NetApp EF-Series All Flash Arrays Review

It's fast enough that there's no significant latency in our applications; and it's easy to add another target


How has it helped my organization?

It's quick. That was our big requirement, it had to be fast enough that there's no latency in our applications between when the end users are logging in through Citrix, and then those servers all talk back to our back-end servers. There can't be any major latency be it disk I/O or network I/O. So, it's all pretty quick.

What is most valuable?

It's pretty easy. If you ever have to add another target, it's pretty easy to go through, you just add a new one, map the drives out to our ESXi host, and then we're all set and good.

What needs improvement?

I'm not too hands-on with it, so I don't have any major input on things it needs or things it should have. As long as its functionality is there for me to use, as somebody just to use the storage on it, that's all I need it for. I'm very simple.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It hasn't gone down. We have no issues. I'm not their storage admin, so he'd probably know a little bit more about it, but we haven't experienced any major issues that I'm aware of.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had the use for needing to scale it up as we're going, so it's just kind of been as it is.

How is customer service and technical support?

I think we used the professional services for initial deployment, and then we've gone along with it. I don't think we've used tech support for that. We've used it for our NetApp shelf that we've got; we sometimes run into some issues. But not for this thing.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I don't think we were previously using a different solution. Our business was finally letting us spend some money on some good hardware and we decided to take a chance, I guess.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I actually wasn't involved in that process, so I don't know the answer to that.

What other advice do I have?

Our use case is both corporate storage and for all of our datacenter and back-end enterprise applications. We store it all on the flash, so it's quick.

We use it for multiple apps. J.D. Edwards, so it's our accounting software, and then all of our BI business intelligence is sitting on there. Those are the major ones. We'll see, we might be getting HCI soon so that might change, put some more on there. Mostly just our big I/O.

For us the most important criteria when selecting a vendor: oftentimes it's reviews. Support is critical. Ease of use isn't so much an issue. Usually we just look at the feature set and see if it coincides with what we need, what we require, and then we pick whatever most closely fits that.

In terms of advice to a colleague looking at this type of solution I would recommend this one. It depends on the size of the company. Obviously to a small, medium size business, you're probably not going to recommend it because it's probably overkill.

When I say overkill, I mean it's probably way more than a smaller or a start-up company would need. They're not gonna have that much of a requirement for that kind of speed, that quick. I'd say for small, medium, unless they have deep pockets, I don't recommend it. They can probably get something comparable that more fits their budget. Once you start hitting a certain threshold, you're definitely going to have to start investing some money in IT to make sure it's stable and stays up and you have no issues.

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