NetApp adds Flash server caching, forges Fusion-io partnership

NetApp bolsters its Flash caching lineup to cover storage, extends its partnership strategy and decides to resell Fusion-io wares.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

NetApp brought its virtual tiering technology to Flash and solid state storage and forged a reseller partnership with Fusion-io.

The news comes on the heels of strong financial results from Fusion-io. Meanwhile, IBM bought Texas Memory Systems to push into solid state storage. Flash in making more in-roads into data centers for so-called hot data, which needs to be accessed quickly.

Specifically, NetApp launched Flash Accel, expanded its technology partnerships to cover server caching and Flash and forged the pact with Fusion-io.

According to Paul Feresten, senior product marketing manager of NetApp's intelligent caching products, the company's strategy is to bring end-to-end caching including server-level Flash. Moving to the server, NetApp argues that it can provide better performance and granularity to requirements and serve databases.

Related: IBM's TMS buy signals it's heading for a divorce from Fusion-io | NetApp's Q1 solid as outlook raised | Fusion-io gives servers a SAN makeover

Feresten noted that NetApp wants to be open with its solid state drive (SSD) strategy. "A lot of customers in the industry have already made decisions on server technologies independent of storage," he said. "We're going to extend our partner alliance and create a validation program."

As a result, NetApp will be working with the likes of Fusion-io, Micron and others. This partner-centric approach will wind up in NetApp's FlexPod partnership with Cisco and VMware.

Among the key components of NetApp's Flash strategy:

  • NetApp's virtual storage tiering line-up includes Flash Accel. Flash Accel is integrated with NetApp's Data ONTAP storage operating system and connected to its NetApp Flash Cache and Flash Pool. The trio gives admins the ability to manage storage requirements.
  • Flash Accel, available in December, turns application data into hot storage. As a result, NetApp argues it can boost performance by up to 90 percent while reducing demand on back-end storage. Enterprises can also choose an PCI-e Flash card or SSD device.
  • NetApp expanded its SSD partnership ranks and will add validated server-caching offerings from Fusion-io, LSI, Micron, SanDisk, STEC and Virident. NetApp will cover Windows and VMware shops as well as hypervisors from open source players like Red hat.
  • And finally, NetApp is forging tighter links with Fusion-io. The company will resell Fusion-io products and two server caching tools, io-Turbine and Direct Cache.
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