Network Appliance powers up the storage grid

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Network Appliance Inc. has started shipping the latest version of its storage grid software called Data ONTAP 7G.

The virtualization engine is capable of aggregating physical storage components by pooling storage resources with built-in logic that automatically manages data and enables administrators to shrink or expand volumes to accommodate storage demand changes, said NetApp. Data ONTAP 7G automatically handles allocations and utilization and can absorb additional storage resources with no human intervention. The net effects are lower storage management costs and significant time savings as storage is configured and reconfigured non-disruptively, NetApp said.

The primary new features of Data ONTAP 7G are FlexVol and FlexClone. Providing dynamic virtualization, FlexVol enables the tailoring of NetApp data management features, such as Snapshot and SnapMirror replication tools, to the needs of each application data set, while also providing the performance of large disk pools to even the smallest data sets. FlexVol also allows for the dynamic and non-disruptive provisioning (growing and/or shrinking) of storage volumes and facilitates a utility storage model based on thin provisioning of capacity, NetApp said.

FlexClone enables the creation of multiple, independently writable images of FlexVol data sets. Cloned data can be manipulated and tested in a variety of ways without affecting the initial data set, NetApp said.