Azure NetApp Files cross region replication and new enhancements in preview

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As businesses continue to adapt to the realities of the current environment, operational resilience has never been more important. As a result, a growing number of customers have accelerated a move to the cloud, using Microsoft Azure NetApp Files to power critical pieces of their IT infrastructure, like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, SAP applications, and mission-critical databases.

Today, we release the preview of Azure NetApp Files cross region replication. With this new disaster recovery capability, you can replicate your Azure NetApp Files volumes from one Azure region to another in a fast and cost-effective way, protecting your data from unforeseeable regional failures. We’re also introducing important new enhancements to Azure NetApp Files to provide you with more data security, operational agility, and cost-saving flexibility.

Azure NetApp Files cross region replication

Azure NetApp Files cross region replication leverages NetApp SnapMirror® technology therefore, only changed blocks are sent over the network in a compressed, efficient format. This proprietary technology minimizes the amount of data required to replicate across the regions, therefore saving data transfer costs. It also shortens the replication time so you can achieve a smaller Restore Point Objective (RPO).

Over the next few months of Azure NetApp Files cross region replication preview you can expect:

Multiple replication frequency options: you can replicate an Azure NetApp Files, NFS, or SMB volume across regions with replication frequency choice of every 10 minutes, every hour, or once a day.
Read from secondary: you can read from the secondary volume during active replication.
Failover on-demand: you can failover to the secondary volume at a time of your choice. After a failover, you can also resynchronize the primary volume from the secondary volume at a time of your choice.
Monitoring and alerting: you can monitor the health of volume replication and the health of the secondary volume through Azure NetApp Files metrics and receive alerts through Azure Monitor.
Automation: you can automate the configuration and management of Azure NetApp Files volume replication through standard Azure Rest API, SDKs, command-line tools, and ARM templates.

Supported region pairs

Azure NetApp Files cross region replication is available in popular regions from US, Canada, AMEA, and Asia at the start of public preview. Azure NetApp Files documentation will keep you up-to-date with the latest supported region pairs.

Getting started

Join the preview waitlist now. Once your subscription is enabled for the preview, you can find the feature from the portal (Figure 1) and within a few clicks, you’ll be able to configure your first Azure NetApp Files cross region replication (Figure 2).

Figure 1: You can add cross region replication by selecting “Add data replication” from Azure NetApp Files volume management view.

Figure 2: Cross region replication is successfully configured for an Azure NetApp Files volume.

Learn more about Azure NetApp Files cross region replication through the Azure NetApp Files documentation.

Learn more about our pricing

During preview, Azure NetApp Files cross region replication will be offered at full price. Pricing information will be available on the Azure NetApp Files pricing page. You can learn more about the Azure NetApp Files cross region replication cost model through the Azure NetApp Files documentation.

Volume snapshot policy

Azure NetApp Files allows you to create point-in-time snapshots of your volumes. Starting now, you can create a snapshot policy to have Azure NetApp Files automatically create volume snapshots at a frequency of your choice. You can schedule the snapshots to be taken in hourly, daily, weekly or monthly cycles. You can also specify the maximum number of snapshots to keep as part of the snapshot policy. This feature is free of charge (normal Azure NetApp Files storage cost still applies) and is currently in preview. You can register for the feature preview by following the volume snapshot policy documentation.

Dynamic volume tier change

Cloud promises flexibility in IT spending. You can now change the service level of an existing Azure NetApp Files volume by moving the volume to another capacity pool that uses the service level you want for the volume. This in-place service-level change for the volume does not require that you migrate data. It also does not impact the data plane access to the volume. You can change an existing volume to use a higher service level for better performance, or to use a lower service level for cost optimization. This feature is free of charge (normal Azure NetApp Files storage cost still applies) and is currently in public preview. You can register for the feature preview by following the dynamic volume tier change documentation.

Simultaneous dual-protocol (NFS v3 and SMB) access

You can now create an Azure NetApp Files volume that allows simultaneous dual-protocol (NFS v3 and SMB) access with support for LDAP user mapping. This feature enables use cases where you may have a Linux-based workload that generates and stores data in an Azure NetApp Files volume. At the same time, your staff needs to use Windows-based clients and software to analyze the newly generated data from the same Azure NetApp Files volume. The simultaneous dual-protocol access feature removes the need to copy the workload-generated data to a separate volume with a different protocol for post-analysis, saving storage cost, and operational time. This feature is free of charge (normal Azure NetApp Files storage cost still applies) and is generally available. Learn more from the simultaneous dual-protocol access documentation.

NFS v4.1 Kerberos encryption in transit

Azure NetApp Files now supports NFS client encryption in Kerberos modes (krb5, krb5i, and krb5p) with AES-256 encryption, providing you with additional data security. This feature is free of charge (normal Azure NetApp Files storage cost still applies) and is generally available. Learn more from the NFS v4.1 Kerberos encryption documentation.

Azure Government regions

Lastly, we’re pleased to announce the general availability of Azure NetApp Files in Azure Government regions, starting with US Gov Virginia, and soon in US Gov Texas, and US Gov Arizona. Take a look at the latest Azure NetApp Files regional availability and region roadmap.

Get it, use it, and tell us about it

As with other previews, the public preview features should not be used for production workloads until they reach general availability.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on these new capabilities. You can email us feedback at [email protected] As always, we love to hear all of your ideas and suggestions about Azure NetApp Files, which you can post at Azure NetApp Files feedback forum.

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