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NetApp Expanded Its Hardware and Software Portfolio at NetApp Insight 2019

 

While at NetApp Insight last week, NetApp took advantage of having so many of its key partners and customers all centralized in one place, making a number of important announcements over the course of a three day period.  Perhaps none more noteworthy than Keystone which VMblog covered earlier this week.

But when it came down to talking about hardware and software updates, the company didn't disappoint.  With one announcement after the next, it quickly became clear: NetApp was ready to meet the competitive challenge being made by others head on, and each solution being announced fit nicely within the company's overall corporate strategy being brought forth.

Hardware

NetApp introduced three new midrange arrays at Insight: the AFF A400, FAS8300, and FAS8700.

The new AFF A400 is designed to be a long-term replacement for NetApp's AFF A300.  The AFF A400 incorporates an end-to-end NVMe design and what NetApp says is an ultra-low latency at a mid-range price point, which makes it appropriate for data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) workloads, while the data acceleration makes it good for enterprise application workloads with large I/Os.  According to the company, the new AFF A400 offers the power of secure data acceleration in an AFF storage system for the first time.  The AFF A400 data acceleration capability offloads storage efficiency processing, thus delivering significantly higher performance.  NetApp said the A400 delivers up to 50 percent higher performance than its predecessor, but never identified which predecessor that might be - perhaps the A300 or A320.

The company also announced two new hybrid flash FAS arrays, the FAS8300 and the FAS8700, which replace the FAS8200 in NetApp's product lineup.  These two new arrays feature the same new mid-range controller that's found in the AFF A400.  The new FAS8700 hybrid flash array is equipped with up to 176 raw PB capacity and a 4U controller.  NetApp says it's optimized for high capacity and performance to consolidate multiple workloads.  The new FAS8300 scales up to 88PB of raw storage.



While all-flash arrays are getting the most attention right now, hybrids still own a large segment of the market because they deliver enough performance for their projected workload, and offer good economics.  NetApp is seeing customers use hybrids for a number of use cases including back-up and retention, consolidation of general business applications, and distributed content.

NetApp also announced the addition of three new StorageGRID appliances to its Webscale object storage lineup, but made special attention to the new SGF6024 all-flash appliance.  SGF6024 is built from two components: a 1U compute blade, and an EF570 storage shelf with 24 slots for 2.5-inch SSDs.  It's targeted at modern object workloads in analytics and IoT.

The company also introduced its new StorageGRID v11.3 software, which is needed for the new hardware.  This provides the ability to tier off objects to Microsoft Azure Blob Storage as a public cloud target, supporting up to 10 Cloud Storage Pools per grid.

Software and Services

There were equally important announcements made on the software and services side of things. 

One of the key software announcements made centered around the release of NetApp ONTAP 9.7, the company's next big update to its data management software.   ONTAP allows organizations to build a secure, powerful and intelligent storage infrastructure with the ability to deploy storage (via hardware storage systems, software-defined storage, and the cloud) while unifying data management across all of them.  And ONTAP 9.7 comes with many new enhancements that let users do more with less time and effort.

The most significant update in this ONTAP release is how simple NetApp has made it to manage an ONTAP environment.  The new management UI for ONTAP System Manager will save time by showing key system information about capacity, hardware health, networking, and performance history with up to one year of data. 

 

Also new is the ability to simultaneously mirror tiered data out to multiple clouds.  This gives users the flexibility to store their data at multiple cloud providers for added resiliency, and it simplifies the process for changing cloud providers (and do that nondisruptively).  Users can also now protect their data by automatically enabling data at-rest encryption for new volumes when an encryption key manager is configured on the cluster.  To deliver business continuity, they've added the ability to use an existing network infrastructure for synchronous mirroring with MetroCluster.  And for data protection in an NVMe environment, users can get zero data loss protection using SnapMirror Synchronous replication.

Another key software announcements focused on the rolling out of AIOps, the application of Artificial Intelligence to IT operations.  This is a new application that uses AI for operational automation in the data center to give customers real-time, one-click resolution of issues.  It was here that NetApp announced upgrades to Active IQ, NetApp's web-based analytics software that provides predictive analytics for technical support, including new SupportEdge Advisor and SupportEdge Expert offerings.  

They also introduced a solution that combines Active IQ predictive guidance with Cloud Insights in order to provide real-time issue resolution across a hybrid multicloud environment, no matter how complex, acting as the only solution to provide a single source of truth for the performance of an entire infrastructure.  

Even further, NetApp introduced an advanced version of its popular cloud-monitoring SaaS-based tool, Cloud Insights called Cloud Insights Premium, which adds Kubernetes monitoring with with topology visualization and insider threat detection.  Kubernetes is the centerpiece of the company's redesigned DevOps offering that is cloud-agnostic.  And NetApp Kubernetes Service, or NKS, provides true application portability across customers' hybrid environments and to several of NetApp's new storage arrays.

They also told attendees about a new cloud compliance service that monitors native cloud storage in the public cloud.  It integrates with Cloud Volumes ONTAP and uses AI to identify and classify sensitive data.

As they say, data is the new oil.  And for decades, NetApp has been cultivating its data lake, aggregating and anonymizing metadata information from its entire hardware and software customer ecosystem.  And with advancements made in artificial intelligence and machine learning, NetApp is able to take that information and offer predictive and prescriptive insights and guidance, which has helped save its customers over two million hours of lost productivity due to avoided downtime.

And finally, the company also brought forward its Data Protection and security assessment, which NetApp said will help organizations better plan for minimizing the impact of security threats by determining security readiness, improving response and recovering more quickly.

Published Friday, November 08, 2019 2:34 PM by David Marshall
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