NetApp unveils small form factor version of top of the line all flash array

The NetApp AFF A700s is aimed at customers looking to improve their data centre economics by significantly reducing physical footprint. NetApp also announced an updating and reworking of its storage capacity guarantee.

The NetApp AFF A700s

NetApp has announced the availability of the NetApp AFF A700s, a version of their top of the line A700 array designed for specific use cases where data centre footprint is an issue. NetApp also announced an updating of their efficiency guarantee, through which NetApp will guarantee a specific degree of storage savings or cover the cost if they fail.

The AFF A700 is the high end of NetApp’s all-flash line. Announced last September at NetApp’s Insight customer event, it came to market in November. It’s an 8U blade chassis system. In contrast, the AFF A700s being announced now is a 4U system designed to have a smaller footprint.

“The AFF A700s is a slim version, an appliance with embedded drives, which is how we get the very small form factor,” said Adam Fore, Director of Solutions and Product Marketing at NetApp. “It runs the same software as the AFF A700. It just has a physical footprint change, which allows for over a PB of effective capacity in just 4 rack units.” The dense form factor also reduces power consumption by 11x, rack space by 19x, and support costs by 67%, compared to conventional arrays.

These characteristics make the A700s array ideal for customers looking to control data centre costs.

“The target market for this is enterprises looking to shrink their data centre footprint,” Fore said. “One customer went from 124 tiles down to 8 with this array. People are looking to flash to reduce their data center impact, and this model is designed to do just that.

While performance is basically the same as the larger A700, NetApp has released new third party performance testing data.

“We are also announcing the quantification of the performance based on new Storage Performance Council SPC-1 testing,” Fore said. “It posted 2,400,059.26 SPC-1 IOPS at an average response time of 0.69 milliseconds. That makes it the top mainstream all-flash array among the major storage vendors.” It finished third overall in the SPC-1 testing, behind Datacore and Huawei.

In conjunction with the AFF A700s announcement, NetApp also announced an updating and upgrading of its All-Flash Guarantee that provides a workload-specific efficiency guarantee over NetApp’s entire AFF family, not just the new release.

“It’s an update to our guarantee, and what’s new about it is that it is now a variable workload guarantee,” Fore said. “Before the guarantee was a 4-1 blanket guarantee, but that included snapshots. The new variable workload one doesn’t include them, which provides for a simpler translation of environments, and works to the advantage of the customer. The effective capacity saving will be as high as 5-1 for VDI, with virtual environments typically being about 3-1, and database environments 2-1.” If the system doesn’t deliver the results, NetApp covers the extra cost.

Fore said that NetApp’s strong all-flash growth numbers include new customer wins as well as upgrades to their install base.

“Obviously, we are upgrading our install base as they move to all-flash, but we are also seeing a big uptick of new customers,” he stated. The number of new logos is significant. We have also seen our all- SAN business triple with the all flash environment. In the past we have been NAS, or unified storage. Now with the all-flash, we are being considered in accounts where we had not been looked at before.”