Flying Through Clouds 7: Story Time: Taking it up to Warp Speed

By Dan Chilton and Bhavik Desai, NetApp Solutions Performance Engineers


Investing in Flash Storage


Sunil was excited. After a careful evaluation of several All Flash Storage solutions, the decision was made to purchase an All Flash FAS (AFF).  The key points that made AFF the best solution for his company were:


  • Rapid data access of the low latency solution even at heavy IOPs
  • Easy ability to insert the AFF into an existing cluster and move workloads to it non-disruptively.
  • Familiarity with Clustered Data ONTAP
  • Rock-solid enterprise reliability that he had seen in working with NetApp for over 10 years.


Now the NetApp FAS8060 with all SSD drives was installed and ready for action.




Sunil and Steve were meeting weekly with the application team.  The new patient document imaging system proof of concept had been a wild success and they were ready to go full production with a new VM and a new tier of storage.  The data migration strategy was to take the application from service platform C (a storage controller with SAS drives and Flash Cache) and move it to service platform A (an All Flash FAS).  This new application, once rolled out, would allow rapid access to patient image files cutting diagnosis and hospital stay time by 50%. 


After careful planning, Sunil was ready for migration.  Steve met him in a conference room and brought popcorn and cokes to watch the show.


Steve: “Sunil how many IOPs and how fast do you think they will be once we open the throttle up ‘wide open’ for this application?”

Sunil: “We ran some demo workloads on the AFF it was screaming fast.   It easily provided thousands of IOPs at latencies around 1 ms.”

Steve: “Awesome! Let’s get this this party started.”


They opened up OnCommand Insight (OCI) to check current IOPs and latency levels for the VM on spC before moving it to spA.  The new application was doing 4001 IOPs/sec with an average latency of 7 ms.


Taking it up to Warp Speed


Sunil initiated the vol move.  They didn’t have long to wait.  Even with the system under heavy load, the 500 GB was completely moved in just over an hour.   And once moved, IOPs were flying and latencies were tiny.


Steve: “Wow, look at that speed, 21000 IOPs with 1 ms latency.”

Sunil: “It’s pretty cool that the application didn’t go down during the transition either.”

Steve: “This is really cool!”

Sunil: “Let’s give it a few hours and then talk again.  Can you check with a couple of users to see how things are going for them?”

Sunil went back to his desk and took a look at the storage controller IOPs and system utilization.

He thought to himself, 31% system utilization, not bad at all.  There is still plenty of CPU utilization left.  The drive utilization looked good too. 

Steve called him that afternoon and said, “Sunil, you are awesome.  Do you know how hard it is to make nurses and doctors happy at the same time?” 

“The speed access to patient images is actually much faster than anticipated. Nice job!” said Steve.

Sunil said, “That’s great, I am so glad to hear it.  Well let me go, I need to get back to a couple of high priority things that came in this morning.”

Sunil takes out his video game system, puts on his headphones and starts video gaming with a dreamy look in his eye.