When it comes to purchasing business class storage, a lot of the components and builds featured on ServeTheHome scale to $6,000+, but IT professionals often look to companies like EMC, NetApp, Dell, HP and IBM for storage systems in the 100-1,000 user segment. While ServeTheHome oftentimes uses components similar or identical to storage vendor’s systems (Compellent’s systems when first integrated with Dell still used Supermicro components and chassis as an example), the software stack of large storage vendors is certainly better. Let’s look at what NetApp did this week.First, the outgoing products (FAS2020 and FAS2050) first released in 2007 are being phased out. The FAS2020 had severe limitations to the number of disks one could connect making it not the most scalable platform. Both the FAS2020 and FAS2050 were based on older 2.2GHz Intel mobile Celeron CPUs (fairly sure they were 65nm parts for those that keep track of this stuff.) Bottom line: FAS2020 and FAS2050 are on their way out and newer generations are in.
Looking at the FAS2040 which runs on a 1.66GHz Intel Xeon, NetApp is moving it from the mid/upper end of its entry line to the low end and are pricing it aggressively ($7,500.)
The new FAS2240 is placed above the FAS2040 on the product hierarchy and offers things like 12GB of NVRAM in active-active configurations and ip to 432TB of raw storage capacity (using up to 144 disks.) Check the spec pages for all of the goodies. One interesting thing here is that unlike the FAS2040, the FAS2240 does not have onboard Fibre Channel ports. This makes sense in the lower-end segment where ease of installation and administration are requirements. NetApp’s goal is to make higher-end storage features accessible to IT generalists in the small-medium business segment to lower overall IT spend. With that goal in mind, favoring SAS ports over FC ports makes sense (with the ability to add 10GbE or FC through expansion slots.)
That was a short look at NetApp’s moves in the low-end NAS market. The FAS2040 at $7,500 is fairly compelling and occupies the NAS segment that a lot of the business users of this site work in.