NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Review

Good performance when moving very large amounts of data to the cloud

What is our primary use case?

We are in the process of moving to AWS and we are using this solution to help move all of our data to the cloud, using the tiering and other functionality.

We have approximately fifty AFF clusters spread across three locations.

We plan to use this solution for artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications, but we are still in the PoC right now. It is something that my team is working on.

Our DR and backup are done using SnapMirror.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped simplify our IT operations. We can easily move data from on-premises to the cloud, or from one cloud to another cloud. NetApp SnapShots and SnapMirror are also helpful.

The thin provisioning has allowed us to add new applications without having to purchase additional storage. We are shrinking the data with functions like deduplication and giving almost two hundred percent. It is very helpful.

This solution has allowed us to move very large amounts of data without affecting IT operations. We have moved four petabytes to the cloud. We have moved data from on-premises to the cloud, and also between clouds. It is easy to do. For example, if you want DR or a backup in a second location, then you just use SnapShot. If you have a database that you want to have available in more than one location then you can synchronize them easily. We are very happy with these features.

Our application response time has been improved since implementing this solution. The AFF cluster is awesome. Our response time is now below two milliseconds, whereas it used to be four or five milliseconds. This is very useful. 

The costs of our data center have definitely been reduced by using this solution. The power consumption and space, obviously, because this solution is very small, have been reduced.

We have been using this solution to automatically tier cold data to the cloud. I would not say that it has affected our TCO.

This solution has not changed our position in terms of worrying about storage as a limiting factor.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are the deduplication and the ability to move data to different clouds. We have been using Cloud Sync and Cloud Volumes, and we have moved four petabytes using Cloud Sync.

What needs improvement?

It would be very useful if we could do the NFS to CIFS file transfer, but it is not supported at this time.

We are finding limitations when it comes to moving data to AWS.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is fine. We have not experienced any downtime or any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is something that we are spending time on, but it is an internal issue related to seeking financial approval. The scalability of the solution is not a technical issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution has always been number one. There is no doubt that they are getting more responsive and more technical.

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

We performed a PoC using Cloud Volumes and Cloud Sync, and we were happy with the time, durability, and availability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We can install this solution ourselves.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI from this solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a solution by EMC, but we found they their filesystem was not as robust. That is the read that we chose NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

We are really happy customers and this is a solution that I can recommend.

I would rate this solution a nine 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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