NetApp EF-Series All Flash Arrays Review

Its performance solved a problem with the very strong SQL workload we have.

Video Review:

What is most valuable?

For us, the most valuable feature is the performance. We have a very strong SQL workload that was struggling on several other providers, and it solved that problem for us.

What needs improvement?

If you're not using DDP, it is a little tedious to configure.

I've seen the new firmware with the 2800, and they've automated some things that were manual. It was a four-step process for every volume you wanted to create before, and it looks like they fixed that in the coming firmware, although from what I understand it will be a little while before it gets to the 550.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've had it for about two-and-a-half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any down time with it at all. We had one controller failure in the two-and-a-half years, and was able to have that replaced with zero down time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had to expand the product yet. We sized it for what we thought was going to be growth for three years, and we have not outgrown it yet, so I don't see an issue with it.

How is customer service and technical support?

We've had a very good experience with technical support, especially on the EF products. They reached out to us when we had the failure, and we had somebody onsite within four hours.

We have not had an issue from a performance or a technical standpoint. We had an issue with some monitoring that we wanted to do; finding the right person within NetApp to help us with that.

Which solutions did we use previously?

This was a new initiative.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was pretty complex for us. We weren't able to use dynamic disk pooling, just because we were very concerned about performance. NetApp brought somebody onsite for us to help us out, and they recommended against using DDP.
They helped us with the first one, I think we had it configured in about four hours. We added another one six months later and did that ourselves.

What other advice do I have?

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor is the support infrastructure and pricing.

When we compared it to other all-flash arrays, it was the most cost-effective solution and really the most performant that we looked at.

My recommendation to my peers is that they know for sure what their performance needs are; that they size it properly to support those needs.

Performance wise, it's phenomenal. We haven't had to touch it much since we had it up and running.

Making configuration changes on the version of firmware that we have is a little bit more difficult than other products.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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