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High Availability in AWS: A Fail-Safe for Cloud Deployments

This third post in our series on data migration and details the mission-critical need for protecting applications and data from unplanned downtime. High availability is crucial for anyone who stores data they cannot afford to lose. Keeping large amounts of data highly available in the scalable cloud is even more urgent: A failing data center might affect 30 to 300 users, which is bad enough. But a failing cloud deployment could affect 3,000 — or 30,000.

Since your data is your most vital asset and must be optimally stored and managed throughout its lifecycle, NetApp implores that you adhere to a unified platform for your application-driven infrastructure. Our Cloud Volumes Platform is an integrative set of innovative storage infrastructures and intelligent data services, deployed and managed on your choice of cloud, public or private, through an advanced API-driven control plane with comprehensive oversight.

Solving modern data challenges requires enterprise-grade feature sets. Do you have the right cloud storage features to improve your cloud MySQL data management and analytics? NetApp® Cloud Volumes for AWS protects SQL Server and MySQL apps, secures data in high-performance hybrid clouds, and enables native fault tolerance and high availability.

Fail-safe 1: Protect critical MySQL databases

MySQL is the most widely adopted open-source relational database in the world. MySQL workloads are mission- and business-critical for many corporations and protecting and optimizing them are top priorities. 

Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS enables nine nines of data durability in your databases. It provides shared persistent storage with high throughput and low latency, with consistent performance of over 460,000 IOPS.

NetApp Snapshot™ technology is the foundation of rapid and efficient database backup and restore. Point-in-time Snapshot copies act as fast, nondisruptive logical backups, and they rapidly restore data at will. You can manually create Snapshot copies or schedule them using the Cloud Volumes GUI or API.

Cloud Volumes Service even also lets you control your AWS cloud performance by dynamically adjusting service levels. The Standard service level offers economical cloud storage, the Premium service level delivers a balance of cost and performance, and the Extreme service level provides top performance for reads and writes. By adjusting service levels for MySQL databases and other apps dynamically, users have realized up to 70% cost savings in the cloud.

Fail-safe 2: Secure data in high-performance hybrid clouds

Hybrid clouds are popular in many corporations. Efficient hybrid architecture integrates on-premises environments and the cloud, and it protects data moving between locations.

The keyword is “efficient.” You need hybrid clouds that have fast connectivity and also provide strong security for data moving between on-premises and cloud resources. Let’s briefly look at connectivity choices:

  • Internet-based connectivity. With this choice, you simply use the public internet to transfer data. It’s a cost-effective solution for apps that don’t depend on high performance and don’t need to observe strict regulatory compliance. But when apps need security and performance, this level of connectivity isn’t good enough.
  • Internet + VPN. Where security and privacy are very important, administrators can add IPsec-based VPNs to the public internet connection for added security. VPNs can add expense and complexity, but they tend to be for specific use cases and not widespread general usage. They are invaluable for the highest security connections.
  • AWS Direct Connect. For fast performance and high security, AWS Direct Connect provides a private, direct connection from on-premises environments to AWS. Direct Connect protects data security by authenticating and encrypting IP packets, and it delivers guaranteed performance agreements over low fixed-latency connections. Direct Connect is ideal for moving large amounts of data during a major migration project.
  • Hybrid cloud with AWS and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Use AWS and Cloud Volumes ONTAP for even better connectivity and performance in your hybrid cloud. For example, Cloud Volumes ONTAP enables you to integrate enterprise storage with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and optionally use Amazon S3 for tiered data backup and recovery. And when you run NetApp ONTAP® software in your on-premises data center and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP in the cloud, your hybrid cloud is even more manageable, faster, and transparent.

Failsafe 3: Enable fault tolerance and high availability

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP natively combines cloud synchronization, cloud backup, and high-availability pairs to build fault-tolerant and persistent storage in the cloud. For example, Amazon EC2 is built on infrastructure that isn’t automatically fault tolerant. By combining AWS high availability features and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, your instances are protected by reliable, fault-tolerant, highly available, and persistent storage. There is no need to replicate data within each of your availability zones (AZ), which also lowers resource consumption and costs.

Cloud Sync

Cloud Volumes ONTAP integrates NetApp Cloud Sync, which synchronizes data to the cloud quickly, securely, and reliably. Cloud Sync works with any NFS/SMB share, and it safely transfers data from any file shares to another cross-regional share. Continuous, rapid synchronization lets you keep your data in multiple locations for disaster recovery and development.

Cloud backup

Cloud Volumes ONTAP integrates NetApp Cloud Backup Service. The service offers add-on backup capabilities to protect your cloud volumes in object storage. Fully managed by NetApp, Cloud Backup Service includes scheduled and manual volume backups and rapid restore.

The service is billed on a metered basis and has full API support. End-to-end security blocks all public access and includes AES-256 encryption for at-rest data, and TLS/HTTPS for data in flight.

High-availability pairs

Cloud Volumes ONTAP configures its infrastructure clusters in high-availability pairs for fault tolerance and nondisruptive operations. If a node fails or is taken offline, its partner will immediately take over its storage functions. The partner automatically releases functions when the mode is back online.

The fast fail-to/failback process delivers an RPO (recovery point objective) of 0 seconds with no data loss, and an RTO (recovery time objective) of 60 seconds.

In Summary

NetApp’s “big three” high-availability approach — secure mission-critical apps, protect hybrid clouds, and provide fault tolerance — enables you to boost security and performance on premises and in the cloud.

Data migration of critical tier-one workloads can be a big project and will certainly have a significant effect on any corporation. If you strategically approach migration to AWS with careful planning and execution, and clearly communicate with your people, the benefits will far outweigh any temporary inconvenience. By holding an AWS Migration Competency, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is recognized as providing robust migration and file sharing services. For more insight into migration with NetApp on AWS, watch this webcast: The Basics of Migrating to the Cloud with AWS and Cloud Volumes ONTAP.  

For more on our migrating to AWS cloud blog series please visit our entries ISV to SaaS: Transitioning from legacy apps to software as a serviceWhy cloud migration matters from the top (of an organization) to the bottomHigh availability in AWS: A fail-safe for cloud deployments, and Are your financial services workloads compliant when migrated to the cloud?

Also, you can read about Cloud Volumes Service and start a free trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

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Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Data Services