New SSDs Let You Optimize Hybrid and All-Flash FAS Storage

By Philip Trautman, NetApp Technical Consultant


Back in December, NetApp released two new SSDs for FAS platforms. The new 400GB and 1.6TB SSDs give us a very complete and extremely flexible SSD portfolio with 200GB, 400GB, 800GB and 1.6TB options.


You can use SSDs from this portfolio to decrease latency and increase throughput for important application workloads using either hybrid storage – combining SSD and HDD – or all-SSD configurations.


Hybrid Storage with Flash Pool

NetApp Flash Pool technology combines the capacity and low cost of HDDs with the low latency of SSDs in a single NetApp aggregate. (Aggregates are storage pools of RAID-protected drives.) The great thing about Flash Pool is it can actually lower your overall storage costs, increase capacity and improve performance.


For example, in tests on the FAS2240, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) found that – compared to a configuration using 10K RPM performance disks – a Flash Pool with high-capacity disks (7.2K RPM) plus just four SSDs decreased costs by almost 20% while increasing raw capacity by 48% and increasing OLTP IOPS by 46%. At the same time average response time (latency) fell by nearly a third. Cost per GB of storage and cost per IOPS both dropped by 40% or more. Results like that make choosing hybrid storage over HDDs alone a no-brainer.


If you’ve got an existing workload that needs a pick-me-up, you can convert an aggregate to Flash Pool simply by adding an SSD RAID group. The new Automated Workload Analyzer in Data ONTAP 8.2.1 helps make this easy by:

  • Determining the amount of SSD capacity you need based on real-time characteristics
  • Estimating the performance gain you’ll achieve


This is where our SSD portfolio comes in. Once you know how much SSD capacity you need, having a full range of choices lets you choose the optimal SSD configuration for your particular FAS platform. That’s not possible when you’ve only got one or two options.


All-Flash Aggregates

The NetApp SSD portfolio has similar advantages for anyone who needs the performance of an all-SSD configuration. You can deploy all-SSD aggregates for storage workloads that demand the maximum performance and the lowest latency from every transaction. Given the cost of SSDs, you obviously don’t want to deploy more devices than you need; our range of SSD capacities gives you a greater ability to optimize your configuration.


The FAS Flash Advantage

An advantage of FAS is that it lets you mix different types of aggregates in a single system – or a single scale-out cluster. For example, you can have all-HDD aggregates for capacity-oriented workloads, Flash Pool aggregates for performance plus capacity, and all-SSD aggregates for maximum performance. With clustered Data ONTAP, you can move workloads non-disruptively between these different tiers of storage as your needs change. By choosing the optimum SSD options – and deploying them only for the workloads that need them – you get more performance for less money than you would with a “one-size-fits-all” solution.


All-Flash FAS

While most people choose all-flash solutions from our EF product line, we’re also seeing an accelerating number of all-flash FAS deployments, especially for VDI and shared storage use cases. People choose all-flash FAS when they need the full FAS portfolio of benefits for unified storage, storage efficiency, integrated data protection, and data management.


To find out more about our portfolio of SSDs and all your disk shelf and media options for the FAS platform, go to the NetApp Disk Shelves and Storage Media page. You can also join or start a conversation on the NetApp Storage System Community page or contact NetApp Sales.