Diggin' technology every day

November 9, 2010

New NetApp boxes

Filed under: Storage — Nate @ 8:19 pm

So it looks like NetApp launched some beefy new systems yesterday, though I got to say if I was a customer of theirs I would feel kind of cheated on the 3200 series systems since they have stuck to dual core processors, when quad core has been available forever. In the “world of Intel” in my eyes there’s no excuse to release anything that’s not at least quad core unless your trying to squeeze your customers for every last bit (which I’m sure they are…).

Companies like NetApp could take a hint from someone like Citrix, who has a few Netscaler load balancers that they software rate limit the throughput but give you the same hardware as the higher end boxes. So take the 17500 model rated for 20Gbps, you can software upgrade that to more than double the throughput to 50Gbps. But the point isn’t the increased throughput via the software upgrade. The point is having the extra CPU horsepower on the smaller end box so that you can enable more CPU intensive features without incurring a noticeable performance hit because you have so much headroom on the system CPU wise.

NetApp introduced compression as one of their new features(I think it’s new, maybe wrong). That is of course likely to be a fairly CPU intensive operation. If they had quad or hex core CPUs in there, you could do a lot more, even if they limited your IOPS or throughput to X amount. Maybe they don’t have a good way of artificially rate limiting.

But even without rate limiting, it costs them a trivial amount of money to put quad core processors, they just want to squeeze their customers.

Even 3PAR put quad core processors in their F400 system more than a year ago. This is despite the Intel CPUs not doing much work on the 3PAR side, most of the work is done by their Gen3 ASIC. But they realize it’s a trivial cost to put in the beefier processor so they do it.

Their new 6200 series controllers do have quad core processors, among other improvements I’m sure. The previous 6000 series was quad socket. (in case your wondering where I’m getting these processors stats from it’s from the SPEC disclosure)

NetApp was fast to post both SPEC SFS results for their 3200 and 6200 series, as well as SPC-1E results for their 3200.

All in all very impressive results for SPEC SFS, very efficient results for SPC-1, both heavily assisted by 1TB of their flash cache. Interestingly enough at least on the SPC-1 side since full cost disclosures are there, the cost per usable TB and cost per IOP still doesn’t match that of the F400 (which has many more drives, and running RAID 1+0, and more than a year old so would consider the F400 at a great disadvantage but still wins out). SPC-1E isn’t a full SPC-1 test though, it’s more about power efficiency than raw performance. So time will tell if they do a “regular” SPC-1 test, their SPC-1E IOPS is about the same as their 3170, and the 3270 has much faster CPUs so I’d think it’s pretty safe to say that the controllers have capacity to go beyond 68,000 IOPS.

Nice upgrade for their customers in any case.


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