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Tiering data from on-premises ONTAP clusters to StorageGRID

Contributors netapp-tonacki netapp-bcammett

Free space on your on-prem ONTAP clusters by tiering inactive data to StorageGRID.

Quick start

Get started quickly by following these steps, or scroll down to the remaining sections for full details.

One Prepare to tier data to StorageGRID

You need the following:

  • An on-prem ONTAP cluster that's running ONTAP 9.4 or later, and a connection over a user-specified port to StorageGRID. Learn how to discover a cluster.

  • StorageGRID 10.3 or later with AWS access keys that have S3 permissions.

  • A Connector installed on your premises.

  • Networking for the Connector that enables an outbound HTTPS connection to the ONTAP cluster, to StorageGRID, and to the BlueXP tiering service.

Two Set up tiering

In BlueXP, select an on-prem working environment, click Enable for the Tiering service, and follow the prompts to tier data to StorageGRID.


Verify support for your ONTAP cluster, set up your networking, and prepare your object storage.

The following image shows each component and the connections that you need to prepare between them:

An architecture image that shows the BlueXP tiering service with a connection to the Connector on your premises, the Connector with a connection to your ONTAP cluster, and a connection between the ONTAP cluster and object storage. Active data resides on the ONTAP cluster, while inactive data resides in object storage.

Note Communication between the Connector and StorageGRID is for object storage setup only.

Preparing your ONTAP clusters

Your ONTAP clusters must meet the following requirements when tiering data to StorageGRID.

Supported ONTAP platforms
  • When using ONTAP 9.8 and later: You can tier data from AFF systems, or FAS systems with all-SSD aggregates or all-HDD aggregates.

  • When using ONTAP 9.7 and earlier: You can tier data from AFF systems, or FAS systems with all-SSD aggregates.

Supported ONTAP version

ONTAP 9.4 or later


A BlueXP tiering license isn't required in your BlueXP account, nor is a FabricPool license required on the ONTAP cluster, when tiering data to StorageGRID.

Cluster networking requirements
  • The ONTAP cluster initiates an HTTPS connection over a user-specified port to the StorageGRID Gateway Node (the port is configurable during tiering setup).

    ONTAP reads and writes data to and from object storage. The object storage never initiates, it just responds.

  • An inbound connection is required from the Connector, which must reside on your premises.

    A connection between the cluster and the BlueXP tiering service is not required.

  • An intercluster LIF is required on each ONTAP node that hosts the volumes you want to tier. The LIF must be associated with the IPspace that ONTAP should use to connect to object storage.

    When you set up data tiering, BlueXP tiering prompts you for the IPspace to use. You should choose the IPspace that each LIF is associated with. That might be the "Default" IPspace or a custom IPspace that you created. Learn more about LIFs and IPspaces.

Supported volumes and aggregates

The total number of volumes that BlueXP tiering can tier might be less than the number of volumes on your ONTAP system. That's because volumes can't be tiered from some aggregates. Refer to the ONTAP documentation for functionality or features not supported by FabricPool.

Note BlueXP tiering supports FlexGroup volumes, starting with ONTAP 9.5. Setup works the same as any other volume.

Discovering an ONTAP cluster

You need to create an on-prem ONTAP working environment in the BlueXP Canvas before you can start tiering cold data.

Preparing StorageGRID

StorageGRID must meet the following requirements.

Supported StorageGRID versions

StorageGRID 10.3 and later is supported.

S3 credentials

When you set up tiering to StorageGRID, you need to provide BlueXP tiering with an S3 access key and secret key. BlueXP tiering uses the keys to access your buckets.

These access keys must be associated with a user who has the following permissions:

Object versioning

You must not enable StorageGRID object versioning on the object store bucket.

Creating or switching Connectors

A Connector is required to tier data to the cloud. When tiering data to StorageGRID, a Connector must be available on your premises. You'll either need to install a new Connector or make sure that the currently selected Connector resides on-prem.

Preparing networking for the Connector

Ensure that the Connector has the required networking connections.

  1. Ensure that the network where the Connector is installed enables the following connections:

    • An HTTPS connection over port 443 to the BlueXP tiering service (see the list of endpoints)

    • An HTTPS connection over port 443 to your StorageGRID system

    • An HTTPS connection over port 443 to your ONTAP cluster management LIF

Tiering inactive data from your first cluster to StorageGRID

After you prepare your environment, start tiering inactive data from your first cluster.

What you'll need
  • An on-premises working environment.

  • The FQDN of the StorageGRID Gateway Node, and the port that will be used for HTTPS communications.

  • An AWS access key that has the required S3 permissions.

  1. Select the on-prem ONTAP working environment.

  2. Click Enable for the Tiering service from the right panel.

    If the StorageGRID tiering destination exists as a working environment on the Canvas, you can drag the cluster onto the StorageGRID working environment to initiate the setup wizard.

    A screenshot that shows the Setup Tiering option that appears on the right side of the screen after you select an on-prem ONTAP working environment.

  3. Define Object Storage Name: Enter a name for this object storage. It must be unique from any other object storage you may be using with aggregates on this cluster.

  4. Select Provider: Select StorageGRID and click Continue.

  5. Complete the steps on the Create Object Storage pages:

    1. Server: Enter the FQDN of the StorageGRID Gateway Node, the port that ONTAP should use for HTTPS communication with StorageGRID, and the access key and secret key for an account that has the required S3 permissions.

    2. Bucket: Add a new bucket or select an existing bucket that starts with the prefix fabric-pool and click Continue.

      The fabric-pool prefix is required because the IAM policy for the Connector enables the instance to perform S3 actions on buckets named with that exact prefix. For example, you could name the S3 bucket fabric-pool-AFF1, where AFF1 is the name of the cluster.

    3. Cluster Network: Select the IPspace that ONTAP should use to connect to object storage and click Continue.

      Selecting the correct IPspace ensures that BlueXP tiering can set up a connection from ONTAP to StorageGRID object storage.

      You can also set the network bandwidth available to upload inactive data to object storage by defining the "Maximum transfer rate". Select the Limited radio button and enter the maximum bandwidth that can be used, or select Unlimited to indicate that there is no limit.

  6. On the Tier Volumes page, select the volumes that you want to configure tiering for and launch the Tiering Policy page:

    • To select all volumes, check the box in the title row () and click Configure volumes.

    • To select multiple volumes, check the box for each volume () and click Configure volumes.

    • To select a single volume, click the row (or edit pencil icon icon) for the volume.

      A screenshot that shows how to select a single volume

  7. In the Tiering Policy dialog, select a tiering policy, optionally adjust the cooling days for the selected volumes, and click Apply.

    A screenshot that shows the configurable tiering policy settings.


You've successfully set up data tiering from volumes on the cluster to StorageGRID.

What's next?

You can review information about the active and inactive data on the cluster. Learn more about managing your tiering settings.

You can also create additional object storage in cases where you may want to tier data from certain aggregates on a cluster to different object stores. Or if you plan to use FabricPool Mirroring where your tiered data is replicated to an additional object store. Learn more about managing object stores.