NetApp All Flash FAS Review
We do our upgrades in the middle of the day


How has it helped my organization?

We have been able to construct a business intelligence environment with nearly instant reporting for our parks, so they can determine where resources need to be put during the middle of a day. So, if there's a rainstorm, they can determine that we need to move people to front gates, we need to move pizzas here, etc. It enables realtime actions to events.

Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

What is most valuable?

The performance is the most valuable feature.

The primary use cases for our All Flash storage system are primarily server virtualization and data storage for unstructured storage. We use it for both block storage and file storage.

What needs improvement?

The only complaints I ever had was with OnCommand Unified Manager and Performance Manager, and they fixed them in the last version.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty reliable. We do our upgrades in the middle of the day, with parks open. If I'm not up at 3:00 in the morning doing an upgrade because of a risk, that's a great thing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had to scale yet. However, we built it so if we do, it's very simple to do. We could probably do it with an onsite staff and not need professional services.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have frequently used tech support. They are one of the best departments at NetApp. Without them, we wouldn't be able to operate the way we do.

Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We had a different NetApp solution before. We actually started running the numbers, and due to the age of the systems, we were starting to lose multiple disks at a time. We were going to have a point where we lost data, so it was time to replace them. NetApp was the only vendor that really worked out during the quote process.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was very straightforward. By the end of the process, we had it down to where we were converting an entire park within 48 hours.

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

Definitely go with NetApp. You're going to look at other vendors. They may come in at a cheaper price point, but you will pay in the end with management costs and downtime.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before purchase All Flash, we had a very high impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance sound storage. It is still very high as it is the only vendor we would consider for mission critical systems based on our experience at this point.

We looked at some other vendors. They can't provide the single pane of glass management. We're a very thinly-staffed environment, and we need to be able to have a minimum number of people managing the maximum amount of resources. Other vendors don't do that.

For example, we looked at EMC. Their primary problem was the pane of glass problem. They offered three solutions to do what we're already doing with one. Nimble was the other solution which we looked at, and they were protocol limited. They could only do iSCSI, which would have required a significant architecture rebuilt for us.

What other advice do I have?

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

  • High availability
  • Reliability
  • Performance.

We have to be able to do the three P's. Get people in the front gate, sell them plush "Bugs Bunnies", and sell them pizzas. If we can't do that, we have a problem.

Previous Solutions

We had a different NetApp solution before. We actually started running the numbers, and due to the age of the systems, we were starting to lose multiple disks at a time. We were going to have a point where we lost data, so it was time to replace them. NetApp was the only vendor that really worked out during the quote process.

Initial Setup

I was involved in the initial setup. It was very straightforward. By the end of the process, we had it down to where we were converting an entire park within 48 hours.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Definitely go with NetApp. You're going to look at other vendors. They may come in at a cheaper price point, but you will pay in the end with management costs and downtime.

Other Solutions Considered

Before purchase All Flash, we had a very high impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance sound storage. It is still very high as it is the only vendor we would consider for mission critical systems based on our experience at this point.

We looked at some other vendors. They can't provide the single pane of glass management. We're a very thinly-staffed environment, and we need to be able to have a minimum number of people managing the maximum amount of resources. Other vendors don't do that.

For example, we looked at EMC. Their primary problem was the pane of glass problem. They offered three solutions to do what we're already doing with one. Nimble was the other solution which we looked at, and they were protocol limited. They could only do iSCSI, which would have required a significant architecture rebuilt for us.

Other Advice

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

  • High availability
  • Reliability
  • Performance.

We have to be able to do the three P's. Get people in the front gate, sell them plush "Bugs Bunnies", and sell them pizzas. If we can't do that, we have a problem.

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

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1 Comment

Joseph HarlowReal User

I believe this process of leaving comments on other people's use cases for choosing one particular vendor vs. another includes many different factors for which one is better. Your reasoning for NetApp being better I dont agree with, however. Upgrades are a nightmare sometimes and before CDOT would typically require downtime scheduled, you have to license every protocol on the units separately and they dont sell them bundled (though this may have changed.) . It was reliable when it was up and had enough free space but once it got lower than 16% they would crawl.

25 April 18
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