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Optimizing Cloud Storage Costs with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

With so many storage formats available today tailored to so many different use cases it can be difficult to tell which one is the best for your deployment. But despite the unique feature sets and long lists of pros and cons, a large part of what deciding on a storage solution comes down to is costs.

NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP gives you a diverse set of data management features that can radically transform your enterprise application and reduce your cloud storage costs.

A Feature Set Built for Cost Savings

Taking the raw storage ability of Amazon EBS and combining that with the capabilities of NetApp enterprise data management, Cloud Volumes ONTAP offers highly available instances for cloud deployments. OnCommand Cloud Manager manages and provisions these instances, either programmatically or through the web-based UI.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s feature set and associated services are designed to reduce your cloud storage spending dramatically.

 FlexClone allows DevOps engineers to provision test environments Instantly, with no additional storage requirement, ONTAP Snapshots can be created for a storage-efficient and flexible alternative to Amazon EBS snapshots, and SnapVault and SnapMirror give you reliable data protection and replication to or from the cloud.

On top of the savings these features provide, there are ways to optimize your Amazon EBS deployment, which will further benefit the Cloud Volumes ONTAP results you get.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP can manage multiple storage pools, each with varying performance characteristics, which makes it possible to match tiers with workload requirements. Without this data management feature, this task is much more complex.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s newly released Amazon S3 Storage Tiering further enhances this feature, allowing cold data to be moved over to Amazon S3 while it isn’t in use to keep costs low.

When it is needed, it just has to warm back up to Amazon EBS and it’s ready to go again. Additionally, this ONTAP FabricPool feature makes it possible for hot data to stay on on-premises storage with the use of NetApp’s All-Flash appliances.

With the ability to support NFS and CIFS, Cloud Volumes ONTAP also enables iSCSI with Amazon EC2 instance block-level storage. This ability helps create a single environment that is cohesive and also less expensive.

The kind of storage efficiency Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides is possible with the deduplication and compression features at the core of the software. With these tools raw storage use can be transparently reduced, and with that, costs come down.

The other core feature, thin provisioning, allows for storage allocation at the same time data is still being written. As a capacity-saving measure, this allows you to grow-as-you go, and not have to overprovision storage at the start,  which ultimately reduces your cloud bill.

Reducing Cloud Storage Costs with Storage Efficiencies

An enterprise application running Cloud Volumes ONTAP in an environment using the features just outlined will see an overall savings. Most significantly, storage costs are lower. There are several reasons for this:

  • the twin features of compression and deduplication
  • the benefits gained from thin provisioning

Let’s look at the combo of compression and deduplication first. By making data as compact as possible, compression and deduplication reduce the overall amount of physical storage space required to a great degree.

By collapsing numerous block copies into just one, deduplication can then combine with compression, without involving any change to host, client, or application, to compact data even further.

This streamlining of the process doesn’t just save time, it saves money. The latest innovation from NetApp in this field is ONTAP 9’s Inline Data Compaction.

By co-locating physical data chunks onto one block when the usually multiple blocks are used results in a further reduction in the amount of storage space occupied. Of course, the space efficiency you can achieve will depend on the sort of data you store, and there is a chance that could skew these results.

Thin provisioning is another reason Cloud Volumes ONTAP is able to cut storage costs. As your data will always grow as time goes on, the space you allocate now doesn’t have to be as large as it will ultimately be: you should start small and scale as you grow.

This scale feature is part of Amazon EFS functionality, but the same does not go for Amazon EBS volumes. More cost savings can be found when you look at how Cloud Volumes ONTAP uses snapshots. With Amazon EBS the first snapshot always requires an additional full copy of the data to be made.

With Amazon EFS, there is no such snapshot utility, and manually created duplicate copies have to be created instead. By Compariosn, Cloud Volumes ONTAP snapshots only require snapshot space relative to the changed amount of data, including the first snapshot, hugely reducing the amount you need to pay for storage.


Keeping costs down is how the cloud works for enterprise applications. When it comes to cloud storage, NetApp and Cloud Volumes ONTAP provide a considerable cost savings when used over Amazon EBS. With the added benefit of enterprise-grade data management that allows for time-saving and ease of use .

Going beyond the reduced storage footprint, Cloud Volumes ONTAP offers all the flexibility you need: accessibility through various protocols, the flexibility to manage storage in tiers, the support for DevOps through FlexClones to instantly provision test environments, and the all-important utility of data replication and archiving with SnapMirror and SnapVault.

Whether you deploy on AWS or Azure, Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help you start saving today.

Want to get started? Try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP today with a 30-day free trial.