Fast NetApp FAS8000 Doesn’t Necessitate Speedy FAS6280 /3200 Series Upgrade
What’s the future for the NetApp FAS6280 and FAS3200 series storage arrays in your environment? Since NetApp unveiled the 8000 series with notice that the FAS8020, FAS8040, and FAS8060 would replace the FAS/V3220, FAS/V3250, and FAS/V6220, respectively, data center managers and other IT professionals have been considering this question.
If you’re among the group currently researching your upgrade options (which might explain how you found yourself here), check out The Register’s review of potential 6200 and 3200 series replacements. Under the admittedly too-cute title “NetApp and IBM’s high fibre treat,” the article covers the first SPC benchmark using FCoE. In case you’re in a hurry, we’ll spare you the suspense. The NetApp FAS8020 narrowly beat out IBM’s V7000. If it’s FCoE speed you’re looking for, the NetApp 8020 is the choice.
Starting the discussion there, however, begs an important question. Why are you looking to upgrade in the first place? If you’re adding capacity, need new features, or have other solid reasons, great. Go for it. If you’re simply worried about forthcoming end of life for existing FAS6200 and 3200 equipment, you may want to change your perspective.
Mid-Range Storage Quandary
To put it another way, would an upgrade to the 8000 series be a healthy decision for your IT organization and budget? In many cases, data center managers are being coerced into hardware purchases. They aren’t swapping out hardware to gain performance or features (though they may enjoy the new equipment); they’re doing it because NetApp’s product refresh cycle implies they should swap hardware before time runs out on support.
Such external motivation is anything but healthy for the IT shop. In essence, NetApp is sucking up resources (human and financial) that could be better spent achieving the organization’s goals, rather than playing around with unnecessary upgrades.
Fortunately, there is no need to succumb to the EOSL arm-twisting. Top-quality third party maintenance companies have developed NetApp maintenance offerings that mirror—and often vastly outperform—NetApp’s own support contracts. You get better engineering personnel, faster access to help, on-site and locally warehoused spare parts, flexible servie options, hardware and software support, 100% component coverage, and much more. (Well, at least that’s what we put in a service contract.)
Importantly, this comprehensive NetApp maintenance service will be offered long past NetApp’s end-of-support date. So concerns about the long-term viability of the FAS6200 and 3200 series equipment, if based on availability of expert help, spares, etc., is absolutely unfounded.
In our case, Park Place never sets an end-of-support date because we firmly believe that it’s a customer’s prerogative to decide how long to keep equipment in their environment…because it’s their environment after all. Our role is to keep that equipment running at peak performance.
Back to the NetApp FAS8000 vs Predecessors
Taking this discussion full circle, we’re back to whether the NetApp FAS8000 is a “must have.” That’s a determination that no product review can answer because it must be based on your IT shop’s needs and budget. If the equipment you have is serving the purpose for which it is intended, the smart move may be to keep it in place.
If you decide to do so, start researching alternative post-warranty support today. Not only will it ensure a long-term support solution for your FAS6200 and/or 3200 series arrays, it can save you 30% to 70% starting the day you switch from NetApp.