Eyeing double-digit growth, NetApp fires up flash storage
By Gabey Goh March 4, 2013
- NetApp aims to increase customer base and business by 10-15% in the near term
- Announces EF540 all-flash array; previews architecture of new, purpose-built FlashRay family
SPEED of access and information retrieval is critical for a business in today’s heightened competitive environment.
In order to help companies meet that demand and extend its leadership position in the market, NetApp has beefed up its enterprise-class flash storage portfolio, geared at today’s high performance-driven enterprise applications.
“Flash changes everything by transforming the speed of business,” said Manish Goel, executive vice president its Product Operations.
“However, enterprise imperatives for global scale, efficiency, and reliability remain the same. NetApp’s approach to flash removes the compromise from consideration, offering customers the best of all worlds,” he claimed.
NetApp also claimed it has deployed more than 36 pettabytes of flash in the market to date.
The enhanced portfolio is intended to provide flexibility and choice and maximize the value of flash across the entire compute, network, and storage stack, it added.
In an interview with Digital News Asia, Andy Khoo, country manager of Malaysia & Brunei for NetApp, said flash could help improve or accelerate performance for specific critical tasks or during those critical moments when needed.
He pointed to an example of how flash-based storage products would help certain verticals or companies, such as during the annual personal income tax filing season for the Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) or Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia.
“Every year between the months of March and April, there is a large spike in the volume of data that is received and processed through the agency’s IT system. There is a clear opportunity for the agency to evaluate flash-based storage products that can help improve performance during this period to ensure the system performs to the agency’s and public’s expectations,” he said.
When asked which industries the company foresees the biggest uptake in, Khoo said verticals such as the financial services and oil and gas sectors that need to manage or process large amounts of data during critical periods will be the ones that could turn to flash-based storage products or technologies.
He also noted that large MNCs (multinational corporations) are the companies in Malaysia that are making the bulk of investment into storage infrastructure today.
“However, having said that, we are seeing the larger Malaysian enterprises, especially the listed companies, showing a greater level of awareness and education when it comes to investing in storage products or technologies,” he said.
Khoo (pic) added the exponential growth of data is becoming a real issue for local enterprises, especially when one also take accounts of trends such as mobility and social media.
While there is no denying that cost will continue to be a key factor in decision making, he said that companies are now putting more emphasis on their return on investment (ROI) in the current economic climate.
“The truth of the matter is that companies realize that they need to continue to spend despite the uncertain economic outlook, thus their concern is getting the best value out of their investment.
"Most companies are also concerned about scalability and agility. They are willing to invest in products or technologies that are flexible enough to help them gain an edge over their competitors in these trying times, and yet still be easily scalable vertically and horizontally in the future,” he said.
When asked whether NetApp would be looking to specifically target the growing number of data center and cloud services providers in the country, Khoo said the group are key customers for the company.
“It’s no secret that they are making increasingly large infrastructure investments to offer the latest services such as cloud computing and virtualization for end customers,” he said.
He declined to share names of specific local customers but pointed out that the company is currently working with regional and international providers such as T-Systems that have a small presence locally in Malaysia.
“For this particular segment, we have a strong alliance with our key partners Cisco and VMware to provide a validated and secured multi-tenancy cloud architecture for cloud providers,” he said.
The three companies have come together to create an enterprise cloud architecture for server, storage, and networking hardware and software, facilitating data sharing, reuse, and dynamic data center resource allocation.
Khoo was unable to share the numbers on NetApp’s current market share in the country, but pointed to the recent IDC Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker for 3Q12 that was published last December, which listed the company as the No 2 vendor in category of Worldwide External Disk Storage Systems Factory Revenue with a market share of 11.9%.
“We are aiming to close the gap on the current market leader globally, and in Malaysia, we are looking to increase our customer base and business by 10% to 15% in the near term,” he added.
Firing up flash
The integrated data storage solutions provider announced the availability of the EF540 all-flash array (pic), and previewed the architecture of its new, purpose-built FlashRay product family, which it claimed will deliver rich scale-out and storage efficiency features to maximize the benefits of all-flash arrays including intelligent caching technologies Flash Cache, Flash Pool, and Flash Accel.
Jeff Janukowicz, research director of Solid State Storage and Enabling Technologies at research firm IDC, said a new class of arrays is unlocking flash’s full potential and delivering capabilities that accelerate the performance, reliability, and efficiency of enterprise data centers.
“For all-flash arrays to gain broader market adoption, it is important to look beyond the performance improvements and deliver must-have reliability, availability, and supportability features. The continued growth of NetApp flash storage systems underscores the value of the company’s approach to managing and storing the massive amounts of data being created today,” he said in a statement released by NetApp.
The EF540 is advertised as the industry’s first flash array to combine consistent extreme performance with enterprise-class high availability, reliability, manageability, and worldwide support.
It delivers over 300,000 IOPS and submillisecond data access in a highly available, fault-tolerant architecture and lays claim to enabling the elimination of storage over-provisioning and dramatically reducing costs by cutting space utilization, power, and cooling.
NetApp contends that via Flash-based storage, business-critical database applications can run up to 500% faster than in traditional storage environments, delivering instant response times and enterprise-class reliability.
With the FlashRay family, NetApp said it is extending its storage and data management leadership by developing a new, purpose-built all-flash storage architecture.
The FlashRay product architecture is founded on rich scale-out and efficiency capabilities to maximize the benefits of flash arrays. The new product line will combine consistent, low-latency performance, high availability and integrated data protection with enterprise storage efficiency features such as inline deduplication and compression.
FlashRay will be available in limited beta in the middle of 2013 and will be generally available in 2014. The product line is designed from the ground up to maximize the value of flash. FlashRay continues to execute against a strategy to deliver an intelligent and integrated architecture that is optimized for flash.
NetApp also announced the release of three new platforms within its FAS6200 storage systems family. The FAS6220, FAS6250, and FAS6290 increase the performance and value of its high-end product line for the most stringent workloads.