NetApp Finally Intros Storage Grid With Spinnaker Technology

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage vendor's new Data ONTAP GX operating system increases the scalability and performance of its network storage appliances by clustering multiple appliances together and striping individual files or data sets across multiple nodes, said Patrick Rogers, vice president of products and partners.

Using Data ONTAP GX, multiple storage appliances can be added to nodes as part of a storage cluster, with each additional node adding both capacity and system performance, Rogers said. Multiple petabytes of storage capacity can be managed under a global namespace without the need for client-side software, he said.

The new high-performance computing version of the operating system can be ordered with either the FAS3050 or the FAS6070 appliance at no extra charge over the cost of the company's standard Data ONTAP 7G. When used with the FAS6070, storage capacity can be scaled to up to 6 Pbytes, with performance of over 1 million operations per second, Rogers said.

Data ONTAP GX allows clustered storage appliances to be married to the Linux and other server clusters used by midrange and large customers, Rogers said. The alternative has been to attach storage to each node in the cluster, he said. "Storage has been the bottleneck," he said. "We now have a storage system that can scale with the same economics as the servers."

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The technology for Data ONTAP GX is a combination of NetApp's Data ONTAP 7G operating system, its WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) file system, and its $330 million acquisition of Spinnaker about two-and-a-half years ago. Spinnaker developed technology to allow storage grids to be built from thousands of inexpensive storage appliances.

Rogers said the delay in taking advantage of the Spinnaker technology stems from the amount of integration required. "It's been a very big project," he said. "But it's a pretty strategic acquisition that goes to the heart of our value-add."