How to run NFS in Microsoft Azure – The missing piece of the stack

Microsoft Azure service offerings grow on a daily basis, therefore it’s no wonder that it can get quite time-consuming to look into the lower level details. For one such customer of mine, their on-premise applications were architected with NFS, however, they hadn’t realised that NFS is not available as a service in Azure.

Services in Azure (credit:

This is a common challenge that arises, NFS as a service is currently not available in the Azure portal. Microsoft has historically recommended SMB3 (CIFS) for networked file based storage and this is mirrored in the current service offerings from Azure.

But what if your architecture is currently reliant on NFS, such a most UNIX, Linux architectures? Do you re-architect the solution and change your operational processes? Sometimes this is isn’t an option as application vendors specify supported configurations.

Using ONTAP Cloud for Azure is an intelligent way to provide enterprise-class NFS services that consume Azure native resources. ONTAP Cloud runs as a VM and consumes Azure premium or standard storage. This brings a number of benefits:

  1. ONTAP will provision, manage and report on your Azure storage and can be controlled via REST API, Azure Workflow, PowerShell and CLI.
  2. Existing enterprise applications that use NFS, iSCSI or SMB3 can be migrated to Azure with no change or protocol. This also allows easy migration to and from Azure.
  3. By removing the dependency on locally attached cloud storage you can implement a multi-cloud data strategy.
  4. You can operate a full hybrid cloud strategy, allowing you to move or failover to and from Azure with ease using NFS as the common protocol across locations.
  5. Storage efficiency – at time of writing there are no storage efficiencies available across native cloud storage services. Using ONTAP you are able to reduce your storage footprint and save money via deduplication and compression technologies, in turn reducing your cloud consumption spend.

ONTAP Cloud is available in the Azure Marketplace and can be deployed in minutes. It also comes with a free license for the first 30 days.