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NetApp perks up FAS2000, bigs up Vegas gig

Entry-level needs a kick up the pants

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NetApp is set to refresh its FAS 2000 line with a FAS 2240 system – needing the much-anticipated Data ONTAP 8.1 software.

We understand there will be a FAS 2240-2 and and 2240-4, both rack-mounted systems. The 2240-2 uses a DS2246 shelf with the 2240-4 requiring the DS4243 shelf. The latter will support 3TB drives as will a DS4486 shelf. We understand the DS14 shelves will have their end-of-life announced.

Currently NetApp sells the FAS2020, FAS2040, and FAS2050. The 2040 was introduced in September 2009. The 2020 and 2050 have been around two years longer, being introduced in September 2007.

NetApp refreshes its hardware every three years, so a refresh is due, but there is more.

Tom Georgens, NetApp's CEO, said in the fiscal Q1 2012 earnings call in August: "Our 2000 Series saw a decline from both last quarter and the year ago quarter. We believe this is due in part to migration to the low end of the newer 3000 family, as well as a drop in the public sector business this quarter, with units of the 2000 Series shipped to the Federal government down over 30 per cent from a year ago."

He explained further: "If you look at our 2000 family, it kind of goes into a few categories. There are some that goes into the big accounts for like branch office type of things. And that was kind of mediocre. There's the channel business, which mostly goes to mid-sized enterprise and small businesses, state, local governments. That was actually strong. And then there was the public sector use, which could be anything from ships to cars to boats to planes to whatever. And that was very weak."

He also said we would see the long-awaited Data ONTAP 8.1 as the year progresses.

NetApp Insight 2011

At NetApp Insight 2011 – which takes place from 1 to 4 November in Las Vegas – we understand there will be a hands-on Data ONTAP 8.1 Cluster-mode lab and various other cluster-mode sessions. One session will discuss a feature called Scalable SAN in cluster-mode and its use with SQL Server, Exchange, Hyper-V and SharePoint. SAN protocols are supported for the first time in cluster-mode with ONTAP 8.1.

So Data ONTAP 8.1 will be announced on or before 1 November. It will involve new V-Series functionality, the V-Series being a NetApp controller that can virtualise 3rd-party arrays and integrate them into a NetApp FAS environment. We understand that ONTAP 8.1 will also add new deduplication and compression features.

The FAS2240 will be covered in Las Vegas as well. So too will a NetApp thin provisioning technology called SpaceReclaimer, part of SnapDrive for Windows.

NetApp will introduce a new entry-level storage platform at Las Vegas. It will also present the DTA2800, a data migration appliance.

So we have ONTAP 8.1, together with new FAS2240 array, plus an entirely entry-level storage platform – what we might call FAScinating stuff... NetApp's November is looking busy. ®

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