NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Enables us to have have a multitude of environments without having to worry about having spaces deployed


What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for NAS and SAN.

How has it helped my organization?

NetApp helped us with its ease of deployment and ease of use.

The solution's data protection and data management are also easy.

AFF has improved our response time by about 30%.

We have enough storage, especially with the enhanced deduplication and compaction. It is good to be able to have a multitude of environments without having to worry about having spaces deployed. We always have a good amount of space. We do have multi-performance, with different performance layers for slower and quicker storage.

What is most valuable?

Multi-protocol is the most valuable feature for us. It does everything in one system: CIFS, ISCSI, and fiber channel. Other systems don't do all that.

What needs improvement?

The procurement process could be improved. It takes a long time for us to receive stuff. The product is good. It's not the product, it's just that it takes forever to get it. It's not our reseller's problem; it's usually held up at NetApp.

Waiting for equipment is one of our biggest hiccups. I live in Pennsylvania and we flew out to Washington state to do an install. We were there for three days, but the product didn't show up. We left and the product came the next day. Then we had to send somebody else out. That's because things were getting held up in shipping and stuff like that. The shipping is my only beef with NetApp.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to deploy and it's scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am happy with their technical support. It's not bad. We haven't had to use it very much, but I think they're proficient.

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

We had an AFF already there. We just upgraded. In my previous company, where I was for five years, we used NetApp extensively. So I had a lot of experience and interaction with it.

How was the initial setup?

We found the setup straightforward. I've been using NetApp for a long time, though.

What about the implementation team?

Our partner is a good friend of mine. I've worked with them for a long time. They work with a lot of other companies. They're huge NetApp distributors.

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

The price of the upgrading of the solution is high. I could buy a whole unit of All Flash FAS 300 with a shelf for around $285,000. Yet if I want to add one additional shelf, it'll cost me $275,000. So they want you to upgrade by replacing it. It's cheaper to buy a whole new unit than to just scale-out. The upside is they last. AFF lasts us three or four years. So that's a good investment. 

I don't think it's cost-efficient for a lot of people. Their pricing structure is not competitive at this point with other companies. Support is a fortune on it. Every three years you need to do a rip and replace for an upgrade. It's not an in-place upgrade.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage and Nimble. I've used HPE 3PAR and Tintri as well. We've looked at a lot of different vendors. Most of them were better in terms of their upgrade process. Nimble and Pure have a hot upgrade process, which NetApp does not have. Although the cost of Pure is a lot more. Nimble was a good product, but they were bought by HP I think, so that will probably go away. I don't see it as much as I did before. We chose NetApp because of its speed and stability.

What other advice do I have?

I think it fits a multitude of needs. For someone who doesn't know how to provision storage, it gives you, SIPS and NAS storage. NAS storage gives you a SAN protocol so you can provision ISCSI fiber channel one, depending on what you're using it for. It's basically an all-in-one solution. It does everything for you.

I would rate this solution as nine out of ten. There have been a few times we've seen buggy releases on some of the ONTAP software upgrades. Nine is good, though. I never get a ten when we get our reviews. If you get a ten, there's no room for improvement. Nine gives you room to improve. If you give it a ten, they're not going to have any reason to improve.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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