NetApp updates flash, hybrid dedicated storage arrays

NetApp is rolling out faster all-flash, entry-level and big-data arrays

NetApp E5500 Storage System

NetApp E5500 Storage System

NetApp is upgrading its lineup of dedicated storage systems, rolling out a faster all-flash array and improved platforms for branch offices and large enterprises.

The products introduced on Tuesday complement the company's Data OnTap architecture for shared and cloud storage, according to Mark Welke, senior director of product marketing. All are designed to deliver high performance for applications with specific needs.

The E550 flash array is NetApp's second all-flash system and offers higher capacity and performance than the current E540, which was introduced in February. The E550 will scale up to 96TB of storage, a significant boost over the 19.2TB that the current array can hold. It can read and write that data faster, achieving more than 400,000 IOPS (in/out operations per second) compared with about 300,000 IOPS in the E540, Welke said.

Within the next three months, IT shops will be able to increase the E550's capacity still more, Welke said. NetApp is qualifying 1.6TB SSDs (solid-state drives) for use in the platform, which today is designed for drives no larger than 800GB.

The system is designed for use with a single application and is light on data management, leaving those tasks to the application, Welke said. NetApp will ship a multi-application flash platform called FlashRay, with data management features such as compression and in-line deduplication, in the first half of next year, he said.

For block-based data in branch offices and small and medium-sized organizations, NetApp introduced the E2700 Storage System. The hybrid SAN (storage area network) array is the followup to the E2600, which the company said has sold about 650,000 units.

The new array gets faster interfaces, with its SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) connections advancing from 6Gbps (bits per second) to 12Gbps and its Fibre Channel going from 8Gbps to 16Gbps. The options for cache have also grown up, with the company offering 4GB, 8GB or 16GB. The biggest cache for the E2600 was 4GB, Welke said. Multiple E2700 arrays can be combined for a total capacity of 768TB, he said.

Also on Tuesday, NetApp announced its E5500 Storage System for the general enterprise market. The new hybrid SAN array is an update from the E5400 with the same interface improvements as on the E2700. NetApp had introduced an early version of the product earlier this year that was configured specifically for HPC (high-performance computing) applications.

With some modifications, the E5500 is suited to any setting that calls for large-scale block storage, Welke said. The HPC version is still available. The array can be useful for vertical applications such as health care and video, and there is a reference model for use with the Hadoop big-data analytics technology, he said. The maximum capacity of the E5500 is 1.54PB.

All three products will be available by the beginning of next year, according to NetApp. The company would not disclose pricing.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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