NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Super fast, reliable solution that has low latency type response times


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is enterprise storage for our email database system.

We have just been using on-premise. We are looking to move the workloads to the cloud, but right now it's just on-premise.

How has it helped my organization?

From an operations standpoint, we pretty much set it and forget it. We don't have to manage anything because of the AFF speed and low latencies. Because a big requirement in the healthcare industry are the low latency type response times, It has been perfect.

With the thin provisioning, we can overprovision our boxes, but there are still applications which are storage capacity hogs. So, we still have to report.

It simplifies our IT operations and makes them more efficient.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is it's fast. We do not use the solution for artificial intelligence or machine learning applications, but our overall latency is low. With our SQL Servers and Oracle servers, compared to the older meta filers, like 7-mode, the 8000 custom mode, or performance on Pure flash systems, you can't compare. We are seeing submillisecond, which is pretty nice.

The solution has enabled us to move large amounts of data from one data center to another (on-premise) without interruption to the business using SnapMirror.

The solution has improved application response time. Compared to the 3250s and 8000s, it has been night and day.

What needs improvement?

We would like to have NVMe on FabricPool working because it broke our backups. We enabled FabricPool to do the tiering from our AFFs to our Webscale but it sort of broke our Cobalt backups. I think they're going to fix it in v9.7. 

The SnapDrive is just another piece of software which is used to manage the storage on the filers. They could use some updates.

We are still a lot of things that we have to think about, like storage and attributes, to be able to go ahead with it.

We haven't gone to their standard Snaps product yet, but that's supposed to centralize everything. Right now, we have to manage individual hosts that connect to the stores. That's sort of a pain.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using NetApp for the last 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability is good. It's great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For the AFFs, I haven't had any problems with the scalability. We went from two to six nodes without a problem.

It helped us easily move about 10 petabytes of data from San Diego to Phoenix.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been awesome. Whenever we have a problem, we just give NetApp's support a call, and they fix our issue. 

With the newer versions, we have needed less support. The solution has just been working.

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

We didn't switch over. We have been using NetApp for 15 years.

This solution has reduced our data center costs because when we went from the 8000 and 3200 series that took us from 20 racks of storage down to two.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We've been deploying NetApps for the last 15 years. We are pretty familiar with the boxes.

I've been using the technology for years. For every model and version, the deployment is basically the same.

What about the implementation team?

My team did the deployment.

What was our ROI?

We use a private cloud, which is Wesco, and it definitely saves us a lot of space.

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

The pricing is good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did go through the whole vetting out process of scoring different vendors and NetApp won, when we went through a Greenfield environment.

What other advice do I have?

Check out the AFF. It is super fast and reliable. We've been using it for a long time. It's the perfect system for us.

I would rate the solution as an eight out of 10 because there's always room for improvement. To make it a 10, it would have to have super submillisecond performance at a cheaper price. It is about latency in our environment. We want submillisecond for everything across the board. If something can guarantee that performance all the time without increasing costs, that would be cool.

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.
More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) reviews from users
...who work at a Healthcare Company
...who compared it with HPE 3PAR StoreServ
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