Today, NetApp SolidFire held its 3rd annual Analyst Day here in Boulder. Under the tagline of #BringOnTheFuture, we unveiled new innovation across software, hardware, and systems along with a completely new model for purchasing storage: FlashForward Capacity Licensing.


On the software front, we launched Element OS 9: Fluorine, which will ship to customers as a non-disruptive upgrade in Q3. Fluorine brings with it a robust implementation of VMware VVOLs, which is fully integrated as a native protocol, highly available, and supports a full set of VM-aware operations, including native per-VM Quality of Service.


We are also delivering significant upgrades to Fibre Channel connectivity, with 3x the performance (over 2M IOPS), double the number of 16Gb FC ports, and increased cluster size.


Fluorine includes a completely revamped user interface that is more intuitive and allows for greater productivity. Finally, we’ve further increased our lead in supporting complex multi-tenant environments with support for VRF networking for complex overlapping IP networks.


After launching the SF9605 platform last year, we’ve doubled down and are now shipping the SF19210: Twice the capacity, twice the performance, and a 30% lower cost per gigabyte. With 40-80TB of effective capacity over 100,000 IOPS in just 1U, the SF19210 packs a real punch. Our existing customers can easily add SF19210 nodes to their existing clusters, allowing them to rapidly deploy the newest flash technology without forklift upgrades or controller swaps.


In systems, we are thrilled to announce that SolidFire will be adopting the industry-leading FlexPod Converged Infrastructure. An initial technology extension for existing FlexPod customers will be available in Q3, followed by a fully SolidFire-based FlexPod design. Importantly, our intent is to deliver a 100% UCS-based system with SolidFire running natively on UCS servers, which will be completely unique among converged infrastructure solutions in the market.


Finally, we unveiled the biggest news of the day: a new model for purchasing SolidFire that combines the flexibility of software-only storage with the simple deployment and management of storage appliances. FlashForward Capacity Licensing allows customers to purchase SolidFire software and hardware separately.


The Element OS Software is licensed on an enterprise-wide basis for a flexible amount of provisioned capacity. Customers can then purchase SolidFire-certified hardware from NetApp and our channel partners at a pass-through cost. This allows customers to leverage NetApp’s purchasing power and supply chain to simplify integration and reduce hardware cost, while still having the flexibility of software-based licensing.


This new purchasing model comes with a number of unique benefits that you just can’t get with appliance-based storage purchasing, including:

  • Fully perpetual and transferrable licensing: no need to repurchase software when upgrading or replacing hardware.
  • Granular capacity licensing:greater alignment of software license purchases with actual usage.
  • Provisioned capacity-based pricing: significantly reduces cost uncertainty from unpredictable data reduction rates.
  • Pooled capacity model: software licenses are enterprise-wide, eliminating stranded capacity and allowing for seamless repurposing of hardware to new sites as business needs dictate.
  • Built-in economies of scale: built-in capacity-tier discounts ensure pricing goes down as deployed capacity goes up.

On the simulcast portion of Analyst Day, I talked about all of this innovation, along with a view of the current state of the All-Flash Array market and a preview of what lies beyond for SolidFire.


Watch a replay of the simulcast, and see how NetApp SolidFire is going to #BringOnTheFuture.

Dave Wright

Dave Wright, SolidFire CEO and founder, left Stanford in 1998 to help start GameSpy Industries, a leader in online videogame media, technology, and software. GameSpy merged with IGN Entertainment in 2004 and Dave served as Chief Architect for IGN and led technology integration with FIM / MySpace after IGN was acquired by NewsCorp in 2005. In 2007 Dave founded Jungle Disk, a pioneer and early leader in cloud-based storage and backup solutions for consumers and businesses. Jungle Disk was acquired by leading cloud provider Rackspace in 2008 and Dave worked closely with the Rackspace Cloud division to build a cloud platform supporting tens of thousands of customers. In December 2009 Dave left Rackspace to start SolidFire.

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