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Dave Hitz, executive vice president and co-founder of NetApp, said that Flash Pool is a technology that provides a path for customers to adopt Flash storage as customers are ready for it.
"Today storage is mainly disk with a little Flash," Hitz said. "As we move to the future, when storage becomes primarily Flash-based, how do we navigate the change? With Flash Pool, we have a long-term migration model. You want 2 percent of your storage Flash, you can do it. Five percent Flash? You can do it."
The second new feature of Data Ontap 8.1.1 is Infinite Volumes, which allows data to scale to up to 20 petabytes in a single volume.
"Think of social media, or giant data content," Hitz said. "The data keeps coming in. Customers need a place to put it."
Trace3's Abbott said users have trouble handling large data stores and eventually have to do what he called the "storage shuffle" to overcome smaller storage volumes limited by their software. "They need to add a lot of overhead to shuffle data around because of limited storage volume sizes," he said. "With Infinite Volume, the storage acts more like a cloud and expands on demand."
While NetApp's Infinite Volumes are not really "infinite," they will seem that way to customers who will not be able to fill 20-petabyte volumes, Abbott said. "And as NetApp upgrades its operating system going forward, it will keep ahead of the curve by expanding that limit," he said.
The Cluster-mode technology from NetApp's Spinnaker acquisition provides the scalability behind Infinite Volumes to meet new workload requirements of customers and their solution providers, said Luke Norris, CEO and founder of PeakColo, a Denver-based provider of white label cloud services to channel partners.
"NetApp provides scalable storage in NFS, CIFS and iSCSI environments as well as secure multi-tenant capabilities," Norris said. "That enables us to deliver a virtual SAN to each customer, segmented from each other with their own authentication and ability to tie virtual servers to each customer on a virtual SAN. It's absolutely invaluable."