NetApp on Tuesday unveiled several significant changes to its storage software aimed at helping businesses continue their digital transformation and more easily manage their data, wherever it resides.
Changes include an updated version of its flagship data management software NetApp Ontap with deeper cloud integrations, new ways to purchase cloud storage services through its NetApp Keystone subscription service, and new storage defined by software that can be deployed on non-NetApp hardware.
NetApp also updated its hardware portfolio with an entry-level NVMe-based array and its first array featuring low-cost QLC NAND flash technology.
[Related: 10 Key Takeaways From NetApp CEO George Kurian: Cloud, Coronavirus And Growth]
As digital transformation has become a major driver for the number of companies looking at their cloud infrastructures, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the shift to adopting hybrid cloud models, said Brad Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of NetApp’s cloud infrastructure business. unity.
The hybrid cloud, which will feature prominently at next week’s NetApp Insight 2020 virtual conference, is the ideal infrastructure to build on for the future, Anderson told CRN.
“And that suits NetApp’s capabilities well,” he said. “We’ll be talking a lot about Ontap’s simplicity, security, increased storage efficiency, and increased ability to move data between on-premises clouds and customers’ chosen clients.”
NetApp Ontap 9.8, the latest versions of NetApp’s software for seamless data management and migration across on-premises and multi-cloud infrastructures, offers several features focused on improving simplicity, customer experience, analysis and storage efficiency, Anderson said.
These include the new SnapMirror Business Continuity, which Anderson says combines flexible array-based clustering with granular synchronous mirroring for continuous availability and zero data loss for SAN workloads.
NetApp Ontap has also been enhanced with new security features for critical business applications and has increased flexibility in how actively read data is cached for improved performance, he said. .
NetApp Keystone is enhanced a year after its introduction in NetApp Insight 2019. NetApp Keystone enables customers to purchase their on-premises and cloud storage capabilities without worrying about future needs by enabling data migration as needed on-premises, Private clouds or public clouds, and purchased in full or on a consumption model.
Previously, NetApp offered Keystone FlexPay, which offered creative rental-focused pricing, Anderson said.
New to Keystone is FlexSubscription, where NetApp owns the asset and the residuals, and offers different tiers of storage depending on the type of workload and whether customers need file and block storage, objects or blocks. Customers can also select different levels of data protection depending on their needs, he said. It can be managed by NetApp, by a partner or by the customer, he said.
“Customers can manage both FlexSubscription and FlexPay, as well as on-premises and cloud storage, in the same console,” he said. “We want to make it even more flexible for customers.”
Many customers are now looking to consume storage as a service, and NetApp makes it easy for them, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering west at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solutions provider and longtime partner. from NetApp. .
“NetApp makes it easier to adopt storage services from low capacity points,” Woodall told CRN. “General Datatech can deliver anything as a service, and Keystone fits perfectly into our service-oriented business model. Customers can get storage on-premises, as a rental, managed service, hosted offering, or subscription. We are very flexible in what we do with our clients.
Also new is NetApp SolidFire Enterprise SDS (software-defined storage) technology targeting use with customers’ own hardware. The offering, based on NetApp Element software bundled with NetApp’s 2016 acquisition of SolidFire, is used to build high-performance private clouds.
NetApp SolidFire is available as a complete, pre-integrated storage array or as a software-defined application. Until now, the software had to run on NetApp hardware, but because it is a software-defined technology, customers could upgrade the hardware at any time while retaining their existing licenses.
Going forward, customers will be able to purchase NetApp SolidFire Enterprise SDS for both NetApp and non-NetApp hardware. The hardware must be on the Hardware Compatibility List, which currently only includes Hewlett-Packard Enterprise servers.
This is the bring your own hardware version of NetApp SolidFire, Woodall said.
“Partners and customers have to do their own onboarding,” he said. “But I have big customers who buy a lot of hardware and want to use one brand if they can buy and implement the software on it.”
On the hardware side, NetApp introduced the AFF A250, its entry-level, fully NVMe-based storage array. The AFF A250 replaces the A220, making the entire AFF lineup NVMe-based performance-focused through and through, Anderson said.
The AFF A250 scales from two to 24 nodes, for up to 576 SSDs with a total capacity of up to 36 petabytes.
Focusing on NVMe across the entire AFF lineup is a good move for NetApp, Woodall said.
“NVMe is an industry-wide evolution and progression, a highly parallel and optimized protocol,” he said. “NVMe is required to run storage-based memory like Intel Optane or Micron 3D XPoint technologies. It provides end-to-end NVMe internally and supports NVMe-over-Fabric.
NetApp also on Tuesday introduced the FAS 500F, an entry model in its FAS family of capacity-oriented all-flash storage arrays. The FAS 500F is NetApp’s first array to support low-cost QLC NAND memory and enables capacity of up to 734 terabytes per HA pair.
QLC flash is increasingly important as data center users are hungry for power and space, Woodall said.
“Using QLC flash will result in lower power consumption and higher density,” he said. “It’s not the same performance as other flashes. But many applications don’t need the highest performance. QLC offers excellent performance and high density at a great price.