NetApp Targets Both Ends of Enterprise Storage Market with New Hybrid Arrays

By Pedro Hernandez

NetApp launched two new storage systems, capping off a half-year of big changes to the company's product line.

Mark Welke, senior director of product marketing for NetApp, said today's launch of the new entry-level FAS2500 and the high-end FAS8080 EX marks a big milestone. "In six months, we completely refreshed the FAS storage systems line," he told InfoStor.

The sweeping overhaul not only yielded a completely flash-enabled line of storage arrays, but also one-stop-shopping approach to advanced data management that spans both private and external clouds, courtesy of the company's Data ONTAP software.

Describing the FAS2500 series as "the new standard for value," Welke said the storage systems are designed to allow the company's "customers to start small and grow big." Supporting both hybrid (SSD and HDD) and all-flash configurations, FAS2500 systems provide SAN and NAS capabilities, enhanced by a 48 percent increase in capacity and a 46 percent bump in application performance, compared to disk-based arrays.

Compared to the FAS2500's predecessor, the FAS2200, the new system ships with a minimum 336 TB of capacity versus 240 TB. Deduplication, thin provisioning and data compression come standard, allowing organizations to cut their storage requirements by 50 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum is the FAS8080 EX, "the biggest system that we've ever offered in the industry," said Welke.

The FAS8080 EX can scale to nearly 70PB of capacity and deliver up to 4 million IOPS for snappy performance on enterprise-grade database and cloud workloads, according to Welke. He noted that there are "600 I/O connections to an 8080EX." An all-flash FAS8080 EX can be configured over 4.6 PB of SSD-based storage.

NetApp FAS is based on a "very flexible unified scale out architecture to meet the broadest needs of the market," added Welke.

The analysts at Stifel agree. In a research note, Aaron C. Rakers, Joseph Quatrochi and Andrew Shinn, observed that the "FAS8080 EX will further extend NetApp’s ability to leverage Data ONTAP 8.2.1 OS with scale-out capabilities and transition from its traditional mid-market niche into higher-end deployments at the core of large enterprises and service providers' data centers."

Rakers, Quatrochi and Shinn concluded that "with 20 percent more raw capacity, 17 percent more drive capacity, double the DRAM capacity, double the NVRAM capacity (for write performance optimization), and double the Flash capacity, [the FAS8080 EX] enables NetApp to target larger and more mission-critical enterprise workloads."

Even its entry-level systems are exhibiting upmarket tendencies. The analysts at Stifel called attention to "the inclusion of NVRAM capacity in the new generation FAS2500, with 2GB-4GB available, a similar level compared to the company's mid-range FAS3200 Series solutions, which offer 3.2GB-4GB of NVRAM."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on June 17, 2014