With its new FlexPod server-storage-networking modules, NetApp goes head on against EMC's Vblocks.
NetApp's Manish Goel wasn't kidding when he calmly told eWEEK that
the Nov. 9 announcement his company was making involved the biggest
product launch in NetApp history.
Goel, who serves as executive vice president of product operations for
the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage company, told eWEEK that the
catalog revamping focuses on new unified storage arrays for large and
midrange enterprises, an update of NetApp's ONTAP storage file system
and new data center building-block modules.
One of those new products, the FlexPod module, is designed for cloud
computing workloads and amounts to a head-on competitor to EMC's Vblock
unified server-storage-networking systems.
All the new arrays are NAND Flash-HHD hybrids. Some of these have a lot of NAND Flash in them; that's the way the industry as a whole is going
For its largest enterprise system customers, NetApp unveiled a new
series of big-hunk arrays, the FAS6200 line. These include the FAS6210
(capacity up to 2.4PB, 1,200 drives, 3TB of Flash cache), the FAS6240
(up to 2.9PB, 1,440 drives, 6TB Flash), and FAS6280 (up to 2.9PB, 1,440
drives, 8TB Flash).
Options in the new line include a maximum of 32 Fibre Channel
connections, eight 10GbE connections, 24 SAS connections, 192GB of RAM,
and 24 PCIe expansion slots. All of them have connectivity choices of
8Gbps Fibre Channel, 10GbE, or 6Gbps SAS.
Thanks largely to two or three times the NAND flash capacity as in
previous arrays, multicore processors, and better multithreading in its
updated ONTAP operating system, NetApp is claiming roughly twice the
performance in these new machines over previous generation systems.
For midrange-sized systems, NetApp announced the FAS3210 (capacity up
to 480TB, 240 drives, 512GB of Flash), the FAS3240 (1.2PB, 600 drives,
1TB of Flash Cache) and FAS3270 (1.9PB, 960 drives, 2TB of Flash Cache).
Other options in the FAS3200 line include a ceiling of 960 disk drives,
32GB of RAM, four external connections and 12 PCIe expansion slots.
PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect express) cards are used in PCs,
servers and storage arrays as a motherboard-level interconnect (to link
motherboard-mounted peripherals) and as an expansion card interface for
NetApp's version of Vblock is FlexPod
Goel also said NetApp is introducing validated, pre-configured, unified
server-storage-networking architectures based on its partnerships with
VMware and Cisco Systems.
Called FlexPod for VMware, these new systems use Cisco's UCS servers
and Nexus switch platforms, VMware's vSphere and vCenter software, and
NetApp's new FAS disk arrays.
"They are in effect similar to Vblocks that EMC is producing with Cisco
and VMware," Goel said. "The biggest difference is that these are a lot
more flexible to use; the Vblocks are much more rigid [in terms of the
types of components that can be used.]"
NetApp OS updated
NetApp's ONTAP v8.0.1 has a number of new features, such as Unified
Connect, which supports all Ethernet-based storage protocols --
including CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, and FCoE all together; native data
compression, which can be used in tandem with data deduplication;
better multithreading; and a so-called Transparent Data Mobility
component that allows users to move volumes between different classes
NetApp also has done away with all its management point products and
produced a new unified platform called OnCommand Management Software
Suite. This single-pane-of-glass software puts all of NetApp's data
center management controls into one suite.
Those include NetApp System Manager, Operations Manager, My
AutoSupport, Provisions Manager, Protection Manager, SnapManager,
SnapDrive and SANscreen.
Goel did not divulge pricing information for the new products, most of which are available now.