What’s the NetApp storage portfolio looking like for 2016?

Each vendors portfolio is ever evolving – driven by constant R&D and acquisitions. It is therefore useful to occasionally step back and see what a particular vendor has to offer and why you might choose a particular technology. Let’s take a quick look a NetApp, the acquisition of SolidFire has not yet been completed, but at this stage I am assuming it will be, so I am including it in this blog. In this first part I will be looking at SAN and Unified storage platforms: SAN storage E-Series and All-Flash E-Series (EF) Simple “Configure & Forget” provisioning with fast rebuilds – with no RAID or idle spares to manage Flexible modular design – including an ultra-dense 60 drive tray Continue reading

All-Flash and Hybrid Array bundles with integrated data protection now available from NetApp

Now, the recent announcement regarding the affordability of NetApp’s All-Flash FAS (AFF) does not change the fact that we are still a long way off (if ever) having all data sitting on flash, but what we are seeing is a steady increase – five plus years ago we only had HDDs, a few years ago maybe 2% flash, and today it is viable to have 20%+, but the majority of your data will still be on HDDs. One of the advantages of FAS is that you can create a cluster of mixed array types, each optimised for a specific role – an All-Flash AFF8060 for VDI and OLTP, a Hybrid FAS8020 for Virtualisation and an All-HDD FAS2554 for a Backup Vault. You can then non-disruptively move data around the cluster, so Continue reading

NetApp has just made 2015 the year of the affordable All-Flash Array – Part 1

The storage array industry has been struggling over the last few years, all the major vendors have seen a decline in revenues and whilst the start-ups appear to be doing well, the reality is that I do not believe any of them actually make a profit. On top of this there is a push towards software-defined storage (i.e. VMware VSAN) and hyper-converged platforms (i.e. EVO:RAIL and Nutanix), there are some advantages with these solutions, but like all new technologies there are also significant downsides – I have explored this in more detail here. Anyone who knows me, is very aware that I am a big fan of home cinema and analogies, so let’s compare home cinema equipment to a storage array – I am always on Continue reading

NetApp has just made 2015 the year of the affordable All-Flash Array – Part 2

In the previous post I looked at the background behind the NetApp All-Flash FAS (AFF) and explored how its commercial value proposition is likely to impact the storage industry, in this post I will look at the AFF in more detail – the key highlights are: Always-on data efficiency Inline Compression (8K) Inline Zero Write Elimination (4K) Always-On De-duplication (4K) Zero-overhead Thin Provisioning (4K) New flash optimisations to reduce latency Optimised SCSI Drivers Read Path Flash Optimisations Optimised thresholds as HDDs are not supported Built on many years of optimising FAS for flash Writes are not in the critical latency path Writes are coalesced in the memory before being de-staged Never overwrites the current version of that block New writes go to free Continue reading

Comparing the new NetApp AFF8000 series with EMC XtremIO 4.0

NetApp has just announced the AFF (All-Flash FAS) series of flash optimised arrays which has been tuned exclusively for Flash (HDDs are not supported). Included with the new models is an updated version of Clustered Data ONTAP (8.3.1) which adds Inline Compression with near-zero impact on system performance. At the same time EMC has announced XtremIO 4.0, this is a key release as it adds double disk protection, non-disruptive cluster expansion and native replication (with support for RecoverPoint). So how do these products compare? In many ways you would assume that this would be an easy win for XtremIO as it is a “ground-up” flash design, what is interesting is that in many ways the products are remarkably similar – the All-Flash Array market is really Continue reading