If you’ve ever run a data center, you know that physical rack space is at a premium. I’ve been reminded of this recently, as me and several of my TME cohorts have been busy working in the lab getting something special ready for this year’s NetApp Insight. I’ve been tweeting videos of it as teasers and will have a new one coming out this week.
Basically, we’ve been trying to squeeze an entire demo into a travel rack. While, this isn’t something most people would try, space for physical servers and storage is a concern for every datacenter administrator, especially service providers.
NetApp recently has been aggressively pursuing the all-flash market with some super deals for customers. They are outlined in various places:
There was also a recent Tech ONTAP podcast on Flash:
But the problem is, one of our beefiest models – the AFF8080EX – was a taking up a whopping 12U of rack space! That needed to get better, and it has.
Smaller is better, less is more
The Register reported on this as well, but my goal is to explain why a smaller footprint of rack space is better for any data center admin, if it’s not already apparent.
Data center real estate is a real cost that many people forget when looking at the overall price tag for servers, storage, switches, etc. The reason it gets overlooked is that it’s a price tag that accumulates over time and isn’t readily apparent up front. Data center costs are broken down into a few areas.
Physical rack space: The more rack space you eat up, the more racks you have to buy. More racks = less physical floor space. That means you end up having to rent or buy more space.
Power: Bigger units generally eat up more power (not always, but generally). That means you pay more per month in electricity.
Cooling: Bigger units generally require more BTUs for cooling. This also eats more power.
Using more dense equipment saves money in the long run and it’s especially useful when those servers/storage that are more dense also have better performance than servers/storage with larger footprints.
It’s just one more way NetApp AFF is making all-flash storage more of a reality for the data center.