NetApp Lays Out All-Flash Storage Array Strategy

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Bhatnagar called the EF540 the industry's first enterprise-class all-flash storage array, with fully redundant components and the ability to do backups and disaster recovery in seconds.

The EF540 fits up to 19.2 TB of capacity into a 2U rack-mount space and provides more than 300,000 IOs per second (IOPS) with sub-millisecond latency when all enterprise capabilities are turned on, he said.

NetApp's EF540 is available through all of NetApp's channels, he said.

NetApp also has made flash storage a common addition to its other storage solutions, Welke said. "NetApp has sold over 36 petabytes of flash storage since 2009," he said. "Between 60 percent and 70 percent of all the company's disk-based arrays have some amount of flash storage included."

For NetApp, FlashRay represents the company's third major storage architecture, Welke said.

Its primary architecture, based on its Ontap storage operating system, includes flash as part of the solution but was not optimized to be the base of an all-flash array.

Its SANtricity operating system, which NetApp got with its 2011 acquisition of the Engenio line from LSI and which is the base on which the EF540 all-flash array is built, is optimized to work with dedicated workloads such as databases or online transaction processing, unlike FlashRay, which is designed for scale-out storage applications, Welke said.

The fact that NetApp is talking about FlashRay and the EF540 is a huge move for the vendor, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and NetApp partner.

There are already a lot of venture capital-funded startups in the flash storage market, but few of them will be around in another one to two years, Woodall said.

"None of the current stock of startups has a mature offering for storage management," he said. "Everyone's fast. They can really pump out the IOs. But they may or may not have snapshot replication or similar features. And few have an organic field support organization. So a lot will disappear or get acquired."

Like EMC, which last year acquired XtremIO, NetApp has the cash to purchase a flash array startup, Woodall said.

NEXT: NetApp Not Late To The All-Flash Storage Party

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