You asked, and the NetApp A-Team delivered! At this year’s Unleash the Potential of Your Data event, the A-Team and NetApp subject matter experts answered your toughest questions on the industry’s hottest topics. One of the most well-attended sessions was our Flash session, featuring Andy Grimes, Principal Architect for Flash, and Skip Shapiro, Technical Marketing Engineer.


Here are a few of the questions we received, with help from NetApp technical experts, including A-Team members Paul Stringfellow, Adam Bergh, and Melissa Palmer.


How does ONTAP do inline deduplication and compression differently on SSDs?

ONTAP inline deduplication and compression are supported on All Flash FAS (AFF) systems and on FAS systems configured with SSDs or HDDs. What’s different about the implementation between AFF and FAS is inline storage efficiencies are enabled by default on AFF systems. Inline adaptive compression is designed to align with many database applications; performance is a function of the controller model and not the storage type (SSD or HDD). Conversely, inline deduplication does depend on storage type, and it is generally recommended to use it with SSDs only.


What type of SSD drives does NetApp standardize on?

SSD NAND flash technology has been changing, and continues to change rapidly. SSDs that were introduced before mid-2016 use 2D MLC NAND media. Newer SSDs shipped with the DS224C shelf mostly use 3D TLC NAND media. Regardless of media type, all SSDs meet the performance, endurance, and reliability requirements of the enterprise storage and application environments that NetApp all-flash systems are designed for and sold into.


What are the benefits of AFF vs. SolidFire for mid-size VMware environments?

AFF and SolidFire are very different. Your requirements dictate which platform is right for you. SolidFire is more appropriate for high-scalability environments (think in terms of many 100s of VMs), whereas AFF is suited for mixed NAS/SAN workloads and low-latency performance. SolidFire also provides low latency, but not as low as AFF, and it is not optimized for single-application performance. The platforms also have different application and third-party integration. Currently, AFF systems support 40GbE and 32Gb FC, whereas SolidFire does not. ONTAP can be run in Azure and AWS, whereas Element OS is not supported in hyper-scaler cloud deployments.


What would be the best NetApp platform for storing archived data (100s of terabytes)?

E-Series, AFF, or FAS would be suitable, depending on performance and density requirements. We often see flash as a more economical solution for archive due to greater density, a 6-year TCO/ROI and depreciation vs. a 3-4 year HDD environment. In general, flash lasts longer due to support benefits.

For longer-term archive, there are several different options that would be suitable, including StorageGRID Webscale, E-Series, and AltaVault for cold storage in the cloud.


What is the compression overhead on database performance for All Flash FAS?

For AFF systems, compression is on by default and always running. Generally, you get some benefit and some impact, which roughly equals out to no impact. In non-NetApp architecture, the impact can be as much as 30%.


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