NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Our business is growing, so we don’t know exactly what to expect and we throw things at our network that are new. The AFF gives us the expansion we need later on without buying more controllers.


Valuable Features

It's great that software monitoring is all in one place instead of in different modules. It also provides us with real-time metrics.

We went from a FAS 2040 to an AFF 8040, and the evolution has blown us away. The deduplication technology that it gives us means that we are getting more storage for our money. It's a better value than disc drives.

Also, clustered Data ONTAP is valuable to us.

Improvements to My Organization

It gives us a platform that is reliable going forward. We only had one outage on the 2040 in five years, and we are expecting similar from the 8040. Our business is growing, so we don’t know exactly what to expect and we throw things at our network that are new. The new flash gives us the expansion we need later on without having to buy more controllers.

Room for Improvement

It would be nice to see a 1 GB portal for networking on the back rather than just the 10 GB that we can use as a backup. If we have an issue with the 10 GB, we can have the 1 GB cable as a backup while we fix the issue while running them in pairs.

Use of Solution

We've been using it for three months for VMs, SQL, file storage, email, some Oracle databases, and SharePoint.

Deployment Issues

We've not had any issues with deployment.

Stability Issues

We’ve done transfers, migrations, data copies in and out, and it hasn’t flinched. It's very stable.

Scalability Issues

It scales to our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

10/10. We haven’t had to use it yet for the AFF, but with the FAS they were excellent.

Technical Support:

Technical support is excellent.

Previous Solutions

We use HP’s servers and are happy with them, but when we upgraded to flash for FAS, we looked only at NetApp and the other options that were potentially cheaper, but decided on NetApp in the end because we were happy with them.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was straightforward. There is only a small amount of NFS and the rest of it is CIF, so setup is very simple.

Implementation Team

We used a vendor team who were 10/10.

ROI

It will probably be within 12 month when we make back what we spent on this product in terms of the storage increase we’ve got. It's given us an increase in overall performance, which means we utilize less resources because it's quicker.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

With the networking changes, the costs were £140,000. There were some very harsh negotiations going on, and they got this order 12 minutes before the end of their deadline for their end of year.

Other Solutions Considered

We looked at Tegile, Violin, and Nimble. It came down to the management of the FAS itself, and the others seem slightly less mature in the market. It came down to trusting what we know works.

Other Advice

It's quite a jump for us from where we are coming from. Try not to think of it as a complex item. Instead, think of it in terms of what you want it to do and what the business needs it to do rather than putting the kitchen sink in it at the start.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 Comment
Technical Marketing Engineer at a tech company with 10,001+ employeesVendor

Hi Malcolm,

The AFF8040 controller does have four GbE ports on the right side labeled e0i, e0j, e0k, and e0l. Otherwise nice write up and glad to hear this system is working out so well for you.

Take care,
-chris

02 February 16
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