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NetApp rolls out new ASA block storage, recovery guarantee

NetApp's latest update includes a new line of all-flash SAN, an expansion of its OnTap software to all storage systems and a ransomware recovery guarantee.

NetApp released a high-performing, energy-efficient all-flash SAN while also providing an update to its OnTap OS and introducing a ransomware recovery guarantee for primary storage.

The new NetApp all-flash SAN array (ASA), its second since 2019, aims to simplify deployment while providing high availability, sustainability and performance. NetApp is rolling out five versions of the ASA using triple-level cell that range from 13 PB to 351 PB of effective capacity after compression. OnTap One, NetApp's data management software suite for arrays, now extends OnTap capabilities to all storage systems.

NetApp, known for its file storage products, is relatively new to block storage, a market that Futurum Group analyst Dave Raffo said remains crowded and competitive. Many enterprise customers rely on SAN-only storage for VMs and databases. NetApp's latest release offers customers more than just file storage options.

If customers are only looking at block storage, some may not have considered NetApp.
Dave RaffoAnalyst, Futurum Group

"If customers are only looking at block storage, some may not have considered NetApp," Raffo said.

While this is NetApp's second ASA, the newer version comes with updates around performance and data protection with its all-NVMe storage, NVMe-oF host connectivity and API-driven design for cloud integration, according to Raffo.

ASA in detail

The new ASA has features that weren't available in the 2019 release, including a data reduction guarantee and six nines of availability. Customers might be drawn to its singular focus on block storage, according to Raffo.

"The performance should be a little better and the management simpler [than unified storage]," he said.

Steve McDowell, an analyst and founding partner at NAND Research, pointed to all-NVMe storage as what should be expected from main storage providers.

"I don't think we see another all-flash array that is not all-NVMe," he said.

NetApp is offering nondisruptive upgrades, and a new motherboard for the ASA line reduces power consumption by 50%, McDowell said, adding that NetApp is closing the gap in its portfolio to better compete against major vendors such as Dell Technologies and HPE.

OnTap on everything and new StorageGrid

The ASA line, like all NetApp hardware, is powered by OnTap, NetApp's OS that provides file, object, block and unified storage, as well as data protection and data management capabilities.

As part of the update, OnTap received improved ransomware protection, and NetApp extended its OnTap One -- a software suite that includes OnTap features -- to all AFF, ASA and FAS storage systems.

Even with older arrays, NetApp customers can use OnTap to manage storage through a single console in NetApp BlueXP, Raffo said.

NetApp released an all-flash version of StorageGrid, an object storage offering that provides higher performance over hybrid storage and updated security.

"All-flash object storage is becoming more common for analytics workloads," McDowell said, including AI and machine learning.

Guaranteed recovery

Aside from new hardware and software, NetApp introduced a ransomware recovery guarantee from a snapshot in the event of a ransomware attack. If NetApp is unable to help customers recover, it will provide compensation, but did not specify many parameters.

NetApp customers will need to meet specific metrics for the guarantee, Raffo said, but recognizing ransomware as a threat to customers is critical.

"If you are selling any IT product, you better have a ransomware story," he said.

There is a movement in storage to offer guarantees like this, McDowell said, pointing to Infinidat. But not all vendors offer recovery guarantees at the array level.

"Storage devices look at every bit of data," McDowell said. "The most optimal place for ransomware detection is inside the storage box."

NetApp can be a leader with guaranteeing recovery due to its market share, he said. It is a trend that other storage vendors should follow.

Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at

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