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NetApp FAS8000 Launch Enables Rapid Unified Storage and Intelligent Data Management Consolidation.

By StorageOlogist (Lee Johns)

NetApp’s announcement of the FAS8000 is the next step in the evolution of their Data ONTAP infrastructure. With this announcement NetApp is bringing more performance to the FAS line with enhanced use of SSDs, as well as enhancing Clustered DataONTAP® (cDOT) to improve operations and management across scale-out infrastructures, for both public and private cloud environments. This is all good stuff and more validation for customers of the choice they made to deploy NetApp.

For me, possibly the most interesting part of the announcement, is that the FAS8000 supports new FlexArray Virtualization Software. This enables the virtualization and management of multi-vendor storage platforms. This has not been a particularly fruitful area for storage vendors in the past. Other vendors have rolled out this capability both with their arrays (Hitachi) and in software, (including the now discontinued HP StorageWorks SAN Virtualization Services Platform or SVSP), with limited success. So does anything make this different from NetApp? It may just be timing.

Today IT organizations are faced with a sprawl of disparate technologies. This means there are multiple hardware systems to manage but more importantly there are multiple data handling and management tools. Multiple snapshot systems, deduplication/compression algorithms and replication mechanisms create complexity. Move on past the arrays themselves and this sprawl continues into the data protection products and policies. Most IT organizations have multiple backup software stacks and restore polices. This creates a more complex data protection environment that has to deal with more data because of the amount of copies generated across disparate processes. By delivering a mechanism by which legacy arrays can be made cloud ready, NetApp is enabling customers to more rapidly evolve to a less complex infrastructure. The focus seems to be on the repurpose and incorporation of legacy systems into new cloud-based architectures, and this is smart. It is unlikely that new systems will be purchased and then hidden behind an existing array with their unique features subsumed. However there can be a real benefit to being able to repurpose aging technology. The goal is simple. Use existing storage you have already purchased as capacity behind the NetApp FAS system for either SAN or NAS. According to NetApp this can reduce storage usage by 35% and deliver a 9 month payback.

This focus on trying to bring together heterogeneous infrastructures into a single and more manageable operating model is also one that can be applied to data protection. Corporate data protection infrastructures are typically made up of many heterogeneous technologies in the following areas:-

  • Resilience

  • Replication

  • Security

  • Data Reduction

  • Backup

  • Archiving

  • Recovery

These technologies are likely spread across a heterogeneous collection of storage systems and software. They also often span local, remote and third party data centers. There are obvious operational savings to be had if you can simplify the data protection infrastructure. In addition a more standardized approach can dramatically reduce hardware costs and reduce data sprawl which impacts productivity as well as operational and capital expenditure.

So, a focus on consolidation of core storage and data protection can deliver significant benefits. But what if you could do both together? By embracing partners as a core part of their product introduction strategy NetApp is enabling just that. Catalogic is partnering with NetApp to extend the intelligent data management infrastructure whilst leveraging existing NeApp systems.

This new announcement shows the power of the Catalogic architecture to deliver fast innovation. Catalogic uses NetApp FAS storage as the backup server so in addition to Catalogic engineering enhancements, Catalogic benefits from NetApp’s investment in innovation. This means Catalogic customers will be able to quickly benefit from the enhancements NetApp is delivering and improve the return on assets from existing IT investments in both their storage and data protection infrastructure.

The bottom line is that all IT organizations need to look at how they can simplify both their storage and data protection infrastructures. This enables a more responsive and lower cost implementation that also enables employees to get more work done. This is something Greg Shultz @ StorageIO calls the new ROI (Return on innovation). As support for these new systems is rolled out by the partnership, Catalogic DPX deep ecosystem integration with ONTAP has the potential to kill two birds with one stone.

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