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NetApp springs update surprise on Engenio flash array

E540 gets elder bro - the E550

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Less than a week after EMC put its bought-in all-flash XtremIO array on sale, NetApp has boosted the power of its Engenio all-flash array product by adding the EF550 above the EF540 in its line-up.

It's also added a new disk-drive-filled branch office SAN array, the E2700, which slots in above the E2600 and below the E5400. The high-end E5500 gets an update.

These Engenio or E-Series arrays are sold to customers who need faster data access than the FAS series can deliver, and without Data ONTAP bells and whistles. The EF540 is NetApp's first all-flash array and many view it as a stopgap until its completely new and in-house developed FlashRay arrives. That day is not today.

NetApp wants us all to realise that the EF550 "delivers high performance and consistent low latency for business-critical applications for which responsiveness and enterprise reliability are critical." It repeats the phrase again and again in its release.

Your humble Reg hack thinks he's got a handle on this: the EF550 delivers enterprise-consistent low performance and high latency for business apps needing critical reliable responsiveness. Is that right? [No - sub-ed]

Let's stop poking fun at NetApp's marketing, and simply say the EF550 is a go-faster EF540. It has:

  • A 2U rackmount enclosure with 24 x 800GB SSDS and 2U expansion drawer with ditto the drive configuration - basically as before.
  • Maximum of 120 SSDs and 96TB raw capacity, instead of the EF540's 48 drives and max 38TB raw capacity.
  • Scale-out architecture.
  • Claims it has enterprise-grade reliability (it possibly costs more than an all-flash array from a startup, but it's worth it)
  • 16Gbit/s Fibre Channel instead of the EF540's 8Gbit/s FC plus the same 6Gbit/s SAS, 10GbitE iSCSI and 40Gbit/s InfiniBand interfaces
  • Over 400,000 sustained IOPS instead of the EF540's 300,000
  • Over 900,000 burst IOPS compared to the EF540's 350,000
  • SANtricity OS v11.10 vs the EF540's v10.86
  • Volume copy

And that's basically it. As before there is no deduplication or compression and, as before, we're waiting for FlashRay.

Get an EF550 datasheet here [PDF]. Amusingly, this datasheet lists the EF550 as having disk drives:

EF550 At

EF550 attributes

You just know where NetApp's comfort zone is when gaffes like these happen.

Meanwhile, the E2700 can be roughly thought of as a go-faster E2600. The main differences seem to be:

  • 12Gbit/s SAS instead of 6Gbit/s
  • 16Gbit/s Fibre Channel instead of 8Gbit/s
  • Max of 192 disk drives and 120 x 800GB SSDs instead of just 192 HDDs

Faster interfaces and a slug of SSD speed make the thing go faster.

The E5500 get a facelift with maximum capacity raised to 1.5PB from the previous 1.2PB. It has 16Gbit/s FC interfaces but not 12Gbit/s SAS, making do with 6 gig instead. There are also 10GbitE iSCSI and 40Gbit/s InfiniBand as before. There is a data sheet here [PDF] and one for the E2700 here [PDF]. This doesn't seem much of a refresh.

There was no pricing or availability information at this time. ®

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