5 Reasons Why NetApp’s Flash Storage Strategy Is a Game-Changer

By Ed Korenman, VP of Marketing, FusionStorm


The venerable hard-disk drive (HDD) has had a nearly 60-year run, but its dominance of the data center may be starting to wane. The laws of physics have made the HDD impractical in environments where near-instant response times are required.


With access times measured in milliseconds, HDDs aren’t keeping pace with the demands of today’s data-intensive applications and “real-time” service levels. Customers are forced to deploy greater numbers of partially filled disks in order to meet these performance requirements, resulting in wasted capacity and increased operational, real estate, and power and cooling costs.


Enter flash storage. Solid-state drives (SSDs) based upon flash memory chips instead of spinning disks can cut data access times to microseconds Flash delivers the responsiveness organizations need to meet the demands of high-performance applications and cloud computing models.


As a result, flash has gotten the attention of organizations struggling with storage performance bottlenecks. The market for flash storage is growing at 31 percent per year, and is expected to be worth $10 billion by 2016. Naturally, a number of vendors have jumped on this bandwagon, so it’s important to select a company that provides innovative solutions and a comprehensive product suite that is proven to support a wide range of workloads.


NetApp is that vendor. NetApp has been recognized as an SSD market leader by industry analysts thanks to its broad portfolio of flash-only and hybrid flash+HDD solutions. And now NetApp is expanding its product line to include new flash-accelerated and cloud-integrated solutions, including a refresh of its E-Series and EF-Series data storage systems and its performance-optimized SANtricity operating system.


NetApp flash storage strategy addresses the two distinct architectures that are emerging in the all-flash market segment. The company’s purpose-built flash architecture, called FlashRay, takes a scale-out, “software-designed” approach that can be optimized for specific workloads. NetApp built FlashRay from the ground up to maximize the capabilities of flash, with embedded data management tools and built-in efficiencies such as inline de-dupe and compression.


The second prong of NetApp’s all-flash strategy focuses on price/performance and IOPS density. An example is the EF550, which delivers 19TB of storage capacity and more than 400,000 IOPS with sub-millisecond latency in a 2U form factor. This scale-up design, which scales up to 96TB, leverages the SANtricity OS, which is optimized for dedicated, data-intensive workloads.


NetApp has also incorporated intelligent flash cache technology into its disk-based storage solutions. Once again, the company has taken a thoughtful approach that doesn’t assume one size fits all:


  • Flash Accel works at the server level to cache data as close to the application as possible without the drawbacks of direct-attached storage. It can improve the response time of virtualized application by up to 90 percent.
  • Flash Cache is a controller-attached solution that uses intelligent read caches to reduce latency by up to 10x and improves throughput for random read-intensive workloads. It requires no additional rack space and uses 1/20th of the power of a shelf of 15,000-rpm HDDs.
  • Flash Pool is a virtual storage tiering (VST) technology that accelerates reads and writes for high-performance OLTP applications. The SSD cache retains “hot” data during failovers to improve availability.


Simply put, NetApp’s comprehensive all-flash and flash+HDD portfolio is a real game-changer for midsize to large enterprises:

  • Faster application response times
  • Reduced storage acquisition costs
  • Improved capacity utilization
  • Increased IT efficiencies
  • Reduced data center real estate and power and cooling costs



As a NetApp Star Partner, FusionStorm helps customers take advantage of NetApp’s flash-accelerated and cloud-integrated storage solutions to support a wide range of workloads and deployment models. These solutions combine flash technology and enterprise-class reliability to bring new levels of performance to today’s data center.