My, what big data you have: NetApp's FlashRay to focus on databases

Flashy icing on the FAS cake

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FlashRay, NetApp’s coming all flash array, is a going to be a database machine. That’s according to a NetApp video interview with its Flash Solutions VP.

Ty McConney is said VP and at 9 minutes and 46 seconds into the video he answers a question about FlashRay.

Youtube Video

Ty McConney on FlashRay video

He said a first and limited targeted ship of release 1 of FlashRay and its MARS operating system starts this month.

This reminds El Reg storage desk of the way EMC first introduced its XtremIO array – with limited availability.

McConney said NetApp has filed more than 200 patents related to the FlashRay project. The box is very much a complementary product to ONTAP, the array mothership for NetApp, rather than a replacement for it. It is a SAN platform, and NetApp has an eight to nine per cent market share of the SAN storage market.

The existing EF-Series all-flash Engenio array offers extreme performance with application-level data management. McConney says: “FlashRay will give us extreme performance … with array-based data management with the MARS operating system.”

He said that, with FlashRay: “The ultimate prize is database.”

It will start with VDI and similar workloads, which is where many all-flash array suppliers are focusing, but he wants it to earn its stripes and move into the mission-critical application space.

“Our intent is to leverage FlashRay as a SAN platform that allows us to go to that upper right-hand corner [of the Gartner MQ we understand] with … single-digit failover and extreme performance but with features.”

The EF system provides the same kind of performance without the array-level data management features.

McConney reassured NetApp users that “ONTAP with all-flash FAS and hybrid will continue to be the mothership. That is the base that FlashRay connects to.”

Both FlashRay and the EF systems should, NetApp hopes, expand its SAN market share.

McConney didn’t say when FlashRay would be generally available nor provide any configuration details. The general marketing impression we’re getting is that FlashRay isn’t a new cake, instead it’s positioned as icing on the FAS cake, making it a tastier proposition overall. ®

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