Tech OnTap Articles

Deploying E-Series for Enterprise Applications


February 2015


Mark Henderson
Senior Technical Marketing Manager

There's a perfect storm happening in the enterprise-application space. New servers with the latest Haswell processors are shipping; demand is high due to the wave of server replacements triggered by the end of life of Windows Server 2003. At the same time, enterprise applications are increasingly licensed on a per-core basis.


Together, these and other factors are driving a huge financial incentive for increased storage performance to drive up the utilization level of each core, drive down the number of servers needed, and decrease license costs. (For more on this topic, read Flash Delivers Storage Performance for an Impatient World in this issue.)


NetApp® can help you address your enterprise storage requirements with a portfolio of high-performance FAS, All-Flash FAS, EF-Series, and E-Series storage systems.


E-Series Is Enterprise-Ready


The E-Series product line is purpose-built for demanding SAN applications. For those of you more familiar with FAS, the E-Series (and EF-Series) product lines share many of the same enterprise-class features:


  • Field-proven and enterprise-hardened (nearing one million systems shipped)
  • Highly-available (>99.999%) with zero scheduled downtime
  • Simple to manage
  • Comprehensive ecosystem of partners
  • Worldwide services and support

The world's largest database and largest data warehouse run on E-Series. In addition, several leading world media companies, the biggest online store, and the number two stock exchange all rely on E-Series technology for their storage needs.


Where Do You Manage Data?


Where E-Series and FAS storage differ is in their approach to data management. While FAS delivers comprehensive data management, E-Series leaves data management to the application and instead focuses on optimized performance, application integration, and great economy.


The latest versions of popular enterprise applications—including Oracle, SQL Server, and Exchange Server—are integrating more data management at the application level, so it's up to you to decide where to perform data management: on the application or in storage.


There can be compelling reasons to take advantage of data management features in the application. For instance:


  • Compression and deduplication on the server side decrease I/O and save interface and network bandwidth
  • Encryption ensures that data is secure, both as it traverses the network and on storage

With free application plug-ins, E-Series is the ideal storage solution for enterprise applications where data management is done by the application, and you don't pay extra for data management features you don't need.


In this article I'll introduce the new E-Series flagship, the E5600, and explain how it meets the performance and availability needs of the latest enterprise SAN applications.


Is E-Series the Right Choice for Your Application Needs?


Before we dig into speeds and feeds, here's a simple set of questions that can help you decide if E-Series is the right NetApp option for a particular workload.




Table 1) Guidelines for choosing between E-Series and FAS




Source: NetApp, 2015




E5600: Optimized for Performance


The best way to improve server and application performance—and decrease overall server and application licensing costs—is to accelerate storage I/O. Eliminating I/O bottlenecks allows cores to process more transactions in less time and increases server utilization. Doubling utilization can cut the number of servers you need in half and decrease licensing costs.


This is where the new E-Series flagship—the E5600—comes in. The E5600 has the same performance profile as its all-flash cousin, the EF560. The E5600 supports hybrid configurations with the ability to support hard disk drives (HDDs) for capacity and $/GB optimized configurations. You can read more about EF560 performance in this month's article, Accelerating Database Performance with All-Flash Storage.


In brief, the E5600 delivers 650,000 sustained IOPS and up to 900,000 burst IOPS. It also can deliver up to 12GB/s sustained read bandwidth and 6GB/s sustained write bandwidth. Approximately 120 drives are needed to support 12GB/s reads for streaming applications. (Just to be clear, you can't achieve both 650k IOPS and 12GB/s at the same time.)




Table 2) E5600 metrics, including performance and requirements.




Source: Netapp, 2015


Performance Enhancements


There are a number of enhancements that accelerate the performance of the E5600.


  • Multi-Core CPUs: The E5600 features new 6-core Intel Xeon processors.
  • Multi-Core SANtricity Support: We've optimized the latest SANtricity 8.20 software by splitting workloads across cores,  reducing latency by 50%.
  • Support for the Fastest Fabric Connections: The EF560 features an expanded set of host connectivity options for 8x 12Gb SAS and 4x 56Gb InfiniBand, in addition to our 8x 16Gb Fibre Channel and 8x 10Gb iSCSI.

E5600 Configurations


The E5600 is available in a variety of configurations including the E5660, which packages dual controllers in a 4U, 60-drive shelf that can accommodate a variety of media tiers, including SSDs and SAS and NL-SAS disk drives. The E5560 delivers great density with up to 360TB of capacity in just 4U of rack space and is extremely power efficient. E5600 power supplies exceed EPA ENERGY STAR requirements.


E-Series hybrid configurations are ideal for large databases and data warehouses. Log files and critical tables can be stored on flash while HDDs provide capacity for bulk storage.


E-Series: Excellent for Analytics
A worldwide food manufacturer deployed three E-Series system to support SAS analytics, each with a pool of SSDs plus HDDs for bulk storage. The solution exceeds SAS performance requirements and enables near real-time reporting to support critical decision making. Scaling occurs through the addition of HDDs, so costs stay under control. (Read success story.)




Table 3) E5600 product specifications.




Source: NetApp, 2015




Enterprise Availability


thd_fig_a.jpgThe E-Series product line includes three platforms: E2700, E5500, and E5600. All E-Series platforms, including the E5600, offer greater than five 9s availability. When deployed per NetApp best practices, availability in excess of six 9s is typical. The E-Series combines field-proven technology and leading reliability, availability, and serviceability features, protecting your data and delivering uninterrupted availability.


The latest SANtricity release includes a number of additional availability enhancements:


  • Online drive firmware upgrades
  • Drive evacuator (copy data off a failing drive)
  • DDP critical-segment rebuild

With the latest enhancements there is never a need to take a storage system down for maintenance. All operations can be accomplished with the E5600 online.


Partner Ecosystem and Interoperability


The partner ecosystem that comes with an enterprise-class storage system is a major advantage. Not only is there broad support for network gear, applications, drivers, firmware, and so on—the E-Series interoperability matrix includes 85,000 items—there is also "zero day currency" for 99.99% of the items we support. For example, when Oracle releases a new patch or Emulex releases a new HBA driver, NetApp is able to offer immediate support.  This is a significant R&D commitment from NetApp, to deliver the most reliable solutions possible. Furthermore, if there is an application change, E-Series can support it immediately.


App-Aware: Enterprise Application Support


As I said earlier, the focus of all E-Series platforms is to facilitate applications that perform their own data management functions. One way we achieve this is by allowing you to manage your storage from the applications themselves.


To help make sure that E-Series and EF-Series integrate seamlessly into your environment, we offer a number of app-aware plugins that increase automation, reduce errors, save time, and provide a more application-centric view of your environment. This includes plug-ins for:


  • Oracle® Enterprise Manager
  • Microsoft® SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)
  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)

E-Series arrays also support the complete set of VMware® interfaces for efficient operations: VASA, SRA and vCenter.


Learn more about application-awareness (login required) for NetApp E-Series.


Where Does E-Series Fit in Your Enterprise?


E-Series is a great complement to NetApp FAS storage systems. With our new flagship E5600 hybrid SAN platform, NetApp continues to expand E-Series capabilities with greater performance and new features.


If you're a long-time FAS customer, you may already be considering areas where E-Series will fit into your operations. If you're an E-Series or an OEM customer, the performance enhancements in the new E5600 can take your storage environment to the next level.




Mark has extensive marketing, product management, and systems engineering experience in storage, storage networking, networking, data protection, applications, archiving, and HPC design and operations. He enjoys presenting to and conversing with customers and groups, solving problems, creating related videos, and winning in the market.



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