NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Stable, almost immeasurable speed, and good technical support

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for this solution is NFS and fiber channel mounts for VMware and Solaris.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to deploying this product, we were having such severe latency issues that certain applications and certain services were becoming unavailable at times. Moving to the AFF completely obliterated all those issues that we were having.

With regard to the overall latency, NetApp AFF is almost immeasurably fast.

Data protection and data management features are simple to use with the web management interface.

We do not have any data on the cloud, but this solution definitely helps to simplify IT operations by unifying data that we have on-premises. We are using a mixture of mounting NFS, CIFS, and then using fiber channel, so data is available to multiple platforms with multiple connectivity paradigms.

The thin provisioning has allowed us to add new applications without having to purchase additional storage. The best example is our recent deployment of an entire server upgrade from Windows 2008 to Windows 2016. Had we not been using thin provisioning then we never would have had enough disk space to actually complete it without upgrading the hardware.

We're a pretty small team, so we have never had dedicated storage resources.

NetApp AFF has reduced our application response time. In some cases, our applications have gone from almost unusable to instantaneous response times.

Storage is always a limiting factor, simply because it's not unlimited. However, this solution has enabled us to present the option of less expensively adding more storage for very specific application uses, which we did not have before.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is speed.

What needs improvement?

The price of NVMe storage is very expensive.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had a problem with stability since it has gone online.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't needed to scale yet, but I can imagine that it would be seamless.

How are customer service and technical support?

The NetApp technical support is outstanding.

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

Our previous NetApp system was a SAS and SATA spinning disk solution that was reaching end-of-life, and we were overrunning it. We were ready for an upgrade and we stuck with NetApp because of the easy of cross-upgrading, as well as the performance.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly straightforward, in that we were doing this migration from an old NetApp to a new one. However, because of the problems with latency they were having on that, it got a little bit complicated because we had to shuffle things around a lot.

The technical support helped us out well with these issues, and on the grand scheme of things, it was a very straightforward migration.

What about the implementation team?

We used a company called StorageHawk, and our experience was phenomenal.

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

Comparing this solution to others it may seem expensive, but the price to performance for NetApp is greater. You get a lot more for the money.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered solutions by EMC, but they were very quickly ruled out.

What other advice do I have?

I have experience with a previous version of NetApp from quite some time ago, and everything about the current version has improved.

NetApp AFF performs well, we haven't had any issues with it, and I suspect that it is going to be pretty easy to upgrade. It would be nice if the NVMe storage was less expensive, even though it's worth it.

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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