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

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

Is there another storage platform as feature rich as NetApp FAS?

I think it is fair to say that NetApp FAS running Clustered Data ONTAP is a very feature rich platform – the move to the clustered version of ONTAP has brought many next-generation features including Scale-out and Non-disruptive Operations. As a benchmark let’s compare FAS to EMC’s solutions – I fully appreciate that EMC has taken a best of breed approach, but my feeling is that for most non-enterprise customers this is not a sustainable strategy – customers want simplicity and ease of use, and you are not going to get that by deploying four different storage platforms to meet your needs. I have chosen EMC because they are the overall market share leader and they have the broadest set Continue reading

Does the All-Flash Array really make sense?

I think the answer to the question has to be yes, but I would caveat this by stating that I believe it is going to be a very unique use case. The better question is – does the All-Flash LUN/Datastore make sense? The answer to this question is yes and not just to a small part of the market, I think today most organisations could justify a small amount of All-Flash. Let’s explore this in more detail starting with a definition of the different storage workloads: Tier 1 – Ultra high IOPS with peak latency under 1 ms Arrays that have been designed from the ground-up for Flash ironically are not as good as you would think in this category, the reason for 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

EMC RecoverPoint is now storage agnostic

The history of RecoverPoint is an interesting one – first off it was available via a host-based (i.e. Windows) or Fabric-based (i.e. Brocade) splitter and used dedicated physical appliances. Things got really interesting when EMC built the splitter technology into their arrays (VNX, VMAX and VPLEX) as it became much simpler and more cost effective to deploy. The next phase of its evolution was to create a virtual appliance that can be deployed more cost effectively that the physical appliances – initially these were even free, but now there is a nominal charge for them. The next logical progression of the technology is to go back to the beginning and build new host splitters, but for hypervisors rather than operating 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

Introduction to EMC XtremIO all-flash array video now available on YouTube

EMC announced last May that they had acquired XtremIO and over the last 18 months they have been working with numerous customers to get the product ready for general release – that time has now come. So what does XtremIO bring to the table – and has it been worth the wait? Check out our introductory video to see if it is the perfect fit for your extreme performance requirements. For more information read our previous post – Introducing EMC’s all-flash array – XtremIO. 0 by

EMC Storage Solutions Overview – Q4 2013 update

This is our regular update providing a summary of EMC’s storage solutions that SNS focus on. The following core products are covered – VNX, RecoverPoint, VPLEX Metro, XtremIO, XtremSF and XtremCache, and Data Domain. VNX – Unified Storage The VNX builds on the popular CLARiiON and Celerra platforms, and provides dual controller block (FC, FCoE and iSCSI) and NAS (CIFS, NFS and pNFS) scale-up storage. The recently updated platform (“VNX2″) focuses on Flash drive performance scaling, tier 1 capabilities such as Active-Active LUN access, and capacity optimisation using de-duplication and tiering. Key strengths: Multi-core optimisation designed for Flash, 4th generation Flash Cache and tiering technology, de-duplication, and state-of-the-art VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V support across all protocols and replication technologies RecoverPoint – Continue reading