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NetApp Solutions

Technology overview

Contributors banum-netapp

This section provides an overview of the various technical components required to complete this solution.


Protopia AI offers a unobtrusive, software-only solution for confidential inference in the market today. The Protopia solution delivers unparalleled protection for inference services by minimizing exposure of sensitive information. AI is only fed the information in the data record that is truly essential to perform the task at hand and nothing more. Most inference tasks do not use all the information that exists in every data record. Regardless of whether your AI is consuming images, voice, video, or even structured tabular data, Protopia delivers only what the inference service needs. The patented core technology uses mathematically curated noise to stochastically transform the data and garble the information that is not needed by a given ML service. This solution does not mask the data; rather, it changes the data representation by using curated random noise.

The Protopia solution formulates the problem of changing the representation as a gradient-based perturbation maximization method that still retains the pertinent information in the input feature space with respect to the functionality of the model. This discovery process is run as a fine-tuning pass at the end of training the ML model. After the pass automatically generates a set of probability distributions, a low-overhead data transformation applies noise samples from these distributions to the data, obfuscating it before passing it to the model for inferencing.


The NetApp ONTAP AI reference architecture, powered by DGX A100 systems and NetApp cloud connected storage systems, was developed and verified by NetApp and NVIDIA. It gives IT organizations an architecture that provides the following benefits:

  • Eliminates design complexities

  • Allows independent scaling of compute and storage

  • Enables customers to start small and scale seamlessly

  • Offers a range of storage options for various performance and cost points

ONTAP AI tightly integrates DGX A100 systems and NetApp AFF A800 storage systems with state-of-the-art networking. ONTAP AI simplifies AI deployments by eliminating design complexity and guesswork. Customers can start small and grow nondisruptively while intelligently managing data from the edge to the core to the cloud and back.

The following figure shows several variations in the ONTAP AI family of solutions with DGX A100 systems. AFF A800 system performance is verified with up to eight DGX A100 systems. By adding storage controller pairs to the ONTAP cluster, the architecture can scale to multiple racks to support many DGX A100 systems and petabytes of storage capacity with linear performance. This approach offers the flexibility to alter compute-to-storage ratios independently based on the size of the DL models that are used and the required performance metrics.

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ONTAP 9.11, the latest generation of storage management software from NetApp, enables businesses to modernize infrastructure and transition to a cloud-ready data center. Leveraging industry-leading data management capabilities, ONTAP enables the management and protection of data with a single set of tools, regardless of where that data resides. You can also move data freely to wherever it is needed: the edge, the core, or the cloud. ONTAP 9.11 includes numerous features that simplify data management, accelerate, and protect critical data, and enable next generation infrastructure capabilities across hybrid cloud architectures.

NetApp DataOps Toolkit

NetApp DataOps Toolkit is a Python library that makes it simple for developers, data scientists, DevOps engineers, and data engineers to perform various data management tasks, such as near-instantaneous provisioning of a new data volume or JupyterLab workspace, near-instantaneous cloning of a data volume or JupyterLab workspace, and near-instantaneous taking snapshots of a data volume or JupyterLab workspace for traceability or baselining. This Python library can function as either a command-line utility or a library of functions that you can import into any Python program or Jupyter notebook.

NVIDIA Triton Inference Server

NVIDIA Triton Inference Server is an open-source inference serving software that helps standardize model deployment and execution to deliver fast and scalable AI in production. Triton Inference Server streamlines AI inferencing by enabling teams to deploy, run, and scale trained AI models from any framework on any GPU- or CPU-based infrastructure. Triton Inference Server supports all major frameworks, such as TensorFlow, NVIDIA TensorRT, PyTorch, MXNet, OpenVINO, and so on. Triton integrates with Kubernetes for orchestration and scaling that you can use in all major public cloud AI and Kubernetes platforms. It’s also integrated with many MLOps software solutions.


PyTorch is an open-source ML framework. It is an optimized tensor library for deep learning that uses GPUs and CPUs. The PyTorch package contains data structures for multidimensional tensors that provide many utilities for efficient serializing of tensors among other useful utilities. It also has a CUDA counterpart that enables you to run your tensor computations on an NVIDIA GPU with compute capability. In this validation, we use the OpenCV-Python (cv2) library to validate our model while taking advantage of Python’s most intuitive computer vision concepts.

Simplify data management

Data management is crucial to enterprise IT operations and data scientists so that appropriate resources are used for AI applications and training AI/ML datasets. The following additional information about NetApp technologies is out of scope for this validation but might be relevant depending on your deployment.

ONTAP data management software includes the following features to streamline and simplify operations and reduce your total cost of operation:

  • Inline data compaction and expanded deduplication. Data compaction reduces wasted space inside storage blocks, and deduplication significantly increases effective capacity. This applies to data stored locally and data tiered to the cloud.

  • Minimum, maximum, and adaptive quality of service (AQoS). Granular quality of service (QoS) controls help maintain performance levels for critical applications in highly shared environments.

  • NetApp FabricPool. Provides automatic tiering of cold data to public and private cloud storage options, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and NetApp StorageGRID storage solution. For more information about FabricPool, see TR-4598: FabricPool best practices.

Accelerate and protect data

ONTAP delivers superior levels of performance and data protection and extends these capabilities in the following ways:

  • Performance and lower latency. ONTAP offers the highest possible throughput at the lowest possible latency.

  • Data protection. ONTAP provides built-in data protection capabilities with common management across all platforms.

  • NetApp Volume Encryption (NVE). ONTAP offers native volume-level encryption with both onboard and External Key Management support.

  • Multitenancy and multifactor authentication. ONTAP enables sharing of infrastructure resources with the highest levels of security.

Future-proof infrastructure

ONTAP helps meet demanding and constantly changing business needs with the following features:

  • Seamless scaling and nondisruptive operations. ONTAP supports the nondisruptive addition of capacity to existing controllers and to scale-out clusters. Customers can upgrade to the latest technologies, such as NVMe and 32Gb FC, without costly data migrations or outages.

  • Cloud connection. ONTAP is the most cloud-connected storage management software, with options for software-defined storage (ONTAP Select) and cloud-native instances (NetApp Cloud Volumes Service) in all public clouds.

  • Integration with emerging applications. ONTAP offers enterprise-grade data services for next generation platforms and applications, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and Industry 4.0, by using the same infrastructure that supports existing enterprise apps.

NetApp Astra Control

The NetApp Astra product family offers storage and application-aware data management services for Kubernetes applications on-premises and in the public cloud, powered by NetApp storage and data management technologies. It enables you to easily back up Kubernetes applications, migrate data to a different cluster, and instantly create working application clones. If you need to manage Kubernetes applications running in a public cloud, see the documentation for Astra Control Service. Astra Control Service is a NetApp-managed service that provides application-aware data management of Kubernetes clusters in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

NetApp Astra Trident

Astra Trident from NetApp is an open-source dynamic storage orchestrator for Docker and Kubernetes that simplifies the creation, management, and consumption of persistent storage. Trident, a Kubernetes-native application, runs directly within a Kubernetes cluster. Trident enables customers to seamlessly deploy DL container images onto NetApp storage and provides an enterprise-grade experience for AI container deployments. Kubernetes users (ML developers, data scientists, and so on) can create, manage, and automate orchestration and cloning to take advantage of advanced data management capabilities powered by NetApp technology.

NetApp BlueXP Copy and Sync

BlueXP Copy and Sync is a NetApp service for rapid and secure data synchronization. Whether you need to transfer files between on-premises NFS or SMB file shares, NetApp StorageGRID, NetApp ONTAP S3, NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, Azure NetApp Files, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), Azure Blob, Google Cloud Storage, or IBM Cloud Object Storage, BlueXP Copy and Sync moves the files where you need them quickly and securely. After your data is transferred, it is fully available for use on both source and target. BlueXP Copy and Syncc continuously synchronizes the data based on your predefined schedule, moving only the deltas, so that time and money spent on data replication is minimized. BlueXP Copy and Sync is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that is extremely simple to set up and use. Data transfers that are triggered by BlueXP Copy and Sync are carried out by data brokers. You can deploy BlueXP Copy and Sync data brokers in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or on-premises.

NetApp BlueXP Classification

Driven by powerful AI algorithms, NetApp BlueXP Classification provides automated controls and data governance across your entire data estate. You can easily pinpoint cost-savings, identify compliance and privacy concerns, and find optimization opportunities. The BlueXP Classification dashboard gives you the insight to identify duplicate data to eliminate redundancy, map personal, nonpersonal, and sensitive data and turn on alerts for sensitive data and anomalies.