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NetApp Debuts Enterprise Storage Systems

NetApp has launched several new technologies designed for building the kind of shared IT infrastructure that's inherent to cloud computing operations. New products include two new families of storage systems; enhancements to its operating system, Data ONTOP; and OnCommand, a new management suite.

The NetApp FAS6200 and FAS3200 series of storage systems address different organizational requirements. The feature set of the FAS6200 models is intended for large enterprise demands. The high-end FAS6280 has a maximum raw storage capacity of 2.9 PB, up to 192 GB of memory, up to 8 TB of flash cache, and a maximum of 1,440 disk drives. The midrange FAS3200 systems scales to nearly 2 PB of storage capacity and accommodates a maximum of 960 disk drives, 2 TB of flash cache, and 32 GB of memory.

The new line of storage is also available in a "V-series" version for environments already running disk arrays from IBM, Hitachi, HP, EMC, Fujitsu, and 3PAR (now part of HP). This virtual line allows administrators to manage multi-vendor storage as if it was all from NetApp.

Both sets of storage systems run Data ONTAP 8.0.1. Among other enhancements, this new release of the company's operating system introduces data compression. The block-level compression capability can be used alone or with a highly popular deduplication feature already present in the software, to store more data using fewer physical resources. According to company blogger and global systems engineer Nick Triantos, "We see primary use of compression taking place in environments that are not application performance sensitive, such as file services, home [directories], seismic data, engineering data, backups, and archives."

NetApp has released OnCommand, a set of management tools intended to improve storage and service operations with functions that help the storage administrator control, automate, and analyze the storage infrastructure. The suite has plugins to integrate NetApp features with third-party management products and hypervisors.

The company also announced its participation along with Cisco and VMware in offering a virtualized data center consisting of components from all three companies. Besides central management of components, FlexPod for VMware is expected to provide a more streamlined response, the companies said, to problems that surface in shared infrastructures. Its base configuration consists of VMware vSphere and VMware vCenter, Cisco Unified Computing System and Nexus switches, and NetApp FAS storage. FlexPod will be built and sold through the vendor partners.

"Facing the dual challenges of flat IT budgets and exploding data growth, IT organizations need to keep pace with the business requirements of today yet also be ready to adapt and respond to the demands of tomorrow," said Mark Peters, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "The resulting urgency to employ more dynamic, flexible, and efficient IT approaches--including various cloud implementations--is being enabled by many new technologies that have matured, including those that NetApp is announcing. These can be used to create a genuine shared IT infrastructure that combines the best of traditional and cloud approaches in order to allow organizations to seize new opportunities and ultimately to advance and accelerate their business objectives."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.