back to article NetApp scores video benchmark wins

NetApp says its Media Content Management (MCM) system has outperformed all previously ATTO-tested storage subsystems. This was with the Engenio-based E5460 array and StorNext, Quantum's virtualised file system manager, not with FAS storage arrays running Data ONTAP. NetApp's Media Content Management system is designed to …

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NetApp E-series is simply optimized for sequential I/O

Hey Chris, D from NetApp here...

Regarding your comment: "El Reg's understanding is that FAS ONTAP arrays do not have the sheer data access speed needed by such heavy and scale-out filer workloads."

Far from it - the ONTAP arrays have plenty of speed, but the Engenio-based E5460, for the money, pretty much smokes anything out there for sequential I/O. Note the "for the money".

I think there are faster boxes for sequential I/O than the E5460 but not at that density and cost, which is what makes it compelling.

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Stop

That's not entirely true, is it?

Dimitris, we get it, your devotion to NetApp is commendable; but surely even you understand it's limitations - It's ok to like Engenio now, NetApp own them.

The FAS Series does have lots of speed, but the WAFL architecture and the copious abstraction layers before even presenting a LU is it's own downfall when it comes to sequential workloads - even NetApp as a whole recognised this; which is why they acquired the Engenio business.

The Engenio range is an excellent solid array, whilst not feature rich by any standards, it does it's work nicely due to the fact it is quite simply Traditional RAID Groups (or Volume groups) with LUNs (Volumes) without all of the overhead that comes with:

LUN

FlexVol

Aggregate

RAIDGroup

Drives

Nor does it have to find contiguous blocks in the same way that WAFL does.

As a side benefit; the Engenio also has a better fail-over function - that is, it's failover is near instantaneous (more akin to EVA, Clariion, AMS, Compellent) vs. NetApp with a 90+ second failover (or 120+ second without an RLM card) which I personally find interesting. (I've nursed more than enough WAFL checks to have no sense of humour on this subject)

So Dimitris, seriously buddy, I respect your right to an opinion, but you've got to get a sense of reality about the FAS range.

Seriously good hardware/software, but not suited to all workloads or environments, and neither is the Engenio (or anything else for that matter).

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I'm so misunderstood :)

We agree in general. The more "stuff" an array does, the more overhead there can be for some operations.

The simpler an array is, the easier it is to do some operations.

It's all a matter of tradeoffs, as the vendors that hitherto had "simple" arrays now realize how difficult it is to maintain high performance and add all the "stuff". Notice all the performance caveats from a certain large storage vendor when someone wants to implement autotiered storage pools with thin provisioning.

My statement remains, let me clarify:

You can get high sequential speeds out of FAS but it will cost a lot more to get them than doing it with Engenio.

And indeed that's one of the reasons we bought Engenio. A lot of environments don't need the extra "stuff" FAS has to offer, and just need a simpler box that is less expensive and can read/write sequentially very very quickly.

And, as a counterpoint, I still maintain that, given the amount of "stuff" FAS can do, the performance is unmatched.

It all depends on what you're trying to do.

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