Research Library

NetApp EF-Series – Product Brief

Last updated August 26th, 2019 to include EF600 and EF280. Concise and unbiased 4-page overview of the features and functionality of NetApp EF-Series. Product Brief includes EvaluScale Reviewing Methodology. Download the free Product Brief now!

Overview

The NetApp EF-Series Flash Arrays are all solid-state systems which use SSDs (solid-state devices) with the controllers and embedded software based off of the NetApp E-Series hybrid systems. The EF-Series consists of the EF600, the EF570, and the EF280. The same features of the E-Series models, along with the controller reliability, stability, and maturity are available with the all-SSD EF-Series models.  The EF-Series is offered directly from NetApp or through its channel partners.

The NetApp EF-Series are modular systems with dual controllers.  The advanced features available with the EF-Series are common with the NetApp E-Series family and include snapshots, remote replication, transparent volume expansion, and storage pooling with thin provisioning.  Advanced capabilities of the EF600 and EF570 include NVMe protocol support over 100 Gb InfiniBand or RoCE Ethernet connections.

The EF570 can scale from a single drawer with 24 devices to five drawers for a total of 120 devices and a maximum raw capacity of 1.8 PB. The EF280 can expand to four drawers, with 24 devices each, for a maximum of 1.5 PB. The EF600 model, which does not feature expansion shelves, supports a maximum raw capacity of 360TB.  The multiple host interface types make the EF-Series a very flexible system to be used in many environments.

Usage

The NetApp EF-Series are high performance storage systems implemented with the traditional dual controller architecture using all SSDs as storage devices.  Used in performance demanding environments with need for high availability, the EF-Series provides connectivity to hosts using Fibre Channel (including 16Gb/s Gen5 support or 32Gb/s Gen6), iSCSI, or SAS. The EF570 and EF600 models also support InfiniBand (at 100 Gb/s with NVMe protocol support) and 100Gb NVMe over RoCE. The EF600 supports NVMe over Fibre Channel. The all-SSD systems are particularly useful in application acceleration and for use in performance demanding vertical markets.

  • Characteristics
    • Performance – Bandwidth is rated at up to 44GB/s with 2M operations per second at 250µsec for 4K random reads and 200K random 4K write IOPs at 100µsec for the EF600 model.
    • Availability – The EF-Series is a dual controller design, which allows pathing software to fail over from one controller to another and then fail back as needed.
    • Replication for BC/DR – Remote replication uses the SANtricity software from NetApp with Remote Volume Mirror for synchronous and asynchronous mirroring as an optional feature. Replication can be to another EF-Series or an E-Series storage system.
    • VAAI support and thin provisioning
    • Encryption is supported when SSDs that have the self-encrypting drive feature are used.
  • Applications
    • The EF-Series are block storage systems that are used in a wide variety of applications because of the performance and interface connectivity.
    • NetApp offers the EF570 and EF600 as high performance block systems.
    • The EF280 is offered as a midrange block system.
  • System environments
    • Typically used with storage network connectivity, the EF-Series connects to almost all servers and operating systems.
  • Deployment and Administration
    • The management and embedded software is call SANtricity and can manage single or multiple systems. All configuration and control is done through the SANtricity element manager including snapshot, volume copy and remote mirror.

Evaluator Group EvaluScale™: NetApp EF-Series – SAN Storage

Evaluator Group product review methodology “EvaluScale” assesses each product within a specific technology area.  The definitions of the criteria and explanations of how products are reviewed can be found in the  Evaluator Series Evaluation Guide. Download the product brief now to view the EvaluScale for this product.

Evaluator Group Opinion: Differentiating elements for NetApp EF-Series

The NetApp EF-Series comes from the long line of dual controllers developed by Engenio / LSI and now NetApp with an evolution of design and includes the other E-Series systems.  The EF-Series is a block storage all flash system that has been provided to a number of other vendors for inclusion into their environments as well as an independent product.

Basic block storage with necessary advanced features for data protection such as snapshot, async and sync remote replication is offered with the EF-Series which is applicable to a very large part of the market.  The EF-Series does not support scaling out, so the performance is fixed based on the configuration and adding capacity (scale up) which will affect the access density.  Other features such as data reduction and stretched clusters are not offered, which defines where the EF-Series will likely be applied.  File access would not be expected with this system as customers are expecting block access with high performance at a particular price point.

Evaluator Group believes that the E-series systems from NetApp have specific targeted usages and will be very effective in those environments.  Other products have additional capabilities that may not be needed in the places where the EF-Series is successful. As an all-flash system, the EF-Series is a simple to deploy and use solution.


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