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NetApp offers middleweight refreshments

Will you paddle happily in your Flash Pool?

High performance access to file storage

NetApp has refreshed its three mid-range FAS arrays, giving customers two models with speed and capacity increases and perhaps leaving room for a future top-end 3200.

The company has three mainstream dual-controller FAS array product lines: the entry-level FAS2000s, the medium FAS3000s and the high-end FAS6000s. The FAS2000s were upgraded in November last year and earlier this year with new FAS2220 and 2240 models. These systems don't have NetApp's Flash Cache, the PCIe flash card used to cache data in the controller and speed array I/O. They can have Flash Pools, combined volumes composed of disk drives and flash drives in NetApp's virtual storage tiering scheme.

There were three FAS3000 arrays:

  • FAS3210 with up to 240 drives, 720TB, and 512GB of flash cache
  • FAS3240 up to 600 drives, 1.8PB, and and 1TB of flash cache
  • FAS3270 - 960 drives, 2.9PB, 2TB of flash cache.

These maximum capacities involve the use of 3TB 3.5-inch disk drives by the way.

We now get:

  • A FAS3220, an uprated 3210, with up to 480 drives, 1.44PB capacity, and 1TB of flash cache; its drive count and flash cache amount have both doubled.
  • A FAS3250 with a maximum of 720 drives, 2.16PB of capacity, and 2TB of flash cache. It appears to replace both the FAS3240 and the FAS3270, although the FAS3270 has 720TB more capacity than the FAS3250, quite a lot.

That's a puzzle. Presumably the calculation is that clustering is the way to scale capacity, or that coming 4TB disk drives will fill the gap.

We could argue there is space in the FAS3000 range for a high-end model, a FAS3280 say, with 960 drives, like the FAS3270, the same 2.9TB of capacity and 4TB of flash cache. Such a beast would not overlap the entry-level FAS6210 as that has 1,200 drives offering up to 3.6PB capacity and 3TB of flash cache.

Also, it is obvious that the FAS6200s are going to get refreshed as well and that would bump up the entry-level specs, leaving even more space for this possibly missing top-end FAS3200.

NetApp says of its dynamic new mid-range duo that they offer "up to 80 per cent more performance and 100 per cent more capacity."

The FAS3200s can be clustered with up to 24 nodes in a cluster, using Data ONTAP 8.1.2. Both GbitE, 6Gbit/s SAS and 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel access modes are supported - is 8Gbit/s FC due? - with four ports each. Supported storage protocols are FC; FCoE; IP SAN (iSCSI); NFS; CIFS; HTTP; and FTP. There are high-availability features like dual, redundant active:active controllers. The 3220 has 4 PCIe expansion slots, the 3250 has 12.

One thing: writing about NetApp storage is agreeably simple compared to Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, and IBM. There are so few models, just mainstream FAS and sidestream Engenio and StorageGRID, compared to the burgeoning product sets of the others, although HDS does seem to be heading towards a single VSP-HUS VM technology range.

Both the FAS3220 and FAS3250 are available and orderable today, No pricing information was provided.

NetApp's customers should take to these new FAS3200 boxen like ducks to water and paddle happily in their clustered and unified file and block access waters. ®

High performance access to file storage

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