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How To Reduce Costs for Secondary DR Copies — ONTAP Cloud's Solution!

November 27, 2017

Topics: Cloud Volumes ONTAP 7 minute read

How To Reduce Costs for Secondary DR Copies

Companies that rely on NetApp storage systems to run their enterprise applications know that ONTAP helps keep them in business with secure, easy-to-use and reliable data storage solutions and hardware. But they also know that making sure a system is backed up can be highly expensive. Setting up a secondary physical DR site means making significant capital expenditures that can eat into IT budgets. NetApp has a better solution: Adding a cloud-based secondary copy of your on-premises system with the help of Cloud Volumes ONTAP (formerly ONTAP Cloud).

This article will take a closer look at Cloud Volumes ONTAP, will show you how to reduce costs for secondary DR copies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP — how its storage efficiencies help you spend 30-50% less than using the cloud natively, and how Cloud Volumes ONTAP is cheaper and more robust than building a DIY solution on your own.

With storage rates starting at just $0.03 per GB, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is cost-effective and useful for secondary copies for disaster recovery and a wide number of other use cases such as data protection, backup, data corruption recovery, data testing, data analytics and more.

The Advantages of Data Storage in the Cloud

Businesses around the world use on-premises NetApp storage systems with ONTAP, and having a secondary copy on-premises for DR is a great way to back up those deployments.

However, paying for the space it takes to house that second copy and maintain it can be expensive. Additionally, with the amount of data you need to store growing all the time, the costs for keeping on-prem secondary copies are only going to get higher.

To solve this problem, many companies turn to using the public cloud with AWS and Azure for storing secondary DR copies.

There are huge benefits to storing data in the cloud, such as:

  • Unlimited scalability of a cloud-based secondary copy. That means no matter how much your data storage needs grow, there will always be a cost-effective way to store it. 
  • The secondary copy is not in the building with you. That means an unexpected outage in your primary data center won’t affect the secondary backup, and there is no need to requisition the infrastructure and storage space for a physical DR location.

You will avoid hardware costs, rents and associated costs for maintenance, power, environmental controls and administration. That gives you the flexibility to treat DR spending as operational expenses (OPEX) instead of capital expenses (CAPEX).

But even then, controlling costs and optimizing storage usage will still have concerns. Cloud storage is inexpensive, but it doesn’t help you store efficiently, which means you can spend a lot more than you should be for it.

This is where NetApp comes in with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, NetApp’s premier software for data management in the cloud.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Saving More on Secondary DR Copies

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is more cost-effective than using a cloud service provider’s native tools. Cloud Volumes ONTAP takes everything that works about the traditional ONTAP software you’re familiar with, and adds it to the cloud.

For long-term NetApp customers who need more flexibility, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is proven and reliable as the success of these enterprise customers had with using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for DR shows.

Whether you decide on using AWS, Azure or a multi-cloud infrastructure, Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s powerful storage efficiencies allow you to optimize your storage usage and to cut costs.

Here are the 3 main beneficial features:

1. Cost-Saving Storage Efficiencies

Cloud Volumes ONTAP makes DR inexpensive by reducing the amount of space it takes to store your data, cutting down the amount you pay for DR.

Not only will moving to the cloud cut down the costs for housing your backup data in the cloud, but it uses a suite of features to ensure that you store your data as efficiently as possible:

  • Data deduplication: Cloud Volumes ONTAP automatically reduces the number of duplicate or redundant data you store, saving money and space.
  • Data compression: Makes sure that the data you do keep is always stored as compactly as possible.
  • Thin provisioning: Makes sure storage is allocated and provisioned only as it is written, saving on the amount you pay for it.

With Data tiering to Amazon S3, ONTAP AWS Cloud users can keep ‘cold’ data in the less-expensive object format on Amazon S3. Only when the data is needed in a higher access performance, such as in a DR scenario, does Cloud Volumes ONTAP retrieve it to the faster, expensive block storage on Amazon EBS.

Taken all together, Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s storage efficiencies make it possible for cloud storage costs to be as low as $0.03 per GB per month, much less than native cloud storage. It’s also much less expensive than trying your luck with a DIY solution.

Building DIY solutions for features like these requires massive time commitments for coding, development, testing and also failure, which all adds up to a huge and potentially risky investment — one that might not be as robust or compatible with your ONTAP system as Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

2. Enterprise-Class DR Operational Processes

One of the best things about Cloud Volumes ONTAP is that it is extremely easy for existing ONTAP users to integrate their current environments with the secondary DR operational processes.

For enterprise level businesses, these functions are important parts of making sure that, even during the worst scenarios, your critical workloads will still operate and your customers will be able to depend on your service and your brand.

One important feature is Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s use of SnapMirror® technology.

How To Reduce Costs for Secondary DR CopiesSnapMirror replicates data on the block level between NetApp storage devices, which makes replicating to off-site machines or the cloud an efficient solution for DR. With SnapMirror, replication is incremental: Once a file is transferred, updated versions of that file will only replace the data that has changed instead of replacing the entire baseline copy.

Other services need to create full copies every time data is transferred, which takes time and eats up expensive bandwidth. Data transfers with SnapMirror are faster, which keeps fees — and DR budgets — low.

Let’s say a disaster does take place and your system goes down: With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, failover to the secondary copy is quick and seamless and failback to the primary site is fast and non-disruptive.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP also supports FlexClones®, which can be used to create secondary environments for testing with writable ONTAP Snapshots that have zero capacity penalties. Cloud Volumes ONTAP also keeps your secondary DR copies safe by using encryption keys that protect your data.

3. Seamless Integration and Ease of Use

The biggest advantage you have as an existing NetApp customer is that you already have hands-on knowledge of how ONTAP works: Cloud Volumes ONTAP is exactly the same OS, which means there’s no need to learn new skills or operation procedures.

Environments are seamlessly connected, thanks to the NetApp Data Fabric vision — a software approach that enables customers consistent data management, efficient data transport and visibility across environments.

The Data Fabric tools support the data in any mixed environment, including on-premises and the cloud, private or public cloud.

Managed from the intuitive OnCommand Cloud Manager, which was designed specifically with new cloud users in mind, NetApp creates a truly hybrid cloud solution, allowing your existing on-premises ONTAP system and the one in the cloud to operate completely seamlessy.

Cloud Manager will discover your existing ONTAP configuration and replicate it automatically in the cloud. This can be done by using either a simple drag-and-drop UI or automated with APIs. The Cloud Manager UI allows you to track and manage all environments and activities from a single pane of glass.


DR has always been an equation that balances between keeping your workloads operational and your customers happy, with maintaining reasonable cost expenditures to orchestrate that solution.

If the costs for DR get too high, some companies decide to drop their plans which risks losing their critical workloads, customers and even their revenue. It’s not worth taking the chance.

There is a solution to affordable secondary backup for DR with NetApp: That solution is Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

With Cloud Volumes ONTAP, customers have a unique opportunity to significantly lower the costs for secondary DR data storage. With native NetApp interface and powerful cost-cutting efficiencies, Cloud Volumes ONTAP gives companies that rely on NetApp storage systems an advantage in the cloud.

In an era where malware attacks, network failures and extreme weather are all becoming more and more frequent, companies need an extra level of protection to make sure they can meet their business demands without paying too much for it. One way to do that is by turning to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, which makes cloud storage affordable.

Now that you have seen how to reduce costs for secondary DR copies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, you may find yourself ready to take a closer look at Cloud Volumes ONTAP right now — check out this 15-minute demo session.

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

Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager