What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the performance that we got out of it. With a previous solution, we had some latency issues and performance issues. When we got the FAS All Flash Array, that technology took care of those issues that we had, those bottlenecks.
How has it helped my organization?
It provides greater stability for our corporate database, which we host on the FAS. We have a much greater sense of confidence and reliability in our data solutions. It gives us more confidence that everything's going to keep working.
In terms of manpower or cost, because we are a public agency, it's more about value as far as the service that we receive and the stability of the solution. Those are the key factors.
What needs improvement?
I'm not sure about room for improvement, only because right now we've just completed a major upgrade. At this point, we're very happy. We don't see anything lacking in that regard.
Nonetheless, there used to be a product called Balance and it's been really replaced by something called Insight. From an operational perspective, the ease of use, we preferred Balance. Even though that product has come to end of life, we're unhappy about that.
OnCommand Balance and Insight are two separate NetApp products, that provide the performance capture and logging features. OnCommand Balance is an older product and NetApp has announced that it will not continue this product anymore, as its replacement is Insight. The staff here have used both of these products and they prefer OnCommand Balance. Sadly, we won’t be able to continue using OnCommand Balance, as long as we would have liked to.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far, we've had no issues whatsoever with the stability. It's beating our expectations for an enterprise-wide solution, whereas other solutions that have presented themselves as enterprise solutions haven't performed to the same degree.
How are customer service and technical support?
We've never had any issues with NetApp. In particular, the customer service I think has been far superior. Our business decision was basically based on NetApp's record with us for their customer service. We're making NetApp our single storage standard within our organization.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We previously used Oracle. There was a Pillar Axiom line for storage. We also previously had an EMC solution. I don't remember exactly what line that was.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We decided to invest in a new storage solution just because of the data growth that we needed. We're expanding our business content, meaning disaster recovery architecture. We needed to expand to an additional site.
As I’ve mentioned, we had Oracle’s Pillar Axiom line. We also looked at Compellent, which is Dell now, and Dell fired them. Then HP. We used to have an HP EVA as well. We used that before. We looked at HP's current solution. We weren't happy with that one.
We decided to go with NetApp over HP because of the experience we had with both of those organizations in customer service. NetApp, again, was far superior. Our requirements then to our reseller, or VAR, and NetApp was that we knew what our workload was and we needed to have a solution that would meet certain criteria, which was set on latency and bandwidth thresholds. The vendor, along with NetApp, was able to provide us with an evaluation unit that met those specs with flying colors.
What other advice do I have?
Understand what your workload is first. What is it that you're trying to accomplish so you set the proper thresholds and criteria for performance. Understand what your support service needs are. Is that important? How important? It's not always about cost. We found that in all those areas, with our evaluation, NetApp was a clear choice for us, based upon past experience. We continue to have success with NetApp.