Learn Why Growing Mid-Markets Choose NetApp

By Todd Bey| March 07, 2016

The combination of NetApp’s powerful hardware performance and flexible software features provides the best of both worlds for Mid-Markets and Enterprises in Chicago looking for an online data storage solution.

NetApp has a reputation of being the first data storage vendor that introduced efficient storage snapshots that are ready for production. They are still a leader in snapshot capabilities and software features today.

In addition to this long history, NetApp has also improved its hardware. This online data storage solution now offers hybrid online data storage arrays supporting modern hardware such as Flash, large 8 TB capacity hard drives and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) storage connectivity.

FAS 2500 Series for Mid-Markets

The most popular hardware family for mid-markets is the FAS 2500. Under this product family, there are 3 models which are described below:

Model Description
FAS2520 Value model
Onboard 10G Base-T (RJ-45 Ethernet) and 1 GbE
No SFP+ (Twinax) or FC (Fibre Channel) support
Supports iSCSI storage protocol and CIFS/SMB/NFS file protocols
Maximum of 12 internal drives with ability to expand up to 84 drives with external shelves
Internal drives can be Performance (SAS), Capacity (NL-SAS) or SSD
FAS2552 Most popular option
Supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FC and FCoE
Internal drives can be Performance (SAS) or SSD with external shelves providing capacity disks
External shelves can be used for capacity drives
A single 2U array can provide at least 13TB usable capacity (1.2TB SAS disks)
FAS2554 Designed primarily for high capacity needs
Internal drives can be Capacity (up to 8 TB drives) or SSD
Supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FC and FCoE

Below is the rear of a controller for the 2552 and 2554 models. Notice the 4 x UTA2 (Unified Target Adapter) ports which allow for either 10 GbE (iSCSI or File), FC or FCoE. Each model comes with 2 controllers (active/active).

netapp controller

NetApp Snapshots, SnapMirror and SnapVault

NetApp’s snapshots allow administrators to create data storage snapshots and preserve a point-in-time copy of a volume with no performance impact using minimal additional capacity. This allows for quick online backups and quick restores. Snapshots are the foundation for NetApp’s most popular features.

The most popular feature is SnapMirror. This allows organizations to efficiently replicate volumes to a NetApp array at another site. This replication feature is built into the array without any additional hardware to purchase (proper software licensing is required). The replicated volume retains the online data storage efficiencies of deduplication and compression and also performs additional network compression in transit to minimize bandwidth utilization.

Building off of SnapMirror, the SnapVault feature allows a streamlined disk-to-disk backup solution that combines retention and DR into a single solution. SnapVault maintains a longer history of SnapMirror snapshots based on a retention policy defined by your organization. Direct backups between NetApp systems minimize the need for external infrastructure and appliances.

netapp SnapVault

Flash Options in NetApp

NetApp has two architecture choices for leveraging Flash inside the hybrid array: Flash Cache and Flash Pools.

Flash Cache involves installing a PCIe card into each controller that caches only reads. This architecture has the benefit of removing the burden of random reads from the magnetic disks and not using any disk slots. This is best for heterogeneous workloads such a general VMware datastores hosting many VMs.

Flash Pools involve installing SSDs in the internal disk slots, assigning SSDs to a particular aggregate and provides both read and write caching. The capacity of the SSDs is not added to the aggregate, but rather extends the capacity of the storage processor cache. This is an optimal choice for mission critical databases as well as VDI solutions.

Either of these options can help you maximize the value of your array by reducing the number of magnetic disk drives. Using an industry-standard benchmark, NetApp has proven that Flash Cache can eliminate up to 75% of the magnetic disk drives in a storage system with no change to I/O throughput and with better response times.

NetApp provides many additional flash options including all flash arrays. NetApp is a leader in flash deployments with more than 250 Petabytes of flash shipped (250,000 TB).

Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3

NetApp released its latest OS version, 8.3, in March 2015.

In September 2015, v8.3.1 was released. This release provides some significant improvements (more than a typical minor update).

With the 8.3 release, NetApp is no longer updating their legacy OS architecture called “7-mode”. 8.2 is the last version that will be maintained for 7-mode and NetApp’s customer’s strategy should be to change to Cluster mode in the future. Newer features will only be available in 8.3 (in Clustered mode).

Clustered Data ONTAP (cDOT) is optimized for scalability and performance. Its core clustering feature provides the ability to scale out a number of arrays to be managed as a single entity. For the FAS2500 family shown above, the nodes can scale out to 4 pairs of Active/Active cluster nodes (HA pairs). This architecture provides a foundation of an always-on storage network. Maintenance and lifecycle upgrades are seamless with many flexible migration and failover options.

Clustered Data Netapp

Learn More about Storage Options for your Mid-Market

The storage market is saturated with on-premises and cloud options and NetApp continues to be a strong platform. Contact BDO Digital to get help with streamlining your on-premises and cloud storage architecture.

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