NetApp bolsters midrange FAS, V series

By Dave Simpson

—This week, Network Appliance will add new models to its midrange FAS (stand-alone) and V (virtualization) series of "unified storage" disk arrays.

(The V series are front-end controllers that can be used to virtualize other vendors' arrays in either block- or file-based formats. With this week's announcement, NetApp will add support for EMC's Clariion disk arrays. The V series already supports EMC's Symmetrix systems and disk arrays from Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.)

The new FAS3040 provides twice the performance and 50% more capacity than the FAS3020 and is based on the same architecture as NetApp's FAS6000 line. (The FAS3020 can be upgraded to a FAS6000 via a controller swap.)

Common specs of the FAS3040 and V3040 include a 64-bit architecture, up to 252 disk drives (Fibre Channel or SATA) for up to 126TB of capacity, and support for 4Gbps Fibre Channel and 1Gbps Ethernet ports. A 10Gbps Ethernet card is due mid-year, according to Patrick Rogers, NetApp's vice president of solutions marketing.

Like all FAS systems, the FAS3040s support both SAN (Fibre Channel and iSCSI) and NAS. Interestingly, Rogers claims that about 70% of FAS users run the systems in both NAS and SAN mode, and among the SAN configurations about one-third are iSCSI and two-thirds are Fibre Channel.

In terms of performance

  • A Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP) test demonstrated support for up to 14,000 Exchange users at 1.0 I/Os per second (IOPS) per user; and
  • A SPEC_SFS benchmark produced throughput of 60,038 I/O requests per second, with an overall response time of 1.17ms per request.

The Exchange test exemplifies block-based (SAN) I/O, while the SPEC benchmark is designed to measure file-based (NAS) I/O performance.

On the SAN front, NetApp officials claim the FAS3020 competes most directly with EMC's Clariion CX3-40 array and Hewlett-Packard's StorageWorks EVA8000. On the NAS front, the FAS3040 competes most directly with EMC's Celerra NS80/NS80G and HP's StorageWorks EFS Clustered Gateways, according to NetApp officials.

In terms of feature differentiators, NetApp cites the FAS3040's support for RAID-6 double parity (dubbed RAID-DP), thin provisioning, a single management framework across all FAS models, multi-protocol support (Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS, and CIFS) and, in SAN mode, support for as many as 127,500 snapshots.

Pricing for the FAS3040 starts at approximately $83,000 for a system with 2TB of raw storage capacity.

This article was originally published on March 05, 2007