NetApp ONTAP Cloud Licensing

If you’re looking to deploy an instance of NetApp’s ONTAP Cloud in AWS or Azure it’s important to understand the licensing models. Not only does it effect the size and performance of your instance, but it also effects your bottom line.



Pay-as-you-go licenses are charged on an hourly basis along side the cost of running the instance/VM. The costs associated will appear on your bill from AWS/Azure. This license model is best suited for short term or smaller environments. You don’t have to associate your NetApp Support Site account but it’s highly recommended to get service support.

License Types

Pay-As-You-Go licensing comes in three flavors separated by the amount of performance available and underlying capacity. Check out AWS’ page on instance types here and Azure’s VM types here.

The resources behind each instance/VM type has a direct influence on system throughput, not unlike how a physical storage system’s performance is impacted by its hardware. NetApp’s TR-4383 (Performance Characterization of ONTAP Cloud in Amazon Web Services with Application Workloads) has performance metrics for each of the AWS instance types. Unfortunately a similar report for Azure has not been released yet.

AWS Capacity AWS Instance Types Azure Capacity Azure VM Types
Suitable for smaller capacity applications
 Up to 2 TB m3.xlarge
Up to 2 TB Standard_DS3
Flexible performance and larger capacity
for a wider range of applications
Up to 10 TB m4.2xlarge ⚡
c4.2xlarge ⚡
r4.xlarge ⚡
Up to 10 TB Standard_DS4
Flexible performance and larger capacity
for a wider range of applications
Up to 368 TB r4.2xlarge ⚡
m4.4xlarge ⚡
c4.4xlarge ⚡
c4.8xlarge ⚡
Up to 124 TB Standard_DS5_v2

(Supported capacity and sizes as of ONTAP Cloud 9.2)

See that lighting bolt ⚡? That means that instance can support advanced functionality such as accelerated performance and S3 tiering.


BYOL – Bring Your Own License

Use this option when you’ve already purchased a license from NetApp. During installation, if you’ve linked your environment to your NetApp Support Site account, it will automatically reach out, grab, and install the license. If you deploy a BYOL system without a license the system you’ll have a 30 day grace period until before the system powers itself down. The same applies if you pass the end of your licensing period (you’ll be warned in advance) and fail to renew.

When BYOLing you get the full suite of available supported instances. Same cost whether you want a big instance, small instance, or decide to change along the way.

Best of all, to my understanding, the annual cost will be lower than the equivalent pay-as-you-go approach. BYOL only comes as premium. This means that BYOL is the best approach for large or sustained ONTAP Cloud workloads.


Additional Reading

Judson McKratz