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Block Storage

Gaining Block Storage Benefits in the Cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Customer Success Stories

Block storage is important for fast, efficient, and reliable access for applications which require optimal response time for queries. NetApp users have relied on block storage delivered through ONTAP-based storage systems for decades—BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP brings all those benefits to companies looking to leverage block storage in the cloud.

In this article, we take a look at some of the benefits of cloud-based block storage and share some success stories of NetApp clients who have leveraged block storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

Read on, or jump down using the links below:

Cloud-Based Block Storage: Typical Uses and Benefits Compared to On-Premises Storage

Block storage has been a mainstay of enterprise IT for years, offering a highly performant storage technology for applications, databases, containers, and many other enterprise workloads. Numerous benefits that made it crucial to on-premises deployments have carried over to the cloud, with some additional standouts:

  • High performance, low latency: Block storage provides rapid data access, making it ideal for enterprise applications, production environments, and databases. Part of this speed is due to the fact that block storage includes much less metadata for the files being stored, instead relying on computer-readable identifiers for access to the data.
  • Cost benefits: As is true with all cloud resources, moving from a block storage deployment physically housed and maintained in an on-prem data center to one that is hosted on pay-as-you-go public cloud IaaS block storage presents major cost savings.
  • Business continuity: Block storage is one of the key components for companies looking for reliable and highly available solutions. In the cloud, built-in availability measures help ensure that data is accessible without the complexity of redundant on-prem systems.
  • Scalability and Elasticity: Companies that experience traffic spikes at peak times can benefit from the scalability of cloud-based block storage in a way that on-prem deployments could never match. When the resources aren’t needed, they can be shut down.
  • A range of options: There are a number of different block storage offerings available in the public cloud, with the three main offerings being AWS EBS, Azure managed disks, and Google Cloud Persistent Disks. This opens the door for users to adapt more flexible hybrid, and even multicloud deployments.

BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP Block Storage Success Stories

Let’s take a look at how the use of block storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP has contributed to the success of four companies.

Siemens Healthineers: Block Storage on Azure for DevOps and Analytics

Medical device manufacturer Siemens Healthineers manages hundreds of terabytes of data for their global operations which includes more than 50,000 employees and partners. Centralized storage for data analytics, development environments, and application data was top of mind when they looked into Cloud Volumes ONTAP for their block storage.

With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Siemens Healthineers leveraged block storage in a number of ways:

  • Migrating 60 TB to Azure via BlueXP replication. The process is secure and efficient, and when using NetApp systems, preserves all storage efficiencies.
  • Hybrid flexibility and management across the on-prem systems and the new cloud-based deployments with the help of the single-pane BlueXP console. Read about the benefits of hybrid storage here.
  • Tiering infrequently accessed data to object storage. Data that is infrequently accessed is automatically moved to cost-efficient Azure Blob storage thanks to BlueXP tiering. When needed, the data is automatically tiered back to block storage.
  • Rapid access to data. The on-premises data was designed to provide rapid data access to the teams, and using cloud-based block storage resulted in similar performance without the physical proximity.
  • High availability. The Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA configuration goes further than Azure’s native availability, making sure that data is RPO=0 and downtime (RTO) is limited to under sixty seconds.
  • Consolidating data to improve performance. Prior to the migration, teams in India and the US were exchanging 5 TB files through slow data connections. Use of BlueXP edge caching eliminated the overhead of file transfer and enabled global collaboration on data stored in cloud block storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
  • Leverage the existing staff. The same team, using the same command sets and features, managed the cloud-based storage. Familiarity with block storage and its capabilities on-prem easily transferred to the cloud-based version offered by Azure.
  • Migrating 400 TB of data that was transferred seamlessly to the cloud using BlueXP copy and sync for the company’s DevOps and AI workloads.

Read more about the Siemens Healthineers case study here.

Construction Industry: Block Storage on Azure for Resilience and Business Continuity

A Germany-based multinational in the building materials industry was looking to manage its data across 60 countries and more than 3,000 production sites. While they had many on-premises NetApp installations, they were looking to consolidate their data centers and create a more flexible and future-proof strategy. Block storage via Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure was key to that.

With the Cloud Volumes ONTAP the company was able to:

  • Reduce costs by allowing an entire data center to be retired.
  • Ensure business continuity with a secondary disaster recovery copy stored in block storage on Microsoft Azure managed disks and using the Cloud Volumes ONTAP high availability configuration.
  • Provide persistent storage for its Kubernetes-based supply chain management solution. Cloud Volumes ONTAP and NetApp Trident work together to automatically respond to persistent volumes claims and dynamically provision persistent volumes using cloud storage. Read more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps in Kubernetes deployments here.

Fintech: Turning to Block Storage on AWS for Cost Savings

A leading fintech software firm with a 40% market share in the US was looking to overcome limitations of their Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) implementation through the use of shared block storage in the cloud.

Using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the customer was able to:

  • High availability for 1 PB of data with Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA for AWS to deploy clustered Oracle GoldenGate instances. This ensures business continuity for the Oracle GoldenGate instances replicating the on-prem Oracle databases with the Amazon RDS for Oracle database and across different AWS regions.
  • Deploy internal custom applications for critical operations using a highly available managed cloud service with Microsoft Windows Failover Clustering on top of AWS.
  • Migrate PBs of data to Amazon S3 using BlueXP copy and sync, in a seamless and secure process from end to end.

Read more about the Windows Server Failover Clustering use case here.

Data Broker: Block Storage Performance and Google Cloud Migration

A multinational data broker with data from millions of customers was looking to move data from their on-premises database to Google Cloud using Persistent Disks. However, they needed a higher level of performance than the cloud-native block storage option. In addition, the company wanted to improve the cloud-native security features because of the nature of the private data they manage. Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud was able to meet that demand.

Using Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the data provider was able to:


As these success stories illustrate, block storage using BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP dramatically reduces the costs of cloud storage while increasing response times and flexibility. Major enterprises have found that they can ensure data is protected, reduce costs, and improve security for block storage with the help of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

Find out more about how your organization can benefit from Cloud Volumes ONTAP. For more info, read about SAN storage in the cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager