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NetApp flashifies ONTAP high-end boxen

Bigger disks, flash pools, more memory

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While flash arrays were the main focus of yesterday's NetApp announcements the company also uprated its high-end FAS6200 arrays with bigger disks, flash pools, more memory and the latest ONTAP software.

We can update the table we produced when we first wrote about these new FAS arrays and here is our new quick take on the spec changes:

FAS6200 refresh February 2013

FAS6200 refresh numbers. Click on chart to look more closely.

The cells with the green background show unchanged values from the previous FAS6200 threesome to the new trio of products. The obvious changes are:

  • Maximum disk capacity has doubled, from 2TB to 4TB, providing twice as much maximum array disk capacity.
  • Drive numbers are unchanged.
  • The arrays get flash pools, the ability to have aggregates in the array be comprised of both disk drive and solid state drive capacity, with the most-requested data in the aggregate being cached on the SSDs for faster access.
  • Memory in the controller has doubled on the entry-level 6220, increased by 50 per cent on the 6240, but stayed the same at 192GB on the 6290.
  • The Flash Cache - SSD caching in the controller - capacity remains the same.
  • The version of ONTAP supported goes up to 8.1.2 or later or 8.0.5 or later in NetApp's confusing numbering scheme.

The 8.1.1 version of ONTAP supported "clustering of up to six ONTAP arrays with each node potentially configured for different work, such as FC SAN access and filer activity."

According to Storage Review the memory bumps mean the 6220 has up to 10 per cent more performance than the replaced 6210, and the 6250 has up to 5 per cent performance than the 6240, with the 6290 and 6280 having the same performance - presumably its controller was beefy enough already. This is comparative tweaking.

The increase in performance comes from the larger overall capacity and the addition of flash pool support. NetApp's release states; "All models support our superior flash offerings, which increases IOPS over 80 per cent and reduces latency by up to 90 per cent."

NetApp specifies that all the new 6200s can have up to 24 NAS cluster modes and 6 SAN cluster nodes. Cluster node numbers aren't specified in the equivalent old 6200 tech specs.

According to NetApp, clustering provides five nines (99.999 per cent) uptime or greater and operations across the cluster are not disrupted by upgrades or system replacement. Cluster nodes are high-availability pairs and NetApp says the maximum cluster storage capacity is more than 65PB.

The controller-only V6200 systems get the same update as the FAS6200s but flash pools are only possible with NetApp arrays behind a V-Series head, not with third-party arrays.

The overall big 6200 story here is doubled capacity and the addition of flash pools together with the ONTAP update, giving you more capacity, faster hot data access, and larger clusters.

It's interesting to speculate what will happen to the server-based Flash Accel, controller Flash Cache and data vault flash pool flash infrastructure once the FlashRay clustered all-flash array arrives in 2014. It's possible that there simply won't be a need for all of it once FlashRay starts operating. ®

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