back to article FlashRay bang, wallop: NetApp bigwigs play musical chairs

El Reg has learned that NetApp's leadership of its all-flash array project FlashRay is changing: the original engineering head is no longer involved, and the veep for flash storage is absent. NetApp engineering veteran and SVP Brian 'Beepy' Pawlowski founded the FlashRay and Mars OS effort as an internal startup inside NetApp …

  1. chrismevans


    I have to say I'm struggling with what FlashRay was meant to be. The specs issued show the hardware as a "6U controller" and 2U disk shelf. What the hell is in 6U as a single controller? Now, it would be more understandable if the 6U represented dual controllers in a single node (with integrated disk), but that's not how it has been described.

    From the tone of this article, it appears FlashRay may have always been a development exercise to create new software features to integrate into the existing platforms. If that's what happens, it represents a major mistake from NetApp. Continuing to develop a 20+ year old architecture is chasing an impossible dream.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 6U

      Are you saying that clustered ONTAP is 20 years old, or that they should stop using BSD for the platform? It's possible you're talking about wafl but that is just a quite small module which actually still serves a very good purpose for spinning disk if you use the technology as intended. Treat it like an EMC and you'll be disappointed because they work very differently.

      There are various technical reasons for the FlashRay design being the way it is. All of which are based around the target market for the device. This is all based around guaranteed performance levels and is the same reason that we may never see the ability to add a second shelf. The whole 6u thing, I have no idea and said as much at Insight this year while pointing and laughing. Internally the components are not that big and there isn't special hardware in there. I had had a lot of (free) beer the night before though so they may have had a good explanation which I forgot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 6U

      It's 6U because it's using the FAS8080 chassis & hardware.

      FlashRay is a brand-new OS using brand-new (to NetApp) architecture. It's hardly a development exercise of integrating stuff into ONTAP -- if it was, it would be ready by now!

      Disclaimer: I am a NetApp employee.

    3. Nick Triantos

      Re: 6U

      We had two choices with Flashray

      1) Use completely different HW and develop/debug/QA/support new diag packages or

      2) Use existing HW we're familiar with, leverage years of existing work, knowledge, QA cycles and therefore be able to bypass dev/test cycles and concentrate on things higher up in the stack.

      #2 made sense to us. it's our HW, we know it well, we have the diags packages already, in production in thousands of customer site, so why not use it? Made perfect sense to us.

      The 6U package is a dual controller 8060 enclosure but with the internals of the 8080. So when FlashRay becomes a dual controller system the Rack units will not change.

      This is as far as I'll go before I step into hard core NDA territory. That said, we will continue to develop ONTAP in the same manner HP, EMC, HDS develop their own architectures all of which pre-date Clustered ONTAP and some pre-date ONTAP (7-mode).

      Finally, FR was developed from scratch under a different design center than ontap was.


      Nick Triantos

      Disclosure: NetApp Employee

  2. Camilla Smythe

    Doh Doh De Doh Doh Doh Doh

    If you can survive to the end You have been 'Rick Rolled'.

    Don't know what happened there. I do not need brain bleach to clear the event.

  3. Bobsbuddy

    Single controller.....WTF?

    How can anyone seriously come to market with a storage box (regardless of type) that is single controller? Reading the above comment about the chassis has space for the *future* 2nd controller just screams risk to me.

    1. Nick Triantos

      Re: Single controller.....WTF?

      FlashRay is under targeted availability today. That means is not available for anyone and everyone so we're fully aware of the single controller ramifications. The thing to keep in mind when you compare an established company lik netapp to a startup is that netapp's existence is not solely dependent on flashray.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Single controller.....WTF?

        By targeted, you mean desperate.

        NetApp needed to get its all flash doozy out because it saw its competitors running away with the market. My view would have been to bring it out when it was good a ready, which it most certainly isnt now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Single controller.....WTF?

          I think you mis-understand targeted availability.

          1. TheDrunkenBakers

            Re: Single controller.....WTF?

            I think you mis-use the word targeted.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021