Get a Royal Flush of Benefits with Memory-Accelerated FlexPod

Poker players are very familiar with this high hand—the royal flush. This hand combines the benefits of having the five highest cards in sequential rank and in the same suit: the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten. It’s the highest-ranking hand in poker.

A Similar View of Memory-Accelerated FlexPod

In a related fashion to poker’s royal flush, we can think of the benefits of memory-accelerated FlexPod® technology with NetApp® MAX Data software. MAX Data works with Intel Optane DC persistent memory, which is a nonvolatile, new storage tier that, performance-wise, sits between the main memory (traditional DRAM) and a flash or hybrid NetApp ONTAP® storage array.


Intel Optane DC persistent memory and MAX Data software reside in a server. In FlexPod, Intel Optane DC persistent memory is available in Cisco UCS M5 series servers when you use Intel Xeon Second-Generation Scalable processors. Optane DC persistent memory gives you up to 4 times the traditional DRAM densities, and because it’s nonvolatile, it doesn’t lose its data after reboot.


So, how is memory-accelerated FlexPod like a royal flush? Keep reading to find out.


MAX Data software presents Optane DC persistent memory as a traditional POSIX-compliant file system, so your existing Linux-based apps can work natively with Optane DC without your having to rewrite the applications. So, NetApp MAX Data software essentially extends your data services into this extremely fast Optane DC memory tier. (Remember, this storage tier sits right next to the server’s CPU and therefore is accessed at near-DRAM speeds compared with SAN-based storage.)


MAX Data software is not a cache, however. It’s a tiered file system that delivers a persistent storage layer that combines a server-side persistent memory tier (Optane DC persistent memory) with an ONTAP based storage tier. More importantly, to protect your application data against faults, MAX Data includes integrated data protection and cross-server replication. And when you use FlexPod with MAX Data software, it brings the performance of persistent memory to many of the applications that you run today, like relational databases, NoSQL databases, and your custom applications. With MAX Data and Intel Optane DC persistent memory, FlexPod can deliver orders-of-magnitude faster transactions for your business applications.


In the recent Evaluator Group paper “Enterprise Applications with MAX Data Performance,” and video the author and speaker, Russ Fellows, lists the following high-ranking advantages of memory-accelerated FlexPod:


  • More I/O. MAX Data enables up to 5 times more I/O operations, depending on your workload.
  • Faster I/O. Operations complete up to 40 times faster, depending on your workload.
  • Fewer resources necessary. MAX Data completes your workloads by using fewer compute resources than other systems need.
  • Higher efficiency. Higher performance with fewer resources improves your system efficiency.
  • Lower risk. You don’t have to make any application changes to use persistent memory. So, by using a standard file system interface, you lower your risk.


The most important question is how do these benefits translate into benefits for you as a FlexPod customer? Here’s where the royal flush analogy comes in:


Card 1:

More and faster I/O (the ace of the royal flush) mean that your applications run faster. Faster workloads with memory-accelerated FlexPod result in dramatically improved performance of your crucial applications—including your analytics and database workloads. For your business, your employees become more productive, your customer satisfaction increases, and you can increase your revenue growth.

Card 2:

Fewer resources necessary and higher efficiency (the king) combine to lower both your software and your hardware costs. More workloads (for example, higher VMware vSphere density) can run on the same server, and performance increases. These dual benefits accrue to improve your bottom line, lowering both your software and your hardware costs and simultaneously increasing your system performance.

Card 3:

Lower risk (the queen) implies that memory-accelerated FlexPod delivers these benefits with no change to your data and operational models. In other words, MAX Data inside the server is protected with an umbrella of data services, as it is in all other ONTAP based storage arrays. Many FlexPod customers use a combination of Cisco UCS Director or ONTAP and Cisco UCS Manager software to manage their FlexPod units, and you can follow suit. MAX Data doesn’t alter this industry-leading operational model.


Two quotes from the Evaluator Group paper sum up these benefits:


The performance benefits of MAX Data are significant, delivering up to 5X higher I/O rates than a leading flash array, while also decreasing latency by up to 40X for writes. With typical latency improvements of less than 2X between systems, the 40X reduction in latency is impressive.


MAX Data can deliver as much as 40 times faster than leading storage systems while reducing costs, providing substantial TCO advantages. By reducing compute resources and database licenses, higher productivity combined with lower costs enable companies to operate more efficiently.


Cards 4 and 5:

Beyond these MAX Data benefits are inherent FlexPod advantages, as described in an IDC paper (the jack and the ten). A recent IDC survey of FlexPod customers revealed the underlying value that FlexPod delivers to customers of all sizes. These survey results are further proof from FlexPod customers of its innovative overall value proposition and benefits, including:


•   65% more time spent on innovation and new project

•   61% improvement in application performance

•   60% decrease in the number of unplanned downtime incidents

•   34% decrease in data center floor space used

•   29% reduction in power and cooling usage

•   24% saved in software capital expenditures


FlexPod is a Cisco and Netapp solution.

Enhance Your Storage Today – No Luck Required

A royal flush is one of the rarest and strongest hands in poker. Fortunately, memory-accelerated FlexPod is available today and you don’t need a lucky draw to get it. If you have a FlexPod unit and want a royal flush of benefits, you can download a trial copy of MAX Data software.


If you don’t already use FlexPod and want to begin your FlexPod journey, visit:


Bruno Messina

Bruno Messina joined NetApp in 2018 and works in product marketing for FlexPod. His previous experience includes a career in product marketing of UCS servers for Cisco Systems and Solaris server marketing and competitive analysis at both Oracle and Sun Microsystems, where he joined in 2000. Bruno spent ten years in various roles of competitive analysis and product management at Sun Microsystems, leading analysis in both the workgroup and enterprise servers. Prior to Sun Microsystems, Bruno spent time finishing his MBA education and worked for two years at Cadence working on product marketing for both board-level and board timing tools. Bruno holds both a BSEE and MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y..

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