NetApp® recently announced a new FAS8000 Scale-Out Storage Platform which replaces the previous generation FAS3200 and FAS6200 series storage systems and includes a V-Series replacement using a software only FlexArray application. They also discussed some of the new Cluster Data ONTAP functionality available in 8.2.1.
New FAS8000 Scale-Out Storage platform
NetApp announced three new FAS8000 series storage systems: the FAS8020, the FAS8040 and the FAS8060 replacing the FAS3220, FAS3250 and FAS6220 storage systems, respectively. In general, the new hardware is optimized for more performance, supports more flash support and has more CPU cores than previous generation systems.
- The FAS8060 comes with 128GB of memory, 16GB of NVRAM, up to 8TB of Flash Cache, and up to 18TB of Flash Pool for a maximum combined flash storage of 18TB in a 6U package and can attach to 1200 drives. The new system supports 1.7X more performance than the FAS6220.
- The FAS8040 comes with 64GB of memory, 16GB of NVRAM, up to 4TB of Flash Cache and up to 12TB of Flash Pool for a maximum combined flash storage of 12TB in a 6U package and can attach to 720 disk drives. The new system supports 1.9X more performance than the FAS3250.
- TheFAS8020 comes with 48GB of memory, 8GB of NVRAM up to 3TB of Flash Cache and up to 6TB of Flash Pool for a maximum combined flash storage of 6TB in a 3U packing and can attach up to 480 drives. The new system supports 2.3x more performance than the FAS3220.
All the systems can come with 10GbE connectivity and UTA2 ports, which support 10GbE, FCoE or 16Gb FC via a software only configuration change. All the systems support optical, 6Gbps SAS and the drive shelves support 4TB/7200 RPM disk drives.
In addition, with the new FlexArray software application any FAS8000 product can support storage virtualization using internal storage and external storage systems. This software eliminates the need for a unique set of V-Series hardware platforms for storage virtualization and is now available as a license key enabled function with any FAS8000 series system.
The new FAS8000 series are generally available now.
Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2.1 (cDOT) and other enhancements
The new dot release of ONTAP supports some interesting functionality, including:
- Non-disruptive storage shelf replacements, which means that customers can take an existing drive shelf, move the data, take the shelf out and put a new shelf in.
- New ONTAP Edge support for Clustered mode, which means it can be configured as a member in a ONTAP storage cluster. Edge serves the remote/branch office environment and runs ONTAP software in a VM environment running under VMware.
- New AD authentication for Microsoft CIFS/SMB environments and better support for mixed AD-LDAP security environments.
Also NetApp announced new Automated Workload Analyzer (AWA) software, which is run in a customer shop to provide automated sizing recommendations for Flash Cache and Flash Pool storage configurations.
With FAS8000 product line, one can see a subtle shift in NetApp’s thinking with respect to hardware platforms. Last time, about a year or so ago, NetApp retired the FAS3270 using a low end FAS6200 series product to replace it. This go around NetApp has taken their entire mid-range and high-end, enterprise class systems and replaced them all with 3 new FAS8000 systems. It’s obvious from this, that cDOT Clustered mode is starting to be adopted more widely in their customer base. The clustering capabilities of cDOT are allowing NetApp to coalesce their FAS hardware platforms around a smaller number of systems. Where this all ends up is anyone’s guess but other vendor’s scale out systems only support one or two hardware engines and seem to do well enough relying on scalability to deal with the need for more performance/capacity.
On the other hand, when we asked NetApp about 7-mode, it was said that cDOT 8.2.1 still supports 7-mode but there were no new enhancements to 7-mode in this release. We see the FAS8000 platform as a transition platform for moving the remaining holdouts off of 7-mode.
ONTAP Edge clustered mode support is another critical factor in our mind. We asked the question whether there continues to be a need for the FAS2200 series products now that ONTAP Edge supports clustered mode. The answer is that FAS2200 still provides more flexibility in capacity and more hardware based HA capabilities that cannot be found in ONTAP Edge software only solution, but these seem to be arbitrary limitations, at least with respect to capacity that could be readily relaxed by NetApp. It would seem, for the moment that the FAS2200 series still has some life left in it, yet.
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Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community.