In last year’s SNIA webcast: Flash-Plan for the Disruption, we discussed the relationship between the adoption of flash storage technology and enterprise network design. With the dramatic impact that flash can have on application response time, bandwidth and IO throughput, it follows that you will want to look beyond storage deployments alone to ensure that your overall IT infrastructure is capable of delivering the full potential of this technology to your business.
Just as it would not make sense to drain the Hoover dam with a garden hose, it certainly does not make sense to accelerate all of your storage systems with flash and then rely upon the same network infrastructure that was optimized around pure HDD storage. While 1GB Ethernet and/or 2Gbps, 4Gbps or even 8Gbps Fibre Channel may have been adequate in the past, the availability of products like our EF540 and EF550 flash arrays is driving increased interest in high bandwidth networks with capacities of 16Gbps.
We have been working closely with one of our Storage Networking partners, Brocade, to get the word out on the close relationship between flash storage and network design. You can read more about this in our joint Solution Brief: Network Design Considerations to Enable the Benefits of Flash Storage. This Solution brief provides an overview of the NetApp Flash portfolio as well as an overview of Brocade’s Fabric Vision for Gen 5 Fibre Channel. Hopefully, this will provide some guidance as you move ahead to optimize your data center and network to take full advantage of what flash technology can offer your business.