Why am I writing this, well in less than 24 hours I will be travelling over to Las Vegas for NetApp Insight 2017, and coming toward the end of the year I will have worked with NetApp technologies for 10 Years! To say I have been a bit of a fanboi might be pushing it a little. During these 10 years I have been involved from a support perspective on a helpdesk, Design & Implementations for small and large global infrastructures and now I work for a vendor that is strategically positioned and partnered with NetApp.
Also along the way I became a member of the NetApp A Team which I have more detail here.
I wanted this post to pay homage to some of the top industry and NetApp milestones during those 10 years. I am sure many a NetApp customer, partner and employee would say, that it’s not always been great to be affiliated to NetApp but apart from Veeam there aren’t many tech vendors that can boast such a trait.
My first ever support call was on a FAS3050 running 7-Mode but cannot remember the version had to be 7. something I am sure.
When i was at my first reseller on the support desk I was tasked with the certification trail of getting accredited with NetApp. Seemed pretty cool at the time, great story and integrations with VMware even back then, Unified Archicture, the ability to mix and match workloads with block and file presentation. I was coming from a no shared storage background at this time. Over the first few years I obtained my NCDA and NCIE and this started the journey.
When I finally graduated from the support desk through the ranks I was allowed out to actual customer sites to install their shiny new systems. my first ever system was a FAS2020 the smallest storage system from NetApp, a 2U box with 12 x HDD total capacity a massive 3.6TB here are some more detailed specs for this particular model.
Saw the introduction of NetApp Deduplication.
- Removes the redundant data blocked from volumes, regardless of application or protocol.
- User often recoup 50% or more of their capacity.
- Only NetApp offers deduplication for primary, secondary and archival storage tiers.
Flash cache was next on the list, a controller level PCIe based card that could improve latency for random reads and increase storage system throughput. Gain more performance from your system with fewer disks. aimed at any high random read workloads.
- File Services
- Tech Apps
- Web Apps
- Biz Apps
*All of the apps!
FlexPod can you believe has been around for 7 years now, the converged infrastructure I surely worked with and this introduced me to the world of Cisco which has it’s own journey in my career for another time. If you have been hiding under a rock or my parents are just reading my posts again, FlexPod combines NetApp storage with Cisco UCS compute and Cisco Nexus networking, all of this validated by design and a one stop shop for support on the whole stack. strangly the last NetApp Insight in the US I attended was 2015 where they were celebrating the 5th birthday of the FlexPod.
In 2011 NetApp made the first aquisition that I had heard of. The E5400 was my first encounter after the aquisition.
The E5400 comes as a compact 4U form factor that integrates controllers and drives in order to maximize storage density while reducing operational expenditures, the company said. The unit features a redundant design as well as online administration aimed at providing continuous high-speed data access.
Since this encounter I have had many a good word to say about the E-Series product line, especially as a Backup Target.
CDOT, Cluster Mode, Clusterd ONTAP whatever the name transitioned through from the start now to be known as just ONTAP today. As I mentioned earlier this is probably wasn’t the finest hours from NetApp, it took a while but the ship was steadied. The adoption rate was slow and actually probably didn’t really start taking off till around the 2014/2015 timeframe.I am not going to go into detail about what Clustered ONTAP was other than it was the next iteration of OS from NetApp to offer Scale Out storage amongst some other great things that were added to the feature list as time and adoption went on.
All Flash FAS was released in 2014 with the quote of “Performance is good. It provides up to four million IOPS; a 15TB Oracle database on the all-flash FAS8080 averaged a 370 microsecond latency time.” compare that to the spec sheet i shared above!
To put it bluntly, it was a case of just seeing how the SSD would deal within WAFL – “NetApp says WAFL, ONTAP’s Write Anywhere File Layout, has write characteristics well-suited to flash, happily, while its read performance is respectable but not outstanding. A set of tweaks to ONTAP, called Flash Essentials, includes things to speed the read path in ONTAP.”
In 2014 we also saw another aquisition this time it was from Riverbed and their SteelStore Cloud integrated Storage device. I posted some details on how Veeam can leverage and work with the newly named Steelstore box that was promptly renamed after the aquisition to AltaVault.
More aquisitions came in the shape of SolidFire in 2015, I was out of the reseller world by now and into Veeam, having heard about SolidFire I didn’t really have any exposure to what these guys were doing at all, when they came on board I made an effort to understand more.
More recently we have seen a lot of innovative tech come out of NetApp in the shape of ONTAP 9. Volume level encryption, FlexGroups, RAID-TEC, the ability to leverage 15TB SSD drives and lots more, we have also seen the vision from NetApp change over the last few years to that of the NetApp Data Fabric which is just about coming to fruition in terms of all the parts across different clouds and platforms being able to share and send data between.
Here is to the next 10 years of working with you NetApp, Have a great NetApp Insight and if you are around say hello.