NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

It offers low latency, high IOPS, and a small footprint with a large amount of data. The interface and the user experience could be simpler.


Valuable Features

The most valuable features are the low latency, high IOPS, and the ability to have a very small footprint with a large amount of data. The free controller upgrade program is a plus.

Improvements to My Organization

We've taken the conversation around performance out of the picture now, and brought it more onto the application side.

Room for Improvement

Simplification is probably the key thing right now; making the interface and the user experience a lot simpler, more streamlined, more like a lot of startup companies now do, so that there aren’t as many bells and whistles, knobs to tweak, so that you basically have a single pane of glass to do all your work. I see that getting better in this product, but not there yet.

Use of Solution

Started in 2014, using a FAS8080 with all SSD storage.

Stability Issues

Stability is excellent. We haven't had any issues with it.

Scalability Issues

It works pretty good. When we need more storage, we just add another shelf or just add additional controllers to the cluster if additional performance is required.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Excellent

Technical Support:

We have used technical support on occasion. It’s been pretty good. It depends on who you get and when you get it. Overall, it's been good.

Previous Solutions

We were not previously using something else; we were always a NetApp customer before. We just wanted flash. We were using and we still are using spinning discs.

The All Flash storage was a direction from the upper management: This was before the All Flash FAS was available. Reduction of the physical footprint of storage by going to SSD storage from traditional SAS or SATA drives. Reduced power and cooling requirements.


Initial Setup

I was involved in the initial setup. It was straightforward, because we actually did an all-flash FAS before there was an All Flash FAS. We bought a FAS system with the SSD shelves and made it into an all-flash FAS before NetApp had an offering. Since that time we have bought additional NetApp All Flash storage and deployed AFF systems to various datacenters across the globe.

Other Solutions Considered

We ended up going with some other vendors for our SAN environment; we went with Pure because at the time there was not an offering from NetApp on the flash for the SAN side of things. Now there is, the All Flash FAS, the SolidFire, or something like that. At the time, there wasn't, so that's the reason why we went to Pure.

Other Advice

The advice I’d give depends on what the need is. If you're looking for a NAS-type device that's all flash, NetApp's still pretty much the king in the NAS environment.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is cost, and then of course whether or not they're a willing partner. That's one reason why we stayed with NetApp as long as we have: They're not always interested in selling us something as much as coming up with solutions for some of our problems.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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