NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

A high-performance, stable solution for our production database backups

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for NetApp AFF is backup for our production. It's more for our database for all of our retail for Nordstrom. We've got to keep it running every day, so we've got to make sure that we have all the databases backed up for three years, or more.

How has it helped my organization?

We use NetApp AFF for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, and there is no latency that I can see. It has been pretty solid.

This solution is pretty simple when it comes to data protection and data management.

After we implemented NetApp, we noticed that the deduplication and the latency changed a lot. Rather than buy more disk space, we now compress a lot of stuff and we have more storage. Overall, we have more storage and less latency, which saves us money. I would say that we save between half a million and three-quarters of a million dollars, yearly.

We use our data in the same way. This solution benefited us in that it was hard to convince our upper management to buy more disk, so this helped out.

The thin provisioning helped a lot, and it was probably the biggest key. We noticed that we were short in certain areas and we needed to add more room for VDI. With thin provisioning, we weren't using as much, and with not much latency on it.

Being able to move large amounts of data from one data center to another has helped us. We have a data center in one office and another one that is about a hundred miles away. We share a lot of data between these two sites. There is almost no latency, so it works out perfectly. When we have an incident, such as a power outage at one site, we automatically have a backup on the other end. Also when one side is down, we're still available, although we're limited to certain things on one side. Overall, the backup is pretty good.

We are currently discussing the possible relocation of resources.

I would estimate that our application response time has improved by twenty to thirty percent. For example, our photo studio application is faster.

At this time, we are examining out data center costs and considering a different data center.

Using NetApp has helped alleviate worry about storage being a limiting factor. Had I been asked this a year ago, it would have been a different story.  The additional storage means that things are easier and running more smoothly, and we don't have to worry about it breaking down.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features for us are controlling the snapshots, the ease of reverting back, and scheduling.

NetApp AFF is very good at cleaning up your storage.

What needs improvement?

The stability is good but there is room for improvement with other options.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is good, although there is always room for improvement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are working on scaling this solution right now. It is a big part of what we want to do, including moving to the cloud.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for this solution is good, and I've never had a problem. They are straight to the point and give you a lot of detail on what to expect or what you might run into. Whether you call or get support online, it is pretty good.

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

We started looking into NetApp AFF because our previous solution was outdated, and we were having storage problems. They were older FAS storage, also by NetApp.

We were interested in getting something a little better, including improvements in the storage and the latency.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It's always been very easy with how everything works, and their support has been pretty solid too.

What about the implementation team?

We worked with partners for implementation and deployment. Our experience with them was pretty good.

What was our ROI?

Having our VDI work better is important to us because our work-from-home employees can work a lot better, which helps save money.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only evaluated NetApp, and we are slowly looking at VMware, VDI, and the cloud.

We went with this solution primarily because of the stability. I also see reducing a lot of storage and cleaning up a lot of stuff. It is pretty good at this.

What other advice do I have?

We are looking into a cloud version in the future.

My advice for anybody who is researching this type of solution is to consider several things. If they are trying to save money, think that they'll have to buy more disk, or want to clean up what they have, I think that they should go ahead with NetApp AFF. It makes a big difference, especially if you see the thirty percent improvement that we have seen. It's a pretty big jump.

This solution is very good, but nobody is perfect.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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