NetApp FAS Series Review

Provides ease of use and robust Snapshot functionality, but pricing is relatively high

What is our primary use case?

It is used as filer, for centralized file sharing. You use it, for example, for network drives from your Windows file.

Performance is very good. It's reasonably fast, probably not the fastest. 

How has it helped my organization?

What the customers, the end-users, like is they can rely on the Snapshot technology so they can do their restores themselves. 

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of use
  • Robust Snapshot functionality
  • You can use it in two datacenters with SnapMirror-ing.

It has a very good implementation of the Active Directory services, so implementation into a Windows network is easy. 

What needs improvement?

One thing that was missing for quite some time was the support for flash, of solid state disks, that has now improved. Another issue is the price which, compared to competitors, is quite high. The reason for switching to a different manufacturer is mostly because of the high price that NetApp has for the product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For the use cases I have had so far, scalability has been sufficient. But I don't know where the limits are. If you go into hundreds of millions of objects, you will probably see limits. Also, performance-wise, it's probably not the fastest solution on the market. 

How is customer service and technical support?

For the simple NetApp filer solution, we didn't have to use support. But for more complicated setups, MetroCluster for example, we had to call support.

I would rate technical support at eight out of 10. Support is responsive, and we could then solve our issues. It took some time. It's not the perfect support that you would get with, say, Pure or Nimble, where they collect telemetry data - they always know what's going on with the system. I think with NetApp that's not possible.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Reasons for choosing NetApp include that it's probably the most solid, robust, and easy-to-implement solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For file servers, one alternative is Microsoft using standard Microsoft Windows Servers. Another solution is Huawei OceanStor; with the latest, version 5, they support mouse functionality.

What other advice do I have?

My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are to see that it has good market share already established, or that it has a robust roadmap with interesting products in the future, or that I have had a solid feeling with different products from same manufacturer.

If I were only rating the NetApp solution without considering the price, I would probably give it nine or 10 out of 10. If the rating includes the price, it's more like a seven.

If you're aiming for the easiest solution which will work, more or less, out-of-the-box and has lots of features, I would definitely recommend NetApp. If you're also bound by budget restraints, you should probably look at other vendors.

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