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NetApp fattens up FAS array beasts to flog to data ranchers

Embiggens high-end range for biz-critical apps

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The storage desk at El Reg has learnt NetApp has a high-end FAS6200/V6200 array refresh coming.

The V-Series are FAS array controllers front-ending third-party arrays and enabling them to function in a FAS data centre.

NetApp has gone through a refresh cycle with its entry-level FAS2000 --> FAS2200s, its mid-range FAS3000 --> FA3200s, and now it's the turn of the big beasts in the NetApp storage world, the FAS6200s.

A NetApp webcast invitation said this about the new arrays:

The FAS6200 Series provides leading edge availability, performance, and scale for business critical applications. Your customers will be able to update or expand with zero downtime for routine upgrades and HW replacements.

The current FAS6200 models are the FAS6210, FAS6240 and FAS6280. Add ten and we get three new FAS systems; FAS6220, FAS6250, and FAS6290

If we tabulate aspects of the existing FAS 6200s and then add in the new model numbers with features that were added in the recent FAS3200 refresh we end up with a table that looks like this:

FAS6200s

Click for larger version if this hurts your eyes...

Currently the FAS6200s are listed by NetApp as using drives of 2TB capacity at most. The FAS3200 upgrade introduced 4TB drives. We've hedged our bets and added both 3TB and 4TB drives in the rows on the table with italic and right-justified entries to get revised maximum capacity figures, assuming the same number of drives.

The company claims to have doubled the flash cache capacities in the controller, as happened with the mid-range refresh, and added Flash Pool capability; the same size as the Flash Cache. It has also upgraded the version of Data ONTAP required.

Of course NetApp could increase the drive count but could get a welcome capacity increase through upping drive capacity alone; doubling it to 4TB would accomplish that nicely. The addition of Flash Pools, SSDs inside the array to store hot data in a volume or LUN, and the doubling of Flash Cache in the controllers should increase performance nicely.

NetApp will most probably uprate the processors in the controllers and increase cores and/or threads with a newer generation Intel CPU, as well as increasing the amount of controller memory, which will whack up performance again.

Enabling non-disruptive upgrades and hardware replacements will be welcome.

The FAS6200s compete with upper-end VNX and lower-end/mid-range VMAX arrays from EMC, HUS and lower-end VSP arrays from HDS, StorServ (3PAR) arrays from HP and mid-range kit from IBM such as the V7000s and XIV arrays. A FAS6200 refresh will certainly enable the Cisco-NetApp FlexPods to punch above their current weight.

Naturally we have no price and availability information and NetApp traditionally does not comment on new product rumours. ®

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