NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

A flexible and reliable solution with good support, but the deployment needs to be easier

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for NetApp AFF is unstructured data. We set up it up for high availability and minimum downtime.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution simplifies our IT operations by unifying data services across SAN and NAS environments. We are using it on the fiber channel side, as well as the iSCSI side, for both CIFS and NFS, so it across the entire infrastructure.

We have used NetApp AFF to large move amounts of data. We just recently did a migration using SnapMirror and SVM DR. We did have some scheduled downtime, but there was no unplanned disruption in service.

Even with this solution implemented, I still have to manage the storage side and the availability of it, so we still have to worry about it being a limiting factor.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the flexibility and level of technical support.

This is a very reliable solution in terms of keeping the system online.

What needs improvement?

This solution should be made easier to deploy. A lot of systems nowadays just come with a box where everything is included. With AFF, you have to manage it, you have to install ONTAP, and you have to configure the networking.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. This is a very reliable solution.

It can be set up as a cluster, HA, and when one node goes down the others hold the data, so the customer barely notices that there is a failover.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would rate the scalability an eight or nine out of ten.

We can grow this solution very easily, just by adding storage. All we need to do is buy a shelf and expand the storage side of it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the customer support an eight out of ten. They are really good in terms of responding to the customer.

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

We have a large amount of unstructured data, so we felt that AFF was the right solution for us.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of complexity, the initial setup is somewhere in the middle. It is not straightforward where you can run it out of the box. You have to set it up and configure the network. 

What about the implementation team?

We had a jumpstart, but I can handle the installation on my own.

What was our ROI?

We have not seen ROI so far.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did consider using other vendors, but NetApp AFF was the best in terms of reliability.

What other advice do I have?

In order to automatically tier cold data to the cloud, you would have to use third-party software.

I would rate this solution a seven 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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