NetApp on Tuesday rolled out two storage systems targeting the high-end and mid-tier of the storage markets and expanded its use of flash memory. The moves highlight how NetApp, known for being a leading midmarket player, is stretching its target markets.
The news comes as NetApp is weathering challenges from pure flash storage vendors as well as rivals from above and below. The biggest challenge for NetApp, as well as other storage vendors, is that cloud computing is taking on more data. According to analysts, NetApp is among the more exposed vendors as storage moves to the cloud.
NetApp, however, has partnered to allow seamless connections to Amazon Web Services from its systems. The company plans to add connections to other key cloud providers in the future. When it comes to flash systems, NetApp argues that a hybrid approach is most feasible for most companies.
As for the latest systems, NetApp's new products fill in a few key gaps. Specifically, NetApp launched FAS8080 EX, which is designed for extreme performance and can use an all-flash configuration, and the FAS2500, which is an entry level storage array. The systems, which use NetApp's Data ONTAP operating system, are designed for hybrid data centers delivering and connecting to private and public clouds.
The FAS8080 can scale as an all-flash array to 4.6 petabytes. NetApp is aiming to make its storage systems and software to be a building block for cloud providers and enterprises deploying technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure.
On the lower end, NetApp's FAS2500 offers flash support and is designed for midsized enterprise and branch offices of large companies. NetApp has been able to cut its platforms to two.
"We've optimized our stack to support all-flash configurations," said George Kurian, executive vice president of product operations at NetApp. "We give you flexibility to deploy flash wherever you need it without standalone nodes."
Kurian said NetApp has delivered more than 1,000 all-flash systems. Most of NetApp's customers benefit most from the hybrid approach that offers inexpensive disk drives in addition to flash. "Hybrid is the foundation," said Kurian.