General

Q: What is Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is a storage service that allows customers to launch and run fully managed ONTAP file systems in the cloud. ONTAP is NetApp’s file system technology that provides a widely adopted set of data access and data management capabilities. Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provides the familiar features, performance, and APIs of on-premises NetApp file systems with the agility, scalability, and simplicity of a fully managed AWS service. 

Q: What can I do with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provides simple, scalable, and feature-rich shared file storage that you can access from virtually any client or workstation running in AWS or on-premises. Using this service, you can easily launch and run shared file storage and leverage ONTAP’s widely-used data access and data management capabilities with a few clicks.

If you are building a cloud-native application in AWS, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provides simple, scalable, high performance, and feature-rich file storage that makes it easy to build, test, and run cloud-native applications. It offers powerful features like multi-protocol access to data over the NFS, SMB, and iSCSI protocols, instant data cloning, cross-region replication, and quality of service capabilities—enabling you to quickly and easily experiment and optimize how your applications use data.

If you are storing your application data in network-attached storage (NAS) on-premises today, with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP you can migrate your data to AWS and enjoy the agility, scalability, resiliency, and security of running your application in AWS without giving up any of the NAS capabilities you’re used to. 

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP also supports hybrid workflows between AWS and on premises. You can back up, archive, or replicate data from your on-premises file servers to Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP to simplify business continuity and meet your data retention and disaster recovery requirements. If you have data in an on-premises NetApp file system that you want to access or process from AWS with low latency, you can also configure Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP as an in-cloud cache for your on-premises data by using NetApp FlexCache. When used as a cache, Amazon FSx provides low-latency access to your on-premises data sets from AWS compute instances.

Q: What use cases does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP support?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is designed to support a broad spectrum of Linux, Windows, and macOS workloads and applications, including line-of-business applications, databases, home directories, big data and analytics, electronic design automation (EDA), and media processing.

If you have data on premises, you can use Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP to simplify business continuity by configuring simple and secure backup, archive, and replication between your on-premises file servers and Amazon FSx. You can also use Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP as an in-AWS cache of your on-premises data to accelerate cloud bursting workloads running in AWS.

Q: How do I get started with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: To use Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, you must have an AWS account. If you do not already have an AWS account, you can sign up for an AWS account.

Once you have created an AWS account, you can get started by creating a file system via the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI), and Amazon FSx API (and various language-specific SDKs). You can also create a file system using NetApp Cloud Manager.

Q: What is an Amazon FSx file system?

A: A file system is the primary resource in Amazon FSx (also known as an ONTAP cluster). You specify the SSD storage capacity and throughput capacity for your file system, and choose an AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in which your file system is created. Each file system has an administrative endpoint that you can optionally use to manage your data using the ONTAP CLI or ONTAP REST API.

 Q: What operating systems and AWS services and can I access my file system from?

A: You can access your data from Linux, Windows, or macOS clients running on Amazon EC2, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, VMware Cloud on AWS, Amazon WorkSpaces, and Amazon AppStream 2.0 instances.

Q: How do I access data on my Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system?

A:From a Linux instance, you can access your data using the standard Linux mount command and the DNS name associated with the volume. From a Windows instance, use the “Map Network Drive” feature to map a drive letter (e.g., Z:) to a file share in your file system. From a macOS instance, use the “Connect to Server” feature to connect to a DNS name associated with your file system. See the Amazon FSx documentation for example mount commands.

Once mounted from any client, you can work with the files and directories in your file system just like you would with a local file system.

Q: What protocols does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP support?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provides access to shared file storage over all versions of the Network File System (NFS) and Server Message Block (SMB) protocols, and also supports multi-protocol access (i.e. concurrent NFS and SMB access) to the same data.

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP also provides shared block storage over the iSCSI protocol.

Q: How do I migrate my data from on premises into Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: If you are using file storage built on NetApp ONTAP today, you can use NetApp SnapMirror to quickly and efficiently copy your data and configuration into Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP over AWS Direct Connect or VPN. If you are migrating from a non-NetApp file system, you can use any standard copy tool (e.g., rsync, Robocopy) or NetApp CloudSync to migrate data into FSx for ONTAP.

You can also use AWS Snowball to migrate your data to AWS without using Direct Connect or VPN. See the Migrating to Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP blog post for more information on the migration options above.

Q: When should I use Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP vs. other Amazon FSx file system types?

A: Please refer to the Choosing an Amazon FSx file system page for more details on the difference between the different Amazon FSx file storage offerings.

What regions is Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP available in?

A: Please refer to Regional Products and Services for details of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP service availability by region. 

Scale and performance

Q: What storage options does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP support for my file system?

A: Each Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system has two storage tiers: primary storage and capacity pool storage. Primary storage is provisioned, high-performance SSD storage that’s purpose-built for the active portion of your data set. Capacity pool storage is a fully elastic storage tier that can scale to petabytes in size and is cost-optimized for infrequently-accessed data. Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP’s automatically transitions data between storage tiers based on your access patterns, allowing you to reduce your storage costs and store virtually unlimited data in a file system. Capacity pool storage automatically grows/shrinks as you tier data to it, providing elastic storage for the portion of your data set that grows over time.

Q: How much data can I store in a file system?

A: There is no limit to how much data you can store in a single file system.

Q: What performance does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provide?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP provides consistent, sub-millisecond latencies for data stored on SSD storage, and tens of milliseconds of latency for data stored on capacity pool storage. Each file system can scale to hundreds of thousands of IOPS, 2 GB/s of read throughput, and 1 GB/s of write throughput. Each gigabyte of SSD storage includes 3 disk IOPS, and you can provision additional IOPS as-needed.

When creating a file system, you specify its throughput capacity, which determines the level of network I/O performance that are supported by the file servers powering your cluster. When you create a file system, Amazon FSx recommends a throughput capacity for you, or you can select from the following throughput capacities: 512, 1024, and 2048 MB/s. For more information, please see the performance documentation guide.

Q: How do I scale out performance across multiple file systems?

A: With Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, you can use NetApp FlexCache to configure one file system as a read cache for another, allowing you to scale out performance across multiple file systems to tens of GBps and millions of IOPS.

Q: How do I monitor my file system’s activity?

A: You can monitor all Amazon FSx API calls using AWS CloudTrail, monitor all administrative actions to the ONTAP CLI and REST API using ONTAP audit logging, and monitor access to the files in your file system with ONTAP file access auditing. You can monitor storage capacity and file system activity using NetApp native performance monitoring tools—see the Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP performance documentation for more information.

Q: How do I monitor and control individual users' storage consumption on my file system?

A: You can enable and configure user storage quotas on your file system to monitor usage and allocate storage costs to individual teams, and to impose restrictions at a user-level in order to prevent any one user from storing a lot of data.

Availability and durability

Q: How reliable are Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file systems?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file systems are highly available and durable across AWS Availability Zones (AZs), and are designed to provide continuous availability to data even in the event that an AZ is unavailable. Each file system is powered by two file servers in separate AZs, each with its own storage. Amazon FSx automatically replicates your data across AZs to protect it from component failure, continuously monitors for hardware failures, and automatically replaces infrastructure components in the event of a failure. File systems automatically fail over and back as needed (typically within 60 seconds), and clients automatically fail over and back with the file system.

Q: What events would cause a file system to initiate a failover?

A: Amazon FSx automatically performs a failover in the event of a loss of availability to the active file server. This can be caused by a failure of the file server or a failure in the active file server’s AZ. Amazon FSx will also temporarily fail over to the standby file server during planned maintenance or if you change your file system’s throughput capacity.

Q:  How do my end-users restore files to previous versions?

A: To protect against accidental deletion / modification of files by end users, you can configure periodic Snapshots (point-in-time images of your data, stored within your file system) to allow end users to easily undo file changes and compare file versions. Linux and macOS end users can view snapshots in the “.snapshot” directory at the root of their file system. Windows end users can view snapshots in the “Previous Versions” tab of Windows Explorer (when right-clicking on a file or folder). You can set and change the snapshot schedule for your file system using the ONTAP CLI and REST API.

Q: What are Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP backups?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP offers a native backups feature, designed to support archival, data retention, and compliance needs. Backups are a crash-consistent and secondary, offline copy of a volume in your file system. Amazon FSx backups are incremental, which means that only the changes after your most recent backup are saved, thus saving on backup storage costs by not duplicating data. By default, Amazon FSx takes an automatic backup of your volumes each day during a backup window that you specify. You can create additional backups at any time using the AWS Console, AWS CLI, or Amazon FSx API.

Q: How do I configure cross-region replication for the data in my file system?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports NetApp SnapMirror, a replication technology that you can use to replicate data between two ONTAP file systems. You can configure automatic NetApp SnapMirror replication of your data to another Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system, including a file system in another AWS Region. If needed, you can fail over your applications and users to use the other Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system. With SnapMirror, you can configure replication with a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of as low as 5 minutes, and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) in single-digit minutes. You can configure SnapMirror using the ONTAP CLI or REST API.

Q: Does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

A: Yes. The Amazon FSx SLA provides for a service credit if a customer's monthly uptime percentage is below our service commitment in any billing cycle.

Security

Q: What support does FSx for ONTAP provide for authentication and authorization?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to integrate with your existing Windows environments. You can optionally join your file system to your organization’s AD, enabling your users to use their existing AD-based identities to authenticate and access Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP (over NFS or SMB).

Q: Does FSx for ONTAP support data encryption?

A: Yes, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP automatically encrypts all your file system’s data and backups at rest using keys you manage through AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS). Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP also supports Kerberos-based encryption in transit if your file system is joined to an AD.

Q: How do I audit end user access to my files and folders?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports auditing end-user access to your files and folders using ONTAP’s native audit logging capabilities. If you enable audit event logging, ONTAP will record file access events to a log file that you specify in your file system. You can then read that log file using applications such as Windows Event Viewer. Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP also fully supports ONTAP’s FPolicy feature, which you can use to monitor for file access events using AWS Partner solutions.

Q: Can I use anti-virus software with FSx for ONTAP?

A: Yes, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports ONTAP’s “vscan” feature, enabling you to use any third-party anti-virus software (running on a VM you manage) to protect your data. See the Amazon FSx documentation for instructions on how to configure vscan.

On-premises access

Q: Can I access my Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system from on-premises or another AWS VPC?

A: Yes, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file systems can be accessed from on-premises using AWS VPN or Direct Connect with AWS Transit Gateway (TGW). You can also use TGW or VPC Peering to access clusters from another VPC (including a VPC in another AWS Region).

If you are accessing your file system from Linux or MacOS clients outside of your file system’s VPC (e.g., from an on-premises network), you should use TGW or configure remote office caching for your data (using NetApp Global File Cache or NetApp FlexCache) to provide highly-available and low-latency access to your data. See the Amazon FSx documentation for more info.

Q: How can I provide low-latency access to my data in Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP from on premises?

A: Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP fully supports NetApp Global File Cache and NetApp FlexCache, which you can deploy on premises to provide low-latency access for your most frequently-read data. See the Amazon FSx documentation for more info.

Q: How can I provide low-latency access to my on-premises data from AWS using Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: If you have data in an on-premises NetApp file system that you want to access or process from AWS with low latency, you can configure Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP as a cache for your on-premises data by using NetApp FlexCache. See the Amazon FSx documentation for more info.

Reducing storage costs with compression and deduplication

Q: Does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP support data compression and deduplication?

A: Yes, Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports data compression and deduplication. These features reduce the amount of storage capacity that your data consumes, allowing you to consume less storage spaces in SSD, capacity pool, and backups storage. You can enable compression and deduplication for data in SSD storage and backups, and you can enable deduplication for data in capacity pool storage.

Typical storage savings
  Compression only Deduplication only Compression + deduplication
General-purpose file shares 50% 30% 65%
Virtual servers and desktops 55% 70% 70%
Databases 65-70% 0% 65-70%
Engineering data 55% 30% 75%
Geoseismic data 40% 3% 40%

Q: How do I enable / disable compression and deduplication?

A: You can enable or disable compression and deduplication during file system creation or anytime thereafter using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or the AWS SDK.

Q: How do data compression and deduplication impact file system performance?

A: For most workloads, enabling compression and deduplication will not adversely impact file system performance.

In fact, for most workloads, compression increases overall performance. To provide fast reads and writes from RAM cache, FSx for ONTAP file servers are equipped with higher levels of network bandwidth on the front-end network interface cards (NICs) than is available between the file servers and storage disks. Since data compression reduces the amount of data sent between file servers and storage disks, for most workloads, you will see an increase in overall file system throughput capacity when using data compression. Increases in throughput capacity related to data compression will be capped once you saturate the front-end NIC of your file system. See the FSx for ONTAP documentation for more details on throughput performance when using data compression.

Reducing storage costs with automatic and intelligent storage tiering

Q: How does capacity pool tiering reduce my storage costs?

A: When you create an Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system, you provision a level of SSD storage capacity. As you write data to your file system, your less frequently-accessed data is automatically transitioned to the capacity pool tier, a lower-cost storage tier that automatically grows and shrinks with the amount of data tiered to it. As a result, you only need to provision as much SSD storage as needed for the active portion of your data set, with the rest of your data stored in lower-cost capacity pool storage. Amazon FSx automatically and intelligently transitions data between storage tiers based on your access patterns, allowing you to achieve SSD levels of performance for your workload while only paying for SSD storage for a small fraction of your data.

Q: How does Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP determine which data to transition to capacity pool storage?

Each volume in your Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file system has a tiering policy associated with it, which determines how the data within that volume is transitioned to and from capacity pool storage. You can choose from one of four tiering policies (by default, all volumes created with the AWS Console use the “Auto” tiering policy):

  • Auto – Data is automatically transitioned to and from the capacity pool tier based on your access patterns.
  • Snapshot-only – Only data associated with previous versions of your files (i.e. data associated with a Snapshot of your volume) is transitioned to the capacity pool tier.
  • All – All data is transitioned to the capacity pool tier soon after it’s written to the volume.
  • None – Tiering to capacity storage is disabled

If you’ve selected a tiering policy of “Auto” or “Snapshot-only”, you can also optionally specify a minimum cooling period (between 2 and 183 days), which specifies how long a given portion of your data should have been inactive before it becomes a candidate to transition to capacity pool storage.

Q: Is there a minimum or maximum file size that can be transitioned to capacity pool storage?

A: All files in your volumes can be transitioned to capacity pool storage, regardless of size. With Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, data is transitioned to and from capacity pool storage at the block level, rather than at the file level—giving you the cost benefit of capacity pool storage even if only a fraction of a given file is infrequently-accessed.

Q: What percentage of my data can I have tiered to capacity pool storage?

A: Amazon FSx does not limit to the percentage of your data that you can tier to capacity pool storage. We recommend that you store the frequently-accessed portion of your data set on SSD storage to achieve the best-possible performance. Industry research and customer analysis shows that on average 20% of files are actively used and 80% are infrequently accessed.

Administration

Q: I’m an existing ONTAP user and manage my storage by creating storage virtual machines and volumes—can I do the same with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: Yes, you can create one or multiple storage virtual machines and volumes per file system, allowing you to set up and configure your file system in the same way you’d configure an ONTAP cluster on-premises.

Q: What is a storage virtual machine?

A: A storage virtual machine (SVM) is an isolated file server with its own administrative credentials and endpoints for administering and accessing data. When you access data on Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, your clients and workstations access the endpoint for the SVM in which the data is stored. Amazon FSx automatically creates a default SVM on your file system for you when you create a file system using the AWS Console.

Each SVM is a virtual resource, meaning that the SVMs in your file system share your file system’s storage and throughput capacity. Because each SVM is an isolated file server, if you have multiple users or groups who need access to administer data on Amazon FSx, you can create a separate SVM for each user or group so that they can independently administer their data. You can also configure quality of service (QoS) policies within your file system to limit the amount of throughput and IOPS that individual workloads can drive, ensuring that individual workloads don’t interfere with the other users and groups on the same file system. You can create additional SVMs on your file system at any time using the AWS Console, AWS CLI, or Amazon FSx SDK.

Q: What is a volume?

A: Volumes are isolated data containers in which your files, directories, or iSCSI LUNs are stored. Volumes are thin provisioned, meaning that they only consume storage capacity for the data stored in them. Each volume is associated with one of the SVMs in your file system.

You can create volumes using the AWS Console, AWS CLI, the Amazon FSx API, or using NetApp Cloud Manager. You can also use your file system’s or SVM’s administrative endpoint to create, update, and delete volumes using the ONTAP CLI or ONTAP REST API.

Q: How do my volumes contribute to the storage capacity usage in my file system?

A: You set the size for each volume to limit the amount of data that a volume can store, and you can also increase or decrease the size of a volume at any time. Although each volume has a set size, volumes are thin provisioned—meaning that they only consume storage capacity for the data stored in them.

Q: How do I manage a file system?

A: Amazon FSx is a fully-managed service, so all of the file storage infrastructure is managed for you. When you use Amazon FSx, you avoid the complexity of deploying and maintaining complex file system infrastructure.

To create, view, and delete file systems, SVMs, volumes, and backups, you can use the AWS Console, the AWS CLI, the Amazon FSx API, or NetApp Cloud Manager.

To access additional ONTAP features, such as SMB shares, snapshots, or SnapMirror, you can use the ONTAP remote management CLI or the ONTAP REST API. For more information, see Accessing the ONTAP CLI and REST API in the Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP documentation.

Pricing and billing

Q: How will I be charged and billed for my use of Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP?

A: With Amazon FSx, you pay only for the resources you use.

You are billed for file systems based on the storage capacity (per GB-mo), SSD IOPS (per IOPS-mo), and throughput capacity (per MBps-mo) that you provision.

For capacity pool and backups usage, you are billed on-demand based on your usage. You are billed for your used capacity pool storage (per GB-mo), for your requests to/from capacity pool storage (per read and write operation), and for the backup storage you consume (per GB-mo).

Q: Do your prices include taxes?

A: Except as otherwise noted, our prices are exclusive of applicable taxes and duties, including VAT and applicable sales tax. For customers with a Japanese billing address, use of AWS services is subject to Japanese Consumption Tax. Learn more.

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Learn more about pricing

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP has simple pricing; you pay only for the resources you use.  

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