NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Easy to use, good performance, and we like the all-in-one package license


What is our primary use case?

We use NetApp AFF to support our VMware environment.

How has it helped my organization?

We have been happy with the performance and it has not given us any issues.

I like the simplicity of data protection and data management. We use snapshots for our FAS recovery, and we use SnapVault for our backups.

NetApp definitely simplifies our IT operations by unifying services. We only use this solution on-premises, but with NAS, we don't need Microsoft Windows to create a share. It's all on our NetApp platform. I like it because we do not have to switch.

I wouldn't say that we have reallocated resources that were previously dedicated to storage operations, although it does give us time to do other things.

We have used NetApp to move large amounts of data between data centers. It has made it easier for us, and RPOs are shorter because of it.

With respect to the response time for applications, I can definitely say that it has improved, although we have not done any benchmarking. I perceive the improvement through monitoring the applications.

This solution is pretty expensive, so I'm not sure whether it has reduced our data center costs.

NetApp has helped eliminate storage as a limiting factor in our business. My customers are happier because they have no issues with performance or accessing their data.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ease of management. You just set it and you don't have to worry about it.

What needs improvement?

During a maintenance cycle, there are outages for NAS. There is a small timeout when there is a failover from one node to another, and some applications are sensitive to that.

We are in the process of swapping our main controller, and there is no easy way to migrate the data without doing a volume move. I would like a better way to swap hardware.

Technical support could use some improvement.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is very good, although we do have some NAS outages during maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Overall, I like the scalability. It can do NAS, CIFS, and fiber channel all in one box and it's easy to manage.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would say that the technical support is hit or miss. Sometimes you get somebody good, but other times, you have to just escalate a couple of times to get the right person.

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

Our previous solution was spinning disk, and our application demands more in terms of storage and performance. NetApp AFF just seemed like the natural route because we didn't want to get left behind.

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

One of the reasons we like this solution is that all of the features are included with the one license. For example, we can use NFS, CIFS, SnapMirror, SnapRestore, etc. It's all included in the package and we don't have to pick and choose.

We purchased the license for a five-year term.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other options, including solutions by EMC, before choosing NetApp. The reason for our choice is that we already had NetApp in our environment, and the price-point is also a little better than the competing products.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is researching this type of solution is to test and compare all of the products. Overall, I think that AFF is a solid store system and it's very easy to use.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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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