NetApp is clear in its positioning of array caching (Flash Cache, also formerly known as PAM, and PAM II) vs. SSD. The company recommends array caching for intensive random read environments such as server and desktop virtualization, file shares, home directories, and databases, and recommends SSDs for intensive random I/O where every read must be fast such as with databases for critical applications.
The new SSD support is targeted at mission critical application environments that need consistently fast response times. The SSD's are configured in a new disk shelf option, the DS4243, and the shelf supports up to 24 x 100GB SSDs. The new 2.5 inch DS2246 disk shelf supports the company's new 2.5 inch drive and represents their third-generation SAS storage offering. The 2U DS2246 supports up to 24 drives and NetApp claims the increase in performance density is upwards of 60 percent. Clearly, the deliverables with these two new shelf options are increased performance, faster response times, and savings on power and cooling.
The Data ONTAP 8.0.1. supports larger storage aggregates, data compression which can be used by itself or with deduplication, transparent data mobility for non-disruptive data movements of large volumes of data, and the software support for unified connectivity via the one wire approach.
Perhaps many in the industry, including me, expected more in this next step release of Data ONTAP, however the supported functions in this release are substantial and appear to deliver real value for customers.
Unified connectivity support enables NetApp to fully participate in converged network configurations. In my opinion, the company will see more opportunity here as they continue to supply storage in Cisco server environments with the new FlexPod configurations. Most agree that the industry is in a heated battle with regard to converged network connectivity, however NetApp is now well positioned to address customer connectivity requirements for FCoE, iSCSI, CIFS, and NFS. NetApp has previous publicly discussed their choice of QLogic and Brocade converged network technology to support new network connectivity requirements.