Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files comparison

This article provides a comparison of Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files.

Most workloads that require cloud file storage work well on either Azure Files or Azure NetApp Files. To help determine the best fit for your workload, review the information provided in this article. For more information, see the Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files documentation and the Shared storage for all enterprise file-workloads session which covers choosing between Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files.

Features

Category Azure Files Azure NetApp Files
Description Azure Files is a fully managed, highly available, enterprise-grade service that is optimized for random access workloads with in-place data updates.

Azure Files is built on the same Azure storage platform as other services like Azure Blobs.
Azure NetApp Files is a fully managed, highly available, enterprise-grade NAS service that can handle the most demanding, high-performance, low-latency workloads requiring advanced data management capabilities. It enables the migration of workloads, which are deemed "un-migratable" without.

ANF is built on NetApp's bare metal with ONTAP storage OS running inside the Azure datacenter for a consistent Azure experience and an on-premises like performance.
Protocols Premium
  • SMB 2.1, 3.0, 3.1.1
  • NFSv4.1
  • REST

Standard
  • SMB 2.1, 3.0, 3.1.1
  • REST

To learn more, see available file share protocols.
All tiers
  • SMB 2.1, 3.x (including SMB Continuous Availability optionally)
  • NFSv3, NFSv4.1
  • Dual protocol access (NFSv3/SMB and NFSv4.1/SMB)

To learn more, see how to create NFS, SMB, or dual-protocol volumes.
Region Availability Premium
  • 30+ Regions

Standard
  • All regions

To learn more, see Products available by region.
All tiers
  • 35+ Regions

To learn more, see Products available by region.
Redundancy Premium
  • LRS
  • ZRS

Standard
  • LRS
  • ZRS
  • GRS
  • GZRS

To learn more, see redundancy.
All tiers
Service-Level Agreement (SLA)

Note that SLAs for Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files are calculated differently.
SLA for Azure Files SLA for Azure NetApp Files
Identity-Based Authentication and Authorization SMB
  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS)

Note that identify-based authentication is only supported when using SMB protocol. To learn more, see FAQ.
SMB
  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS)

NFS/SMB dual protocol
NFSv3/NFSv4.1
To learn more, see Azure NetApp Files NFS FAQ and Azure NetApp Files SMB FAQ.
Encryption All protocols
  • Encryption at rest (AES-256) with customer or Microsoft-managed keys

SMB
  • Kerberos encryption using AES-256 (recommended) or RC4-HMAC
  • Encryption in transit

REST
  • Encryption in transit

To learn more, see Security and networking.
All protocols
  • Encryption at rest (AES-256) with Microsoft-managed keys

SMB
  • Encryption in transit using AES-CCM (SMB 3.0) and AES-GCM (SMB 3.1.1)

NFS 4.1
  • Encryption in transit using Kerberos with AES-256

To learn more, see security FAQ.
Access Options
  • Internet
  • Secure VNet access
  • VPN Gateway
  • ExpressRoute
  • Azure File Sync

To learn more, see network considerations.

To learn more, see network considerations.
Data Protection
  • Incremental snapshots
  • File/directory user self-restore
  • Restore to new location
  • In-place revert
  • Share-level soft delete
  • Azure Backup integration

To learn more, see Azure Files enhances data protection capabilities.

To learn more, see How Azure NetApp Files snapshots work.
Migration Tools
  • Azure Data Box
  • Azure File Sync
  • Storage Migration Service
  • AzCopy
  • Robocopy

To learn more, see Migrate to Azure file shares.
Tiers
  • Premium
  • Transaction Optimized
  • Hot
  • Cool

To learn more, see storage tiers.
  • Ultra
  • Premium
  • Standard

All tiers provide sub-ms minimum latency.

To learn more, see Service Levels and Performance Considerations.
Pricing Azure Files Pricing Azure NetApp Files Pricing

Scalability and performance

Category Azure Files Azure NetApp Files
Minimum Share/Volume Size Premium
  • 100 GiB

Standard
  • No minimum (SMB only - NFS requires Premium shares).
All tiers
  • 100 GiB (Minimum capacity pool size: 4 TiB)
Maximum Share/Volume Size 100 TiB All tiers
  • 100 TiB (500 TiB capacity pool limit)

Up to 12.5 PiB per Azure NetApp account.
Maximum Share/Volume IOPS Premium
  • Up to 100k

Standard
  • Up to 20k
Ultra and Premium
  • Up to 450k

Standard
  • Up to 320k
Maximum Share/Volume Throughput Premium
  • Up to 10 GiB/s

Standard
  • Up to 300 MiB/s
Ultra and Premium
  • Up to 4.5 GiB/s

Standard
  • Up to 3.2GiB/s
Maximum File Size 4 TiB 16 TiB
Maximum IOPS Per File Premium
  • Up to 8,000

Standard
  • 1,000
All tiers
  • Up to volume limit
Maximum Throughput Per File Premium
  • 300 MiB/s (Up to 1 GiB/s with SMB multichannel)

Standard
  • 60 MiB/s
All tiers
  • Up to volume limit
SMB Multichannel Yes Yes
Latency Single-millisecond minimum latency (2ms to 3ms for small IO) Sub-millisecond minimum latency (<1ms for random IO)

To learn more, see performance benchmarks.

For more information on scalability and performance targets, see Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files.

Next Steps