare company in the United States, distributing one-third of all medications across North America. McKesson was feeling constrained by the managed private cloud solution it was using. The company needed a platform for developing, testing, and deploying their fulfillment and logistics applications at scale and at speed. They found what they needed in the public cloud and NetApp.

The McKesson IT team adopted a data fabric strategy. The team uses NetApp AFF and NetApp E-Series flash storage in its data center while its public cloud is powered by Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Today, McKesson benefits from better cloud performance at a much lower cost, and its IT team can now respond effectively to the needs of developers and business units. 

For the first time, McKesson has been able to implement disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) by using Azure Site Recovery to replicate applications and virtual machines. The company’s DRaaS solution also uses SnapMirror and Cloud Volumes ONTAP to replicate on-premises data to the Azure cloud.

Read the full McKesson case study here.

Galatz Radio Operationalizes a Priceless Archive

Galatz Radio comprises two popular Israeli radio stations that are regularly listened to by more than half of Israel’s population. Galatz Radio stored its archive of 90,000 hours of programming on analog tapes, which were becoming difficult and risky to access. After deciding to digitize its priceless archive, the company first moved it to an on-premises NetApp storage environment and then used Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure to migrate the digitized assets to the cloud. This unique recorded history is now readily available to the public.

Here are some other advantages that Galatz Radio gets from its Cloud Volumes ONTAP deployment: 

  • The company can have the same data storage management interface for its on-premises and cloud-based assets through NetApp Cloud Manager. This intuitive interface provides full visibility and control across the company’s hybrid deployment in a single pane.
  • Moving to the cloud, combined with Cloud Volumes ONTAP automated compression and deduplication storage efficiencies, has reduced the company’s costs by 70%.
  • Using SnapMirror, the company can maintain a backup and recovery replica site with excellent failure recovery metrics.

Read the full Galatz Radio case study here.

Online Fashion and Cosmetic Retailer Moves Mission-Critical Workloads to the Cloud

Founded at the turn of the millennium, this British online fashion and cosmetic retailer sells more than 850 brands as well as its own line of clothing and fashion accessories. It employs more than 3,500 people worldwide and ships to over 200 countries from fulfillment centers in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe.

As part of its transition to a cloud-only strategy, the company sought a storage platform for its mission-critical Oracle Retail stack. After a brief, successful proof of concept, the company decided to deploy 14 Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure systems. It used them across regions for production database workloads and also in its pre-production environment.

The company chose Cloud Volumes ONTAP over other solutions for the following reasons:

  • Ease of implementation: The entire solution was deployed in a single day.
  • Superior manageability by using NetApp Cloud Manager as a single-pane data storage management interface.
  • An in-cloud disaster recovery solution with the proven ability to recover quickly from both local and full-region failure scenarios, with no data loss.

Managed Services Provider Runs Shared File Systems in the Cloud

This SAP full-service provider is the leader in the German-speaking midmarket segment. It has more than 2,000 customers—mostly small to medium businesses in manufacturing, consumer goods, and services. In addition to SAP consulting and support, the company offers a range of fully managed services, including hosting services on its own infrastructure, cloud-hosted services, and end-to-end SAP application management.

The company was already using NetApp solutions for its on-premises storage systems, so Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure was a natural choice for moving services over to the cloud. The first clear benefit was the seamless transition from NetApp on-premises data storage management to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, with no need to retrain staff. All of its on-premises processes and automation scripts worked “as is” on Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

Other benefits that the company has realized include:

  • High availability: With Cloud Volumes ONTAP high-availability (HA) pairs, the company doesn’t need to close down its own services during maintenance, upgrades, or updates. Site failure downtime can be limited to under 60 seconds, with no data loss.
  • A complete and fully managed cloud file share solution.
  • Strong automation capabilities, either by using REST APIs directly or by using the Cloud Manager GUI. For example, Cloud Volumes ONTAP instances are provisioned automatically when the company onboard a new customer.
  • Good visibility into the environment through Cloud Manager.
  • Data protection through NetApp Snapshot™
  • Cost savings from deduplication and compression as well as from data tiering, which automatically offloads code data to Blob Storage.

U.S. Insurance Company with Petabytes of Data in Azure—All Managed by One Person

This veteran insurance and finance company is among the top ten providers of pensions, variable annuities, and life insurance in the United States. Its 8,800 employees serve 13 million customers.

Already a NetApp on-premises storage customer, the company uses Cloud Volumes ONTAP on both Azure and AWS to move data into the cloud. It uses Cloud Manager to create volumes, do CIFS shares and NFS mounts, and create aggregates.

A team of just three manages the company’s entire NetApp NAS environment of petabytes of storage, with hundreds of thousands of shares across thousands of volumes. Within that team, one person handles Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Now, the company gets all the same benefits in the cloud that it gets from its on-premises environment:

  • File service solutions—both SMB/ CIFS and NFS—that work the same way in the cloud as on premises
  • High availability support, using HA pairs
  • Data protection, backup, and disaster recovery through NetApp point-in-time, read-only Snapshot copies
  • The ability to create writable cloned volumes from Snapshot copies by using FlexClone
  • Meeting the strict compliance regulations through volume-level encryption of data at rest and in flight

Conclusion

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure complements Azure’s cloud-native storage services to provide an enterprise-grade, operationally efficient, and cost-effective cloud data storage solution.

These Azure case studies show how a wide range of companies have easily deployed Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure to securely and reliably address key cloud data storage scenarios such as file shares, backups and archiving, disaster recovery, and development/testing support. Using NetApp Cloud Manager, they gain end-to-end visibility into and control over their data storage environments—with high levels of automation and orchestration across a hybrid data fabric.

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