NetApp's Georgens: New FlashRay All-Flash Storage Array To Ship Next Month

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NetApp is preparing to finally ship its long-awaited FlashRay all-flash storage solution.

FlashRay, a new all-flash storage array designed from the ground up to be optimized for high-performance flash technology, is currently being tested by customers and will ship starting next month, according to NetApp Chairman and CEO Tom Georgens.

Georgens on Wednesday unveiled the schedule during the NetApp first fiscal quarter 2015 financial analyst call, and said FlashRay will be part of a comprehensive flash storage portfolio that also includes the EF-series of all-flash arrays based on NetApp's E-series architecture, as well as all-flash versions of the company's FAS-series.

[Related: NetApp Takes Build-It, Not Buy-It, Approach To FlashRay Flash Storage Strategy]

"The total flash portfolio has been a significant part of our momentum," he said.

FlashRay had been expected to ship early this year.

A September release for FlashRay would get it to market well before the NetApp Insight technical conference, scheduled to run in late October in Las Vegas. Indeed, one of the event's sessions is focused on all-flash arrays.

According to the online agenda, "The All Flash Array track covers the NetApp all-flash array platforms, namely EF-Series, All-Flash FAS and FlashRay. EF-Series excels at extreme performance with ultra-low latencies while delivering enterprise reliability. Learn about the newly released All-Flash FAS solution running the #1 storage operating system, clustered Data ONTAP. FlashRay is designed for performance with ultra-low latencies and emerging solid state technologies including next generation efficiencies."

Georgens also told CRN that NetApp Insight, which has traditionally focused on technical training for NetApp's internal team and for channel partners, will this year for the first time include a user meeting.

"A lot of our partners will be there to get training," he said. "That will spill over to the users' group meeting. We'll see a lot of synergy by having the two together."

John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and NetApp partner, could barely conceal his joy at hearing NetApp publicly say the FlashRay is coming to market next month.

"Yippee-ki-yay," Woodall said when told the news by CRN. "That's good for NetApp, good for the industry."

Last week's Flash Memory Summit brought out a lot of flash storage announcements, including the news that NetApp got an award or two, Woodall said. "NetApp has been aggressive about talking about flash," he said.

Adding FlashRay to its flash storage lineup will give NetApp the full portfolio it needs to compete with all the startup vendors in this market, as well as the newest offerings from major vendors like EMC's XtremIO, Woodall said.

The fact that NetApp is adding a user group portion to the upcoming Insight conference is also exciting, and brings Insight to the level of an EMC World or Symantec Vision, Woodall said.

"This type of conference is very technical, and covers the technology both deep and wide," he said. "I've always said an educated customer makes the best decisions. I believe in customer education."


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