NetApp And The StorageGRID Evolution

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 19.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

NetApp recently presented at Storage Field Day 19. You can see videos of the presentation here, and download my rough notes from here.

 

StorageGRID

If you haven’t heard of it before, StorageGRID is NetApp’s object storage platform. It offers a lot of the features you’d expect from an object storage platform. The latest version of the offering, 11.3, was released a little while ago, and includes a number of enhancements, as well as some new hardware models.

Workloads Are Changing

Object storage has been around a bit longer than you might think, and its capabilities and use cases have changed over that time. Some of the newer object workloads don’t just need a scale out bucket to store old archive data. Instead, they want more performance and flexibility.

Higher performance

  • Ingest / Retrieve
  • Delete

Flexibility

  • Support mixed workloads and multiple tenants
  • Granular data protection policies
    • Optimise data placement and retention
    • Adapt to new requirements and regulations

Agility / Simplicity

  • Leverage resources across multiple clouds – Move data to and from public cloud
  • Open standards for data portability
  • Low touch operations

 

New Hardware

SG1000

  • Load Balancer
  • Can run Admin node
Description Compute Appliance – Gateway Node
Performance High performance load balancer and optional Admin node function
Key Features 1U

Dual-socket Intel platform

768GB memory

Two dual-port 100GbE Mellanox NICs (10/25/40/100GbE)

Dual 1GBase-T ports for management

Redundant power and cooling

Two internal NVMe SSDs

Multi-shelf SG6060

[image courtesy of NetApp]

The SG6060 is mighty dense, offering 2PB in a single node.

SGF6024

[image courtesy of NetApp]

The SGF6024 is an All-Flash Storage Node.

Description All-Flash 24 SSD Appliance
Performance High performance, low latency, small object workloads
Key Features ·       2U (3U with compute node)

·       40 2.4 GHz CPU cores (compute node)

·       192 GB memory (compute node)

·       4x10GbE/4x25GbENICs

·       24 SSD drives

Max capacity 367.2 TB RAW (15.3 TB SSDs)
SSD drive support NON-FDE: 800Gb, 3.8TB, 7.6TB, 15.3TB FIPS: 1.6TB; SED: 3.8TB

 

Architecture

Flexible Deployment Options

  • Appliance-based
  • VMware-based
  • Software only

Storage Nodes

Manages metadata

Manages storage

  • Disk
  • Cloud

Policy Engine

  • Applies policy at ingest
  • Continual data integrity checks
  • Applies new policy if applicable

Minimum 3 storage nodes required per site

Admin Nodes

Admin / Tenant portal

  • Create tenants
  • Define grid configuration
  • Create ILM policies

Audit

  • Granular audit log of tenant actions

Metrics

  • Collect and store metrics via Prometheus

Load balancer

  • Create HA groups for Storage Nodes and optionally Admin portal

Service Provider Model

Separation between GRID admin and Tenant admin

Grid administration

  • Manages infrastructure
  • Creates data management policies
  • Creates tenant accounts – No data access

Tenant administration

  • Storage User administration
  • Tenant data is isolated by default
  • Use standard S3 IAM and Bucket Policy
  • Leverage multi-cloud Platform Services (Cloud mirror, SNS, ElasticSearch)

 

Thoughts and Further Reading

I’ve been a fan of StorageGRID for some time, and not just because I work at a service provider that sells it as a consumable service. NetApp has a good grasp of what’s required to make an object storage platform do what it needs to do to satisfy most requirements, and it also understands what’s required to ensure that the platform delivers on its promise of reliability and durability. I’m a big fan of the flexible deployment models, and the focus on service providers and multi-tenancy is a big plus.

The new hardware introduced in this update helps remove the requirement for a hypervisor to run admin VMs to keep the whole shooting match going. This is particularly appealing if you really just want to run a storage as a service offering and don’t want to mess about with all that pesky compute. Or you might want to be wanting to use this as a backup repository for one of the many products that can use it.

NetApp has owned Bycast for around 10 years now, and continues to evolve the StorageGRID platform in terms of resiliency, performance, and capabilities. I’m really quite keen to see what the next 10 years have in store. You can read more about what’s new with StorageGRID 11.3 here.

Random Short Take #22

Oh look, another semi-regular listicle of random news items that might be of some interest.

  • I was at Pure Storage’s //Accelerate conference last week, and heard a lot of interesting news. This piece from Chris M. Evans on FlashArray//C was particularly insightful.
  • Storage Field Day 18 was a little while ago, but that doesn’t mean that the things that were presented there are no longer of interest. Stephen Foskett wrote a great piece on IBM’s approach to data protection with Spectrum Protect Plus that’s worth read.
  • Speaking of data protection, it’s not just for big computers. Preston wrote a great article on the iOS recovery process that you can read here. As someone who had to recently recover my phone, I agree entirely with the idea that re-downloading apps from the app store is not a recovery process.
  • NetApp were recently named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage. Say what you will about the MQ, a lot of folks are still reading this report and using it to help drive their decision-making activities. You can grab a copy of the report from NetApp here. Speaking of NetApp, I’m happy to announce that I’m now a member of the NetApp A-Team. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more with NetApp in terms of both my day job and the blog.
  • Tom has been on a roll lately, and this article on IT hero culture, and this one on celebrity keynote speakers, both made for great reading.
  • VMworld US was a little while ago, but Anthony‘s wrap-up post had some great content, particularly if you’re working a lot with Veeam.
  • WekaIO have just announced some work their doing Aiden Lab at the Baylor College of Medicine that looks pretty cool.
  • Speaking of analyst firms, this article from Justin over at Forbes brought up some good points about these reports and how some of them are delivered.