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Setup and administration

Learn about Connectors

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A Connector is NetApp software running in your cloud network or on-premises network. It executes the actions that BlueXP needs to perform in order to manage your data infrastructure. The Connector constantly polls the BlueXP SaaS layer for any actions that it needs to take. You don't need a Connector to get started with BlueXP, but you'll need to create a Connector to unlock all BlueXP features and services.

What you can do without a Connector

A Connector isn't required to get started with BlueXP. You can use several features and services within BlueXP without ever creating a Connector.

You can use the following BlueXP features and services without a Connector:

  • Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP working environment creation

    While a Connector isn't required to create a working environment, it is required to create and manage volumes, replicate data, and integrate FSx for ONTAP with services such as BlueXP classification and BlueXP copy and sync.

  • Automation catalog

  • Azure NetApp Files

    While a Connector isn't required to set up and manage Azure NetApp Files, a Connector is required if you want to use BlueXP classification to scan Azure NetApp Files data.

  • Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud

  • Copy and sync

  • Digital advisor

  • Digital wallet

    In almost all cases, you can add a license to the digital wallet without a Connector.

    The only time that a Connector is required to add a license to the digital wallet is for Cloud Volumes ONTAP node-based licenses. A Connector is required in this case because the data is taken from the licenses installed on Cloud Volumes ONTAP systems.

  • Direct discovery of on-premises ONTAP clusters

    While a Connector isn't required for direct discovery of an on-premises ONTAP cluster, a Connector is required if you want to take advantage of additional BlueXP features.

  • Sustainability

When a Connector is required

When you use BlueXP in standard mode, a Connector is required for the following features and services in BlueXP:

  • Amazon FSx for ONTAP management features

  • Amazon S3 storage

  • Azure Blob storage

  • Backup and recovery

  • Classification

  • Cloud Volumes ONTAP

  • Disaster recovery

  • E-Series systems

  • Economic efficiency 1

  • Edge caching

  • Google Cloud Storage buckets

  • Kubernetes clusters

  • Migration reports

  • On-premises ONTAP cluster integration with BlueXP data services

  • Operational resiliency 1

  • Ransomware protection

  • StorageGRID systems

  • Tiering

  • Volume caching

1 While you can access these services without a Connector, a Connector is required to initiate actions from the services.

A Connector is required to use BlueXP in restricted mode or private mode.

Connectors must be operational at all times

Connectors are a fundamental part of the BlueXP service architecture. It's your responsibility to ensure that relevant Connectors are up, operational, and accessible at all times. While the service is designed to overcome short outages of Connector availability, you must take immediate action when required to remedy infrastructure failures.

This documentation is governed by the EULA. If the product is not operated in accordance with the documentation, the functionality and operation of the product, as well as your rights under the EULA, may be adversely impacted.

Impact on Cloud Volumes ONTAP

A Connector is a key component in the health and operation of Cloud Volumes ONTAP. If a Connector is powered down, Cloud Volumes ONTAP PAYGO systems and capacity-based BYOL systems shut down after losing communication with a Connector for longer than 14 days. This happens because the Connector refreshes licensing on the system each day.

If your Cloud Volumes ONTAP system has a node-based BYOL license, the system remains running after 14 days because the license is installed on the Cloud Volumes ONTAP system.

Supported locations

A Connector is supported in the following locations:

  • Amazon Web Services

  • Microsoft Azure

    A Connector in Azure should be deployed in the same Azure region as the Cloud Volumes ONTAP systems that it manages, or in the Azure region pair for the Cloud Volumes ONTAP systems. This requirement ensures that an Azure Private Link connection is used between Cloud Volumes ONTAP and its associated storage accounts. Learn how Cloud Volumes ONTAP uses an Azure Private Link

  • Google Cloud

    If you want to use BlueXP services with Google Cloud, then you must use a Connector that's running in Google Cloud.

  • On your premises

Restricted mode and private mode

To use BlueXP in restricted mode or private mode, you get started with BlueXP by installing the Connector and then accessing the user interface that's running locally on the Connector.

How to create a Connector

A BlueXP Account Admin can create a Connector directly from BlueXP, from your cloud provider's marketplace, or by manually installing the software on your own Linux host. How you get started depends on whether you're using BlueXP in standard mode, restricted mode, or private mode.


Specific permissions are needed to create the Connector directly from BlueXP and another set of permissions are needed for the Connector instance itself. If you create the Connector in AWS or Azure directly from BlueXP, then BlueXP creates the Connector with the permissions that it needs.

When using BlueXP in standard mode, how you provide permissions depends on how you plan to create the Connector.

To learn how to set up permissions, refer to the following:

To view the exact permissions that the Connector needs for day-to-day operations, refer to the following pages:

It's your responsibility to update the Connector policies as new permissions are added in subsequent releases. If new permissions are required, they will be listed in the release notes.

Connector upgrades

We typically update the Connector software each month to introduce new features and to provide stability improvements. While most of the services and features in the BlueXP platform are offered through SaaS-based software, a few features and functionalities are dependent on the version of the Connector. That includes Cloud Volumes ONTAP management, on-prem ONTAP cluster management, settings, and help.

When you use BlueXP in standard mode or restricted mode, the Connector automatically updates its software to the latest version, as long as it has outbound internet access to obtain the software update. If you're using BlueXP in private mode, then you'll need to manually upgrade the Connector.

Operating system and VM maintenance

Maintaining the operating system on the Connector host is your responsibility. For example, you should apply security updates to the operating system on the Connector host by following your company's standard procedures for operating system distribution.

Note that you don't need to stop any services on the Connector host when applying minor security updates.

If you need to stop and then start the Connector VM, you should do so from your cloud provider's console or by using the standard procedures for on-premises management.

Multiple working environments and Connectors

A Connector can manage multiple working environments in BlueXP. The maximum number of working environments that a single Connector should manage varies. It depends on the type of working environments, the number of volumes, the amount of capacity being managed, and the number of users.

If you have a large-scale deployment, work with your NetApp representative to size your environment. If you experience any issues along the way, reach out to us by using the in-product chat.

In some cases, you might only need one Connector, but you might find yourself needing two or more Connectors.

Here are a few examples:

  • You have a multi-cloud environment (for example, AWS and Azure) and you prefer to have one Connector in AWS and another in Azure. Each manages the Cloud Volumes ONTAP systems running in those environments.

  • A service provider might use one BlueXP account to provide services for their customers, while using another account to provide disaster recovery for one of their business units. Each account would have separate Connectors.