Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NetApp Launches EF540 Flash Array

NetApp today announced the EF540 Flash Array, an all-SSD based storage system designed for performance-driven applications with sub-millisecond latency requirements. Its 300,000 IOPS (at 4K random reads) with sub-millisecond latencies are proven, predictable, repeatable, and sustainable.

Requiring just 2U of rack space, the EF540 is a fully-redundant system that comes in two configuration options (both of which are based on an industry-standard 800GB MLC SSD): a 12-drive configuration that provides 9.6 TB of raw capacity and a 24-drive configuration that provides 19.2 TB of raw capacity.

The EF540 runs on the enterprise-proven SANtricity 10.84 software platform and offers several advanced replication features including snapshots, synchronous mirroring, and asynchronous mirroring. It supports 8 x 8Gb Fibre Channel (FC), 8 x 6Gb Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), 4 x 10GbE (iSCSI), and 4 x 40Gb InfiniBand (IB).

This new array is also power efficient at 386W and 1,316 BTU/hr.
One of the overlooked highlights of the EF540 is the fact that customers can choose their RAID level that best suited for their workload (RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, 6, and 10).

When it comes to reliability, the EF540 comes standard with a robust set of high availability features, including:

  • Dual active controller with automated I/O path failover.
  • A wide range of RAID levels to choose from.
  • Redundant, hot-swappable controllers, disk drives, power supplies, and fans
  • Automatic drive failover detection and rebuild using global hot spares
  • Mirrored data cache with battery backup and destage to memory 
  • Nondisruptive controller firmware upgrades
  • Proactive drive health monitoring that tracks SSD wear life and issues an alert when various threshold is reached
  • Background media scan with autoparity check and correction

But how do the two controllers in an EF540 Flash Array work in concert?


Dedicated links inside the chassis enable the dual controllers to communicate with each other as well as its 24 solid state drives.

At the core of the E5400 controller is its quad-core 2.13 GHz Intel Xeon EC3539 processor. The processor has an integrated high-speed RAID engine that performs RAID 5 XOR and RAID 6 P + Q parity calculations with no performance penalty, enabling this compute-intensive task to be handled both efficiently and effortlessly. Chip-level parity calculations are a hallmark of its controller design and a key to continued performance success.

The controller’s PCI express 2.0 buses between the processor and external interfaces provide 8 gigabytes per second of internal bandwidth per controller, delivering both the width to handle large-block I/O and the speed to process large amounts of random, small-block I/O.

Each E5400 controller provides up to 12GB of DDR3 SDRAM cache memory using three DIMMs, which is battery-backed and destaged to internal flash upon power loss.

Combined, these capabilities enable the EF540 Flash Array to improve the speed of business as well as the overall efficiency and reliability of IT operations. This is a win-win for both the business and IT.