NetApp introduces ASA C-Series family with capacity flash for top performance at near disk cost

Other enhancements to the NetApp storage portfolio include enhancements to NetApp Keystone Storage-as-a-Service.

Harv Bhela, NetApp’s Chief Product Officer, onstage

LAS VEGAS – Today, at NetApp’s INSIGHT 2023 customer event here, NetApp made multiple announcements which bolstered its storage portfolio. The key one was their NetApp ASA C-Series family for block storage, which the company is billing as the best balance of performance and cost savings in the industry, using capacity flash to provide the speed of flash at very close to the cost of disk. NetApp also introduced new free services to help customers move more easily to a NetApp block storage solution, as well as improvements to their NetApp Keystone Storage-as-a-Service.

Harv Bhela, NetApp’s Chief Product Officer, outlined NetApp’s storage announcements within the context of their broader strategy and how the new announcements build on NetApp’s most recent storage releases.

“Earlier this year, we outlined a simple strategy for winning in storage,” he said. “We want the best on-prem storage for customers. No one is on-prem only, so we build storage for private clouds, and for the individual public clouds. We also want data stored with NetApp to be safe from ransomware.”

Bhela recapped how their recent product announcements before this event fit into this context.

“We launched new products for new kinds of workloads as customers’ needs changed,” he stated. “Our A150 entry level system is the best entry level performance flash system in the world. We then introduced the AFF C-Series system, which provides the performance of flash at the price of hard disk and has become the fastest ramping product introduction in our history. Then we introduced the  ASA series for customers running block optimized storage.”

Bhela also stressed how NetApp’s strategic partnerships with the big hyperscalers have accelerated their storage business.

“We worked together with the three major hyperscalers and codesigned product with them, which was shared between us and them,” he said. “We just launched the first party native service with Google. They don’t do that with any other storage vendors. The other vendors just have marketplace offerings. We have a very unique and native strategy, which lets customers get ONTAP in the public clouds.”

“I am very proud of this co-innovation, especially with the hyperscalers,” said Octavian Tanase, the SVP of Hybrid Cloud Engineering at NetApp. “This is not them innovating our technology. This is co-engineering between our engineers.”

Bhela said that NetApp is building these integrated services so they can help customers protect data with ONTAP.

“We are not a security product – but storage should have native support for protecting the data it stores,” he commented.

These newer offerings have now been supplemented by the main product offering at Insight, the new NetApp ASA C-Series family.

“The new C Series is capacity intensive for block optimized storage, and lowers power consumption up to 70%,” Bhela stated. “For those who need both dedicated block storage as well as capacity flash, this will deliver unmatched workloads.”

“This new product is targeted both at our existing customer base and at new customers,” said George Kurian, NetApp’s CEO. “We have 20,000 customers who use our block storage today, but they use it as part of a unified storage model. Some of our customers told us that they have use cases which are really for block storage only, and the ASA-C Series is to address those.”

The ASA C-Series uses capacity flash to deliver the speed of flash at close to disk prices, with a 4:1 storage efficiency guarantee and a Six Nines data availability guarantee. It is also eligible for the NetApp Ransomware Recovery Guarantee.

To help customers make the move to a NetApp block storage solution, a variety of services are now available at no additional cost. This includes up-front solution design assessment that includes the evaluation of any existing architecture, free data migration, software license and services, or three months of complimentary NetApp storage support during the migration period and free training workshops.

“These will assist with a broad spectrum of AI-intensive use cases,” Bhela indicated.

NetApp also enhanced its Keystone Storage-as-a-Service, with a new and more comprehensive set of guarantees for a STaaS offering. Customers can now take advantage of integrated performance and availability guarantees. NetApp is also previewing a goal to offer a ransomware recovery guarantee for Keystone in the next 90 days.

“We are now doing a preview of the ransomware recovery capability,” said Sandeep Singh SVP and GM Enterprise Storage at NetApp.