A very quick article about a customer who has NetApp storage systems

As title stands, this will be a very quick article about a customer who has NetApp FAS systems.

This customer in 2014 bought their first two FAS3220 systems with NSE encryption and at that time with 7-Mode ONTAP.

Then in 2015 they bought one AFF8040 and one FAS8040 (HDD, and made it "Hybrid" with adding few SSDs tooled from AFF8040 system) both also with NSE encryption and ONTAP cDOT formed in a single cluster.

Then they migrated all their VMware infrastructure to new storage systems, upgraded old systems with ONTAP cDOT & joined old but upgraded systems to the cluster with FAS8040 & AFF8040 and moved back some of slow workloads back on 3240 non-disruptively but now with NetApp’s LUN move & Volume move, way faster than it would be done with VMware Storage vMotion.

And then in 2017 they bought AFF A700 without encryption. All systems happily working, monitored and managed under a single cluster and data during its life cycle non-disruptively migrated across all the nodes, while they got at least 2:1 data reduction on AFF systems (Cross-Volume Deduplication is not enabled yet) and 1.5:1 on hybrid & HDD-only systems.

Now in 2018 after 4 years since they got first FAS system they thinking to throw old FAS3220 controllers away, buy new low-end FAS2700 controllers (which probably will be same or faster then 3220) and connect old disk shelves to them with simply using MiniSAS HD to QSFP cable adapter. Then as always, connect all FAS & AFF systems to a single cluster again and be able to upgrade to 9.3 and farther, and be able to utilize new ONTAP functionality like FabricPool or Inline Aggregate Deduplication.

And now with A700 with simple ONTAP upgrade they will be able to use FC-NVMe with existing cluster when they are ready.

I have three rhetorical questions to take away:

  1. Which storage system vendor would allow you to keep in a single cluster: nodes from different models (3240, 8040, A700 and 2700); have Low-End, Mid-Range & High-End systems in a cluster; Have different types of systems (All Flash, HDD & Hybrid); have different generations (4 generations: from 3240 to 2700); some of the systems with encryption some without?
  2. Which storage system vendor would allow you to: upgrade same hardware with huge major software brake-trough release (Which was move from 7-Mode to cDOT); allow you to reconnect your old disk shelves between Low-End, Mid-range & High-End systems; allow you to reconnect old disk shelves to different generations & models?
  3. Can you name one?