Monthly Archives: September 2016

NetApp refreshes entire line of FAS and AFF platforms

Today NetApp announced a complete revamping of both the FAS and AFF lines and with it a divergence in model numbers. My favourite improvement is that NetApp has changed the way FlashCache gets delivered; now all FAS platforms can take advantage of FlashCache using an M.2 NVMe device onboard the controller, even the entry-level models; in fact, it’s standard on all models. In the realm of connectivity, both the top-end FAS as well as all AFFs can now offer not only 40GbE but 32Gb FC as well, first to market for both of these.

Without further ado, here are the new models in the FAS line:

  • FAS2620 and FAS2650
    • Appears to be the same 2RU enclosure as the FAS2240-2, FAS2552, and DS2246, likely with an upgraded mid-plane.
    • FAS2620 holds 12 large form factor (3.5″ NL-SAS/SSD) drives internally
    • FAS2650 holds 24 small form factor (2.5″ SAS/SSD) drives internally
    • Both models come with 1TB of FlashCache
  • FAS8200
    • Appears to be the same 3RU enclosure as the FAS8020
    • 1TB of FlashCache is now standard, upgradeable to 4TB
  • FAS9000
    • This all-new chassis separates the I/O from the controller so there are no more onboard ports and all I/O is done using PCIe cards, 10 slots per node.
    • 2TB of FlashCache are now part of the standard configuration, upgradeable to 16TB.

And the new AFF line now consists of:

  • A300 (Same chassis as FAS8200)
  • A700 (Same chassis as FAS9000)

Strictly the numbers*:

Model RU RAM NVRAM (NVMEM) Max HDD (SDD) Max Flash Cache Max Flash Pool Onboard UTA2 Onboard 10GbE Onboard 10GbE Base-T Onboard 12GB SAS PCIe Expansion Slots Cores
FAS2620 2 64GB (8GB) 144 1TB 24TB 8 4 4 N/A N/A 12
FAS2650 2 64GB (8GB) 144 1TB 24TB 8 4 4 N/A N/A 12
FAS8200 3 256GB 16GB 480 4TB 48TB 8 4 4 4 4 32
FAS9000 8 1024GB 64GB 1440 (480) 16TB 144TB N/A N/A N/A N/A 20 72
A300 3 256GB** 16GB 384 N/A N/A 8 4 4 4 4 32
A700 8 1024GB 64GB 480 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 20 72
  • *Numbers are per HA pair
  • **16GB Carved out for NVLOGS

Performance Improvements

The FAS2600 comes with 3 times as many cores, twice as much memory and >3 times the NVMEM than that of the FAS2500 and brings 12Gb SAS and 1TB of NVMe FlashCache is expected to perform 200% faster than its predecessor running 8.3.x, making the entry-level line of controllers smoking fast. The 8200 has twice as many cores and four times as much memory as the FAS8040 and also comes with 12Gb SAS and 1TB of FlashCache, making it roughly 50% faster.

The new top-end model, the FAS9000 goes modular, decoupling I/O from the controllers. This performance monster which has 2TB of FlashCache standard and 20 PCIe slots for I/O is expected to run 50% faster than the FAS8080 on 8.3.x. A cluster of 24 FAS9000 nodes (12 HA pairs) scales up to as much as 172PB.

FAS9000 AFF A700 Chassis

Here’s how the new models map to the old:

New FAS platforms

As for the new AFF models, the A300 should get about 50% more throughput than AFF8040 running 8.3.1 while the A700 aims to replace the dual chassis AFF8080, saving four precious rack units but still providing 100% more IOPS, in fact it should be able to handle about double the workload at half the latency.

Oracle testing

And here’s how the new AFFs line up with the existing ones:

AFF model alignmentThe new lineup, both FAS and AFF are definitely addressing some concerns; FlashCache not only available throughout the FAS line but standard as well is a move in the right direction as is the addition of 12Gb SAS. The introduction of both 40GbE and 32Gb FC into the mid-range and upper models of both lines should provide the fire hose required to deliver all that new controller and storage back-end performance. The two new AFF model numbers lead me to believe that they may be leaving room in the middle to add models to the line.

While ADP has been around for a while and is a great work around to dedicated root aggregates, I would love to see NetApp move away from root aggregates completely and do something with M.2. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for this one, but won’t hold my breath either.