NetApp Expands All-Flash Storage Array Lineup, Names New Channel Chief

NetApp's E-series SAN arrays

NetApp on Tuesday enhanced its E-series of performance SAN arrays with the addition of two new disk arrays and the second in its series of all-flash storage arrays.

NetApp Tuesday also confirmed Regina Kunkle is its new vice president of North America channel sales.

The new arrays stem from NetApp's March 2011 acquisition of LSI's Engenio external storage business.

[Related: Pure Storage Gets $150M Funding, Talks Big Plans For All-Flash Storage Arrays ]

Sponsored post

New to the NetApp lineup is the EF550, an all-flash array featuring a sustained throughput of over 400,000 IOPS, a sub-millisecond response rate and over 12GB per second bandwidth, said Brendon Howe, vice president of solutions marketing for the vendor.

"The big difference between the EF550 and its competitors is that its performance numbers are sustained performance," Howe said. "If you add data protection, garbage collection, and so on, you get the same performance."

The EF550 comes with a base capacity of 19 TB in a 2U rack-mount form factor, and expands to nearly 100 TB with additional disk shelves.

The E550 is a follow-on to NetApp's first all-flash storage array, the EF540, Howe said.

The E550 is one-part of NetApp's two-part all-flash storage array strategy, Howe said. That strategy also includes NetApp's upcoming FlashRay solution that, unlike the E540 or E550, is slated to support the company's Data Ontap storage operating system.

NetApp has previously said the first products designed in the FlashRay family are expected to be available in beta by year-end, with general availability slated to start in the first quarter of 2014.

NetApp's EF540 and EF550 have great throughput and are feature-rich products ready for prime time, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and NetApp partner.

"It's not like EMC's new XtremIO all-flash array," Woodall said. "That product still needs to prove itself."

NetApp also unveiled two new E-series SAN appliances. Like the EF540 and EF550, the new disk-based SAN appliances are based on a different operating system than NetApp's Data Ontap, which powers that company's FAS-series unified NAS/SAN storage solutions.

NEXT: New Hybrid Disk Arrays, Channel Chief

Regina Kunkle

New is the E2700, a high-density storage array that fits 60 4-TB hard drives into a 4U package. The drives, which can be a mix of SAS, SATA and SSD, connect to a server infrastructure via Fibre Channel, SAS or iSCSI, NetApp's Howe said. It is slated to replace the company's existing E2600, he said.

Also new is the E5500, a high-performance storage solution that scales to up to 1.5 petabytes per system and offers five 9s, or 99.999-percent, availability, Howe said. It is slated to replace the E54000.

The E2600, E5400 and EF540 will eventually go end-of-life, a process that typically takes about six months, Howe said.

NetApp's Engenio acquisition was a brilliant move, IAS' Woodall said.

NetApp's FAS line of storage solutions, based on Data Ontap, was and will continue to be a great offering from the vendor, he said.

"But NetApp has a need to move beyond FAS to increase its market," he said. "The E-series is a good play for the cloud and performance market, and for customers not looking for all the features of FAS."

NetApp's Kunkle, who took over the channel reigns after the former channel chief, Todd Palmer, left the company in May, said the new E-series storage systems come shortly after the vendor reorganized how it manages its channels.

NetApp has in the last couple months reorganized its channel teams with more of a geographical focus, Kunkle said. "Before, NetApp spent years segmenting the market with sales teams calling on low-end markets, high-end markets and so on," she said. "So channel partners might be working with four to five sales teams from NetApp."

The company is also looking at partner profitability with plans to ensure they do well on the front-end benefits as well as with discounts, Kunkle said. The company also encourages its partners to handle the services part of the business as a way to ensure they get full control of a deal, she said.

NetApp is also looking at how to make it easier for solution providers to do business with the company, including implementing a single contract for the business relationship and streamlining the distribution channel to better handle volume orders, she said.