NetApp Boosts Performance of Flash Array Portfolio

Mike Vizard
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A Guide to the Different Varieties of Flash Technology

With the battle for supremacy in the Flash array space becoming more strident with each passing day, NetApp today upped its game in this category with the introduction of the NetApp EF560 all-Flash array and an EF560 hybrid array that combines Flash and magnetic storage.

Both systems take advantage of the latest Intel processors and a new upgrade to the NetApp storage operating system to deliver response times that now fall below one millisecond using industry-standard storage benchmarks.

As critical as storage performance can be, Lee Caswell, vice president of product and solution marketing at NetApp, says that Flash memory is essentially leveling the playing field for all vendors. The challenge now, says Caswell, is figuring out how best to go about managing storage in all its forms.

Some organizations, for example, may opt to deploy Flash in a server for maximum performance. Others will opt for an all-Flash array that can be shared across applications running on multiple servers. Others may simply use Flash as a layer of cache on a hybrid storage system because the amount of data they need to manage far exceeds what can cost-effectively be deployed on Flash.

The NetApp storage operating system becomes critical, says Caswell, because it provides a consistent way to reliably manage Flash and magnetic storage in all its forms across the enterprise.

It remains to be seen just how much Flash storage gets deployed, and where, across the enterprise. Some argue that it’s a lot simpler, for example, to use Flash for primary storage because it eliminates the need to constantly optimize magnetic storage. Others contend that the cost per gigabyte of magnetic storage makes it too attractive to ignore as a complement to Flash storage. In truth, IT organizations will wind up deploying Flash storage in multiple types of scenarios, which means the next big challenge is really trying to manage it all.

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