Azure NetApp Files

In 2019, Microsoft released a great new service in Azure called Azure NetApp Files (ANF). This service is a very powerful service that may help you to manage your data in Azure or to migrate your on-prem workload to the Cloud. The announcement is available here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-netapp-files-is-now-generally-available/ and the full documentation is available here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/netapp/

In this article, I will explain how to create and manage volumes using Azure NetApp Files.

Difference between Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files

Azure NetApp Files and Azure Files are similar, you can use both to store your data like you would on a file server.

Azure NetApp Files is easy to integrate with modern applications and provides both NFS and SMB protocols. It means that it can be natively mounted to Linux machines. Minimum deployment for Azure NetApp Files is 4TB and maximum is 100TB. To finish, the max file size is 16TB.

You can also replicate ANF using cross region replication and you can easily restore data with the NetApp snapshot. The pricing model can be checked on this page: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/netapp/

Getting Started

Start by registering the resource provider that will help you to use Azure NetApp Files (e.g ANF). Go to the Azure Portal and open the Cloud Shell. Then, copy/paste the following commands:

Getting started

Then, you can confirm if the provider is registered in your subscription. Run the following command:

Confirm if the provider is registered in your subscription

You can also use the following command to list the ANF feature:

Following command to list the ANF feature

Basically, you can check the provider in the Azure portal as well:

Check the provider in the Azure portal

Now, we can start working with Azure NetApp Files. Go to Azure NetApp Files section, and click “Create” to create your first ANF account:

Create your first ANF account

You need to enter:

  • the name,
  • the subscription,
  • the resource group,
  • and the location

New NetApp account

Now, we can create the capacity pool. Go to “Capacity Pools” and click “Add pool”.

Go to Capacity Pools

You need to enter the name of the capacity pool, the service level and the size. Note that 4TiB is the minimum.

Enter the name of the capacity pool

Once the pool is created, you will see the following.

The pool is created

You can now create the volume which will be located on the volume previously created.

Create the volume

We need to give some information to create the volume. First, we need to enter the name, select the capacity pool and the virtual network with the delegated subnet. This subnet is dedicated to these resources and can not be shared with other Azure resources.

Give some information to create the volume

Move to the second tab to configure the protocol that you want to use. You can also select the version and you could also connect with your Active Directory. Azure NetApp Files supports only one Active Directory connection within the same region and the same subscription.

Configure the protocol

Then, go to “Snapshot policies”, and click “Add snapshot policy”.

Add snapshot policy

Then, I deployed a Linux Virtual Machine in the same VNet and I installed the NFS support tool.

Install the NFS support tool

Then you can mount your NetApp share with the following command:

Don’t be afraid, when you move to the volume section in the Azure portal, you will see the “mount instruction” tab, and you will be able to copy/paste this command. Move to the volume section in the Azure portal

Now, switch on a Windows 11 Virtual Machine, and install the advanced feature ”Client For NFS”.

Switch on a Windows 11 Virtual Machine

No need to restart your computer, you can now map a new network drive to your Azure NetApp Files share.

New network drive

Of course, you can do the same thing on your Windows Server. Install the feature “Client for NFS” and map your network drive.

Install the feature Client for NFS

You can now repeat these steps to create your Azure NetApp File volumes very easily.

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