NetApp has released its long awaited Virtual Storage Appliance which it has called Data ONTAP Edge and also has made available an evaluation version for the masses.
NetApp previously had a VSA which was available only for partners but it was fairly limited in what it could do, had very limited disk space and wasn’t the simplest VSA to set up.
I have worked with the previous VSA and blogged on how to make it a little more usable by increase the disk space in my post Installing & Maximising the NetApp ONTAP 8.1 Simulator which has been one of the most popular posts on this blog which shows you the interest.
Unfortunately my hackery wasn’t entirely successful and the expanded VSA wasn’t always stable despite my best efforts.
NetApp has now answered the call and released a VSA which is no longer just for evaluation use and available for everyone. It is being pitched as "a low-cost remote office storage solution". The maximum usable storage is 5 TB which is a vast improvement from the 20 GB available with the previous unmodified VSA. This release of ONTAP Edge runs ONTAP 8.1.1. It’s a VM that runs on ESXi which requires 2 vCPUs, 4 GB RAM and obviously available disk space.
I don’t know details on pricing or how this will be structured and whether you will be charged based on capacity.
UPDATE 7 September 2012: NetApp has released its Virtual Storage Appliance, Data ONTAP Edge which is a licensed functional VSA.
One of the strengths of NetApp’s storage offering is that its controller operating system called Data ONTAP is the same across every NetApp Filer storage product they sell. This is hugely significant as it means if you know how to administer and configure the smallest FAS2000 Series Filers you are pretty much up to speed to administer and configure Filers up to their biggest and beefiest FAS6200 Series Filers so you don’t have to learn another management interface when you upgrade.
NetApp has also produced a Data ONTAP Simulator which in their words is a “A tool that gives you the experience of administering and using a NetApp storage system with all the features of Data ONTAP at your disposal.”
There have been various versions of the simulator over the years which initially could be installed on a simple RedHat or SuSE Linux box using emulated disks and have the same look and feel as a real NetApp Filer (without the rack space requirement or electricity bill!). Things progressed over the years and you could use more Linux distros. Nowadays there is a pre-built VMware virtual machine so you don’t have to install RedHat or SuSE beforehand.
Unfortunately the simulator is only available to existing NetApp Customers and Advantage Partners and requires a login to the NetApp Support Site, http://now.netapp.com
I was about to start a serious rant about this limited availability when surprisingly whilst writing this post Vaughn Stewart sent out a tweet that NetApp are in fact looking at the possibility of opening up access to the simulator for version 8.1 which is fantastic news.