Recently at AWS re:Invent several announcements were made regarding storage in AWS. New tiers of higher performance S3, an EFS Archive storage class, and what looked like a nice upgrade in the FSx storage offerings, FSx for ONTAP moving to a scale-out offering. This looked like a nice round of enhancements, but as always, the devil is in the details.

At WEKA, we’ve seen that organizations are now rapidly moving their most performance-intensive workloads to the cloud, but they continue to struggle with the high cost of storage for these workloads. Which is why, earlier this year, we announced our 1/2 price cloud guarantee, which can dramatically lower costs while maintaining the same performance as your existing cloud storage offering. We decided to see how the guarantee stacked up against the FSx for ONTAP(FSxN) scale out offering. According to the announcement, FSxN now offers higher performance up to 36GB/s and 1.2M IOPs with FSxN by leveraging Flexgroups across up to 6 HA pairs of ONTAP instances in AWS. While that covers the performance part of the equation, there is also pricing to consider in the guarantee.

Using AWS pricing for FSxN and then the pricing calculator, we configured two systems of comparable capacity to what we’ve tested in AWS and priced it out compared to WEKA running on EC2 instances in the AWS marketplace. The results validated WEKA’s guarantee.

FSxN small config: 50TB, 100% on flash, 65% data reduction from compression/dedupe, stated 1M IOPs, 20GB/sec throughput 

WEKA small config: 7x i3en.6xlarge, 54TB capacity (couldn’t get it to round down to 50TB), 100% on flash, 75TB object storage via S3 included for additional data protection via WEKA Snap-To-Object capability.  Measured results from testing: 20.2GB/sec, 1.56M IOPs

FSxN pricing: $32,940 per month total , broken down into $2240/month for capacity pricing, $14,700/month for throughput capacity and $16,000 additional billed cost for IOPs. This does not include additional possible charges depending on the volume of read and write requests.

WEKA Pricing: $14,750 per month total, including all EC2 infrastructure and WEKA licensing included. It also includes the S3 capacity for Snap-To-Object backup, but not for tiering. This cost is based on a 1 year reserved instance pricing for the EC2 components. Most customers have ongoing workloads, and generally don’t use short-term pricing for anything other than burst use cases, so reserved pricing is applicable here. We used the EC2 reserved pricing calculator along with the WEKA marketplace pricing to come up with the final cost of software and infrastructure.

We also wanted to see how the comparison holds up as customer environments scale, so we did a comparison using the same methodology of a similar larger configuration on 100TB at a performance value of 30GB/sec and 1.2 Million IOPS on FSxN. The pricing on FSxN came out to $45,000/month. The WEKA configuration of 11x i3en.6xlarge needed to hit the same capacity point came out to $22,000 per month. With WEKA, we hit 30GB/sec and 2.5M IOPs in actual testing with that configuration.

Congratulations to NetApp for improving their cloud offering, and welcome to the cloud performance party! WEKA has shown that while being ½ the price of FSxN at a given capacity point, we can offer the same performance on throughput, but 1.5-2x better IOP performance. And we aren’t constrained to 36GB/sec and 1.2M IOP limits. WEKA will continue to compete by having superior performance-density and overall price/performance in the cloud along with simplified data protection, tiering capabilities, and more whether in AWS, Azure, GCP, or OCI.

After all, we guarantee it.

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