NetApp Steps Up The Midrange Battle

Network Appliance released new midrange products on Monday designed to get a leg up on competitors like EMC.

The products include two new midrange storage systems — the FAS3020 and FAS3050 — plus a new serial ATA (SATA) option for primary storage applications and two new V-Series virtualization engines, the V3020 and V3050.

The new solutions, combined with Data ONTAP 7G software, help address customer worries such as high storage acquisition and management costs and low storage resource utilization while boosting midrange performance, NetApp said.

Patrick Rogers, NetApp’s vice president of products and partners, said the new FAS3000 and V3000 products were designed in response to customer comments that data storage consumes 30 to 50 percent of their IT infrastructure budgets. “Data growth presents a huge management challenge,” Rogers said.

Rogers also claimed an “industry milestone” by using high-density SATA disk drives for primary storage applications “without sacrificing data integrity and safety.”

The new systems support both SATA and Fibre Channel drives, allowing customers to craft a tiered storage solution in a single appliance, said NetApp product marketing vice president Suresh Vasudevan. Modular midrange storage solutions like the new FAS3000 systems can address 70% of data center storage needs, he said, citing a META Group study.

The FAS3000 series offers twice the price/performance and supports more users per system than previous FAS storage systems, NetApp said. The unified systems support file services, FC SAN, IP SAN and multiple network configurations while offering high availability and serviceability, and capacity scales to 84TB and 336 disks.

The FlexVol capabilities of Data ONTAP 7G improve disk performance even for small data volumes and can increase storage utilization by as much as 50%, NetApp said. Combined with the new SATA storage option, primary storage cost per megabyte can be reduced by more than half, the company claims.

NetApp said it safeguards the primary storage SATA drives against disk failure with RAID-DP technology, which the company claims “offers better data protection and far lower cost per MB than competing vendors’ conventional disk mirroring (RAID-1).”

Initial target applications for SATA-based primary storage include non-transactional data warehouses, home directories, software development and disaster recovery systems.

The V3020 and V3050 systems double the performance of previous generation V-Series systems with four times the capacity and integrated host and storage connectivity. V-Series systems extend the virtualization capabilities of NetApp Data ONTAP 7G software to third-party storage products from HDS, HP, IBM, and Sun.

NetApp backed up its claims with a NetApp-funded VeriTest study comparing the usability and performance of the FAS3020 storage system to the EMC CLARiiON CX500 midrange RAID array. NetApp said the results showed that NetApp configured with RAID-DP generated up to five times better performance than EMC when using RAID1/0 with both systems connected via Fibre Channel. Results for iSCSI were three times better, NetApp said.

NetApp also claimed greater utilization and management than the EMC array.

The VeriTest results are available at

FAS3000 systems start at under $35,000, while V3000 pricing starts at $52,450.

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