Compare Dell EMC Unity vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)

Dell EMC Unity is ranked 2nd in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 103 reviews while NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is ranked 4th in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 74 reviews. Dell EMC Unity is rated 8.4, while NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is rated 9.0. The top reviewer of Dell EMC Unity writes "Hits a sweet spot for us between price point and the amount of storage and performance". On the other hand, the top reviewer of NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) writes "Good price to performance ratio, no latency, and simple to use". Dell EMC Unity is most compared with NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS), Nimble Storage and HPE 3PAR Flash Storage, whereas NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is most compared with Dell EMC Unity, Pure Storage FlashArray and HPE 3PAR Flash Storage. See our Dell EMC Unity vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) report.
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Most Helpful Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Dell EMC Unity vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) and other solutions. Updated: January 2020.
397,717 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:

Pros
This product is perfect for small, and mid-range customers who need to pay less, but still, get enterprise-level capabilities.This solution makes it easy to manage storage, provision new workloads, and scale-up.The All-Flash models are pretty fast for the vast majority of our remote workloads.We use replication for disaster recovery (DR), making our DR process much easier.It has reduced complexity.We have resolved IT challenges with this solution. It sped up our environment. We went from spinning disk to all-flash, which reduced our footprint.It has good performance.We can get almost real-time response times.

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Things that have been really useful, of course, are the clustering features and being able to stay online during failovers and code upgrades; and just being able to seamlessly do all sorts of movement of data without having to disrupt end-users' ability to get to those files. And we can take advantage of new shelves, new hardware, upgrade in place. It's kind of magic when it comes to doing those sorts of things.The ease of use, the SnapMirror capabilities, the cloning, and the efficiencies are all good features.We are using the AQoS operating system, which allows us to get a lot more out of our AFF systems.The most valuable features are the ease of administration and configuration, as well as the speed of deployment.The most important features are the IOPS and the ease of the ONTAP manageability.Before we implemented AFF, Oracle was running on a traditional storage spindle and at a very low speed with high latency, and the database was not running very well. After we converted from the spinning disk to the all-flash array, it was at least four times faster to access the volume than before.The most valuable features of the solution are speed, performance, and reliability.The most valuable feature is speed.

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Cons
This product needs to have better integration with enterprise backup solutions and archiving devices.This solution would be improved with the addition of flexible raid volumes.We would like to see the concept of Storage Groups brought back to this product line.I haven't seen the roadmap for this solution.It is missing some features, like deduplication.Because we can do synchronous replication between the two sites, this made the setup challenging for this piece. They did not know how to set this up initially. We ended up having to do bidirectional synchronous replication.I would like them to continue to build on the solution and expand on the functionality, like replication.We'd like to see a cheaper version of an all-flash array in that footprint.

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One of the areas that the product can improve is definitely in the user interface. We don't use it for SAN, but we've looked at using it for SAN and the SAN workflows are really problematic for my admins, and they just don't like doing SAN provisioning on that app. That really needs to change if we're going to adopt it and actually consider it to be a strong competitor versus some of the other options out there.There are little things that need improvement. For example, if you are setting up a SnapMirror through the GUI, you are forced to change the destination name of the volume, and we like to keep the volume names the same.The quality of technical support has dwindled over time and needs to be improved.On the fiber channel side, there is a limit of sixteen terabytes on each line, and we would like to see this raised because we are having to use some other products.The certification classes are good, but they don't cover enough of the material, and the exams only test on what is covered in class.The monitor and performance need improvement. Right now we are using the active IQ OnCommand Unified Manager, but we also have to do the Grafana to do the performance and I hope we will be able to see the improvement of the active IQ in terms of the performance graph. It should also be more detailed.Tech support is a place where there is room to improve the product experience. The response time when they are busy is not very good.The price of NVMe storage is very expensive.

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Pricing and Cost Advice
Our CAPEX was close to $42,000 and operating costs are below $1000.Our costs are roughly $200,000 a year.The solution is extremely functional for the price that we pay for it. It is worth the investment.We purchased a five-year warranty.Compression is making a difference towards the amount of hardware that we need to purchase.The return on the investment was simply speeding up our entire vSphere stack, which allowed our developers and engineers to get their workloads done faster and simpler. We were experiencing VM snapshot times of 45 minutes to two or three hours, and it shrunk it down to under five minutes.It scales, but then you have to buy additional stuff.With the large Unity that we bought, it has saved us about one and a half rack space. That's our return on investment on our flash array. We also need less Fibre Channel connectivity.

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It's expensive. it's in the hundreds of thousands. It's beneficial, but at times, I feel compared to other vendors, we are paying a premium for the licensing that other vendors include.The price to performance ratio with NetApp is unmatched by any other vendor right now.The pricing is not a lot considering what you get and it bundles hardware and licensing.Comparing this solution to others it may seem expensive, but the price to performance for NetApp is greater.We would like it to be free.One of the reasons we like this solution is that all of the features are included with the one license.We don't like the cost. We would like to buy more.It definitely reduces costs because it simply takes less power to run these systems. While the SSDs don't take power, they are in general very big right now. So, the running cost has decreased for a lot of our customers.

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Answers from the Community
Asiri Dissanayake
author avatar
Real User

The answer depends on your needs and budget. If you want high performance (who doesn't) or let's say the latency matters more than IOPS for your needs, Netapp AFF is the right choice. You can approach the max. Performance by equipping Unity with SSDs but maybe this costs more. I would recommend Netapp AFF all the time if your budget is ok.

author avatar
User

They’re both great solutions and I’ve used both.

EMC is being VERY aggressive on pricing which may be the undoing of NetApp.

Differences are in the user interface mostly, they both do what they are designed to do in different ways.

I say, compare apples to apples on models and get them fighting on price.

You win.

author avatar
Real User

First of all the decision should be taken looking at similar products in terms of capacity and performance.
I will show a few aspects helping the decision, comparing Unity Xt480f and AFF220 (both chosen by distributor to be in the price range for capacity):

1. Comparing 2 systems with the same capacity and performance: pricing is the first to look at:

1a. Cost per GB, war capacity and usable capacity (+Unity)

1b. Cost of adding capacity (+Unity)

1c. Cost of licensing per GB / per added capacity (+Unity all included)

1d. Cost of maintenance after initial contract (+Unity same for all life )

2. Comparison of CPU/MEM, we choose Unity XT because of better CPU cores/frequency and memory per controller

3. Percentage of space lost in various configurations. Our goal was to use Dynamic disk pools, available on Unity. Easier upgrades/downgrades.

4. If virtual volumes are considered, Unity has a VASA provider included in the controller, Netapp is using external VM.

5. Product lifecycle

6. Inline compression / deduplication, performance,

From the above 1=80%, 2=5%, 3=10%, 4+5=5%

We went to Unity XT480 where on the same budget we got 20% more usable flash capacity, while enough slots remain for future upgrades.

author avatar
Real User

My experience was with DELL EMC Unity Hybrid Storage and it was amazing cost-wise. Are you sure you need an All-flash solution?

author avatar
User

EMC definitely.

Ranking
2nd
Views
40,217
Comparisons
29,882
Reviews
100
Average Words per Review
509
Avg. Rating
8.4
4th
Views
25,898
Comparisons
17,135
Reviews
72
Average Words per Review
748
Avg. Rating
9.0
Top Comparisons
Compared 14% of the time.
Also Known As
EMC UnityNetApp All Flash FAS, NetApp AFF, NetApp Flash FAS
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Dell EMC
NetApp
Overview

Dell EMC Unity, powered by Intel Xeon processors, delivers the ultimate in simplicity and value, enabling your organization to speed deployment, streamline management and seamlessly tier storage to the cloud.

Dell EMC Unity’s All-Flash and Hybrid Flash storage platforms optimize SSD performance and efficiency, with fully integrated SAN and NAS capabilities. Cloud-based storage analytics and proactive support keep you available and connected.

NetApp AFF8000 All Flash FAS systems combine all-flash performance with unified data management from flash to disk to cloud.  Leverage the Data Fabric to move data securely across your choice of clouds—enabled by Cloud ONTAP™ and NetApp Private Storage for Cloud. Plus, you get the industry’s most efficient and comprehensive integrated data protection suite, on premises or in the cloud.

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Learn more about Dell EMC Unity
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Sample Customers
Information Not Available
Acibadem Healthcare Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Citrix Systems, DWD, Mantra Group
Top Industries
REVIEWERS
Financial Services Firm21%
Healthcare Company16%
Manufacturing Company14%
Pharma/Biotech Company5%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Software R&D Company33%
Comms Service Provider11%
Media Company7%
Government7%
REVIEWERS
Healthcare Company16%
Financial Services Firm13%
Energy/Utilities Company9%
Retailer8%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Software R&D Company22%
Manufacturing Company20%
Comms Service Provider10%
Financial Services Firm9%
Company Size
REVIEWERS
Small Business25%
Midsize Enterprise26%
Large Enterprise49%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business27%
Midsize Enterprise31%
Large Enterprise42%
REVIEWERS
Small Business12%
Midsize Enterprise12%
Large Enterprise76%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business22%
Midsize Enterprise7%
Large Enterprise70%
Find out what your peers are saying about Dell EMC Unity vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) and other solutions. Updated: January 2020.
397,717 professionals have used our research since 2012.
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