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The Most Exciting New NetApp Technologies of 2013

This post was originally published to the Zumasys Blog by Ryan Beaty.

 

There are a lot of things I like about working with NetApp, but my favorite thing is to see the innovative and groundbreaking new technologies that they’re constantly putting out. They have a long history of not just improving existing technologies but creating radical new products that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. It looks like 2013 is going to be another huge year for NetApp.

 

Here are my picks for the most exciting new NetApp technologies of 2013.

 

Clustered Data ONTAP
With clustered Data ONTAP, NetApp has taken its #1 storage operating system and added a new clustering capability that stands apart from anything else on the market today. It intelligently optimizes your infrastructure to achieve maximum utilization with high performance. Coupled with FlexCache, Clustered Data ONTAP will be a game changer for large enterprises requiring extreme response times. It untethers your data from individual storage nodes so you get nonstop operations—that’s 99.999% data availability. To grow, add nodes to the cluster, and you can effortlessly scale to tens of petabytes.

 

Clustered ONTAP is not yet available to NetApp partners, but Zumasys will be ready when it is. As one of the first partners to achieve NetApp Professional Services Clustered ONTAP Professional and Specialist Accreditation, we will be able to help NetApp as they once again leave their mark on the storage industry.

 

Flash Accel and Flash Pool
Flash Accel is another NetApp product that I am really excited about. It’s changing the game for latency. This software accelerates performance at the server level by using Flash devices as a local cache for hot data. The result? Up to 90% reduction in latency, up to 80% increase in throughput, and up to 100% utilization.

 

We are also seeing really good results with Flash Pool technology. Flash Pool is a combination of hard disks and solid-state drives with intelligent read and write caching capability. Firsthand experience is showing around 25% writes offloaded to the solid-state disks in VMware environments. By offloading writes to Flash Pool, you get higher throughput with fewer disk drives. Fewer disk drives means you can save on rack space, power, cooling, and maintenance. Flash Pools also eliminate the need for expensive 10k and 15k SAS drives. Flash Pool on top of 7.2k SATA drives not only gives you better performance than traditional spinning disks, it also gives you more storage since SATA drives have larger capacities. Do more with less. It’s classic NetApp.

 

E-Series
We are all acutely aware that the world is generating data at an unbelievable rate. Big data is here and it’s only getting bigger. NetApp E-Series is a storage infrastructure, analogous to NetApp FAS systems, for high-performance, low-latency computing and big data analytics. Whereas NetApp FAS systems are ideal for shared, virtualized infrastructure, E-Series is an application- or workload-specific dedicated infrastructure that is optimized for the best price to performance ratio.

 

FlashRay
Technically, FlashRay won’t be available until 2014, but that’s not stopping me from getting pumped up about it. FlashRay is a 100% solid state system for write-intensive workloads that eliminates the traditional storage bottleneck of enterprise systems. NetApp doesn’t have features sets on the FlashRay yet, but NetApp Vice Chairman Tom Mendoza has hinted that it will be like the FAS series systems with the Data ONTAP feature sets we are used to, including SnapMirror and SnapVault. Currently the only similar product is NetApp’s Flash Array, runs on NetApp E-Series and SANtricity.

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Comments
on ‎2014-06-19 02:55 AM

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on ‎2015-03-05 05:14 AM

 Coupled with FlexCache, Clustered Data ONTAP will be a game changer for large enterprises requiring extreme response times.

Any idea, whether FlexCache will reappear in ONTAP 8.3.x?

Or why it's gone away?

 

Sebastian

 

on ‎2015-03-05 06:19 AM

Hi Sebastian -

 

Not being NetApp I can't state with certainty, but I suspect FlexCache has been retired mostly because it isn't needed anymore (except perhaps in some very edge cases).  With Clustered Data Ontap 8.2, both NFS and CIFS accesses can be automatically redirected to the node where the original data exists for future accesses thorugh either NFS 4.1 (pNFS) or CIFS redirection.  If the data is being accessed enough to stay live in the FlexCache of alternate nodes it is just as likely to stay live in the cache of the original node so access with redirection essentially accomplishes the same thing.

 

It isn't the exact same performance profile of course, but it likely suffices for the vast majority of use cases.

 

Of course, CIFS redirection can be easily defeated with if one has a poor global namespace implementation, but that is a separate topic.