What is NetApp ASA?

ASA stands for All-flash SAN Array. ASA based on low-end & high-end AFF systems that are using ONTAP.

ONTAP architecture in ASA systems remains the same, with no changes. The only change is in the access to the storage over SAN protocols.

In (non-ASA) Unified ONTAP systems SAN protocols like FC and iSCSI are using ALUA which stands for Asymmetrical Logical Unit Access so, this type of connection called active/active but uses ”active optimized” and ”active non-optimized” paths. NVMe ANA works similar to ALUA for SCSI-Based protocols. Both with ANA & ALUA in case of one storage controller failure, the host waits for a timeout, before the host switches to the active non-optimized path. Which works perfectly fine. See more in the section ”Share-nothing architecture”, and “Network access” in a series of articles ”How ONTAP Cluster works”.

But there are some customers who were:

  1. Used to the idea of symmetric active/active connectivity
  2. Looking for a product that will provide fewer notifications to the host at the event of a path loss

NetApp listened to its customers, evaluated both requests and provided ASA products that give the solution they have been looking for.

Video with Skip Shapiro about ASA:

3 thoughts on “What is NetApp ASA?”

  1. […] ASA systems based on the AFF platform and provide access over SAN protocols only, therefore to differentiate from ASA the rest of the ONTAP-based systems are called Unified systems meaning unification of SAN & NAS data protocols. ASA systems provide symmetric access to the storage nodes over the network, thus each block device (i.e. LUN or NVMe namespace) accessed over paths from both controllers of the HA pair while rest of the ONTAP-based Unified (non-ASA) systems with SAN protocols normally are using optimized paths only through the controller which owns the LUN and switches to the non-optimized paths only when the optimized paths are not available. See the announcement of ASA in Oct 2019. […]

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