February 12th, 2018 David Brown

NetApp AltaVault; Cloud-Integrated Storage

Boost recovery, cut costs, reduce risks, and back up to the cloud with NetApp AltaVault.

Key Points:

  • Shrink data volumes by up to 30x. Speed data transport by 4x
    Integrate with leading cloud storage providers, software backup solutions
    Keep your company data safe and compliant in the cloud. Reduce risk
    Deployment in under 30 minutes

What Is NetApp AltaVault?

NetApp AltaVault (formally SteelStore) is a cloud-integrated storage device that enables customers to securely backup data to any cloud provider at up to 90% lower cost compared with an on-premise solution.

AltaVault gives customers the power to tap into cloud economics while preserving investments in existing backup infrastructure and meeting backup and recovery service levels.

AltaVault Overview

AltaVault Provides a NAS (SMB, NFS or Veritas Open Storage (OST)) interface as a backup-application target. What’s also great about AltaVault is that it provides end-to-end file backup and recovery across NetApp’s Data Fabric. Utilising NetApp’s SnapMirror replication technology that’s built into ONTAP systems and SolidFire, AltaVault provides efficient and secure data replication to the cloud when used with SnapCenter, allowing up to 10 years of backups to be kept in the cloud.

Key Features

  • Quick and simple
    • Simple to deploy and manage
    • Setup in less than 30 minutes
    • Automate data protection tasks
  • Efficient
    • Data is stored locally for quick restore
    • Built in Inline deduplication and compression for 30:1 data reductions
    • Store less data in the cloud and transfer to and from the cloud quicker
    • Built in wan optimisation, intelligent throttling of data, QoS ensure data moves to and from the cloud at the speed that your business requires
  • Open
    • Deploy seamlessly and integrate with leading backup software solutions and cloud storage providers, including StorageGRID (private and public
    • Seamlessly migrate data between cloud providers, if price, requirements or other business requirements dictate cloud direction
    • Can be deployed in virtual format for VMware and Hyper-V, physical format for protecting large enterprise workloads or cloud based appliances (Azure and AWS) for backup and disaster recovery for cloud based compute resources
  • Secure
    • Data is protected at rest by AES 256 bit encryption and protected in flight by ssl v3 or tls v1 secure protocols
    • FIPS 140-2 level 1 compliant, so can be used by government purposes that require that level of encryption
    • Encryption keys and configuration are stored securely within AltaVault
    • Integrates with KMS and SSO
    • Uses password protected security to ensure it is never compromised
    • Trusted and proven by enterprise customers, with over 150PB data protected today

AltaVault Models

As mentioned earlier, AltaVault is available in virtual format for VMware and Hyper-V, physical format and cloud based appliances. Each model offers different levels of cache as shown below.

Technical Specifications: Physical AltaVault Appliances

Technical Specifications: Virtual AltaVault Appliances

Technical Specifications: Cloud-Based AltaVault Appliances

Use Cases

AltaVault has a number of use cases to meet most business backup requirements including:

  • Backup modernisation
  • Adding cloud-integrated backup to an existing backup infrastructure
  • Cold storage target
  • Archive storage target for database archive logs, or tiering for Veritas Enterprise Vault
  • Veeam backup repository
  • DR – Recover to a secondary site via the cloud in Azure or AWS EC2

AltaVault Benefits

AltaVault also provides the following benefits:

  1. COST REDUCTION
    AltaVault enables you to significantly reduce the costs and complexity for backup and recovery, with minimal disruption and improved recovery capabilities
  2. COMPATIBILITY
    Compatible with all leading backup and archival software solutions. So you don’t waste time and effort ripping and replacing your backup software and retraining IT staff
  3. MOVE DATA BETWEEN CLOUD PROVIDERS
    Supports all the leading cloud storage providers and platforms on the market today. AltaVault cloud agility allows you to move your data from one cloud provider to another
  4. SIMPLICITY
    Get up and running in less than 30 minutes. In just three simple steps, you can start sending data to the cloud
  5. END-TO-END SECURITY
    Offers end-to-end security for data at rest and in flight using FIPS 140-2 level 1-validated encryption
  6. REDUCED DATA & INCREASED SPEED
    Built-in WAN optimization and deduplication provide industry leading data reduction up to 30:1, and speed transfer times by up to 4x
  7. FLEXIBILITY
    A number of deployment models allow you to choose the offering that is right for you: physical, virtual, or cloud based on the AWS or Azure clouds
  8. SCALABILITY
    Appliances start as small as 2TB and scale up to 57PB of protected data in the cloud, making it one of the most scalable cloud integrated storage products on the market
  9. RECOVER FASTER
    Improve recoverability as 95% of restores occur from local cache. With AltaVault, you can restore data up to 32x faster than with tape
  10. RTO & RPO REDUCTION
    Reduce RTO by retrieving data more quickly in a disaster from locally cached backups on the AltaVault appliance. Reduce RPO by immediately getting data off site so recovery points are as recent as your latest backup, rather than the last time tapes were shipped off site​

AltaVault Modes

AltaVault can be deployed in two modes:

  • Backup Mode​
    • Pros​
      • Allows access to the most recent backups on cache
      • Global deduplication of all data received by AltaVault, leading to higher deduplication rates
      • Provides the highest ingest performance achieved from backup applications
      • Maximizes data movement efficiency of the WAN through deduplication of data
      • Cache expansion capability via add on shelves allows for growth as needed by the business
    • Cons
      • Limits the amount of cloud capacity managed (up to 960TB in the cloud)
  • Cold Storage Mode
    Cold storage mode applies to the AVA400 and virtual models only

    •  ​Pros
      • Allows access to far greater cloud capacity (10PB of storage, based on 1.333 billion files of 100MB average file size)
      • Provides expansive long term storage in just one head controller unit
      • Reduces computing requirements of AltaVault because limited deduplication and compression is performed
    • Cons
      • Limits network and WAN performance, dependent on average, file size of objects sent to AltaVault
      • Minimal deduplication rates, most reduction resulting from compression, although deduplication rates improve over time
      • No expansion capability with shelves
      • Restores are always from the cloud provider
      • Due to cache limitation and speed of transfer, backup window might be too big

Note: It is important to choose the right mode as it cannot be changed once deployed.

Deploying AltaVault

AltaVault can be deployed in 30 mins or less. Use the following guide to deploy your AltaVault.

For physical appliances:

  1. Prepare the site
  2. Install AltaVault
  3. Connect the Network
  4. Configure cloud connection
  5. Configure the data interfaces
  6. Configure a CIFS or NFS shares. Or configure OST for NetBackup or SnapMirror if replicating from an ONTAP system
  7. Configure email settings and time server
  8. Export the configuration
  9. Optional – Configure security settings Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP)

For Cloud Integrated Storage read the NetApp AltaVault Cloud Integrated Storage Installation and Service Guide for Cloud Appliances and then follow steps 4-9 above.

For virtual appliances read the NetApp AltaVault Cloud Integrated Storage Installation and Service Guide for Virtual Appliances and then follow steps 4-9 above.



Download the NetApp AltaVault Cloud-Integrated Storage Datasheet.

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About the Author

David Brown
David Brown Technical Consultant for Simplify IT Solutions Limited, focusing on NetApp, VMware, Microsoft, Cisco and Veeam. Member of the #NetAppATeam

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