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NetApp flexes all-flash array, flashes Flexpod revenues

Firm unveils guarantees + Data Fabric kits in Vegas, baby

NetApp, the soon-to-be undisputed leading stand-alone storage company, has announced all-flash array guarantees nicely timed to resonate with the uncertainties now affecting EMC and Dell storage array products.

It is said that, compared to enterprise database applications running on traditional non-flash, disk-based systems, customers trying out its EF540 or AFF8000 all-flash arrays will get a 3x improvement in IOPS at 1msec latency with SQL and Oracle-type workloads. If customers do not see the 3x performance improvement, NetApp will provide up to two days of professional optimization services at no cost to the customer.

To qualify for this 3x Performance Guarantee the customer must:

  • Purchase either an All Flash FAS8080 or EF560.
  • Purchase support for the Flash System from NetApp or a NetApp authorised partner.
  • Purchase installation and implementation services for the Flash System from NetApp or a NetApp authorised partner.
  • Meet with NetApp or a NetApp authorised partner to evaluate the performance of a Customer's Traditional Storage System, and follow NetApp's documented best practices related to configuration of the Flash System.
  • Enable AutoSupport features available with the Flash System and sign the Terms and Conditions of the program at the time of purchase. Customer agreement forms for submission will be provided on Field Portal.

Lee Caswell, NetApp VP for product and solutions marketing, suggested that an EF540 could be used as an accelerating co-processor in SANs with IO problems, relocating, say, the 20 per cent of the IOs that consume most of the processing time in a traditional disk array.

Alternatively, where VMAX, VNX, Dell SC (Compellent), or PS (EqualLogic) arrays are coming to the end of their warranty, then an AFF800 with its unified file and block protocols and scale-out CDOT software could be a reliable and future-proof replacement "in these times of uncertainty." He says the Data ONTAP environment "provides a single platform spanning flash, cloud, and disk resources."

Flexpod flag flying

Separately, NetApp said five years of FlexPod reference converged system architecture partnership by Cisco and NetApp had achieved shared revenues of $5.6bn. More than 6,300 customers and 1,100 partners worldwide have contributed to this.

NetApp CEO George Kurian flew a hybrid public-private cloud flag, saying: "The capabilities of Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite and NetApp Data Fabric enable customers to seamlessly extend their IT systems from the private cloud to the public cloud."

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins chimed in: "Cisco and NetApp share the same vision to empower every country, city, and company to become digital. To do this, IT organizations need a simpler approach to deploy and manage infrastructure. Together, FlexPod and Cisco's partner network improve deployment time and prepare customers for the next wave of data center transformation."

A plenitude of customers provided fulsome FlexPod-supporting quotes. Here's Scott Richert, VP enterprise services at Mercy: "With the help of the NetApp FlexPod architecture, we have saved over 40 per cent of storage space, reduced power consumption by 50 per cent, and now provide rapid access to and data protection for millions of patients."

Data Fabric activity

NetApp's Data Fabric concept is to have NetApp software and hardware function as a single hybrid cloud storage resource covering storage located on-premises in NetApp arrays and also in the public cloud – meaning Amazon mostly, so far. As far as users are concerned, it's working towards them having a single virtual data resource with both on- and off-premises components melded together.

At its Las Vegas Insight event running this week, NetApp announced:

  • Data Fabric Solution Essentials starter kits to make it easier for customers to become hybrid cloud ready.
  • Data Fabric Enablement Services to help customers create their own data fabrics.
  • Expansion of cloud provider relationships to Google, with NetApp now a Google Cloud Platform Technology Partner.
  • Data security, additional media support, volume capacity increases, and other enhancements to Cloud ONTAP, NetApp's software to deploy enterprise-grade storage in the cloud and automate data movement to and from their premises and Amazon Web Services.
  • Enhanced security and other capabilities for AltaVault, its cloud-backup appliance.

The Google cloud move means NetApp is now one of Google's Technology Partners that provides tools to extend the Google Cloud Platform's reach and functionality. NetApp says its customers "can choose from more than 275 service providers to craft their hybrid cloud, with support for multi-cloud and multi-directional strategies and integration of resources that are on-premises, near-the-cloud, and in-the-cloud."

There are three Data Fabric Solution Essentials starter kits:

  • Application Acceleration solution kit to help customers deploy a 4-node flash and disk cluster for Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases.
  • OpenStack solution kit with FlexPod so customers can get up and running on an OpenStack private cloud in days, with known costs and proven capabilities.
  • Snap-to-Cloud DR solution kit for moving DR operations to the cloud, including a one-year license for a Cloud ONTAP software subscription, installation services, and three years of support.

The Data Fabric concept is becoming, if it is not already, NetApp's main product capability and positioning framework for enterprise, hybrid cloud computing, and storage. Check out a 30-page Data Fabric technical white paper here [PDF]. ®

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