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

EMC, HDS & NetApp Storage Portfolio Videos now available on YouTube

As well as being one of the most expensive, your storage infrastructure is likely to be the single most critical element of your physical and virtualised IT environment. While CPU, RAM and Network resources can directly affect the performance of some of your systems, poorly sized or badly integrated storage, will damage the performance of ALL your systems and may render servers and services unusable. So it’s always worth taking the time to understand the storage that’s available and digging a little deeper to ensure it’s going to deliver great performance and good value for money. To start the ball rolling, we’ve provided three short videos that give a quick introduction to the storage offerings available from the three major storage Continue reading

Managing Education … in a Flash!

I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of education institutions over the past fourteen years. In that time, through the progress of Virtual Learning Environments, Interactive Smart Boards and BYOD there has always been one piece of the IT puzzle in academia that has required extra attention and resources. I speak of course about the Management Information System. Be it Unit-e, SIMS or EBS running on Microsoft SQL or Oracle, it is the core information system that tracks the life-cycle of the learner. The MIS also provides a framework for managing curriculum portfolios and feeds assessment information and outcomes into data warehouses. And, as you are no doubt aware, accurate and timely returns are crucial to securing the correct levels Continue reading

Comparing EMC, HDS and NetApp All-Flash and Hybrid block arrays

Flash has changed storage forever and almost every new array purchase needs to have some degree of flash included, so the market now offers three distinct types of array: Hybrid – Exploits the performance of flash and the lower cost of HDDs All-Flash hybrid – Packaged to deliver a low cost per GB of flash Ground-up design – Purely designed for flash with no support for HDDs As always there is a huge range of price points, due to the architecture, features and performance scaling, for these arrays. Efficiency features are critical in some use cases (i.e. VDI), but less so in many others and performance scaling for the majority of solutions is substantially higher than legacy arrays built just for Continue reading

So is it true that NetApp have a “pure” block storage array?

NetApp is best known for their FAS range of storage arrays which is predominantly a NAS platform that also provides block storage on top of their Write Anywhere File Layout (WAFL). Because of WAFL the platform provides unified capabilities across NAS and block, and enables efficient de-duplication, compression, thin provisioning and snapshot-based backup and recovery. It is therefore not a “pure” block platform that allows a LUN to be laid out on the disks using physically sequential Logical Block Addresses – these platforms provide more consistent performance as there is a minimal metadata overhead. In 2011 NetApp purchased LSI’s Engenio storage division which provides them with a “pure” block platform – no CIFS or NFS in sight. The technology was then launched to market as Continue reading