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Protecting Data on NetApp Filers & Windows File Servers

Thin provision your primary storage and protect data files stored on your NetApp Filers and Windows File Servers with FileFly for Swarm.


Two weeks ago, I kicked off this blog series and talked about the benefits of using thin provisioning for protecting data, and just last week, I explained how FileFly from Caringo provides a solution to 5 issues with tape backup in the 21st century. This week, let’s take a look at just how FileFly primary storage thin provisioning works to offload your primary storage, protect your data and save you money.

A powerful and unique feature of data protection with FileFly is the way it seamlessly integrates with smart tiering. By providing protection and smart tiering in a single product, FileFly is able to reuse the data protection copies to perform policy-based smart data tiering. So, as your data ages and your custom-defined policies are ready to tier the data from primary storage, there is no requirement for FileFly to make a transfer and new copy of the data from primary to secondary storage. All FileFly needs to do is free up space that was used by the data on primary storage while creating a pointer from primary storage to the data that now only resides on secondary Swarm storage. This not only reduces backup windows further, but also removes the need to waste more network bandwidth and file server resources during the smart-tiering process.

Smart tiering is what allows you to thin provision your primary storage; often, 90% or more of data that is not currently active should be moved to cost-effective secondary storage, which then allows the reuse of that expensive primary storage capacity for high-value active data. For example, if a company has 1TB of active data and say 49TB of inactive data, storing all that 50TB of data on primary storage is going to be not only overkill, but also expensive. Instead, using FileFly, you could implement maybe 3TBs of expensive primary storage and 50TBs of lower-cost secondary storage. This would result in a primary storage thin provisioning ratio of 1:16 (that is, for every 1TB of primary storage, 16TB of data can be stored).

As I mentioned, FileFly facilitates the automated tiering of file data from NetApp Filers and Windows File Servers to Caringo Swarm, which runs on commodity x86 hardware. This results in a storage total cost of ownership reduction of 4 times or better. What is also interesting is that FileFly can protect and smart tier data not only from new filers but also from your existing filers. So if you have been thinking that you need a new filer only because you are nearing capacity on your existing primary storage, first make sure you take a look at thin provisioning using FileFly, a more cost-effective option that gives you better data protection. Here is a 90-second video for a quick look at FileFly and how it works.

Throughout this series of blogs, I keep mentioning “policy-based.” FileFly places data management back into your hands, and you are no longer stuck with a one-policy-must-fit-all restriction. FileFly allows you to set an unlimited number of active policies and each policy can be configured to match different sets of data. Next week, I will wrap up this blog series by explaining more about the power and flexibility of these policies while taking a quick look at the cost savings possible by thin provisioning and protecting your primary storage with Caringo FileFly.

Have questions? Contact us or register for our upcoming Thin Provisioning & Protecting Primary Storage webinar.

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Glen Olsen
Glen Olsen

About The Author

With over 2 decades of experience, Caringo Product Manager Glen Olsen has a keen focus on architecting data and storage solutions. At Caringo, Glen leads efforts to bridge the gap between traditional storage and our leading-edge scale-out storage solution.

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