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NetApp adds girth to its midrange storage

Cache-serving modules and appliances for HPC

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NetApp is trading in its current midrange FAS3000 and V3000 storage systems for some boxes with a bit more power capacity under the chassis.

The company is introducing four models to its storage range: two for its new FAS3100 line, and two composing the system's virtualizing doppelgängers, the V3100s.

NetApp's new FAS3140 scales to 420TB of storage and 8GB of memory and is intended to "largely" replace both the FAS3020 (160TB) and the FAS3040 (336TB) systems. Yes, largely. According to NetAPP CMO Jay Kidd, the systems will outsell their predecessors into non-existence.

Going up in scale, the FAS3170 offers up to 840TB of storage and 32GB memory. The box will replace NetApp's current FAS3070 (500TB) system.

The new V-systems have the same capacity specs as their respective FAS-series counterparts.

Kidd describes the midrange systems as NetApp's "sweet spot," being the dominant volume of what they sell. But at two years and counting since the last models were introduced, the boxes are the oldest in the family and very much due for a refresh.

The FAS midrange now sports up to 8 PCIe I/O slots and can be upgraded to dual controller configurations with a single 6U chassis. As with NetApp's previous systems, they run on the OnTap operating system.

The starting list price for the FAS3100 systems is $69,780 (which includes 7TB of storage). Starting price for the V3100 systems is $56,365 (with no storage included.)

Cache mad

NetApp has also launching a new storage acceleration appliance — aptly named Storage Acceleration Appliance.

The device uses NetApp's FlexChache software to accelerate Data OnTap 7G and GX volumes through DRAM caching.

Three models are available: the SA200, SA300, and SA600 — correlating with the 2000 series, the 3000 series, and the 6000 series of NetApp's controller nodes.

The appliance is available now. NetApp wouldn't give a price point, as the tag varies widely depending on configurations and number of disk shelves.

NetApp is also introducing the Performance Acceleration Module, a plug-in PCI Express adapter made for NetApp storage controllers.

Kidd explains that NetApp has been hearing cries for more and more cache from engineering and high performance computing types as they increase their workloads.

Each PAM card holds 16GB of DRAM, and nd since NetApp's largest system has five extra PCI card slots, you can cram 80GB of cache into a system without disrupting data.

Conveniently, customers curious whether adding cache will pump their system won't need to guess the effects. Since version 7.3, OnTap has been shipping with some handy predictive cache software.

Maybe we should have seen this coming then?

"We think it will accelerate a lot of workloads," said Kidd. "Customers will try it out and we'll learn how they'll benefit. Plus, we're doing our own benchmarking."

Additionally, the PAM cards can be added to the Performance Acceleration Module if you need mad amounts of cache.

But it certainly ain't cheap. The Performance Acceleration Module is available now at $15,000, but it requires software priced at $20,000. In other words, the first module costs $35k, and subsequent modules cost $15k. ®

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