Feeds

NetApp plays out ASIS dedupe lead

Cracks the whip

High performance access to file storage

Comment While EMC, Dell, HDS and HP stand impotently by, NetApp is making a killing in virtual desktop infrastructure deals and extending its lead in primary data deduplication, making ASIS run faster and deal with more data. How long can this advantage last?

Last week NetApp announced terrific quarterly results, citing virtualisation as one area where it's selling lots of product. So far NetApp is the only major array vendor offering primary data deduplication. Compellent is working to add deduplication to Storage Center with Replays as the prime target. GreenBytes and Coraid offer it too, Coraid courtesy of ZFS, and GreenBytes with its own technology. Nimbus offers it because its array is an all-flash product.

Our understanding is that NetApp is making a killing in selling its FAS arrays into the server virtualisation and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) because its ASIS deduplication makes its storage much more efficient, storing more bytes in less disk.

A NetApp-aware contact said the Flash Cache, formerly known as as PAM (Performance Accelerator Module), which fits into a FAS controller, is dedupe-aware. Common block reads from, for example, VDI implementations are satisfied from cache regardless of the VMDK that they live in. He said: "Coping with bootstorms is one of the real benefits of deduplication and dedupe-aware cache."

WAFL, NetApp's file system, turns random writes into sequential writes and you can then drive SATA hard drives at phenomenal rates. When doing sequential writes with big stripes the effective IOPS rate is huge. It's similar to the I/O patterns and performance one would see in an audio-visual streaming scenario.

NetApp has no intention of adding write caching, as its testing has demonstrated a lot of overhead and no real-world benefit. Sharing out the Flash Cache between reads and writes would make the read portion smaller and hence reduce its benefit.

It appears that NetApp has rejected the idea of doing inline deduplication. The ASIS dedupe process only has to work on changed blocks, and change rates are generally quite low, being less than 10 per cent for the majority of data types, and normally lower than that for virtual machines (VMs), home directories etc. ASIS activity is scheduled during quiet periods, so it's not that intrusive, and may be much less intrusive than continuous inline deduplication.

Our contact thought that EMC's Data Domain Boost design is a case in point where inline forces compromises and costs in the shape of significant extra horsepower.

NetApp has been refining its fairly conservative dedupe volume sizes that it started with at launch. It gets information automatically from the AutoSupport feature on its customers' systems and analysis of this has enabled it to raise them considerably. They will be lifted to higher levels again with the forthcoming release of ONTAP, NetApp's O/S for its arrays.

It has also helped with developing new use cases for dedupe, and may even help with compression, should NetApp introduce it. Unless its competitors respond, NetApp will continue creaming off VDI business, offering storage-efficient dedupe plus performance-enhancing flash cache, which beats their less efficient offerings. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.