NetApp Lays Out All-Flash Storage Array Strategy

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NetApp Tuesday laid out its strategy for developing all-flash storage solutions based on a new architecture named FlashRay, which is targeting the development of scale-out flash arrays designed for both file and block storage.

NetApp also disclosed details about a new all-flash array, the EF540, which it already has been shipping to early customers, and Tuesday officially made it available to customers and channel partners.

NetApp, a storage vendor not known for talking about future product developments, is using FlashRay to put its stake in the ground in the all-flash array market as a way to take the initiative away from startups yet to develop an enterprise-ready offering, said Mark Welke, senior director of product marketing for the company.


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"The market today is flooded by a bunch of startups funded by venture capitalists," Welke said. "We believe we're the first with enterprise-class, all-flash arrays. For the very first time at NetApp, we're talking about the future. We tend to keep these things close."

NetApp FlashRay, which was previously code-named Project Mars, is a completely new architecture designed from the ground up for scalable all-flash arrays, said Mohit Bhatnagar, senior director of flash products for the vendor.

FlashRay is a purpose-built flash array architecture designed internally at NetApp as a solution with enterprise features and scalability, Bhatnagar said.

When all-flash storage arrays based on FlashRay begin to be available for beta-testing in mid-2013 and start shipping as planned early next year, they will include world-class file and volume management, a scale-out foundation, complete data management capabilities, and application integration features to allow them to be optimized for specific applications, he said.

FlashRay will not be NetApp's first foray into the all-flash array market, however.

Tom Georgens, NetApp president and CEO, said last week during the company's third fiscal quarter 2013 analyst call that NetApp has already shipped more than 100 all-flash arrays to a single customer.

Welke on Tuesday said that that array, the EF540, has actually been sold to other customers as well, and is now available for channel partners to take to customers.

NEXT: FlashRay Not NetApp's Only All-Flash Storage Play

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