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The NetApp Cloud Manager Enhancement Series kicked off a regular update schedule for everything NetApp Cloud. It has been a couple of months since the last update, and there have been many changes to highlight. The first is the change in the series. NetApp announced that Cloud Manager would now be known as BlueXP, and with these changes, our series will change to fit the NetApp messaging. 

NetApp BlueXP has become the unified management platform for everything NetApp, including all NetApp on-premises environments and the entire NetApp Cloud portfolio of products. On top of the name change from Cloud Manager to BlueXP, there is a list of enhancements in the December 2022 release of BlueXP. We will cover enhancements to Cloud Volumes ONTAP, on-premises ONTAP clusters, Cloud Backup, Cloud Data Sense, and Cloud Sync. Plus, we will include some administrative changes to the SaaS platform.

BlueXP Connector

The biggest administrative change to the unified management platform from NetApp is the change in branding from Cloud Manager to BlueXP. This also includes an update of the access point to manage your NetApp Cloud products. You can now access everything from here. To correspond with these changes WWT has updated our on-demand functional lab for BlueXP to reflect the changes released at NetApp Insight. You can get your first-hand look at BlueXP here. The power of our lab is to give you a guided tour and understanding of the go-to management platform for everything hybrid cloud that NetApp has to offer. In most cases, the change from Cloud Manager to BlueXP was just a rebranding. However, the look and feel of the platform definitely changed to support the new look.

Here is a list of other basic additions to BlueXP per the December 2022 release:

  • Support for deployments in Google Cloud Israel region
  • PAYGO subscription can now be managed through BlueXP Digital Wallet
  • NetApp Support Site accounts can be utilized to access the BlueXP platform

Cloud Volumes ONTAP

The release of BlueXP and the new versions of the NetApp Connectors bring quite a few updates to Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO) across AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. The version of CVO inside the WWT on-demand lab will represent these changes. You can access the Cloud Volumes ONTAP lab here. Here are the highlights:

  • As of December 15th, 2022, you can now deploy Cloud Volumes ONTAP version 9.12.1. You also have the option to upgrade any existing environments that are running previous versions of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
  • You can now deploy native ONTAP S3 within CVO in Google Cloud regions.
  • There is built-in support for NVMe-TCP protocols inside of CVO. The caveat here is that the management capabilities don't exist yet within BlueXP and you will have to use the ONTAP CLI or ONTAP System Manager if you need to deploy storage VMs with NVMe-TCP protocol activated.
  • Inside Azure CVO deployments, you can now use locally redundant storage (LRS) with shared managed disks inside of a single availability zone. This would be a high-available cluster inside a single zone but added redundancy based on LRS.
  • For Azure CVO multi-availability zone deployments, you can now utilize Azure zone redundant storage (ZRS), adding an extra layer of resiliency to your deployments at the storage level in Azure.
  • The write once, read many (WORM) features of ONTAP can now be deployed with Cloud Backup during any CVO creation.
  • Lastly, CVO is now available in the Google Cloud Israel region and can be deployed directly through BlueXP.

On-premises ONTAP clusters

Now you manage your OnPrem ONTAP arrays, since the launch of BlueXP, via a single management plane. It used to be that if you wanted to manage multiple ONTAP arrays across your multiple data centers, you had to use NetApp Unified Manager to accomplish this task. However, BlueXP has become another source of unification for all NetApp environments. Below are some enhancements to management inside of BlueXP.

  • You can now discover any on-premises ONTAP systems locally inside BlueXP. You can see this option as part of the "Add Working Environment" workflow below. This does not require a Connector. If this option is chosen and you discover your ONTAP cluster locally, you will still need to use the System Manager view inside of BlueXP to manage the environment.
  • OnPrem ONTAP clusters discovered utilizing the BlueXP Connector, now provide management functionality for FlexGroup volumes that exist in the cluster.

Cloud Backup

As the releases for NetApp ONTAP progress, the functionality with OnPrem and Cloud Volumes ONTAP deployments is enhanced. The enhancements listed below are available for you directly through the WWT on-demand lab for Cloud Backup. Please navigate to this lab environment here.

  • With AWS and Azure backups, you have the ability to archive to a more cost-effective, longer retention object storage tier. This same functionality now exists with Google Cloud backups. Any backups that were originally taken to the Google Standard storage class can now be tiered to Google Archive storage.
  • You can now back up FlexGroup volumes, assuming you are running ONTAP 9.12.1. If you are running an older version of ONTAP and have FlexGroup volumes deployed, the functionality to back them up will not be present until you upgrade to ONTAP 9.12.1.
  • From a restore standpoint, you now have the capability of selecting the specific aggregate to restore to within a Cloud Volumes ONTAP working environment. This functionality previously only existed when you were restoring to an on-premises ONTAP cluster.

Cloud Data Sense

As Data Sense becomes a more widely used tool for compliance and governance across your entire environment, not just NetApp, the need for more robust enhancements to the OnPrem installation and deployment are needed. All the enhancements below are specific to OnPrem deployments of the product or support for new on-premises accounts to scan and map too. If you would like to see some of these changes in action and get a better understanding of the functionality of Data Sense, please make sure to utilize the WWT on-demand lab for Data Sense. You can navigate to this WWT lab environment here.

  • OnPrem Data Sense installation now provides the following additions:
    • The installation wizard will run pre-installation checks on the hosts where the Data Sense software will be deployed.
    • The configuration page, inside the Data Sense dashboard, now includes the "Working Environment ID" and the "Scanner Group" name. This information is applicable to on-premises deployments, specifically if you are utilizing multiple Data Sense hosts to scan your various sources.
  • If you are running Microsoft SharePoint Online or via a SharePoint Server on-premises, you can now scan both with Data Sense.
  • You now have the ability to update and rescan multiple directories or folders immediately, without needing to wait for the scheduled scan per the configuration. For example, if you are moving data into a specific directory, you could scan the directory prior to the data move and then immediately scan the directory after the data move completes. This ensures you are in immediate compliance, without waiting until the system scans the directory as scheduled.

Cloud Sync

As the movement of data from on-premises to on-premises, on-premises to the cloud, or cloud to cloud has become more prevalent in almost every environment, NetApp Cloud Sync can be the single source for data movement. The additional features listed below for the December release enhance that data movement story. If you want a first-hand look at this data movement product from NetApp, please utilize the WWT on-demand lab specific to Cloud Sync. You can navigate to the Cloud Sync lab here.

  • Previously, as you managed your sync relationships, you had the ability to exclude certain file extensions. Now, you can also exclude based on a directory name. If you have a volume or share that contains directories you would like to stay in place, simply exclude those directories as part of the Cloud Sync configuration.
  • As object storage becomes more necessary for performant data, you can now move data within Cloud Sync from AWS S3 and ONTAP S3, in either direction.

Why WWT for NetApp BlueXP?

As mentioned above, the NetApp BlueXP announcement and release changed the framework of our series, but we'll continue to be at the forefront for all new releases of BlueXP. This series will continue to follow a monthly release schedule, like that of the development lifecycle of BlueXP itself. Please make sure you are utilizing this series for all the updates. As NetApp's largest and top partner, plus the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), we're in a unique position to influence and ensure that NetApp products meet our customers' needs.

Read other releases in this series.