NetApp introduces ONTAP 9.4 and new All Flash kit

Earlier this week while I was at .NEXT, NetApp had a few announcements with some new hardware as well as a new release of ONTAP. This included the introduction of two new All-Flash FAS arrays with the flagship A800 and new entry level A220 models.  Additionally, ONTAP 9.4 was announced with some very exciting features for current and new customers.

The big deal of this announcement is the end to end support of NVMe connected storage. No, not just the flash cache that was supported in previous FAS hybrid models but NVMe connected storage starting with the AFF A800. Additionally ONTAP 9.4 will support NVMe over Fabric or NVMeOF.  Support for NVMe over Fiber Channel is already supported on Brocade and Cisco switches as well as support on HBAs.  So that blazing fast speed you have on your desktop and laptop NVMe based SSD can be made available in a storage network.

That’s not the only thing included in ONTAP 9.4, there are a few more features worth considering:

Snapshot limit has been increased!  This is no joke, folks.  The 255 snapshot barrier has now been almost quadrupled with a 1023 snapshot limit.  If you plan on keeping snapshots long term, especially with something like SnapVault, this is a feature you want to check out.

The ability to install new versions of ONTAP from System Manager.  Yes, I think this is huge as there isn’t any need to setup an HTTP server to get an update you would download from NetApp support.  Instead, you can just go into System Manager GUI and install the image file from there.

FabricPool has been improved. ONTAP now has the ability to tier to Azure blob storage and data that’s not considered backup and snapshot can be tiered to cold storage in the cloud.

Support for 30 TB SSDs.  No, you read that right.  Thirty terabyte solid state drives.  What makes data management in ONTAP unique compared to the competition is that they can do this where others may have to add more RAM for metadata management.  If money is no object in your next storage refresh, everyone can get flash and not take much datacenter real estate.

Rapid disk zeroing.  Well, this only benefits if you’re re-initializing with ONTAP 9.4 but as someone who was a delivery engineer for a NetApp partner, this is a much needed feature.

There are plenty more features added as well and I suggest heading to the NetApp blog to check them out.