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NetApp All Flash FAS Review
It is stable, has enabled us to buy capacity as needed, and helps us refresh UAT/DEV environments as needed.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable features are the deduplication and compression, along with NetApp's Snapshot technology.

I'm looking forward to the compaction feature after the code upgrade in a few months.

Improvements to My Organization:

We have been looking for a flash solution that scales horizontally along with a proven application integration stack. NetApp has been helpful and stable, and enabled us to buy capacity as needed, as well as help in quickly refreshing UAT/DEV environments as needed.

Room for Improvement:

The product still uses the concept of decoupling hardware with multiple HA pairs where system resources like CPU/memory is bound to a single controller. This approach definitely helps keep the system more resilient and stable, but it makes the environment a little complex for the end user to decide where to place their application for best performance. This is being mitigated by a few of the performance and automation tools they provide, but it may not be the most efficient approach in real time.

Use of Solution:

I have used it for one year.

Stability Issues:

There were no issues with stability.

Scalability Issues:

Scalability in regards to capacity hasn't been an issue. The product really scales well.

With regard to performance, storage pools/aggregates are tied to a single node, so a storage device/LUN can only use CPU/memory of that particular node.

Technical Support:

NetApp technical support has been excellent for years and they are also improving with their deep software engineering skills/customer reports.

Previous Solutions:

We used to deploy other large storage vendor products that didn't integrate well with the application stack. Automation and efficiency has been a driver in the company, which made us switch to NetApp.

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was straightforward.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Snapshot/FlexClone are the core licenses that I would recommend to others. Opt for a converged infrastructure like FlexPod, where the Cisco UCS server platform is involved.

Other Solutions Considered:

We evaluated other large flash vendors including EMC and Pure. Every vendor has their own niche in the flash industry.

Other Advice:

Decide your current and future requirements in terms of performance, capacity scaling, application (SQL/Oracle/SharePoint/Exchange/SAP) integration, storage efficiency (dedupe/compression), operational overhead, etc., and decide on a vendor based on it. 

No vendor is perfect in every aspect, so chose the vendor based on your requirements and test them!!!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

1 Comment

Anonymous avatar x30

Hi, I'm a NetApp trainer and wanted to point out a new capability in ONTAP 9.1 regarding your Scalability/Improvement comments:

"With regard to performance, storage pools/aggregates are tied to a single node, so a storage device/LUN can only use CPU/memory of that particular node."

Since 9.1 FlexGroups are GA. Check them out. They decouple FlexVol performance from nodes and aggregates/StoragePools... Check out TR-4557 and TR-4571 for Info and Best Practices.

Like (0)07 March 17
Anonymous avatar x30
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