Posts By Matthew Underhill

What You Need to Know About NetApp’s New AFF SAN Array

Last week at NetApp INSIGHT 2019 in Las Vegas, NetApp announced their all new AFF SAN Array (ASA). This is an interesting one from NetApp, certainly a step in a different direction. I am keen to see how it plays out. I believe that, positioned correctly in the market, this is going to be a fantastic bit of technology.

“That’s all great,” I hear you saying, “But why is this under the ONTAP section?” Well I am getting to that bit!

Basically, it’s an AFF without the NAS functionality. You get iSCSI and FC but no SMB or NFS.

The hardware is identical to an AFF, and it is badged just like any other AFF. You can get this in two variants currently: the ASA AFF A700 and AFF A200 – 2-node switchless HA pairs only.

Unfortunately you can’t cluster these with other ASA pairs or with regular AFF/FAS products. You also won’t be able to get MetroCluster, NVMe/FC, or the ability to use these with MAX Data, or MCC as it stands right now. However, the software that is bundled with the ASA includes the Flash premium bundles without NAS features such as (FlexGroup and FlexCache).

So, what do you get then? Apart from running ONTAP and giving you all the features you are used to in a SAN-only setup, it does have some other cool features like symmetric active/active host-to-LUN access. All the available paths are active and optimised. More usable bandwidth? I’ll take that!

You also get near instantaneous read/write resumes after a storage controller takeover. That’s fairly nifty.

Another interesting service to take note of is the new SAN Setup Service. This will help you to deploy a consistent and reliable SAN solution utilizing your new NetApp ASA systems.

What does this include? Hang tight, you are about to find out!

  • Initial Assessment
  • Environment Discovery
  • Solution Design
  • Deploy
  • A knowledge transfer from NetApp to you about your setup
  • Then follow-ups every month for the first 3 months.

I will be interested to see how this new service plays out. I think it could really help to get some customers up and running knowing that they can get the best out of their system from day one!

NetApp INSIGHT 2019 in Las Vegas: Hardware Announcement Roundup

I just wanted to highlight a couple of things that I thought were noteworthy.

We have new high-end and midrange All-Flash FAS (AFF) and Fabric-Attached Storage (FAS) systems. These are the new AFF 400 and FAS 8300 and 8700, respectively.

So why would I want one (or more)? Well, generally, you get more! The AFF 400 has more than its predecessor, the AFF 300.

  • More cores: up to 42 cores to be exact, all thanks to the latest Intel CPU technology (Cascade Lake)!
  • More connectivity options with 25Gb and 100Gb, so you can have all the bandwidth you want!
  • More disk: up to 480 Solid State Drives (SSD) to be exact!

Much the same as the new AFF 400, the FAS 8300 and 8700 give us more! But just how much more? Well…

  • More cores: up to 42 cores of the latest Intel CPU technology Cascade Lake goodness!
  • More connectivity options with 25Gb and 100Gb (that’s a lot of bandwidth)!
  • More disk: up to 720 drives of your choice!

So basically, you get can have it bigger, stronger, and faster. This is all well and good but the real magic in my opinion is NetApp’s ONTAP OS! This is where things really get interesting.

So stay tuned, there is certainly some ONTAP goodness coming your way!

What’s All This About Then?

A couple of years ago I was recruited into the NetApp A-Team and suddenly a new world was opened up to me of blogging and being social. In truth, I never thought I would be the sort of person to open myself up to the world and share my opinions and experiences.

This is a huge step forward and for that, I have to thank the encouragement of my fellow A-Team members bringing me out of my shell and pushing me to be better.

I am not an expert and I wouldn’t claim to be because in my experience there is always someone out there who is smarter than you! What I am hoping to achieve is to give my viewpoint with the hopes that it will be relatable. Hopefully, we can share war stories and all learn a thing or two.

What is the NetApp A-Team I hear you asking? We are a group of passionate techies who just love technology but especially NetApp! I would highly recommend that you follow us on Twitter #NetAppATeam to keep updated on all things NetApp as well as things that I am discovering along the way!

I hope you will join me on the journey, that said sit back relax and grab a beer!