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NetApp adds AFF All-Flash FAS 8000 series storage arrays

NetApp boosts its SSD array portfolio with the addition of AFF All-Flash FAS 8000 series storage arrays built on Data ONTAP, but still no sign of FlashRay general availability

NetApp has expanded its all-flash storage offerings with the creation of a range of SSD-equipped FAS8000 devices called the AFF8000 series.

AFF hardware – which stands for all-flash FAS – comes in the following variants: AFF8020 (5TB raw base capacity), AFF8040 (10TB), AFF8060 (20TB) and the AFF8080 (40TB).

The all-flash arrays are populated with consumer MLC (cMLC) flash drives and offer NFS, Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI connectivity.

AFF hardware – like other NetApp FAS arrays – can be clustered together to reach capacities of several hundred terabytes.

“We can scale out to make 384TB by clustering nodes, which can be all-flash or hybrid flash with performance and capacity nodes in the same cluster, with workloads mapped to the appropriate hardware,” said NetApp product manager Laurence James.

Performance figures are supplied by way of NetApp’s results in SPC testing, which saw 685,281 IOPS from an AFF 8080 cluster with an average response time of less than one millisecond. This, however, was from a cluster of eight AFF8080s and no block size is specified.

James also emphasised the AFF series’ cloud-readiness, with customers able to use the Cloud Ontap operating environment to retain data on site on NetApp hardware, but also on marketplace-like clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as as-a-service cloud offerings.

“What we offer is consistency of data transport between these points,” he added.

Being FAS arrays equipped with all-flash disk, the AFF series offers the full range of storage features. These include Snap Mirror replication, Snap Vault point-in-time copies, Snap Restore, multi-tenancy, quality of service and high availability.

Read more about flash storage

James said this provides an advantage for NetApp over some of its rivals. 

“Because of our integration with these data management features and apps such as Exchange and SAP, we have strength over competitors such as XtremIO [EMC] and Pure Storage,” he said. 

NetApp’s AFF series adds to two existing all-flash arrays – the FAS8080EX and FAS2520. Other arrays in the FAS2500 range only allow a maximum of 96 out of 144 drives to be flash.

These products are something of a stop-gap as the market awaits general availability of NetApp’s FlashRay operating system, which has been developed from the ground up for flash.

James said many FlashRay patents had been incorporated into Ontap, but he expects to see FlashRay product announcements by the end of 2015 around NetApp’s Insight event.

Next Steps

Learn about NetApp's all flash strategy

Read more on Flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs)

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