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How Cloud Volumes Service Accelerates SQL Server in AWS

Microsoft SQL Server is the foundation of Microsoft's data platform, delivering mission-critical performance with in-memory technologies and faster insights into data, on-premises or in the cloud.

Running SQL Server at peak performance requires top-tier compute and storage resources. This level of performance gets expensive on-premises, and many SQL Server owners turn to AWS for performance and dynamic scalability at lower costs.  You can choose massive scalability and performance on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), or fully managed SQL Server hosting on Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).

The Critical Role of Storage: SQL Server with NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for AWS

When you choose EC2, storage is a key factor in SQL Server performance. 

NetApp Cloud Volumes Service gives SQL on AWS users a better storage choice. You can choose Cloud Volumes Service for extreme I/O performance and throughput, low latency, advanced data management, and instant volume copies – all at average cost savings of up to 70% over AWS storage tiers.

High Sustained Performance

Cloud Volumes Service provides shared persistent storage with high throughput and low latency, at a consistent performance level of over 460k IOPS. Guaranteed performance SLAs increase customer confidence, and dynamic service level choices never lock you in to a single performance tier.

Snapshot-Based Resilience

Cloud Volumes Service provides NetApp Snapshot for rapid database backup and restore and to protect against drive failures and storage media errors.

Snapshot copies act as logical backups. They are point-in-time representations of your data, with a rapid revert function that allows you to restore your SQL database. You can manually create snapshots, or schedule them using CVS API or graphical user interface (GUI). Rapid revert lets you quickly restore a database. Read-only, incremental snapshots are a tiny 4KB in size, which consumes minimal storage space.

Flexible Protocol Choices

Cloud Volumes Service for AWS delivers fully managed file services for NFS, SMB, and dual protocols. NFS and SMB protocols let you share datasets between Linux and Windows instances. 

The SMB protocol enables DBAs to easily manage and modify storage. Strong security features restrict volume access to the SQL Server service account, and data can be encrypted in-flight as well as at-rest with impacting performance.

Instant Volume Copies

Many organizations need multiple copies of data for testing and development as well as data analytics and application scaling. However, making and managing SQL copies is time-consuming and hard to manage, which adds expense and time.

Cloud Volumes Service for AWS instantly copies and backs up database files for fast revert. Test/dev becomes considerably faster and more efficient, which dramatically reduces go-to-market time and expenses. 

Durability and Availability

Cloud Volumes Service offers 99.99% availability and uptime with redundant network paths, failover, and advanced data protection. CVS guarantees eleven 9’s of data durability with NetApp SLAs.

NetApp centrally locates Cloud Volumes Service for AWS in relation to each Availability Zone within an AWS Region. Customers can access their data from any AZ within the Region without having to replicate it first, which protects customers from an AZ outage.

For even higher availability, Cloud Volumes Service supports SQL Server Always On Availability Groups. This Microsoft service is an enterprise-level high-availability and disaster recovery platform that maximizes SQL database availability.

SQL Server AWS


Security and Encryption 

CVS uses the XTS-AES 256-bit security algorithm for at-rest encryption. Encryption does not add extra loads to storage performance.

NetApp simplifies security management by rotating and managing encryption keys for their customers. This single-source option increases overall compliance and security governance without impacting your user experience.

The Economic Benefits of Cloud Volumes Service  

With NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, you gain all these critical benefits at an average cost savings of up to 70%.

Most on-premises and cloud storage providers recommend that you configure performance and capacity to meet peak requirements. On-premises, this means expensive over-provisioning for peak usage. In the cloud, it means buying expensive service levels to guarantee enough performance.

With NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, instead of subjecting your SQL Server databases monolithic architecture and static throughput levels, NetApp Cloud Volumes Service performance tiers on the fly.

NetApp CVS offers three service levels: Standard, Premium, and Extreme. With other providers, you would lock into each service level for a specific time period, usually a month. But with Cloud Volumes Service, you can switch between service levels on the fly. CVS also lets you increase performance by increasing allocation.

 For example, you configure a volume at the Standard performance level, then realize that you need more performance for an upcoming SQL database process. Simply update the volume with an API call or scheduler, and the change to Premium or Extreme happens transparently within seconds. You can stay with the higher service level, or easily shift back down to Standard.

Savings don’t stop there. Cloud Volumes Service for AWS also saves you money on snapshots, storage performance, and data movement.

  • 4KB snapshots only incur costs for unique data in the copy  
  • High performance storage lets you to use fewer compute instances, which saves time and lowers EC2 costs.  
  • NVS and SMB support lets you share a dataset between Linux and Windows instances, instead of expensive and slow data copies between volumes. 

Next Steps:

Check out Cloud Volumes Service for AWS to learn more and signup for a personalized demo.

There’s a lot Cloud Volumes Services can offer SQL workloads that are moving to the cloud.

Solution Architect