NetApp is shaking up its enterprise data storage portfolio by launching an entirely new line of high-performance, cloud-friendly hybrid arrays and simplifying its lineup.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based technology company took the wraps off the FAS8000, unified SAN and NAS systems that deliver “2.6M IOPs of flash-integrated, low-latency performance,” according to the company. Or as Brendon Howe, VP of product and solutions marketing for NetApp, described to InfoStor, the “most capable and powerful boxes that we ever shipped.” Going forward, the company’s business storage offerings will fall into the entry-level FAS2200 line or the enterprise-class FAS8000, the latter of which he said “encompasses the midrange and high-end, all-in-one.”

FAS8000 offers “up to 3 times more flash capacity” than the previous generation (FAS3000 series), said Howe. Just taking into account “the raw processing power alone,” he added, “you get twice the performance you used to get.” In addition, a series of hardware and software optimizations grant new “flexibility in how the configurations are used within a cluster.”

The FAS8000 line is comprised of the FAS8020, FAS8040 and FAS8060. The top-of-the line, 32-core FAS8060 supports up to 18 TB of flash storage, 128 GB of memory and 16 GB of NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory). The 6U controller can manage up to 1,200 drives and 4,800 TB of storage. Connectivity is provided by UTA 2, 10 GbE, GbE and 6 Gb SAS ports (eight each).

Joining the new FAS800 hardware is NetApp’s FlexArray virtualization software. The software-defined storage (SDS) solution, which can be enabled on the system for a fee, decouples storage from data management and provides SAN and NAS management for third-party storage, particularly EMC and Hitachi, allowing data center operators to unify storage management under Data ONTAP, according to NetApp.

NetApp also announced Data ONTAP 8.2.1, which now supports “non-disruptive shelf removal” and includes “right-sizing capabilities” that analyzes application storage workloads and devotes the proper amount of flash and traditional hard drive storage to optimize I/Os. It also now provides data management and protection capabilities to branch offices delivered as a virtual appliance.

The company’s “flash-accelerated FAS enterprise storage systems combine scale-out innovation and rich data management capabilities in a single unified platform,” said George Kurian, executive vice president of Product Operations for NetApp, in a statement. “Our new FAS8000 series and enhanced software offerings allow customers to respond quickly to changing business needs, move seamlessly to an era of unbound clouds, and eliminate the overprovisioning of people, time, and money,” he asserted.

Financial analysts at Stifel view the launch as an example of software-defined storage’s heightened profile. “NetApp’s FAS8000 announcement highlights the continued architectural transition playing out in the overall storage market – enterprises evaluating not only new storage delivery models (public vs. private cloud) but also what we expect to become an expanding and accelerating discussion surrounding software-defined storage,” said the firm in a research note.

Proof lies in FlexArray. “The company emphasizes the support for consolidating SAN and NAS environments and we believe could be viewed as an extension of NetApp’s vision for software-defined storage capabilities,” added Stifel.

NetApp FAS8000, FlexArray and Data ONTAP 8.2.1 are available now.