NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

We need the flash. We need the IOPS.


What is most valuable?

Performance; that's the whole reason we use it. We have both FAS and AFF. Everything on our production site's running on AFF. That's the pure and simple reason: we need the flash, we need the IOPS. That's what it gives us.

I've had no issues with it. As a storage admin, it makes my job easy.

How has it helped my organization?

We get increased performance; a lot more stability. We don't have to worry; when Black Friday sales rolled around and our website goes down because we can't handle it. We were storage-bound in the past and AFF fixed it.

What needs improvement?

As far as my role's concerned, everything is handled pretty easily, especially with ONTAP; management's simple.

Compared to other systems I've used, the UI is much easier. I don't have too much of a problem with it, as long as you follow the documentation.

The GUI's pretty simple to me. I don't think it's that bad. I try and use command line whenever possible, but the GUI's not bad. I'm sure if I sat down, I could think of some things I would really like to have added to the GUI, or maybe make a little simpler to see in the command line. There's always – once in a while – some command that's formatted really stupidly in command line and it's hard to get an accurate view out of it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As far as NetApp, we have not had any stability issues from it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has been good so far. We have several data centers. We have no problems scaling it out.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have had to use technical support a few times. They're always good. We even have a resident on-site with us and the resident's been great, helping us find new solutions, things like that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously had a FAS and then we also had an IBM flash storage array. The IBM was not as reliable. We had several hardware issues with it. Then our NetApp sales rep came to us with the AFF. We had a pretty long-existing relationship with NetApp already, so we decided just to try and concentrate on NetApp solutions. It's worked out very well for us so far.

How was the initial setup?

My role in the initial setup was only plugging it in, basically. It's pretty straightforward, especially with the fancy little map you get with the hardware. It was pretty easy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have an architect who looked at something from EMC, as well, but we're very well-ingrained with NetApp right now.

What other advice do I have?

Follow best practices. Your best practices do a good job of laying out the very best way of doing it, usually, for most environments, at least.

When I’m choosing a vendor, I look at the amount of storage I’m getting for my money, the features I’m getting with that money, the support that we're getting with it, ease of use, management, and so on. What are we going to have the ability to do? What's controlled by the software/firmware? That kind of thing. We found all of those things in NetApp with AFF. As I’ve mentioned, management's been really easy for us; the ONTAP software's been great.

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