Top 10 NetApp Products, Solutions of 2013

December 23rd, 2013

Since it’s the season of countdowns and top 10 lists, there’s no better way to look back on 2013 than a list of this year’s best products and solutions from NetApp. Without further ado, I give you my NetApp “Top 10″ of 2013:

1. All-Flash Arrays (EF-Series, FlashRay)
Without a doubt, all-flash arrays were the biggest story of the year; not just one, but two! The launch of the EF540 and announcement of the FlashRay kicked things off in February 2013, followed closely with the EF550 launch nine months later in November. The EF-Series delivers consistent, predictable, sub-millisecond response times to accelerate the latency-sensitive applications responsible for driving revenue, productivity, and/or customer satisfaction on a day-in, day-out basis.

2. Clustered Data ONTAP
June 2013 ushered in the launch of the NetApp flagship operating system, clustered Data ONTAP 8.2. Its focus is continuous data access during controller upgrades; granular quality of service (QoS) for SAN and NAS; Storage Virtual Machines (SVMs) that deliver storage services; and support for the latest storage protocols including SMB 3.0, pNFS v4.1, iSCSI, FCoE, and Fibre Channel.

3. FlexPod
2013 also marked another ‘first’ for Cisco and NetApp: FlexPod became the #1 Integrated Infrastructure by IDC. The Cisco and NetApp partnership that brings the FlexPod systems to market generated $203.1 million worth of “integrated infrastructure” sales during 2Q13, representing a 26.2% share and the top ranking within this market segment.

4. Cloud Strategy
In 2013, IT slowly began the transition from being builders and operators of data centers to becoming brokers of application and information services. To address the gap of blending public and private clouds, NetApp’s strategy is to use the world’s number-one branded storage operating system, Data ONTAP, as a universal data platform across cloud environments. It is now part of over 175 service providers throughout the world!

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NetApp Releases Data ONTAP 8.2.1 RC1

December 16th, 2013

NetApp last week released Data ONTAP 8.2.1 Release Candidate (RC) 1, an update to its flagship operating system for FAS/V-Series Storage Systems. The new features of version 8.2.1 focus on three key areas:

Nondisruptive Operations

  • Shelf Removal
  • Storage Refresh Automation
  • MS SQL Server over SMB 3.0 with continuously-available shares
  • Offbox Antivirus

Proven Efficiency

  • Automated Workflow Analyzer (AWA)
  • Data ONTAP Edge for clustered Data ONTAP
  • System Setup

Seamless Scalability

  • LDAP over SSL 
  • Enterprise SMB features 
  • Qtree export policies for NFSv3
  • Increased SnapMirror and SnapVault fan-in
  • In-place 32-bit to 64-bit aggregate upgrade

In addition to these features, the OnCommand Management Suite has been updated to support this release with the following new release candidates:

  • System Manager 3.1
  • Unified Manager 6.1
  • Workflow Automation 2.2
  • Performance Manager 1.0

Data ONTAP 8.2.1 RC1 is now available to download for both 7-Mode and clustered Data ONTAP systems from the NetApp Support Site.

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NetApp Debuts EF550 Flash Array

November 19th, 2013

NetApp today launched the EF550, an all-flash array delivering 450,000 sustained IOPS with sub-millisecond latency. This updated SANtricity-based system comes exactly nine months after the launch of the previous EF540.

The EF550 base models support 12 SSDs (9.6TB) or 24 SSDs (19.2TB), scaling up to 120 drives (96TB). As with the previous generation, the EF550 is a 2U form factor that is Storage Bridge Bay (SBB) version 2 compliant.

First, the controllers.

At the core of each EF550 controller is its quad-core Intel Xeon E5-2418L (“Sandy Bridge”) processor, which includes an integrated high-speed RAID engine to perform RAID 5 XOR and RAID 6 P + Q parity calculations with no performance penalty. This enables compute-intensive tasks to be handled both efficiently and effortlessly.

The controller’s PCI express Gen 3.0 x8 buses between the processor and external interfaces provide 24 gigabytes per second of internal bandwidth per controller, delivering both the “width” to handle large-block I/O and the “speed” to process large amounts of random, small-block I/O.

Each EF550 controller also provides 12GB of DDR3 SDRAM cache memory via three DIMMS. Its cache is battery-backed and destaged to internal flash upon power loss.

Next, let’s explore connectivity.

For connectivity, the EF550 supports various block protocols including:

  • 16Gb FC (OM2, OM3, OS1, and OS2 optical)
  • 10Gb iSCSI (optical, twinax passive, and RJ-45 Cat 6)
  • 6Gb SAS (copper with Mini-SAS cables)
  • 40Gb IB (QSFP+ copper and OM3 optical)

When attaching the EF550 directly to a server, or to switches in a SAN fabric, I/O paths to each controller should be established by having one connection to controller A and the other connection to controller B. This redundancy ensures data availability in the event of a path failure.

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NetApp Updates E5500 Storage System

November 19th, 2013

NetApp today refreshed its E5500, the flagship E-Series storage system designed for application-driven environments. The E5500 is targeted at performance-centric workloads with its impressive 12GB/s of sustained bandwidth and up to 400,000 sustained IOPS.

As part of today’s launch, the E5500 now includes host interface connectivity for quad-port 16Gb FC and 10Gb optical/copper iSCSI (something previously not part of its initial rollout in March of 2013).

Since the E5500 controllers are based upon the quad-core 2.0 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2418L (“Sandy Bridge”) architecture, NetApp also includes a rather unique performance boost called “Software XOR”. This enhancement augments Cache Mirroring Disabled (CMD) and Cache Mirroring Enabled (CME) write performance of the Intel RAID engine — giving it a competitive advantage over other Intel-based HPC storage systems.

As with other E-Series controllers, the E5500 can be configured with any of the three disk shelves: 2U/12-drive (DE1600), 2U/24-drive (DE5600), or 4U/60-drive (DE6600).

The E5500 supports a maximum of 384 SAS drives or 120 SSD drives. The actual scaling limit is 16 shelves, or the number of drive slots — whichever comes first (so you can’t have shelves with more drive slots than the limit or the drive addressing doesn’t work); this can result in less than the maximum drive slot count for some shelf configurations. The 60-drive shelf can only scale to 360 drives as an example, (60 drives / shelf x 6 shelves), but you can mix and match shelves to get to the maximum.

The updated E5500 includes SANtricity 11.10 and will be available for quoting/ordering beginning December 16, 2013.

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NetApp Unveils E2700 Storage System

November 19th, 2013

NetApp today took the wraps off its new line of E2700 storage systems — designed for general-purpose, application-driven storage.

The three models, named the E2712, E2724, and E2760, will join the E-Series family as part of the two-and-a-half-year-old Engenio acquisition from LSI Corporation. The E2760 is a 4U, 60-drive system; the E2724 is a 2U, 24-drive system; and the E2712 is a 2U 12-drive system.

E2700 systems leverage the dual-core 1.2 GHz LSI SAS 3108 (“Invader”) RAID-on-Chip (ROC) processor, which includes native 12Gb SAS ports. It also supports additional connectivity: dual- or quad-port 12Gb SAS, dual- or quad-port 16Gb FC, or dual-port 10Gb iSCSI through host interface cards (or “HICs”).

Each system can be configured with single or dual controllers, supporting a wide range of drive types and the ability to intermix multiple drive technologies (including SSDs, SAS, and NL-SAS).

Most E2700 configurations support up to 192 hard disk drives, although some exceptions do exist: using only 60-drive shelves will limit the E2760 to a maximum of 180 disks drives and the E2712 cannot be configured with SSDs.

As with the other E-Series products, the E2700 provides data cache memory — which is mirrored, battery-backed, and de-staged to flash if the controllers lose power. Other high-availability features include Dynamic Disk Pools (DDPs); traditional RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, 6, and 10; Proactive Drive Health Monitoring (to identify problem drives before they create issues); and redundant/hot-swappable storage controllers, disk drives, power supplies, and cooling fans.

The E2700 storage systems include SANtricity 11.10 and will be available to be quoted/ordered beginning December 16, 2013.

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NetApp Releases SnapProtect for Open Systems

November 2nd, 2013

As part of the SnapProtect 10.0 Service Pack 4 release this week, NetApp now supports backups from direct-attached and non-NetApp storage to Data ONTAP 7-Mode SnapVault targets.

Called “SnapProtect for Open Systems” (SPOS), this block-level incremental replication capability supports Windows, Linux, and Solaris operating systems and applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle Database.

To enable the SPOS feature, the following components are required to be installed on the source host running Windows or UNIX:

  • MediaAgent: All clients
  • Windows: VSS software provider
  • UNIX: Qsnap Driver or Linux LVM or Veritas VxvM

There are also several notable items of interest when deploying SPOS for version 10.0 SP 4:

  • Support limited to 7-Mode Data ONTAP versions 7.3.x and later
  • No support for SPOS backups to clustered Data ONTAP
  • Only supported with OnCommand Unified Manager 5.2 (no support for 6.0)
  • DB2 DPF and MySQL applications are not supported with SPOS
  • No support for 7-Mode vFiler (MultiStore) as a destination
  • Raw partitions on UNIX are not supported
  • No support for clustering applications or file systems
  • Backup of Exchange Database Availability Groups (DAG) not supported
  • No support for Oracle RAC, ASM, or partial table backups
  • No support for ZFS

But how does SnapProtect for Open Systems work?
For each backup job…

  • It creates a software snapshot of the source data using the native Snap engine such as VSS or Qsnap/LVM
  • The volume is added to the OnCommand Unified Manager dataset that corresponds to the primary snap copy of the storage policy to which the subclient is associated
  • OnCommand Unified Manager carries out any provisioning tasks and requests the destination FAS/V-Series storage system connect back to the client

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Upcoming Launch

October 29th, 2013

Upcoming Launch

October 24th, 2013

NetApp Releases OnCommand Plug-in 4.0 for Microsoft

October 23rd, 2013

NetApp last week released a massive update to its OnCommand Plug-in software for Microsoft environments.

Formally known as “ApplianceWatch”, OnCommand Plug-in 4.0 is an enterprise-class storage monitoring application that provides integration with Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 (Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, and Orchestrator), Windows PowerShell 3.0, and SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1+. The plug-in also includes Orchestrator Integration Packs (OIPs) that allow administrators to provision, clone, and recover Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines with disaster recovery workflows.

Despite the newly-minted support for clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 with this latest release, SCVMM Add-ins, Orchestrator Integration Packs, and Rapid Cloning Cmdlets are only supported in (Data ONTAP) 7-Mode environments at this time.

It’s also important to note that if you are upgrading from versions earlier than OnCommand Plug-in 3.2 for Microsoft, you must first uninstall the software and then install plug-in version 4.0.

OnCommand Plug-in 4.0 for Microsoft is now available for download from the NetApp Support Site.

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NetApp Refreshes Recovery Manager for Citrix ShareFile

September 26th, 2013

NetApp today updated NetApp Recovery Manager for Citrix ShareFile (NRM-CS) to version 1.1. With this software, Citrix ShareFile administrators can restore files that have been removed from the Citrix Storage Center.

NRM-CS 1.1 takes advantage of NetApp Snapshot, SnapMirror, and SnapVault to automate file recovery that would otherwise be performed manually by an administrator.

The NetApp Recovery Manager runs as a background service, as part of an overall Citrix ShareFile Enterprise Edition environment.

NRM-CS delivers its recovery functionality within the following workflow:

  • A ShareFile user requests a file restore from the ShareFile administrator.
  • The ShareFile administrator selects Restore through the ShareFile web user interface, creating an item in the recovery queue, which provides the information needed to restore the files from the Storage Center backup to the storage location.
  • NRM-CS reads the recovery queue and detects the old filename (the associated ID for the file); then searches for that file (by the associated ID) in Snapshot, SnapVault, and SnapMirror.
  • After the search process is complete,NRM-CS copies the file to a new filename on the CIFS volume as specified by the recovery queue; then the recovery queue is marked as “success” or “failure.”
    • The ShareFile user receives the new filename through ShareFile.

    With this release, NRM-CS 1.1 includes several new features and enhancements:

    • A Windows service to recover files from SnapVault running clustered Data ONTAP 8.2
    • NRM-CS can be installed on another Windows server, apart from the ShareFile StorageZone Controller server
    • High availability support; NRM-CS can be installed on multiple servers for a single StorageZone
    • The ability to restore files in parallel; maximum number of files depends on your system memory
    • Enhanced, easy-to-use Configuration window to set up your recovery service

    Geek ONTAP, General

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