Introduction To NetApp
The bottom of NetApp’s architecture diagram contains one or more RAIDs. Above that sits a NetApp aggregate. The aggregate manages the storage resources. An administrator creates volumes within the aggregate to provide resources to developers and applications. One volume can, for example, be configured to provide SAN storage to an Exchange box while another volume provides NSF mounted NAS storage to a research group. Each volume enforces policies such as WORM storage, data encryption data, provide frequent snapshots, etc. Via a Gateway, NetApp manages non-NetApps storage resources.
A virtual volume provides data for testing (and may have other uses). It can provide a zero-storage copy of production data to developers.
NetApps boxes contain many interface options (GigE, fiber, etc.). In-box redundant controllers share non-volatile memory so if one controller fails the second continues without the loss of any data.
The storage managed by an aggregate can be increased by adding more drives. Volumes may be resized on the fly. The minimum volume size is 20MB.
Date: February 16, 2011