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NetApp Solidfire adds high-end SF19210 all-flash array

All-flash array maker tops out the SF family with the SF19210, upgrades OS to add VVOLs compatibility and launches licensing that separates software licences and hardware purchases

NetApp Solidfire has added a high-end all-flash array to its portfolio, the SF19210 with effective capacity into petabyte-scale.

The company also announced an upgrade to its operating system (OS) to version 9, which includes compatibility with VMware VVOLs as well as a licensing model that allows customers to buy licences in advance and add hardware later.

The SF19210 all-flash array offers 19.2TB raw with 100,000 IOPS in 1U of rack space. With data deduplication that is boosted to between 40TB and 80TB depending on the dataset and its suitability to data reduction, said vice-president and general manager for Solidfire Dave Wright.

In a nominal deployment of 15 1U units, that would be around 1.5PB of capacity and 1.5 million IOPS. The SF19210 uses 1.92GB flash drives.

The SF19210 is the latest and largest in the Solidfire SF family. With upgraded controller CPU it offers more IOPS per 1U unit than the other models and has larger capacity flash drives.

Solidfire started out with all-flash targeted at cloud service providers and is Fibre Channel and iSCSI block storage. With cloud in mind, it provided automation and multi-tenancy with the ability for administrators to assign storage volumes with different characteristics to different customers.

More recently, Solidfire added advanced storage features, such as replication and other data protection, to appeal more to the enterprise market.

NetApp finalised its $870m acquisition of Solidfire earlier in 2016, in a move that gave it a range of high-performance enterprise and cloud provider-targeted all-flash arrays.

Controller OS upgrade

NetApp Solidfire also announced a new version of its controller OS to version 9. Key among the upgrade features is the addition of VVOLs compatibility, which is baked into the OS, according to Wright.

“VVOLs compatibility from other suppliers is not production-grade. We’ve done it properly and integrated it natively into the storage controller OS with VMware’s VASA APIs,” said Wright.

VVOLs enable the application of policy-based metrics to storage for individual virtual machines (VMs), rather than at the datastore level. This has been touted as a potential paradigm shift in the management of storage and VMs that will simplify operational tasks, boost resource utilisation and allow more granular control of service levels.

More on all-flash storage

  • Computer Weekly surveys an all-flash array market in which the big six in storage have largely settled on strategy, but key new technologies – such as TLC flash and 3D Nand – are emerging.
  • Computer Weekly surveys the startups and specialists in the all-flash array space and find a market in which advanced storage features are becoming the norm, while suppliers battle down to $1/GB.

The company also announced the ability for customers to buy software licences in advance, with bulk discounts, but to pay for hardware later on as it is used.

According to Wright, this is a response to the rise of software-defined storage products, in which customers buy storage software and deploy it on commodity hardware.

SolidFire customers can buy its products as software-only. But, the new FlashForward Capacity Licensing scheme separates software and hardware purchasing, said Wright, with payment for Solidfire hardware as capacity is used.

“It’s for customers that want the benefits of software-only, but don’t want the complexity of hardware purchasing,” he said.

Customers can buy the software licence perpetually and change the underlying hardware. Also, licensing is based on provisioned capacity so customers are charged on what it actually provisioned after data reduction is taken into account.

Next Steps

SolidFire CTO discusses NetApp all-flash array strategy 

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