The Latest POWERHOUSE Storage System from NetApp – AFF A900


Before joining NetApp 10 years ago, I was a customer for many years, installing and managing large footprints of NetApp storage, among other things. It’s where I got the nickname “DatacenterDude.” I tell you this so that you know that my excitement for what we’re about to discuss is real, and I’m not here simply parroting marketing messaging or towing the ol’ company line.  This is special…

Hello everyone and welcome to the channel!  My name is Nick Howell and today we’re going to talk about a brand new storage system from NetApp.  If you have any questions about this or any other videos here on the channel, drop them in the comments below, or come by my live stream right here on YouTube every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Make sure you’re subscribed and have your alerts switched on so you know when I go live or post new content.

In 2016, NetApp launched  [ whip] the A700 All-Flash FAS with a promise that we would allow and provide for in-chassis upgrades with a multi-generational chassis, and today we are honoring that promise!

The A700 was specifically designed with all of the I/O and expansion modules off to each side of the vertically-mounted controllers to allow service to them without having to wrangle huge bundles of cabling. While this does open the door for non-disruptive operations [controller-remove] and makes full controller swaps completely seamless, it was also a necessary engineering and design step to execute on that very promise of in-chassis upgrades. This is a win/win, empowering NetApp with a multi-generational chassis design, but more importantly enabling our customers to theoretically run the same chassis for more than a DECADE with modular upgrades over time as technology continues to evolve.

But the story doesn’t end there! We cannot forget some of the biggest technological achievements we made with the A700.  While isolating the I/O from the controllers was a huge win across the board, the A700 also introduced isolated power paths to each node and its associated I/O modules. It even surprised us what a huge hit this was with customers!

All-in-all, the A700 platform has been the largest-selling system we’ve ever produced, and has empowered us to deliver high-performance enterprise storage to the cloud.

But what if we could take that one step further?  What if we could take everything the A700 was built upon and stood for, and turn it up to 11?  Well, we did it.

Today, I’m happy to announce the official launch of the all-new AFF A900. Shipping early next year, this latest high-end storage system from NetApp delivers unrivaled performance, massive scale up to 15PB, and multi-protocol support to enterprises everywhere.

The A900 definitely has some big shoes to fill, but more importantly it will continue to deliver the benefits of the A700 while bringing technology forward for NetApp in a very big way.  Thanks in part to being able to jump three Intel CPU generations, we were able to bring the total CPU core count up to 128 in the A900. Add to that twice as much system memory and you’ve got a next-generation flagship offering that delivers a 50% increase in total performance over its A700 predecessor, simply by doing a non-disruptive controller swap!

The A900 also adds PCIe Gen4 technology which has taken the consumer market by storm. Out-of-the-box, this gives it DOUBLE the burst bandwidth to that of the A700, but also sets us up for a promising future of being able to leverage technologies like:

  • Storage Class Memory
  • increasing multi-port fibre-channel I/O to 64Gbps
  • Doubling available bandwidth to the 400 Gbps mark!

And finally, the best part … the internal project name for the A900 was meant to represent a chill lifestyle Bay Area system.  In a fun twist of irony, it is anything-BUT that.  It is podium-ready just like our new Aston Martin F1 partner.

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