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NetApp ‘unified storage’ adds new ASA block storage at Insight

Las Vegas event sees NetApp continue its evolution to hybrid cloud and data management player announce ASA C-series and Keystone and Kubernetes storage enhancements

A new block access quad-level cell (QLC) flash-based capacity array series, plus availability and capacity guarantees in NetApp’s Keystone as-a-service offerings, ransomware guarantees, plus cloud and Kubernetes management enhancements.

Those are the key announcements from NetApp’s Insight event, being held in Las Vegas this week, as the company continues its evolution from NAS specialist to cloud-focused storage and data management player.

Dubbed “unified storage” – covering on-premise and multiple clouds – NetApp has announced an addition to its block storage-optimised ASA product family, with the launch of the ASA C-series. Like its AFF (all-flash FAS) relative, the ASA C-series is based on high-capacity QLC flash storage.

ASA arrays are optimised for SAN use cases by allowing much quicker controller failover with a symmetric active-active configuration. While all NetApp arrays can deliver block access storage for databases and applications based on them, ASA arrays offer failover to suit the much more demanding failover needs of block storage, all based on NetApp’s OnTap operating system.

AFF arrays use a failover configuration based on an optimal path and sub-optimal path if there’s a failover event. The ASA’s symmetric active-active setup can deliver failover in five seconds, compared with the AFF’s 10 seconds.

NetApp cloud solutions specialist Grant Caley said: “The ASA symmetric active-active capability presents active-active SAN paths to host servers, negating the need for server multipathing software failover. As a reference, VMware vSphere is quite happy with anything under 30-60 seconds.”

The QLC-equipped C-series ASA arrays come as the C250, C400 and C800, which start at 122TB (terabytes) in capacity and go up to nearly 15PB (petabytes).

Caley said: “90% of workloads will sit comfortably on the C-series, and it’s only when you get to high-end processing like OLTP scenarios that customers might want to look at A-series options.”

Elsewhere, NetApp has announced a number of guarantees around its Keystone consumption models of purchasing.

These include an availability guarantee of five nines (99.999%) for FAS and AFF storage, plus performance guarantees. NetApp will also offer a “maximum watts per TiB” energy consumption guarantee, with service credits given in cases where targets are not met.

There will also be a ransomware recovery guarantee that promises to restore a last good copy of data from snapshots. That ability will now be extended to AFF A- and ASA C-series arrays, as well as FAS hardware.

NetApp will offer a “low-cost service” to enable customers to take advantage of the ransomware guarantee. That service amounts to ensuring customer systems are configured correctly, in particular with regard to snapshots and testing.

Keystone allows customers to pay for hardware in various non-capital expenditure formats on-premise and in the cloud. It is NetApp’s consumption model offering, similar to those provided by HPE with GreenLake and Pure Storage with its Evergreen offer.

Keystone payment options range from pay upfront for hardware (Flex Pay), through Flex Subscription pay-as-you-go, which includes cloud capacity, and Flex Utility, which aligns costs to usage. A range of service levels is available.

In the cloud, NetApp OnTap on FSx in Amazon Web Services will allow simultaneous file and object access. Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure NetApp Files will add a “cool access” feature for less frequently accessed data.

NetApp will also offer a Kubernetes change management analysis dashboard as part of its Cloud Insights monitoring functionality.

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