Netapp AltaVault – Speeding up, Cutting costs, and Cloudify your backups

Riverbed Whitewater. Riverbed Steelstore.  It’s bigger. It’s updated. It’s been supercharged!  It’s the Netapp AltaVault!NetApp AltaVault


We all have heard it.  Your CIO went golfing with someone who mentioned “Da Cloud!”   Now, you have to cloud everything.  Hey, start with your backups. That’s easy, right?  Well most often not.  But, rest assured, Netapp’s got your back(ups)

This powerhouse of backup cloudification is how you can not only have a short term local cache of backups, at blazing speeds, but also a MASSIVE amount of deduped backups in almost any cloud storage provider, or you own private/hybrid cloud!

Imagine, having 32TB-384TB of backups stored locally, but then all your backups, up to a logical 57PB worth encrypted and stored in the cloud.

Wait, that sounds like a massive amount of money every month being paid.  Ahhh ha!  Dedupe my friend!  30x+ reduction!   You can easily fit 4.8PB in 160TB of cloud space.  You could fit 57PB in 1.2PB cloud space.  CRAZY, but true!

AWS Costs:
57PB backup in Amazon S3:~$1,703,312/month!
Deduped 1.2PB & managed w/ Netapp  AltaVault: under $39,000/mo! #RealSavings

What if you don’t need such mega cloud storage.  No problemo.   AltaVault Virtual Appliance – Click for Specs and Datasheet to the rescue!

What if you are all cloud, because you are so ahead of the curve you are doing a 360?  We got you covered!  You can even launch an Amazon EC2 AMI of Virtual AltaVault in da cloud!

Im not going to bore you with specs.  You can read them here.

I installed my first Riverbed Whitewater,  predecessor to Netapp AltaVault, 3 years ago.  The customer had their ROI within a few months.  Within a few months, they were storing 67TB logically in 4TB of space, at a then savings of almost  $7k/mo.  Read my post from Oct 2012 about that here. Real dedupe/cost savings results from a Riverbed Whitewater

I think it was a brilliant move by Netapp to buy this technology and double the engineering staff, as well as their purchase of StorageGrid.  It perfectly fits within their visions for the future.  Enabling the cloud to work better for you!

Now… how does it work?  How do you use it?

It’s easy.

  • You pick the cloud provider, and method you want it to save to.  (This is an insanely long list of providers.  Most people tend to use it with Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Rackspace cloud storage, or Storagegrid Webscale which is an S3 work-alike).
  • Add your keys or credentials.
  • You then make shares  (NFS or SMB).
  • Point your backup app to it
  • That’s it.
  • No really.  That’s it.

What backup application this day and age can’t dump out to a network share?   If there is one, I certainly wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. *cough*avamar*cough*


There are a myriad of best practice guides for how to best tune your backup application for the AltaVault!

  • TR-4414 AltaVault Best Practices Guide for Backup Applications
  • TR-4416 AltaVault Performance Tuning Guide
  • TR-4405 AltaVault Security Overview Guide
  • TR-4420 AltaVault Best Practices for DR

(These TR’s arent yet public, but will be soon.  In the mean time, ask your Netapp VAR or SE to pull them off the ‘Field Portal’ and send them to you.)

Protect your AssWhat about the whole CYA thing?  You know… we all have heard about CodeSpaces (If you haven’t you better look it up), we have heard about hacks of cloud providers.

Don’t fret mi amigo.  Your data up in the cloud is protected.


Each deduped segment of data is encrypted with AES-256, it is uploaded over SSL/TLS connections, and the device is undergoing FIPS 140-2l1 certification.





It can also tie into TACACS and RADIUS for authentication and RBAC.






Because you have local copies of backups within your AltaVault, you can backup and restore in the event of a cloud or wan outage!

After 3 years of working with the 4 generations of this product, I am still happy to recommend it to people.

AwesomeSauceThe cloud is coming. You’ll be forced to do something with it.  Don’t fight it.  Design for it.

Heck, be your own Cloud!   Netapp StorageGrid Webscale can be setup to be completely compliant with all Amazon S3 applications.  Yes you can run your OWN S3 APIs, in your datacenter!  Point AltaVault, or any S3 app right at it, backed by any storage you want!

I’ll update this post soon with more details once I am able to pull more  real-world screenshots from some environments that I am running Steelstore Netapp AltaVault in.



Need a Storage, Network, Backup, or Cloud solution? Send me a tweet!  @JK47TheWeapon or @HAStorage

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