Zesty Disk or NetApp ONTAP? The Best Ways to Use Each

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If you are building out or re-evaluating your block storage infrastructure, then don’t make any decision without first reading this blog. It evaluates Zesty Disk and NetApp ONTAP and identifies the preferred solution based on the requirements of a series of given use cases. Both offer storage solutions that provide flexible expansion of volumes and automatic volume adjustments as part of their advanced management services, however both solutions are doing it very differently. With value to be gained from the two, it might not be a decision of ‘either-or’ but both. 

Zesty Disk

Used to scale storage up and down to fit changing application needs, Zesty Disk transforms your block storage into dynamic infrastructure to optimize performance, ensure stability and save up to 70% on cloud storage costs. By automatically shrinking and expanding block storage volumes to real-time application needs, it resolves the need to excessively over-provision volumes to ensure application performance and eliminates the risks associated with being under-provisioned to achieve cost savings.


NetApp ONTAP is a software-defined storage offering that provides data management for file and block workloads to optimize cloud storage costs and increase application performance while also providing data protection, security, and compliance controls. With wide integration features, the storage solution is highly portable and can be replicated across multiple zones, regions, and clouds.

Below, we address when you would select each storage solution for the respective use case.

Use case #1: Get more value out of native block storage volumes

Answer: Zesty Disk

Zesty is using the native block storage solution to automatically shrink and expand storage volumes. This fully managed service scales storage capacity to application needs to ensure application performance and reduced cost. It is augmented on top of your existing storage volumes with a collector that sends read-only metadata and usage metrics to its intelligence engine. 

NetApp ONTAP is a software-defined storage system that can be connected to your EC2 instance to effectively replace your existing EBS or Azure disk storage volumes. Adding this storage infrastructure into your cloud environment will add complexity as it will need to be integrated across your cloud ecosystem.

Use Case #2: Get more value out of file storage

Answer: NetApp ONTAP – Cloud Version

NetApp’s on-cloud solution for block and file storage, ONTAP, provides two options;  the ONTAP appliance on EC2 and the AWS FSx managed solution. In both options, customers get NetApp features to manage large-scale filesystems with backup, disaster recovery, security controls etc. Furthermore, with both options, you can access storage across multiple zones and regions and get access to the full suite of enterprise features.

Use case #3: Address a wide range of specific integration requirements

Answer: NetApp ONTAP

NetApp is an enterprise storage solution that was initially designed for the purpose of being used for on-premise servers, but with time has evolved to provide great integration across all major cloud platforms (AWS, GCP, Azure). The technology is comprehensive and supports integration options across all types of workloads, databases, and backup services. Although, all this does come at the cost of more complexity, expense, and additional layers of management.

For cloud-native applications, S3 storage represents a more suitable option, due to its scalability. Legacy solutions don’t have the architecture to support high scalability.

Use case #4: Low-touch dynamic scaling of block storage

Answer: Zesty Disk

The simplicity of the solution entails that once the 5-minute deployment process is complete, anyone can easily come in and monitor its performance on the dashboard. There is no need to set policy configurations in advance, as the solution analyzes past storage utilization patterns to understand the next automated steps to be taken.

More than 20 years old, NetApp ONTAP represents a legacy infrastructure solution that is ideal for monolith databases and conducting migrations. The associated challenge is that it’s difficult to operate, requiring significant staff training on deployment and niche expertise for ongoing management.

Use case #5: Low-cost storage enhancement

Answer: Zesty Disk

Given its comprehensive offering, NetApp ONTAP is an expensive storage option. With a wide range of pricing packages to choose from, for workloads that are subject to high I/O and high throughput the cost is $0.059 per GB per month. For the same use case, Zesty can be applied for just $600 for the first 25,000 GB and thereafter $0.02 per month for every managed GB. 

For a slim solution that is geared to facilitate high performance and availability while supporting cost optimization targets, Zesty has a distinct pricing advantage. 

A case of apples and oranges

Both Zesty Disk and NetApp ONTAP can be used to optimize your cloud storage costs and improve application performance while reducing management overhead. And both can potentially be used together towards that end.

With distinctly different offerings, they can best be used to optimize different cloud storage services. As a general rule, you would use Zesty to optimize native block storage and NetApp to get wide integration across cloud platforms.

With such ideal compatibility, why eat just an apple or an orange, when you can have fruit salad?