NetApp Launches Its First Block-Only SAN Array, Enhances Ransomware Protection
Joseph F. Kovar
‘With the NetApp all-flash SAN array, when we looked at introducing it, we recognized that over 20,000 customers already trust NetApp for their SAN workloads. And out of those, 5,000 customers are deploying us for SAN-only workloads already,’ says Sandeep Singh, NetApp’s senior vice president and general manager for enterprise storage.
NetApp Tuesday unveiled its first-ever block storage-only appliance as a way to simplify its storage array offerings for its SAN customers who currently use the company’s unified storage arrays for block storage.
NetApp also introduced the NetApp Ransomware Recovery Guarantee with a promise that if data copies cannot be recovered from a ransomware attack, the company will compensate the victims.
The San Jose, Calif.-based storage vendor also expanded its OnTap One all-inclusive software package to be available to all its flash storage systems, including deployed systems under support, and expanded its NetApp Advance program aimed at simplifying buyer programs and guarantees.
[Related: NetApp CEO: Journey To Cloud Complete, Focus On Evolved Cloud ]
The moves are aimed at helping simplify businesses’ storage environments, said Sandeep Singh, NetApp’s senior vice president and general manager for enterprise storage.
“Basically, we’re continuing to help customers simplify and be able to get rid of the bespoke infrastructure silos that compound complexity for them, as well as help customers continue to modernize to all-flash and be able to do it affordably, especially in this macroeconomic climate,” Singh told CRN.
NetApp has been building unified storage since 2002 for SAN, NAS, and other workloads, and offering more than basic file and block protocols, said John Woodall, vice president of solutions architecture West at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solution provider and long-time NetApp partner.
“NetApp is well-known for its file data storage,” Woodall told CRN. “The company has many SAN-only customers. But some people in the target audience sees all those protocols, but just want block data storage. ASA is really targeted at customers who only want block storage, who are looking for active-active architectures and fast failover times. With ASA, they get all the benefits of OnTap.”
The new NetApp ASA A-series is the company’s first storage array designed specifically for block storage. However, Singh said, it is not the first foray into SAN storage for NetApp, which already has a large base of customers running SAN workloads on NetApp’s existing unified storage arrays featuring file, block, and object storage capabilities.
“With the NetApp all-flash SAN array, when we looked at introducing it, we recognized that over 20,000 customers already trust NetApp for their SAN workloads,” he said. “And out of those, 5,000 customers are deploying us for SAN-only workloads already.”
The NetApp ASA A-series is optimized for block store, and has an all-active architecture, Singh said. It is all-NVMe, including NVMe-over-fabric support, and is cloud-connected as well as AI driven, he said.
“It brings along six nines (99.9999 percent) availability guaranteed to help customers have peace of mind,” he said. “And it delivers industry-leading efficiency with the leading usable capacity coupled with four-to-one data reduction guarantee. It is one of the most secure and protected arrays, including for ransomware recovery for customers as well as business continuity.”
The NetApp ASA A-series is ideal for virtualized VMware environments as well as Oracle, Sequel. And SAP database environments, Singh said.
When asked by CRN if the NetApp ASA A-series is being offered in response to the all-block storage arrays offered by such competitors as Pure Storage, Singh said NetApp is a leader in unified block, object, and file storage.
“And we’re now becoming a leader in block or SAN storage, enabling customers to be able to eliminate these bespoke silos and simplify with one common foundation across their unstructured as well as structured data environment, across their legacy virtualized and modern applications, and across on-prem and cloud,” he said. “It’s that simplicity, as well as the ability to manage and innovate with data, that we’re bringing to our customers.”
Also introduced Tuesday was the NetApp Ransomware Recovery Guarantee, which leverages the company’s built-in security and ransomware protection capabilities, including the NetApp OnTap storage operating system’s ability to automatically block known malicious file types, perform tamper-proof snapshots, and use multi-administrator verification to block unauthorized users.
Ransomware attacks continue to rise exponentially, and has become a C-suite-level and board-level priority for businesses, Singh said.
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when customers find themselves in a ransomware attack,” he said. “We know that companies are spending millions of dollars to remediate ransomware attacks. And a key priority and imperative for CIOs is to make sure that they are selecting and deploying their data on top of the one of the most secure and protected data infrastructures.”
NetApp Ransomware Recovery Guarantee provides that peace of mind, Singh said.
“It one of the first guarantees on enterprise primary storage systems,” he said. “This means we’re warranting that customers will be able to recover their data from these tamper proof snapshots. And in case they were unable to recover their data, we will offer them compensation.”
While NetApp works with other data protection vendors who provide ransomware protection, Singh said those technologies remain complementary with NetApp’s technology.
“Our data protection partners are obviously an integral part of the ecosystem and important and strategic partners,” he said. “And when we think about enabling customers to have comprehensive levels of protection and recovery mechanisms, this becomes an additive. And it’s unique in that it brings along not only protecting data but enabling near-real time detection that otherwise isn’t available to them.”
Jeff Baxter, NetApp’s vice president of product marketing, told CRN that the key distinction is the ability to recover data within a matter of seconds because it’s on the primary storage and protected.
“And that’s complimentary to our data protection partners who may be there and also protecting data against things like physical loss of a data center, for example, or other things where the primary storage is completely unavailable,” Baxter said. “Data protection partners are still an integral part of the ecosystem that we’re going to work with, and in many cases they have their own ransomware protection technologies.”
Also new from NetApp is an expansion of its OnTap One all-in-one software license that includes all available NetApp software. When OnTap One was introduced in February, it was made available on its new AFF C-series QLC NAND-based all-flash storage array, but going forward it will included with all AFF, ASA, and FAS arrays at no cost, Singh said.
OnTap One has all the software built-in, so making it available for all NetApp’s primary storage offerings is important for many customers, Woodall said.
“The market changes over time,” he said. “NetApp is good at adapting to customer requirements. It’s clear that customers want to get all the technologies that were in different bundles. Now they’re all in one, so there’s no feature/price conversation needed.”
NetApp’s OnTap operating system is also getting improved ransomware technology and improved management of consolidated workloads, he said.
Finally NetApp introduced advanced versions of its StorageGRID object storage software with improved disaster recovery, security, compliance, and user experience, along with new all-flash storage appliances to go with the software.