On June 23, Gartner issued its Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays and placed NetApp in the challenger position.


In the spirit of challengers, who change the way the game is played, we’re sharing our Magic Questions Checklist. It helps enterprise buyers and our channel partners evaluate what they should be most concerned about as they invest in solid-state storage arrays for critical application environments.


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How many of the attributes on the Magic Questions Checklist can your vendor meet?


The Magic Questions Checklist

  • Integrated flash-optimized architecture
  • Integrated synchronous replication
  • Integrated asynchronous replication
  • Integrated application support for Microsoft, Oracle and SAP
  • Integrated management with Hyper-V, Citrix, KVM, VMware
  • Integrated support for CloudStack
  • Integrated data protection across flash, disk and cloud (F2D2C)
  • Integrated non-disruptive operations including seamless scale-out
  • Integrated support for nodes of dissimilar controllers and SSDs
  • Integrated quality of service
  • Integrated CIFS and NFS support (for VDI environments)
  • Integrated dynamic migration between flash and disk
  • Integrated multi-tenancy
  • Integrated support for Veeam, Commvault, Veritas, TSM

We think the industry has gotten way too tied up in flash implementation details rather than focusing on what the enterprise buyer needs.  NetApp’s new AFF8000 line, which wasn’t reviewed by Gartner for this latest Magic Quadrant, delivers on all the elements in this checklist, along with world-class SPC-1 benchmarks and new price points that we think befit a confident challenger.

The Journey of Flash: From Experiment to Enterprise-Grade

The enterprise all-flash buyer to date has largely been experimenting with a dedicated appliance or a siloed piece of hardware that needs to be managed and administered separately. The benefits of superior performance, lower costs, and greater simplicity became well understood as flash gained credibility as a viable solution.

Today, customers want more from flash. They want the enterprise-grade features that customers have always seen as strengths of ONTAP, our proven storage operating system software.

The Journey of Flash at NetApp: From PAM Cards to the Enterprise-Grade AFF

As an early innovator in flash with over 200 patents, NetApp focused initially on how flash could be used in hybrid systems. Our products and our pricing presumed that a little bit of flash, exactly where it was needed, was a smart move for customers – and this is still largely true for high-capacity environments.

But for the high-performance enterprise workloads like SQL or Oracle databases, customers will want to go to all-flash. For that, they need the complete range of enterprise features to avoid recreating the days of storage siloes.  From an engineering perspective, it is always faster to add higher performance to an existing proven architecture like ONTAP, than to add enterprise-grade features to a new architecture.

We also bring the full range of enterprise partner alliances and services that reduce risk and speed time to value for our partners.  Our AFF is the only all-flash product certified with high confidence by EPIC.  Through our FlexPod work with Cisco, AFF is available as converged infrastructure.  We were recently co-honored with Dimension Data and Cisco with the 2015 Microsoft Modern Datacenter: Customer Focus Partner of the Year Award. These relationships are not incidental to successful deployment of flash – they are essential.

I’m thrilled we’re bringing all-flash to the mainstream with our AFF. We have the lowest risk product available, one that customers can confidently deploy in their enterprise environments. Our partners and sales teams have risk-free trial systems that make it even easier to evaluate the impact of enterprise grade-flash performance on today’s demanding workloads.

Game on.

Lee Caswell is VP of products and solutions marketing at NetApp.  He has been involved in the flash industry for more than 25 years and was a VP at Fusion-io before joining NetApp last fall.