NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Maximizes Performance Of Our Critical Applications And Provides Flexible Scaling

What is our primary use case?

NetApp is introducing All Flash FAS with the all-flash array. Our customers like performance, they don't want to deal with latency. Using an all-flash array, our customers get impact from performance.

How has it helped my organization?

I can definitely say it has helped our orginization. We have an SQL application server, which is in our NetApp storage. The records contain the number of transactions. Since my company is a financial company, we always look into transactions. NetApp all-flash array is faster than we're used to. The read and write, and the random IOPS are all up to speed. I don't see much of a difference when I run the 100k random IOPS with a 70% read and 30% write, and vice versa, 70% write and 30% read. That's a big improvement that we've seen since we started using this solution. It is a valuable asset.

What is most valuable?

They have come up with good back-end architecture. The features are the same as NetApp ONTAP. The only change is all-flash. There are no 7k, 10k, or 15k drives, only flash drives.

My favorite part is all-flash solid drives. All of my applications are running on an all-flash array. Before, we used to get too many severity tickets on performance, but as soon as we migrated everything to an all-flash array, our critical applications are at top performance.

We are very happy with the user experience from the all-flash array. Because their usual latency for the application depends on the critical application - they used to see four-millisecond latency with the non-all-flash array - with the all-flash array, they don't even see microseconds of latency. They might see microseconds, but that is not impactful.

What needs improvement?

To be more competitive in the industry, they can develop deduplication, compression, and smarter features in the same array instead of all-flash.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's better with all-flash. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. Compared to the different vendors, the scalability is very flexible, in the sense that you can scale up to whatever you want, expand your storage, expand your clusters, expand your nodes. NetApp makes it possible. Some vendors have come up with models that won't expand their nodes, which creates the need to buy different clusters. For example, let's say I have four nodes. My four nodes have the capability of taking one million IOPS, but my storage backend isn't complete, so I can't expand that. So the nodes are of no use. NetApp is not only thinking from the customer's point of view, but they are also thinking about every other prospective use and they include a lot in all-flash drives.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's very good. I have never personally seen any issues with the technical support.

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

Our previous solution had performance issues. I see a lot of value in faster policies. I don't like when critical applications are running on drives with different speeds. When customers need to track all of their data and it's sitting on a 7k drive, the drive is working hard. The response is slow. With all-flash, it's better. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's not complex.

We have connected to AFF public clouds but I'm not really dealing with it.

It took us less than two minutes to set up and provision enterprise applications using AFF. 

What about the implementation team?

We used NetApp, but we could've deployed it ourselves. NetApp Support knows the best practices. A good thing about NetApp is that even customers can easily deploy the storage. With other vendors, you usually have to entirely rely on them for deployment and all facets of the solution. 

What was our ROI?

We definitely see ROI. We save a lot more money with this solution.

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

Using NetApp, our total cost of ownership decreased by 17%. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Other vendors aren't as straightforward as NetApp when it comes to the deploying, installing, and configuring. NetApp works more efficiently. By saving time, you're saving money.

What other advice do I have?

AFF has affected IT's ability to support new business initiatives. Nowadays, customers in financial companies are looking for more storage. From a business point of view, you need a faster response in order to compete with other financial companies. From the customer's point of view, they are looking for a faster response from their financial company. Using all-flash array, they can retrieve their old files within seconds. That's an important edge.

AFF helps us improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics on VMs. It helps us with records. We need to be able to calculate more performance matters. Customers have complained that the performance latency exceeds more than three milliseconds for some applications. They will have delayed performance latency. When I used the 7.2k drives, applications could only support 300 accounts per second. If it was more than that, it would crash. NetApp all-flash array gives us one million IOPS.

I would rate this product a ten because of flash. Because AFF is better for the customer, provisionally, deployment, and performance-wise.

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