NetApp recently announced a new generations of their high-end and mid-range storage systems, denser and faster drive solutions, new Data ONTAP licensing and enhanced functionality, new rebranded/bundled management solutions, new unified connect adapters and new FlexPod for VMware pre-configured data center building blocks.
FAS/V6280, FAS/V6240, and FAS/V6210 enterprise storage
NetApp has updated their enterprise class storage systems by leveraging the latest multi-core processor hardware to double current performance, adding more capacity (up to 2.9PB on FAS/V6280 & FAS/V6240, 2.4PB on the FAS/V6210), more Flash Cache and the latest interface technology, 10GbE and 8GFC with faster SAS drive connections.
NetApp was the first enterprise storage with NAND caching and the FAS/V6280 now sports up to 8TB of NAND data cache. The FAS/V6240 and FAS/V6210 support 6 TB and 3 TB of Flash Cache, respectively. With the new larger NAND cache and latest processing hardware, IO performance should improve substantially. We look forward to seeing these systems showing up on SPC/SPECsfs2008/ESRP reports in the near future.
SAS seems to be displacing FC as a backend interface for enterprise storage. The fact that SAS hardware can also support SATA disks just makes this transition even better.
FAS/V3270, FAS/V3240, and FAS/V3210 mid-range storage
Along with the enterprise class storage refresh, NetApp also upgraded their mid-range storage line as well. Their new FAS/V3200 product line now supports up to 1.9PB of storage and up to 2TB of Flash Cache (both on the FAS/V3270). The FAS/V3240 and FAS/V3210 storage systems support 1.2PB capacity with 1TB Flash cache and 480TB capacity with 512GB Flash Cache, respectively. Recall that this series of subsystems is primarily intended for business and virtualization applications and mid-size enterprises.
New Denser/Faster (SSD) storage
Also, NetApp rolled out their new DS2246 disk shelf, which holds 24-2.5” disk drives in 2U of space. This increases disk density by 60%, and reduces power and cooling with equivalent reliability of their current DS4243 3.5” disk shelf.
Furthermore, NetApp now supports SSDs. The DS4243 disk shelf can be configured with 24-100GB SSDs to provide ultra-quick data access. NetApp did not mention their SSD supplier but with this low capacity drive we would assume they have SLC NAND under the covers. To correctly position use of Flash Cache versus SSDs, NetApp suggested that customers:
- Use Flash Cache when their IO workload is dynamic and hot-data cannot be determined ahead of time, and
- Use SSDs when their IO workload is deterministic and all reads must be faster.
New Data ONTAP 8.0.1 licensing and enhancements
Currently, Data ONTAP 8 has over 1000 customers and its licensing just got simpler. The Data ONTAP base license now includes business continuity, secure multi-tenancy, automated management, and a single storage protocol at no additional charge (CIFS may be a popular choice as that’s their most expensive protocol). Also the myriad of Data ONTAP features have now been combined into 7 key products: SnapRestore®, SnapMirror®, FlexClone®, SnapVault®, and SnapManager® Suite, optional storage protocols, and a complete offering bundle.
In addition, the new Data ONTAP 8.0.1 supports larger aggregates, data compression, transparent data mobility and unified connect.
- Larger aggregates – Data ONTAP 8.0.1 now supports aggregates of 100TB more than tripling previous maximums. Larger aggregate size has been the number one customer request.
- Data compression – Data ONTAP 8.0.1 now offers an option to compress data as well as their current deduplication capabilities. Compression should help reduce storage footprint for more environments.
- Transparent data mobility – Data ONTAP 8.0.1 now supplies automated, non-disruptive data migration between aggregates within the same storage system. Customers can use this to non-disruptively move data between aggregates based on different storage types like between FC and SATA
New Unified Connect
With Data ONTAP 8.0.1, a new CNA and new interface hardware, NetApp now supports a unified connect interface whereby servers can talk iSCSI, FCoE, CIFS, and NFS all over the same wire, from the same server port into the same storage port. Unified connect should reduce cabling and management requirements substantially while improving port and bandwidth utilization and interface expansion slot efficiency. While at SNW last month, we talked with one chip vendor that supported all these protocols from the same unified controller chip.
OnCommand Management Suite
NetApp has taken the opportunity to rebrand and bundle all their management solutions under one name – OnCommand Management Suite. This is their new branding for their current System Manager, Ops Manager, My AutoSupport™, Provisioning Manager, Protection Manager, SnapManager®, SnapDrive®, and SANscreen® software products. With the new umbrella suite of products look for more common APIs, look and feel and future product offerings.
FlexPod data center building blocks
Similar to EMC/Cisco/VMware Acadia Vblocks, NetApp now offers FlexPods which incorporate Cisco® UCS® blade systems, Cisco Nexus switching, VMware® vSphere™ and vCenter™, and NetApp FAS storage into one pre-tested, pre-configured, easy to install, offering. FlexPod is targeted at data centers with 1000 to 2000 users and wanting a quick and painless way to offer virtualized data processing services.
Within almost the last 18 months EMC, HDS and now NetApp have rolled out new enterprise class storage. Within the last month IBM and NetApp have rolled out new mid-range storage as well. It’s good to see new hardware on the market and perhaps NetApp was due for an upgrade and it’s a great time to be in the storage business.
NetApp is not moving that aggressively into SSD deployment as some of their competitors and currently have no plans to offer sub-LUN migration for SSDs like IBM, HDS, and EMC. Perhaps, NetApp sees Flash Cache as a better solution to dynamic IO workloads and feel sub-LUN migration doesn’t provide that much additional benefit to warrant implementation. On the other hand, what with WAFL, aggregates and other internal capabilities, it wouldn’t seem to take much to offer sub-LUN migration if it were deemed a requirement. Also offering 8TB of Flash Cache seems to be a wager that NetApp has the right solution here.
Data ONTAP licensing was due for simplification. The over 30 product features was becoming a bit to complex to understand and order. The rebundled/re-branded OnCommand management suite provides a nice touch but most tangible benefits are still a ways off.
FlexPods probably indicate that Acadia is starting to succeed in the market and that NetApp wants to share in that success. All this probably makes Cisco and VMware very happy. Why EMC felt the need to spin it out, as a separate JV vs. NETAPP’s technology partnership isn’t as clear. How support is coordinated may be the key customer differential from a JV vs. a technical partnership. NetApp states that there will be collaborative support but how this plays out in real support calls is TBD.
Probably what’s missing from all this is a more scale-able platform something like VMAX, HP’s 3PAR or to a lesser extent Hitachi’s VSP. Yes, a single architecture spans their complete product line but it’s still different hardware for the most part and can’t just simply be incrementally scaled up from one to the next higher/lower system. We suppose this is the ultimate promise in Data ONTAP 8 mode, where by multiple FAS/V storage systems can be combined to offer one seamless, clustered storage environment. We eagerly anticipate the unification of Data ONTAP 7 and Data ONTAP 8 mode into one Data ONTAP clustered storage sometime in the near future.
A PDF version of this can be found atNetaApp 2010 Nov 09 New NetApp storage systems, Data ONTAP, and other announcements
Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community.