A Tale of Two Series: The NetApp E-Series


October 23, 2015

The NetApp E-Series and EF-Series storage solutions are two tremendously versatile collections of storage arrays. From the E2700 to the E5500 and E5600 in the E-Series to the EF550 and EF560 in the EF-Series, NetApp has deployed these arrays with great success in a wide range of situations. In large part, the effectiveness of the E-Series and EF-Series is due to their combination of performance, capacity, and an excellent feature set.


The NetApp E-Series and EF-Series Product Line

The EF-Series resembles the E-Series in a lot of ways. Many of their specifications are close to each other, and both benefit from the same feature set listed below. The striking difference between these two collections of products is that the EF-Series is composed of all flash storage arrays and the E-Series utilizes traditional HDD storage. While an all flash configuration means they have less raw capacity, it also gives the EF-Series extremely low latency when compared to other storage solutions.

Let’s take a brief look at the different models and then at a few features that distinguish the series from other storage solutions.


The E-Series

  • The E2700: Smaller than other products in the E-Series, but by no means is this storage array lacking in performance. The E2700 possesses 1.2 petabytes (PB) of storage and can deliver a maximum 80,000 sustained IOPS and 8,000 MB/s maximum sustained bandwidth to achieve the low latency levels you need to keep your business moving.
  • The E5500: The E5500 is the new standard in the series and packs twice the performance power of its predecessor, the E5400. With 384 disks, 12,000 MB/s bandwidth, and 500,000 IOPS, the E5500 is well suited to a large range of applications.
  • The E5600: For companies that require just a little extra power to meet their needs, the E5600 can deliver with an extra 150,000 IOPS over the E5500.


The EF-Series

  • The EF550: Like its E-Series counterpart, the E5500, the EF550 has a maximum sustained bandwidth of 500,000 IOPS, but that’s where the similarities end. The EF550 also has a burst IOPS of 900,000, latency measured at under one millisecond, and a total throughput of up to 12GB/s.
  • The EF560: For their capstone all flash array, NetApp enhanced several key metrics in the EF560 to make it even faster. For example, maximum sustained IOPS is boosted to 650,000 and latency is less than 300 microseconds.


Features and Benefits

  • SANtricity® Software: Unlike other NetApp storage arrays, the E-Series and EF-Series do not utilize the Data ONTAP management platform and instead use their own software, SANtricity. This specialized software allows you to fine-tune your array and even provides you with key features such as a Solid State Drive (SSD) cache to improve your E-Series performance even further.
  • Block Storage: The E-Series and EF-Series use block storage as opposed to object storage.
  • High Availability: Using the dual controllers, each E-Series or EF-Series array in your environment can be calibrated to ensure 99.999% availability just like other storage solutions such as Fabric Attached Storage (FAS).
  • Versatility: The E-Series and EF-Series were designed to solve the data and latency-intensive needs of companies in industries such as government, the financial sector, and ecommerce, but the equipment is just as effective in a wide range of applications for an equally wide range of companies.


The Perfect Solution for…

Many companies in all sorts of environments and dynamics can benefit from the power of these storage arrays, but the E-Series and EF-Series are best utilized in designated storage environments. Meaning, they’re deployed to address the storage demands of a specific task or need. The industries and applications that would warrant such a need are just as diverse as the solutions the E-Series and EF-Series provide.


E-Series and EF-Series for High Data Industries

Of course, all companies are different and will require different solutions to achieve their unique business objectives. Many companies outside the industries below will find the E-Series and  EF-Series beneficial to their operation. Here, we have simply identified a few industries that typically have high data demands well-suited for the NetApp E-Series and EF-Series.

  • Life SciencesFinancial Companies
  • Video on Demand Companies
  • Meteorological Groups
  • Simulation Companies
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Oil and Gas Providers


E-Series and EF-Series for Large Applications

We’ll drill down a little further. There are plenty of companies in other industries utilizing high data applications that would be a perfect job for the E-Series or EF-Series. A few examples of such applications are:

  • Video Surveillance: The storage of hours and hours of raw video feed, even if it is deleted a few days later, requires capacity at the levels provided by the E-Series.
  • Lustre, Hadoop, or Similar File Systems: If your file system is large enough to warrant programs like Lustre or Hadoop, a designated E-Series array would be well suited to handle those demands.
  • Online Transaction Processing: Ecommerce stores require extremely low latency to manage the rapid requests and transactions from their customer base. The EF-Series all flash arrays provide the speed to do the job.

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