NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

The business copy solution has become faster using SnapMirror


What is our primary use case?

A centralized storage solution for Telecom organizations. Where NetApp FAS 6200 was connected to HP-UX, AIX, Linux, VMware, and Windows, this storage is used by the OLTP solution (database and application) as well as a data warehouse application.  

How has it helped my organization?

  1. Operational load to system administrators has been reduced by utilizing the user-friendly storage.
  2. Earlier the Bill Run process (monthly bill processing for post paid telecommunication subscriber) was taking two to two and a half days in each cycle, while storage was a old model XP from HPE. After migrating to NetApp, it is has come to only six hours.
  3. The business copy solution has become faster using SnapMirror.
  4. Assured by RAID-DP, the organization started hosting their OS in NetApp rather than using local HDD of server. It improved the system performance, especially in the area of swapping/paging. Also, SAN boot ensured a higher level of redundancy in the OS. 

What is most valuable?

  1. The Snap: including the Snapshot and SnapMirror. They are good for taking a copy of production, which can be used for reporting, contingency, backup, etc.
  2. Scripting: NetApp is actually more ONTAP. It has a very good command-line interface, which is user-friendly to system administrators when implementing automation using scripting. 

What needs improvement?

The graphical interface is still heavy and slow. Needs more improvement in this area.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes. It was a bug in an older version related with NVRAM. However, they have fixed it in both the FW and ONTAP levels.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support team is really cooperative. I have experienced slow responses several times, if the ticket has only been opened in portal. On the other hand, a single phone call to them improved the case support tremendously.

Also, if the AutoSupport is well configured, then you need not to do a monitoring. You will get call and mail when any issue is completed. 

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

Earlier used EVA, MSA and XP from HPE. In order to enhance our capacity, we proceeded to switch to NetApp. Interestingly, after proceeding to NetApp, we discovered more features, which we had not even thought about.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was simple and easy.

What about the implementation team?

Implemented by vendor (local partner and OEM engineer). They are really experienced.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

So far, I understand the cost is less than many other storages of same/similar performance benchmark. If you go for Replication, Vault, and NAS, please ensure that the license has been ordered at the very beginning. However, licenses can been added or modified without rebooting the system at any time.   

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered the product from EMC.

What other advice do I have?

This can be used as a storage (SAN/NAS) as well as a SAN's volume controller

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