NetApp has always been a data management company. Before cloud and software only trends emerged, NetApp sold data management solutions in hardware it sold, but that hardware was not manufactured by it for NetApp. They were merely certified commodity items.
The secret sauce if NetApp is not the hardware but the software. WAFL, a mature and robust log-structured file system, was invented long before the term was coined, it before any marketing-driven storage company blabbered that a flash system must be built from scratch.
NetApp made NAS robust enough for enterprise to adopt it.
NetApp brought dedupe to primary storage.
NetApp is the only storage-related company that allows you to have your virtual data center span engineered systems, virtual machine and native cloud.
The question itself is hard to answer. NetApp sells more than one type of storage.
ONTAP based storage is scale-out, scale-up unified storage (much more than that, but still).
E-series is NetApp's super fast scale up block storage.
SolidFire is clustered scale-out block storage, flash-only storage.
StorageGrid is NetApp's object storage.
AltaVault is NetApp's cloud backup gateway.
And more, less storagy products.
NetAppstorage systems are hardware- and software-based data storage and retrieval systems. They respond to network requests from clients and fulfill them by writing data to or retrieving data from disk arrays. They provide a modular hardware architecture running the Data ONTAP operating system and WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) software.
Data ONTAPis the operating system for all NetApp storage systems. Itprovides a complete set of storage management tools through its command-line interface, through System Manager, and through remote management devices such as the Service Processor (SP) and the Remote LAN Module (RLM).
How to improve the Netapp storage performance?
There is no direct answer for this question but we shall do it in several way.
1. If volume/lun present in ATA/SATA harddisk aggregate, then the volume can be migrated to FC/SAS disk aggregate. 2. For NFS/CIFS instead of accessing from single interface, multi mode vif can be configured to get better bandwidth and fault tolerance. 3. Always advised to keep aggr/vol utilization below 90%. 4. Avoid doing multiple volume backup in single point of time. 5. Aggr/volume/lun reallocation can be done to re–distribute the data to multiple disk for better striping performance. 6. Schedule scrubbing and deduplication scanning after business hours. 7. Avoid connecting different types of shelf in a same loop. 8. Avoid mixing up different speeds of disk and different types of disk in a same aggregate. 9. Always keep sufficient spare disk to replace incase of disk failure. Because reconstruction time will take more time and cause negative performance. 10. Keep the advised version of firmware/software which is recommended by netapp. 11. Better to have nearstore functionality to avoid backing up data from source filer.