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NetApp historically has done a good job with its Data Ontap software and FAS storage solution for storing and managing both block and file storage with good integration points, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and FlexPod partner.
FlexPod Select takes FlexPod to a new level with its Hadoop capabilities and the addition of NetApp's E-series storage, Woodall said.
"FAS has a great price point, but it doesn't offer the scalability for workloads like Hadoop," he said. "The E-series is a great product line. NetApp can use its E-series to integrate all the newer workloads."
As workloads such as Hadoop start to come down off the Web, enterprises can better take advantage of them, Woodall said. "But they don't want to take the 'Heathkit' approach. They don't want to have dedicated engineers. They like the idea of having an integrated platform. They still need someone to turn the wrench. But FlexPod, with Hortonworks and Cloudera, provides customers the blueprint with a lot less effort."
Woodall said he would like to see FlexPod Select expanded to include NetApp's E-series EF540 all-flash storage array. "A lot of people may not need flash now but would like to have it available if they need it later," he said.
Bringing the E-series into FlexPod is an acknowledgment that the NetApp portfolio is not just a FAS world, Woodall said.
"FAS, E-series, EF540, and soon-to-come the FlashRay flash storage solution," he said. "There's no reason FlexPod shouldn't cross all of them. It wouldn't surprise me to someday see FlexPod solutions cover all four pillars, leveraging the value of each product."
Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. for Technology Integration Group (TIG), a San Diego-based solution provider and FlexPod partner, said it is fascinating to see so many companies looking to make money from an area such as Hadoop, which originally was designed for commodity hardware.
"It sometimes looks like companies are trying to package science fair projects," Norbie said. "If you do Hadoop on your own hardware stack, you need to validate your own design, which takes a lot of time. So the new FlexPod Select provides value from this perspective."
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