Updated NetApp Line Supports Mixed Drives

NetApp's new FAS3020 and FAS3050 appliances are the first midrange storage devices from the company to support a mixture of Fibre Channel and Serial ATA (SATA) drive shelves within the same array, said Suresh Vasudevan, vice president of products for the company.

The FAS3000 family competes against EMC's Clariion line and HP's new EVA line, the latter of which was introduced last week.

While both Clariion and EVA support mixed Fibre Channel and SATA drives, Vasudevan said NetApp's new arrays are more suitable for primary storage because of software that offers RAID-DP protection, which allows up to two hard drives to fail without affecting data availability. "The only other way to do this is to mirror the storage, which is too expensive," he said.

Also important with the FAS3000 family is that it supports Fibre Channel SANs, IP-based SANs and NAS with a single unit and a single instance of the Data ONTAP 7G operating system.

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Another key feature of Data ONTAP 7G is the ability to dynamically allocate capacity to storage volumes, Vasudevan said. Typical storage array capacity utilization is in the 30 percent to 40 percent range, and it is usually necessary to allocate more capacity to specific purposes than needed in order to account for the growth of the data, he said. "Data ONTAP 7G reclaims unused space and doubles the utilization of capacity," he said. "It's completely transparent to the user."

The FAS3020 sits in a 6U rack format and can expand to up to 168 Fibre Channel and/or SATA hard drives for a maximum capacity of up to 50 Tbytes. It scales from eight to 20 Fibre Channel ports and from eight to 24 gigabit-Ethernet ports. The FAS3050 is similar, but scales to up to 336 hard drives, or up to 84 Tbytes of capacity.

Also new are the V3020 and the V3050 gateways. These appliances have the same performance and scalability as the FAS3020 and FAS3050 arrays, except that instead of integrated storage capacity they allow access to data located on one or more multivendor arrays connected to a SAN.

Kevin Schoonover, director of engineering at Arrow Electronics, said that NetApp seems to have applied a lot of channel and customer feedback into the new appliances.

Specifically, in the past, NetApp did not allow a mixture of Fibre Channel and SATA drives in an array, a feature that he said is important to the channel, Schoonover said.

Schoonover said the modularity of the new appliances is important to solution providers. "The base controller has enough Fibre Channel and GbE ports to start and can be expanded," he said.

The FAS3020 is replacing NetApp's FAS920, while the FAS3050 is replacing the FAS940, Vasudevan said. The V3020 and V3050 also are replacing NetApp's V930 and V940. The FAS900 and V900 series eventually will go end-of-life, he said.

The FAS3000 appliances are shipping now with a starting price less than $35,000. The V3000 appliances are scheduled to ship next month with a starting price of $52,450.