NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Very easy to add nodes as needed and move data around within the cluster to balance the workload

What is most valuable?

  • Data availability
  • Speed

Being able to keep the system up - five nines are better - so I have that system online and have that data available to our customers. And the new flash stuff is really fast.

How has it helped my organization?

The ability to manage very easily, and the replication between sites for backups is also very easy to use. And it stays up.

What needs improvement?

I'm just keeping a really close eye on where NVMe goes and how that's going to affect the next lifecycle of disk and connectivity to the server. So that's what I'm watching for.

One thing they could improve right now is support. Other than that I've been pretty happy.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability for us has been good. We've had a few bumps, a few bugs, but it's based on the new hardware platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great. In the cluster, being able to add nodes as needed, and to be able to move data around within the cluster to balance the workload on the nodes is just crazy easy.

How is customer service and technical support?

We use technical support a lot. It's doing better. It's got some hurdles to overcome but they're certainly doing better. I can see them making progress towards what they need to be, but it's a little hard to get through level one.

When we get through level one and get to the back-end guys, we definitely have the right guys.

Which solutions did we use previously?

It was lifecycle for us. Equipment had aged out so it was time to replace.

How was the initial setup?

Since we already had it running on a fast system, we just added them to the cluster and moved the data, without the customers even knowing. Just seamless.

What other advice do I have?

We use it for Oracle databases and for our virtual environment, and use it for file storage, not block storage.

Our impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance SAN storage before we purchased it was that we could use them for general purpose storage, didn't really think of them as high-performance, but they're definitely there now. We are likely to consider them for our mission critical storage because we've been running on them now for eight years and they've been running our critical applications, so they've proven it to us.

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor include that they've got to have a pretty good track record. We don't do business with very small companies because we're a pretty big enterprise, fast customer; so they've got to be up in the reviews. We use reviews to tell us all of those quadrants and where they sit, and then we typically do an evaluation and an RFP among the big players in those fields, and then select a choice.

For a colleague who is considering a similar solution, I would tell them to definitely consider what NetApp is doing and how easy it is to use and migrate data.

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