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NetApp adds Google Cloud NAS and AFF A800 NVMe flash array

NetApp gets on the cloud NAS bandwagon with Google Cloud Platform file storage access, while adding its first NVMe flash-equipped storage array, the AFF A800

NetApp has announced a NAS file access service in the Google public cloud plus an NVMe flash and NVMe-over Fibre Channel storage array, the AFF A800.

NetApp Cloud Volumes for GCP (Google Cloud Platform) provides cloud-native NAS file access storage that makes use of NetApp’s Ontap operating system in the cloud.

The move follows hot on the heels of Dell EMC’s Isilon Cloud for GCP and the cloud NAS services recently announced by Elastifile.

The new cloud NAS offering will be managed by NetApp and will offer enterprises the ability to migrate on-premise workloads to NetApp storage in the cloud or to deploy hybrid or multi-cloud operations that require NAS storage.

The service will support advanced Ontap functionality, such as snapshots, replication and clones.

NetApp Cloud Volumes for GCP can be provisioned and managed via the Google Cloud Launcher interface or via APIs and will support NFS and CIFS/SMB protocol access.

For now the service is only available to selected beta customers but will be widely available later in the year.

Read more about cloud NAS

Google was until recently the only major public cloud provider not to offer NAS file access. Amazon has had Elastic File System, while NetApp provides cloud NAS file services on AWS. And, Microsoft has Azure Enterprise NFS, co-developed with NetApp.

Interest in file storage in the cloud is increasing as organisations seek the ability to migrate key applications to the cloud.

While a large proportion of contemporary application data needs are met by block and object storage in public cloud, a significant number of on-premises applications require NAS storage.

To be able to migrate NAS data to the cloud requires that the big cloud players offer sophisticated NAS services, and that’s what’s driving the big players in the market to the current levels of activity around file storage in the cloud.

Meanwhile, NetApp has released its first NVMe flash array, the AFF A800, which can deliver 1.3 million IOPS at 200μs.

The A800 can hold from 48 up up to 240 NVMe drives per HA pair, with 12 pairs possible in a cluster.

This allows for maximum capacity of 6.6PB per pair, with up to 79PB for a fully-loaded cluster. You can multiply those figure by about 4x to get effective capacity after data reduction technologies are applied.

Low latency and throughput

The A800 makes use of NVMe flash drives, which help provide low latency and throughput of around 300GBps in a cluster.

NVMe flash is driving an emerging class of flash drives that use the PCIe-based protocol to speed flash traffic. Where existing HDD-format flash drives use spinning disk era SCSI protocols, NVMe has done away with that and optimised access to solid state drives.

Meanwhile, NetApp has provided NVMe-over-Fibre Channel as a fabric interconnect for the A800, which the company says boosts throughput across the fabric/network by around double.

The A800 has integrated access with cloud platforms that include AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Bluemix (IBM Cloud).

Finally, NetApp has announced an upgrade of its operating system, Ontap, to version 9.4. Key features announced include tiering to Micrsoft Azure, post process data deduplication (added to existing inline capability), and NVMe support.

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