In this blog

There is a season for all things, and the season for the FAS/AFF8000 series of controllers is coming to an end. Introduced in 2017 and 2018, the FAS/AFF8000 controllers are approaching their end-of-service date for hardware and software support: at the end of 2022 for AFF8040 and AFF8080 and the end of 2023 for FAS8020, FAS8040, FAS8060 and FAS8080. 

Although the complexity and cost of hardware replacements can be daunting, with the correct process, you not only minimize disruption and maximize cost-effectiveness but can also position your company to be more competitive within your product and service offerings.

You have several options 

Why is this news? Because with cloud maturing, you have compelling and viable options beyond just replacing controllers. The great news is that NetApp ONTAP provides a simplified and integrated solution for each option. Your options include:

  1. Replacing controllers. Traditionally, the way you would respond to this is by replacing the controllers with a current or more recent version. Deciding to refresh the hardware can have many benefits like better performance, lower latency, larger capacities and renewed contract support. And new ONTAP features can help you achieve it all without migrating the data. However, sometimes a simple controller replacement is not the best approach when other factors are considered. Either way, with NetApp, you don't lock yourself into one approach; if you change your mind, NetApp is flexible, so you can adapt as your strategy evolves or pivots.
  2. Moving workloads to the cloud. Deciding to migrate a workload to the cloud can have benefits in the form of an OPEX cost model, no hardware maintenance, and on-demand capacity and performance growth. AI/ML/DL initiatives, data analytics and Storage as a Service (StaaS) are also important considerations and can often have a direct impact on the best overall solution for you.
  3. Archiving cold data. If you are storing less important data on expensive storage, you should move it to a less expensive location. NetApp has an automated tiering option to help save costs on expensive storage that should be reserved for very hot and important data.
  4. Using a combination of all three above options. It is reasonable to assume you may want to store less important data on less expensive storage, move some workloads to the cloud and replace your controllers. But again, when you use NetApp storage, it is flexible and adaptable as your strategy evolves or pivots – working like building blocks – so you can easily adjust and won't feel the pressure of making a "wrong" decision.

What is right for you, and what process should you follow to determine the answer?

WWT has assisted many clients with determining the optimum path forward when a hardware refresh is needed. 

The process starts with discovery:

  • Do background research and data discovery.
  • Determine capacity trending and what is needed going forward and in the future.
  • Look in Active IQ (the data warehouse portal that NetApp controllers report to) to find out:
    • Versions of controllers running
    • Number of controllers running
    • Whether they're spinning or solid state
    • Performance statistics
    • Inactive data reports. These will tip you off to data that does not need to be stored on expensive storage. By moving it to the cloud, you could save money.
  • Ask constituents about not only capacity, but if they would like to buy upfront or pay as they go. Typically, if you are talking to storage admins, they may be more interested in refreshing the controllers than moving to cloud, while the app and cloud teams (as well as the CIO) may be more interested in hearing about cloud than a hardware or software refresh.

WWT can also assist customers with making the right decision for workloads on systems reaching end of life by: 

  • Conducting a storage assessment.
  • Gathering data insights and attributes.
  • Providing a QuickStart workshop.

These services will provide you with a co-developed framework from which to work from to develop the plan, test the migration or system upgrade, and validate the data and workload at the end. WWT will typically provide two or three options and scenarios, including capacity and rack diagrams and an associated cost estimate—all of which should be tested in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC).

WWT and NetApp

WWT has experience with the entire NetApp suite of products from a hardware, software and cloud perspective. And the ATC can be used for testing, demos, hands-on labs and proofs of concept with any NetApp solution. WWT wraps services, solutions and experience around the NetApp offerings to drive the outcomes you need, including digital transformation, innovation and growth.

With NetApp solutions, the experience across your organization is consistent and unified. Wherever your data resides—on premises, in the cloud, at the edge—everyone in your organization will have a common experience. Other benefits of NetApp include:

  • Ability to squeeze as much storage out of your equipment as possible.
  • Designed to utilize efficiencies.
  • Not only is it extremely flexible, but it allows you to grow as simply as possible and is completely non-disruptive to your business.
  • It is radically easy to use.

Learn more about WWT and NetApp's joint capabilities.

About the authors

Mike Valora

Technical Solutions Architect, World Wide Technology

Mike is an expert in primary storage who has been with WWT since March of 2021. Throughout his career, he's had various positions as an architect and engineer on both the pre-sales side and post-sales side as well as operations and technical management. He's held roles as a customer, partner, distributor and manufacturer. Each has provided him with a unique perspective into the industry and the insight to solve difficult customer challenges.

Steve Blanco

National Technical Partner Manager, NetApp

After working at Accenture as an on-site consultant for 12 years, Steve joined NetApp and has also worked in the NetApp partner community for over 10 years. He is a customer-centric technologist delivering and instilling tangible business value through consulting, communication, adaptability, creativity and leadership with focus on the successful design, education, implementation and use of technology.