NetApp Loads Up Insight Conference With New-Product News

The company introduced a phalanx of new and enhanced storage software packages that it contends manages business data equally efficiently across data centers and the cloud.

LAS VEGAS—NetApp operates as if it is two storage companies rolled into one. In fact, it is.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which continues to iterate its own ONTAP flash and hybrid storage products in parallel with its recently acquired SolidFire division, opened its annual Insight conference here Sept. 26 by introducing a phalanx of new and improved storage software packages that it contends manages business data equally efficiently across data centers and the cloud.

Sept. 26 was a big day in the Las Vegas sun for NetApp in unveiling new products. The company announced several new all-flash storage systems for its bread-and-butter midrange clientele that promise increased performance and density over its existing lineup—something, of course, all storage companies tend to say at launch time.

Similar to 2015's "Building Data Fabric," "Data Fabric Now" is the theme for the conference, because that is where NetApp wants to be identified as a supplier in the marketplace.

SolidFire, on the other hand, is being rather quiet here as it continues to independently update its own lineup of all-flash storage systems in Boulder, Colo. SolidFire will make its own new-product announcements at a later date.

NetApp's latest ONTAP, version 9, is aimed at inducing users to upgrade their older IT racks into more efficient, easier-on-power and easier-to-use 21st-century systems. The goal is to enable users to integrate data siloes, automate processes to speed results and remove barriers to scale that limit growth.

Lineup of New Software, Hardware Products

Day 1 product announcements at Insight 2016 included:

--NetApp ONTAP 9. This is designed to improve the company's data services offering with built-in encryption for improved data security, support for massively scalable high-performance network-attached storage (NAS) containers and simplified provisioning for enterprise applications;

--Six new flash-optimized storage arrays, including what the company claims is the industry's fastest unified all-flash systems and highly scalable hybrid flash arrays, with simpler set-up and serviceability; and

--An additional data-location option with ONTAP Cloud now supporting the Microsoft Azure public cloud, complementing existing support for the market-leading Amazon Web Services public cloud.

New features inside ONTAP 9, the company's home-developed storage operating system, include the following:

--NetApp ONTAP FlexGroup, a massively scalable, high-performance NAS container designed for the latest generation of applications in the electronic design automation, technology, oil and gas exploration, and media and entertainment industries. FlexGroup allows users to scale a single container up to 20 petabytes and 400 billion files.

--NetApp Volume Encryption, which offers granular, volume-level, software-based, encryption for data on any type of drives across all ONTAP systems without requiring special additional self-encrypting disks.

--ONTAP Cloud support for Microsoft Azure. ONTAP Cloud is software-defined storage running in Azure that enables users to employ advanced ONTAP data services to efficiently share, move, protect and manage their cloud data. Users can now gain greater infrastructure flexibility by integrating Azure cloud services into their enterprise data fabric.

--ONTAP Select now supports all-flash commodity servers.

New All-Flash, Hybrid Arrays

NetApp's updated all-flash and hybrid arrays include:

--The AFF A700 all-flash system, designed for high-performance workloads and configuration flexibility; and the AFF A300 all-flash system, optimized for midrange-size, all-flash configurations. NetApp said these new systems offer up to twice the performance of prior systems at half the latency. The company claims these systems are easy to set up (under 10 minutes, on average), have greater serviceability and provide expanded support for multi-stream-write and 15TB SSDs.

--New hybrid flash systems including the FAS8200 for enterprise workloads and the FAS2650 and FAS2620, optimized for small enterprises and midsize businesses. The new systems offer increased speed and responsiveness, with up to 200 percent higher performance than that of earlier NetApp systems and integrated NVMe NetApp Flash Cache intelligent caching, NetApp said.
--The new FAS9000 for business-critical workloads, which gives users the ability to easily scale-up to 14PB in a system and scale out to 172PB in a cluster. This capability provides users with the right size solution for their needs today and growth options for the future.

--The industry's first support of 32G-bit Fibre Channel and 40G-bit Ethernet, in addition to the 12Gb SAS-3 storage connection, optimizing the infrastructure for flash.

--Intelligent modular design for AFF A700 and FAS9000 to enhance reliability, availability and serviceability, and simplify future upgrades.

Pricing information was not made available. NetApp said that all the new systems will ship in the fourth quarter.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...