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February 15, 2023
Topics: Cloud Volumes ONTAP File ServicesAdvanced8 minute read
BlueXP recently added a new feature that allows for files to be accessed with the S3 protocol. This gives users more flexibility when it comes to working with cloud file sharing, and opens up new possibilities for data management and collaboration.
In this article, we'll take a look at how this new multiprotocol access feature works, and explore some of its benefits and appropriate use cases when using in Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
Read on or jump down using the links below:
- Why Add S3 Multiprotocol Access?
- How the New Multiprotocol Access Feature Works
- Using the ONTAP S3 Multiprotocol Feature
- Use Cases for ONTAP S3 Multiprotocol Capability
Why Add S3 Multiprotocol Access?
In the past, to enable interoperability between Amazon S3 and NAS protocols, storage administrators typically had to reformat their data and applications existing in NAS setups. NetApp’s ONTAP version 9.12.1 comes with an S3 multiprotocol access feature that eliminates the need to copy or refactor NAS data for S3 access, enabling numerous process efficiencies.
This feature alone can provide significant cost savings and operational efficiencies for enterprises that have a mix of storage protocols in their environment.
How the New Multiprotocol Access Feature Works
Here is a quick overview of NAS to S3 buckets mapping and how BlueXP users can configure it to access this storage with bucket policies:
- To present the same data set as both a file hierarchy and bucket objects, ONTAP creates S3 NAS buckets, which allow S3 clients to create S3 object requests that can read, alter, and enumerate files in NAS storage.
- S3 NAS buckets create a map that conforms to NAS security configurations, and writes to the security audit trail as well as observing access permissions. To accomplish this mapping, each NAS directory hierarchy is specified as an S3 bucket.
- Every file within the NAS directory hierarchy is represented as an S3 object whose name is derived from the mapped directory, flattening and merging the file structure with object names.
- S3 users running BlueXP storage can access these files through bucket policies defined for each bucket that maps to the NAS file structure. This makes it easy to keep serving NAS data to NAS clients, while simultaneously serving objects to S3 clients for easier interoperability.
Benefits of Using the ONTAP S3 Multiprotocol Access Feature
Using the ONTAP S3 multiprotocol access feature through BlueXP provides some notable benefits:
- Increased flexibility and efficiency
By leveraging multiple protocols, including S3, NFS, and SMB, users can take advantage of the benefits of multi protocols when working with their data, which can lead to improved performance and efficiency.
- Eliminates the need to reformat/refactor applications for the S3 protocol
The new multiprotocol feature allows for seamless access of file data in SMB/NFS without having to refactor that data as an S3 object. The feature not only reduces the number of processes involved in file access, but also eliminates the need for dedicated hardware or software for accessing S3-compatible storage, thereby reducing the complexity of managing storage infrastructure.
- Enhanced data protection
BlueXP can provide file storage with enhanced data protection. BlueXP replication relationships can replicate the virtual machine’s configuration, as well as data in the S3 NAS bucket contained within the SVM (storage virtual machine) to a backup ONTAP system. BlueXP backup and recovery provides a complete solution for backing up and restoring ONTAP data using incremental-forever, block-level backups that are stored in object storage.
In addition, with standard SnapMirror® S3 replication, you can protect your S3 NAS buckets by replicating data from one bucket to another, while keeping the two buckets in sync. This can be particularly useful for organizations that want to keep a second copy of their data in a different location, or replicate data between multiple servers for additional protection against regional outages, disasters or data corruption.
- Provides a consistent storage API for the three major public clouds and private clouds
ONTAP’s protocol-agnostic storage allows you to seamlessly manage storage across the major hyperscalers: AWS, Azure and GCP. As a result, you can deploy S3-based data pipelines that simultaneously operate on AWS, Azure, GCP, and on-premises NAS file data. In addition, with FlexVol support you can also dynamically expand or shrink your storage volumes as needed, without having to provision new storage capacity ahead of time.
- Enables file sharing without duplication
With the multiprotocol access feature, BlueXP users can operate different workloads on a single data set without having to duplicate the data. This streamlines the data pipeline setup, and reduces the number of steps needed to share data across different applications, reducing the possibility of error.
- Enhances storage efficiency with seamless S3 and NAS interoperability
A single namespace can be used to store objects from both protocols side by side, making it easier to manage and utilize data resources. In addition, the new semantic search feature allows users to find specific content within objects stored on either protocol without having to first identify the object's location. This makes data management simpler and more efficient for customers using a mix of S3 and NAS storage.
- Auditing in S3 NAS Buckets
With S3 NAS support auto-enabled in BlueXP, you can audit file access events for buckets that are accessed using the S3 protocol. You can use the same conventional ONTAP audit policies that you use to audit other types of file access events, such as CIFS /SMB or NFS.
These policies are designed to monitor and record user activity, providing a comprehensive overview of who has accessed what data and when. By applying these policies to S3 NAS buckets, you can essentially ensure that only authorized users are able to access sensitive data, and that any unauthorized access is immediately detected and investigated.
Using the ONTAP S3 Multiprotocol Feature
This section discusses the installation options for the multiprotocol access feature.
- Access to existing NAS data for S3 clients
You can use an S3-compliant workload to access existing NAS data without having to migrate or copy it over first. The data remains on the source storage volume and is accessed through a new object store created on that volume. This object store is then accessible to S3 clients using the same API calls they would use to access data in any Amazon S3 storage bucket.
- Backend storage for modern clients capable of performing I/O using both NAS and S3 protocols
With the new multiprotocol access feature, enterprises can provide integrated access for applications that read and write the same data using either of the S3 or NAS protocols. As files and objects are consolidated in a unified storage, ONTAP can seamlessly operate between the protocols to support different application workloads.
Use Cases for ONTAP S3 Multiprotocol Capability
This section discusses the possible use cases for the multiprotocol access feature.
- Medical imaging recognition
The multiprotocol access feature is ideal to support high-performance storage for medical image classification and recognition. A typical scenario is when you store clinical images as S3 objects and patient file data as NFS /SMB files in the same namespace; and then look to quickly correlate and analyze these data collectively for better diagnosis.
In such a scenario, BlueXP can help manage data objects from different storage platforms, simplifying the compartmentalization and administration of medical image files and patient records. Healthcare organizations can also store images from their picture archiving and communication system (PACS) over SMB /NFS, and use BlueXP Cloud Backup over the S3 object interface.
- Financial check verification
With multiprotocol access, organizations can reduce financial data fragmentation by consolidating financial applications, data, and images in one scalable platform. Consolidating analytics, image file storage and financial data simplifies fine-grained control over data access with encryption and access. Financial institutions can leverage this consolidated storage with ONTAP’s built-in security and integrity features to set up check verification and validation systems to ensure secure transactions.
- Object analytic services
Object analytic services, such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) applications, scan files for specific objects, tag them and track them within the directory structure. While this enables good read-write performance, it comes with scaling difficulties. With the ONTAP multiprotocol access feature, storage administrators can configure these applications to leverage S3 object storage to organize these objects as metadata. With S3 NAS buckets, the applications can store rich metadata with granular lifecycle management, scalability, and security for object analysis.
In the past, when organizations wanted to move their applications from one storage protocol to another, they had to go through a time-consuming and expensive process of reformatting and refactoring their applications. With the release of the new S3 protocol access feature, this is no longer the case.
With this release, BlueXP Cloud Volumes ONTAP gains a powerful new capability for backend storage using both NAS and S3 protocols. Users now have the ability to take advantage of the benefits of both protocols alongside the flexibility and ease of use expected from BlueXP to help solve cloud-based file share challenges.