NetApp FAS and E-Series – what’s new for 2016?

Most large IT infrastructure vendors are having a very busy time updating their products to better integrate with Public Cloud services and fully exploit the performance of flash. One such vendor is NetApp, let’s take a quick look at what they have been up to when it comes to their core storage platforms:

FAS
New hardware platforms:

  • FAS2600 (2U including drives)
    • 100,000 IOPS at <1ms latency
    • 1 TiB on-board Flash Cache per HA pair
  • FAS8200 and All-Flash FAS A300 (3U)
    • 280,000 IOPS at <1ms latency
    • 2 TiB (Max 4 TiB) on-board Flash Cache per HA pair
  • FAS9000 and All-Flash FAS A700 (8U)
    • 500,000 IOPS at <1ms latency
    • 2 TiB (Max 16 TiB) on-board Flash Cache per HA pair

With the following enhancements:

  • Massive performance increase (more cores, RAM and 12Gbs SAS)
  • On-board NVMe M.2 Flash Cache as standard
  • Support for multi-stream-write SSDs
    • Improves performance and write endurance
  • In-band SAS management (no need for separate ACP cables)
  • No need for additional FC-VI cards in a FAS8200 MetroCluster
  • 40 GbE and 32 GB FC connectivity for FAS8200 and above

New software updates in ONTAP 9.0 include:

  • Inline Data Compaction
    • Works with compression for even greater reduction
  • RAID-TEC (Triple Erasure Coding)
  • SnapLock (WORM retention for compliance)
  • Support for 15 TB SSDs
  • Up to 60% more IOPS
  • SSD partitioning for nearly 20% improvement in usable capacity
  • Mobile device AutoSupport application
  • Headroom monitoring in Performance Manager
  • On-board Key Manager
  • AFF SAN/NAS Optimised Provisioning for Oracle, VMware, VDI & SQL
  • MetroCluster
    • Selectively replicate aggregates
    • Support for 8-node NAS clusters
  • ONTAP Select (Software-Defined Storage)
    • HA scale-out architecture (single node or 4-nodes with 2 HA pairs)
    • Supports vSphere and KVM
  • ONTAP Cloud for AWS
    • HA architecture (up to 2-nodes)

… and ONTAP 9.1 includes:

  • Software-based Volume Encryption
  • Further improvements in IOPS and latency
  • ONTAP Cloud for Microsoft Azure
  • FlexGroup NAS containers
    • Single namespace, up to 20 PB and 400 billion files, with consistent low latency

Beyond ONTAP 9.1 NetApp have announced something called FabricPool – now this is a really cool feature that will allow an All-Flash FAS to automatically tier inactive blocks of data (SAN or NAS) to Amazon S3 or NetApp StorageGRID object storage – whilst providing seamless access to the data if it is needed. More information will follow when the technology is released next year.

E-Series
New hardware platforms:

  • E2800 All-flash and Hybrid

Includes a significant performance increase (300,000 IOPS at <1ms latency) and on-board HTML-5 based GUI.

Conclusion
Overall you would have to say that this is good progress from NetApp, with both solid hardware and software updates across their core storage platforms. Delivering enhancements to each platform approximately every 6 months seems like a sensible strategy and we now have a nice range of software-defined storage and hybrid cloud options with ONTAP.

Mark Burgess has worked in IT since 1984, starting as a programmer on DEC VAX systems, then moving into PC software development using Clipper and FoxPro. From here he moved into network administration using Novell NetWare, which kicked-off his interest in storage. In 1999 he co-founded SNS, a consultancy firm initially focused on Novell technologies, but overtime Virtualisation and Storage. Mark writes a popular blog and is a frequent contributor to Twitter and other popular Virtualisation and Storage blog sites.
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About Mark Burgess

Mark Burgess has worked in IT since 1984, starting as a programmer on DEC VAX systems, then moving into PC software development using Clipper and FoxPro. From here he moved into network administration using Novell NetWare, which kicked-off his interest in storage. In 1999 he co-founded SNS, a consultancy firm initially focused on Novell technologies, but overtime Virtualisation and Storage. Mark writes a popular blog and is a frequent contributor to Twitter and other popular Virtualisation and Storage blog sites.

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