NetApp has launched the latest version of its storage operating system ONTAP 8, and with it a set of best practices to help service providers implement 'storage as a service' offerings.
The NetApp Dynamic Data Centre Solution (NDDCS) is a documented set of best practices NetApp has learned by building storage infrastructures for Telstra and others.
In 2008, NetApp and Telstra built the carrier an IP SAN solution called OmniPresence, which featured over 20 petabytes of storage on 30 NetApp arrays, Cisco switches, HP OpenView network management software and Symantec backup software.
NetApp consulting systems engineer John Martin said much of the intellectual property gained from OmniPresence had been passed on to NetApp service provider customers around the globe and used as the basis of NDDCS.
Martin described the NDDCS as a "run book" of well-defined best practices.
"It is all the IP you need to implement IT-as-a-service without reinventing the wheel," he said.
Martin said that by following the best practices, service providers would be able to provision new storage "in minutes" rather than it taking days.
But Martin said NetApp's cloud-themed play was in no way an attempt to counter the missives of fierce rival, EMC and its alliance with VMware and Cisco Systems.
"We have been doing this for a number of years," he said. "They are catching up to where we have been for some time. They just have bigger marketing departments that make bigger noise."
Release of ONTAP 8
NetApp timed the announcement of NDDCS with the release of its latest storage operating system, Data ONTAP 8.
ONTAP 8 was based on enhancements made to its predecessor (ONTAP 7) and the technology acquired through NetApp's US$300 million purchase of Spinnaker, from which it built the Data ONTAP GX operating system.
"ONTAP 8 completes the convergence process between those two products," Martin said.
The new operating system builds on the 'multi-store' and 'data motion' virtualisation technologies developed during ONTAP 7's shelf-life.
"We are making it more elegant and easier to manage," Martin said. "We don't just move LUNs (storage units) around but the entire context around it - the security, the IP address, everything with it," he said. "It is something we've offered in ONTAP 7 but now it's a point-and-shoot product."
Martin said all new NetApp arrays with more than 4GB of RAM (memory) would be shipped with the latest OS. He expected ONTAP 7 to still be supported for "another couple of years" while he expected customers of ONTAP GX to "transition to 8 in one form or another" much sooner.
The vendor also announced that as of September it would ship a line of flash-based cache PCi cards. Dubbed Performance Acceleration Modules, these flash-based cards are touted to provide "fibre channel performance out of SATA drives."