NetApp positions ONTAP 8 as cloud storage platform

By Kevin Komiega

-- NetApp today officially entered the cloud storage arena with the launch of Data ONTAP 8, the latest version of the company's operating system and, according to NetApp, a foundation for delivering IT as a service.

With Data ONTAP 8, NetApp is essentially combining its existing operating systems –
ONTAP 7G and the high-performance ONTAP GX platform based on technology acquired from Spinnaker Networks in 2003 – under a single code base to create a storage platform with both scale-up and scale-out capabilities.

Data ONTAP 8 offers secure multi-tenancy through NetApp's MultiStore technology, role-based data management and monitoring tools for service automation, and integrated data protection for backup and recovery.

Add in transparent data movement via the forthcoming NetApp Data Motion technology and support for 64-bit storage aggregates, which allows for storage deployments in the multi-petabyte range, and you have a cloud storage platform, according to Patrick Rogers, NetApp's vice president of solutions marketing.

"Data ONTAP 8 brings together 7G and GX in a single platform. Data ONTAP 8 is the foundation, the vehicle by which we bring efficiency and flexibility [to the data center]," Rogers says.

The aforementioned Data Motion technology treats data volumes as VMware's VMotion technology treats virtual machines. Data Motion allows users to move and load-balance volumes between controllers and across the WAN while maintaining transactional integrity, according to Rogers.

Existing ONTAP customers can receive ONTAP 8 at no charge, while new customers will find ONTAP 8 software in NetApp's FAS and V-Series platforms. The total cost of an ONTAP 8-based system is based upon configuration.

In addition to the ONTAP OS launch, NetApp is set to ship some new hardware devices, including a flash-based Performance Acceleration Module (PAM) and a new disk shelf.

According to company officials, the second-generation flash-based caching module, the Performance Acceleration Module II, is an alternative to using solid-state disk (SSD) drives in disk systems. The PAM II card is available in 256GB and 512GB capacities and can be configured with up to 4TB of cache. The PAM cards are designed to boost performance across workloads using existing gear, essentially delivering Fibre Channel speeds with low-cost SATA disks.

New SAS/SATA system

NetApp also introduced the DS4243 disk shelf, a SAS/SATA disk subsystem that offers up to 24TB of capacity in a 4U rack space.

Data ONTAP 8, PAM II, and the DS4243 disk shelf are scheduled to be available in September. NetApp's Data Motion technology will be available in early 2010.

The 256GB PAM II card is estimated to cost $40,000, while the 512GB PAM has an estimated cost of $80,000. The software license for the PAM cards is currently being offered at no additional charge.

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This article was originally published on August 25, 2009