What is our primary use case?
The primary use case of this solution is for its speed. We're using the AFF as a cache disk. We have terabytes of data that we have to move quickly off a system. The only way we could do that is with the 40 gig backbone that all-flash array provides and the speed of the disks.
What is most valuable?
Besides for the speed, one of the most valuable features that the AFF gives me is the robust hardware that it has. It's simplistic. It deploys very easily. It's already built from the factory to take advantage of the all-flash array.
I would describe the user experience of the solution as very simplistic. There's a very easy GUI to use, and then when you need to get very, very detailed, you have a robust command line that you could do anything you want with to enhance performance for your solutions. Really what we're using the AFF for is solely for speed. We really need the power of the backbone and the speed of the disks because we have to move so much data.
Setting up and provisioning enterprise applications take minutes. It's just not difficult. We only have to use the GUI, curate the spaces, and go. I've setup entire NetApp systems in a morning.
What needs improvement?
I don't need anything improved. This solution does what I need it to do. I would like to see a cleaner GUI and better help pages. The solution itself doesn't bother, a lot of times it's that after it's installed. I have more issues with the support after the setup. I want it to be more simplistic than it already is and I would love to see the GUI be more simplistic.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far the system has been excellent, no complaints. NetApp has always been built as a massively fault-tolerant system. If we have a problem, it just doesn't show it.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is excellent. If we need more space it's a no downtime solution. It's harder to get the funding than it is to get the solution itself.
How is customer service and technical support?
I go to tech support with difficulty because I installed NetApp for many years I know what to expect when I call. When I don't get the support tech that I'm expecting and I'm trying to get to the right one, it can get very frustrating for me to push my way to the right person. NetApp has the right people, it's just a matter of getting to them.
How was the initial setup?
I installed NetApp for many, many years. The initial setup of NetApp is very simplistic. Even as an installer, for years upon years, there's a giant poster board that I still use to this day, because that tells me exactly where my cables are supposed to go. It just gets me off the ground quickly and then it's just a matter of following the GUI and knowing what you're doing.
What other advice do I have?
I would rate the product at least an eight. I should give it a nine, if not a ten, but there's always room for improvement.
I would tell someone considering this solution that it's expensive, but it's worth the money. You're going to get the speed and the backbones that you need to accomplish what you do. If you need that kind of speed and that kind of performance, you can get it out of the AFF.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.