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NetApp's 50 per cent guarantee

Not against named competitors though

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NetApp will guarantee customers they will use half as much NetApp storage in virtual server and desktop environments compared to 'traditional storage', but won't make comparisons to specific products from competing suppliers.

NetApp's chief marketing officer, Jay Kidd, said: "The pressure for cost reduction has led to the rapid adoption of storage-efficiency technologies such as thin provisioning, deduplication, RAID-DP, and Snapshot ... Our customers are consistently realising unprecedented space savings greater than 70 per cent with these technologies in their virtual infrastructures."

General storage utilisation without de-duplication, thin provisioning and other techniques, is said to be 25-40 per cent and can be worse in virtual server environments with multiple virtual machine (VM) images storing the same data over and over again. NetApp reckons its customers can save at least 50 per cent of the storage capacity used in such systems by following its best practices and using standard NetApp features such as:

  • Thin Provisioning — Aggregating unused capacity across storage volumes and sharing it dynamically across all applications as needs change.
  • De-duplication — Eliminating redundant copies of data on primary, archive, and backup data.
  • RAID-DP — Safeguarding data from double disk failure. NetApp claims it provides better protection and performance levels than RAID 10 without the high-capacity overhead.
  • Snapshot — Recovering data from a point-in-time copy and protect data with no performance impact and minimal consumption of storage space.

How it works

The customer's new NetApp FAS system - other NetApp storage is excluded - purchased for primary storage only, will be compared to a theoretical baseline system, and not actual products from specific suppliers. NetApp says the baseline system size will be:

Determined from the amount of data to be stored and the amount of storage overhead that a system of similar protection and performance levels typically requires. For example, suppose that you need a system to accommodate 10TB of data. Here’s how we calculate the baseline:
  • Add on 100 per cent overhead for RAID 10 protection; 2.6 per cent overhead for rightsizing and formatting; and two spare drives.
  • Total raw capacity required for 10TB of data on a traditional storage system is roughly 21.75TB.
  • 50 per cent less storage means that the customer will need to purchase only 10.75TB of raw space with NetApp.

Customers anywhere in the world who purchase a new system for their virtual desktop and server environment can take advantage of the NetApp guarantee. Specifically, if customers don't use 50 per cent less storage after following best practices as vetted by NetApp Professional Services, NetApp will provide the additional capacity as needed to meet the shortfall at no additional charge, up to 50 per cent of the original capacity purchased.

Pillar Data offers an 80 per cent capacity utilisation guarantee. No other storage suppliers offer guarantees of capacity utilisation or lower capacity needs. We can expect competing suppliers, such as 3PAR, EMC, HP, Hitachi Data Systems and others to rapidly produce their own capacity saving calculations over similar theoretical baseline systems and try to trump NetApp's ace. NetApp does have an advantage in that its ASIS de-duplication works on primary storage. Other suppliers prefer de-duplication to be used with disk-held backup and archive data.

The NetApp programme starts now and will finish at the end of March 2009. Access an efficiency calculator and more details here. ®

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