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KN
Sr Data Storage at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Gives you full functionality, is easy to use and enabled us to add new applications without having to purchase additional storage

Pros and Cons

  • "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 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."

What is our primary use case?

We use AFF to serve out the Oracle and for the virtual storage VDI.

How has it helped my organization?

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. For the VDI, they were not able to run the traditional spinning disk. This is what we bought the AFF for.

The thin provisioning has enabled us to add new applications without having to purchase additional storage. The basic rule we practice is that every time we create a flex group, we also create it with thin provisioning. That gives give us a little bit more cushion.

AFF has enabled us to automatically tier cold data to the cloud.

It has absolutely improved application response time. Now they talk directly to the SSD rather than a spinning disk. It has improved by at least four times.

We are able to reallocate resources or employees that we were previously using for storage operations. It allows us to do lots of things that we would never have been able to do before, like provisioning, dedupe, and data compacting.

We are able to move large amounts of data from one data center to another or to the cloud. We call it the SVMDR. I am able to replicate the entire native storage to the new location without a lot of effort. 

What is most valuable?

We stay away from what is called a silo architecture. NetApp cluster enables us to do a volume move to different nodes and share the entire cluster with the various sub setups as well as using the most storage we have on ONTAP. We are able to tailor and cut out at a file level, block-level or power level, to our various clients.

What needs improvement?

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. 

In the next release, I'm looking for a flex group because that is the next level of the volumes, extended volume for the flex vault. In the flexible environment, we run into the limitation of the capacity at a hundred terabytes and sometimes in oil and gas, like us, when the seismic data is too big, sometimes a hundred terabytes are not big enough. We have to go with the next level, which is the flex group and I hope it has features like volume being able to transfer to the flex group. I think they said they will add a few more features to the flex group. I also wanted to see the non-disruptive conversion from flex vault to the flex group be easier so we don't have to have any downtime.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Every time we start up the system, they have an HA, so the failover capability helps us do a non-disruptive upgrade. It really helped.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is a non-disruptive add on so if we need to grow the system we are able to either add an additional shell to it.

How are customer service and technical support?

We never have any issues with technical support. They are very responsive to our problems because we have a NetApp account manager, so we are able to to engage the level two level three engineering much quicker.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also evaluated Pure Storage. They also provide an all-flash array but I like NetApp better. With NetApp they allow us as a system administrator, we are able to do everything we want.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We have been doing it for a while, so we know how to put it together.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it ourselves. 

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

You have to pay a little bit more for the storage but you gain with the speed provided.

What other advice do I have?

AFF is just like any traditional NetApp. It has Snapshot, SnapMirror, and SnapVault.

I don't see anybody get even close to NetApp. NetApp is one of the best. I would rate them a nine out of ten.

My advice to anybody considering this solution is to look at the best out there and NetApp is one of the best in terms of ease of use and gives you a full-functionality. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
VikramjeetSingh
Storage Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Good performance, easy to learn and manage

Pros and Cons

  • "It is easy to manage data through the GUI by using Active IQ and the unified manager."
  • "I would like to see better tutorials available, beyond the basics, that cover subjects like MetroCluster and automation."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for NetApp AFF is performance-based applications. Whenever our customers complain about performance, we move their data to an all-flash system to improve it.  

We have our own data center and don't share our network with others.

How has it helped my organization?

We have moved all of our AI and machine learning applications to all-flash to improve their performance. Prior to this, they were SaaS or on disk. The latency has certainly decreased.

Data protection is a big part of NetApp, and we are using SnapMirror as well as MetroCluster. We did use SnapVault before, but we moved to SnapMirror and we want to take advantage of the synchronous replication in MetroCluster.

I would say that NetApp has helped us to leverage data in new ways. Because it has the PowerShell modules and workflow automations, we have been able to create volumes, give access to them, and automate workflows.

I think that we have been able to reallocate resources that were dedicated to storage because of the automation tools that NetApp has. It helps to speed up our day-to-day tasks. What used to take us thirty minutes, now takes us five minutes.

Our application response time has increased, but it is hard to quantify with a number. I can just say that it has improved in general.

Using this solution has helped to decrease our worry about storage issues. We normally limit our customers' space, giving them less. We try to ask them questions about the type of data and the applications that they have. Sometimes, they will say that they want ten terabytes, but don't really know what they are going to use it for. With regard to our storage, we are not worried about limitations at all.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to manage data through the GUI by using Active IQ and the unified manager.

Being a non-storage guy, I think that it was quite easy for me to pick things up and learn this solution. They way they are built is really good when it comes to people who want to start fresh. cDOT is a really good OS.

The most valuable feature is the performance.

This solution is getting cheaper over time.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better tutorials available, beyond the basics, that cover subjects like MetroCluster and automation.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When it comes to stability, NetApp as a whole is good. We have never had any of these kinds of issues.

At the end of the day, we always have the replication going on, so if there is an issue on-premises then we still have our DR site. The replication is still there and everything is up to date.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have expanded a lot. We had an eight-node cluster and now we have a twelve-node cluster. Scalability is really easy when it comes to NetApp.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As storage space is getting cheaper, we wanted to move to newer hardware.

How was the initial setup?

NetApp does the initial setup when you buy the equipment.

What about the implementation team?

We have a NetApp resident who works with us on-site. I would rate their service and our experience with them a ten out of ten.

What other advice do I have?

We did have some applications that we were using in the cloud, but we came back because of financial issues.

We do have performance issues from time to time that we have to deal with, but it is not specific to AFF. Sometimes the application is not well-managed by the application teams. The load may not be being handled correctly, which is not related to the type of storage but could be related to users not selecting the correct storage options for their applications.

We have not tested the recent graphical update yet, but if it works well then I think that it will be one of the big advantages this solution has. We used to do the upgrades using the CLI.

My advice to anybody researching storage solutions is to go with NetApp. My experience with the vendor is good. The AFF is a good tool to have, whether the client is a small business or a larger enterprise like a bank.

I think the problem with smaller companies is that they don't always understand the importance of data. Perhaps they don't see storage as a solution, but rather just an expense.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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MS
Infrastructure Team Lead at a pharma/biotech company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Enables us to have have a multitude of environments without having to worry about having spaces deployed

Pros and Cons

  • "Multi-protocol is the most valuable feature for us. It does everything in one system: sifts, EBES, ISCSI, and fiber channel. Other systems don't do all that."
  • "The procurement process could be improved. It takes a long time for us to receive stuff. The product is good. It's not the product, it's just that it takes forever to get it. It's not our reseller's problem; it's usually held up at NetApp."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for NAS and SAN.

How has it helped my organization?

NetApp helped us with its ease of deployment and ease of use.

The solution's data protection and data management are also easy.

AFF has improved our response time by about 30%.

We have enough storage, especially with the enhanced deduplication and compaction. It is good to be able to have a multitude of environments without having to worry about having spaces deployed. We always have a good amount of space. We do have multi-performance, with different performance layers for slower and quicker storage.

What is most valuable?

Multi-protocol is the most valuable feature for us. It does everything in one system: CIFS, ISCSI, and fiber channel. Other systems don't do all that.

What needs improvement?

The procurement process could be improved. It takes a long time for us to receive stuff. The product is good. It's not the product, it's just that it takes forever to get it. It's not our reseller's problem; it's usually held up at NetApp.

Waiting for equipment is one of our biggest hiccups. I live in Pennsylvania and we flew out to Washington state to do an install. We were there for three days, but the product didn't show up. We left and the product came the next day. Then we had to send somebody else out. That's because things were getting held up in shipping and stuff like that. The shipping is my only beef with NetApp.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to deploy and it's scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am happy with their technical support. It's not bad. We haven't had to use it very much, but I think they're proficient.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had an AFF already there. We just upgraded. In my previous company, where I was for five years, we used NetApp extensively. So I had a lot of experience and interaction with it.

How was the initial setup?

We found the setup straightforward. I've been using NetApp for a long time, though.

What about the implementation team?

Our partner is a good friend of mine. I've worked with them for a long time. They work with a lot of other companies. They're huge NetApp distributors.

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

The price of the upgrading of the solution is high. I could buy a whole unit of All Flash FAS 300 with a shelf for around $285,000. Yet if I want to add one additional shelf, it'll cost me $275,000. So they want you to upgrade by replacing it. It's cheaper to buy a whole new unit than to just scale-out. The upside is they last. AFF lasts us three or four years. So that's a good investment. 

I don't think it's cost-efficient for a lot of people. Their pricing structure is not competitive at this point with other companies. Support is a fortune on it. Every three years you need to do a rip and replace for an upgrade. It's not an in-place upgrade.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage and Nimble. I've used HPE 3PAR and Tintri as well. We've looked at a lot of different vendors. Most of them were better in terms of their upgrade process. Nimble and Pure have a hot upgrade process, which NetApp does not have. Although the cost of Pure is a lot more. Nimble was a good product, but they were bought by HP I think, so that will probably go away. I don't see it as much as I did before. We chose NetApp because of its speed and stability.

What other advice do I have?

I think it fits a multitude of needs. For someone who doesn't know how to provision storage, it gives you, SIPS and NAS storage. NAS storage gives you a SAN protocol so you can provision ISCSI fiber channel one, depending on what you're using it for. It's basically an all-in-one solution. It does everything for you.

I would rate this solution as nine out of ten. There have been a few times we've seen buggy releases on some of the ONTAP software upgrades. Nine is good, though. I never get a ten when we get our reviews. If you get a ten, there's no room for improvement. Nine gives you room to improve. If you give it a ten, they're not going to have any reason to improve.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
KS
Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Easy to use and has a good support team, but it is expensive and the hardware compatibility could be improved

Pros and Cons

  • "The performance of NetApp AFF allows our developers and researches to run models and their tests within a single workday instead of spreading out across multiple workdays."
  • "I would like to see NetApp improve more of its offline tools and utilities."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is machine learning.

How has it helped my organization?

The performance of NetApp AFF allows our developers and researches to run models and their tests within a single workday instead of spreading out across multiple workdays.

For our machine learning applications, the latency is less than one millisecond.

The simplicity of data protection and data management is standard with the rest of NetApp's portfolio. We leverage SnapMirror and SnapVault.

In my environment, currently, we only use NAS. I can't talk about simplifying across NAS and SAN, but I can say that it provides simplification across multiple locations, multiple clusters, and data centers.

We have used NetApp to move large amounts of data between data centers, but we do not currently use the cloud.

Our users have told me that the application response time is faster.

The price of the A800 is very expensive, so our data center costs have not been reduced.

We are using ONTAP in combination with StorageGRID for a full data fabric. It provides us with a cold-hot tiering solution that we haven't experienced before.

Thin provisioning has allowed us to over-provision existing storage, especially NVMe SSD, the more expensive disk tier. Along with data efficiencies such as compaction, deduplication, and compression, it allows us to put more data on a single disk.

Adding StorageGRID has reduced our TCO and allows us to better leverage fastest NVMe SDD more, hot tiering to that, and cold tiering to StorageGRID.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the ease of use and performance.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see NetApp improve more of its offline tools and utilities. Drilling down to their active IQ technology, that's great if your cluster is online and attached to the internet, with the ability to post and forward auto support, but in terms of having an offline cluster that is standalone, all of those utilities don't work. If there's a similar way to how NetApp has a unified manager, but on-premises where the user could deploy and auto support could be forwarded to that, and maybe more of a slimmed-down active IQ solution could be made available, I'd be interested in that.

I need a FlexPool to FlexGroup solution.

I would like to see the FAS and AFF platforms simplified so that the differences will disappear at some point. This would reduce the complexity for the end-storage engineers.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate the stability of NetApp AFF as moderate at this point. There were some unfortunate growing paints initially with the A800. Our problem was related to compatibility issues with the active optical transceivers, and it caused an outage within our data center. Our customer was not happy with this.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good and we have had no issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we had our data center outage, we had an excellent NetApp engineer on-site. We went back and forth through it and eventually worked our way through it, but it was a multi-day problem.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have been a NetApp customer for a long time. We just recently added a NetApp StorageGRID product for more object-store advantages in our data pipeline. It is adding more value.

NetApp is the number one leader in NFS, which is the protocol that we primarily use. We looked for a new solution simply because IOM3 modules were deprecated and moving forward from ONTAP 9.3 to version 9.6 required a full forklift upgrade, and a bunch of hardware was thrown out.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex.

The move from older FAS systems with older disk shelves to the newer AFF A800 systems is a transition that is a nightmare in terms of rack space, moving data, and trying to do it online so that the customer doesn't experience downtime. It was a multi-day upgrade.

What about the implementation team?

We used a reseller and a NetApp badged engineer, and our experience with them was very good.

What other advice do I have?

NetApp has a good support team, good account management, good engineers, and they have the ability to stay ahead of what's trending in technology.

Ideally, the cost would be lower, it would be less complex, and the hardware compatibility would be better.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BC
Storage Manager at State of Nebraska
Real User
Improved the performance of a lot of our virtual machines in a VMware environment

Pros and Cons

  • "Switching to AFF has improved the performance of a lot of our virtual machines in a VMware environment. The number of support tickets that we receive has fallen to almost zero because of this, so it's been a real help for our virtual server support team."
  • "Tech support is great with NetApp if you can get past Tier 1. A lot of times when you open a new case or do a direct dial-in with an issue, like with any support, you will definitely reach a Tier 1 level that is not particularly helpful until you get escalated to an expert."

What is our primary use case?

We use NetApp AFF products for file storage across multiple agencies in the State of Nebraska. We are a consolidated state, so all of the agencies of our state have consolidated files on NetApp products. We use AFF as our top tier solid-state storage for application and user data storage.

How has it helped my organization?

Different customers will have different needs, e.g., when you're looking at somebody who just has simple file service needs, then it's very easy. That can be met with many different products. But, we also like that you can build SVMs with different network profiles, vLANs, security protocols, etc.

We like the ability to create different SVMs on AFF products because they can create different vLANs and network access points for different customers. We can actually drop virtual appliances onto any customer's network. If they have different firewall and network profiles than each other, we can keep all of the data completely separated.

We can also meet the different needs for different Snapshot and backup policies. A Department of Labor or Department of Health and Human Services will have very different needs from just standard user profile folders.

What is most valuable?

We like AFF because it has a very high reliability rate with very high performance. We are using it for top tier performance on application and virtual machine storage, as well as just being able to separate out SVMs for different security and network needs for all of our different customers across the state. 

We use the Snapshot feature to simplify backups for data protection. We set different policies that let let our agencies choose what backup policy they want to have for their Snapshots. It's very simple. Users can be given the opportunity to look at previous versions directly from the Windows interface or they can call/put in a ticket seeking support from our IT group if they need a larger system restore, because their data is protected with NetApp and replicated as well.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. We haven't had to replace a single drive. We haven't had any issues with the AFFs or compatibility issues. We haven't had any problems at all. It has worked exactly the same as our previous system but with greater performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In both our traditional cluster and MetroCluster, we have been able to scale very easily. We just add additional shelves of solid-state disk. They expand the storage array so we can just increase the aggregate sizes and assign more space. It's been very simple to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is great with NetApp if you can get past Tier 1. A lot of times when you open a new case or do a direct dial-in with an issue, like with any support, you will definitely reach a Tier 1 level that is not particularly helpful until you get escalated to an expert. However, the experts that I have reached have always been great.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have several different SAN and NAS products in our environment. With the traditional spinning storage, We are running into bottlenecks with performance problems. The AFF products have given us the opportunity to move people to all-flash high performance storage tiers, which will make their virtual machines, database servers, and SQL run much better in a flash environment for us than in a hybrid or spinning disk environment.

What was our ROI?

Switching to AFF has improved the performance of a lot of our virtual machines in a VMware environment. The number of support tickets that we receive has fallen to almost zero because of this, so it's been a real help for our virtual server support team.

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

We have used the solution’s thin provisioning to add new applications without having to purchase additional storage. We use thin provisioning on all of our flash arrays at this point. It gives us the choice to be able to overprovision and take advantage of compression, compaction, and thin provisioning all at the same time. We can get more out of the purchases that we make.

I would like it to be a lot less expensive, but it's been a very good solution for us.

What other advice do I have?

I would give it a 10 (out of 10). It's been solid. The performance is great. It has solved a lot of problems in our environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DC
Tech Solutions Architect at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Super fast, reliable solution that has low latency type response times

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution has reduced our data center costs because when we went from the 8000 and 3200 series that took us from 20 racks of storage down to two."
  • "We would like to have NVMe on FabricPool working because it broke our backups. We enabled FabricPool to do the tiering from our AFFs to our Webscale but it sort of broke our Cobalt backups."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is enterprise storage for our email database system.

We have just been using on-premise. We are looking to move the workloads to the cloud, but right now it's just on-premise.

How has it helped my organization?

From an operations standpoint, we pretty much set it and forget it. We don't have to manage anything because of the AFF speed and low latencies. Because a big requirement in the healthcare industry are the low latency type response times, It has been perfect.

With the thin provisioning, we can overprovision our boxes, but there are still applications which are storage capacity hogs. So, we still have to report.

It simplifies our IT operations and makes them more efficient.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is it's fast. We do not use the solution for artificial intelligence or machine learning applications, but our overall latency is low. With our SQL Servers and Oracle servers, compared to the older meta filers, like 7-mode, the 8000 custom mode, or performance on Pure flash systems, you can't compare. We are seeing submillisecond, which is pretty nice.

The solution has enabled us to move large amounts of data from one data center to another (on-premise) without interruption to the business using SnapMirror.

The solution has improved application response time. Compared to the 3250s and 8000s, it has been night and day.

What needs improvement?

We would like to have NVMe on FabricPool working because it broke our backups. We enabled FabricPool to do the tiering from our AFFs to our Webscale but it sort of broke our Cobalt backups. I think they're going to fix it in v9.7. 

The SnapDrive is just another piece of software which is used to manage the storage on the filers. They could use some updates.

We are still a lot of things that we have to think about, like storage and attributes, to be able to go ahead with it.

We haven't gone to their standard Snaps product yet, but that's supposed to centralize everything. Right now, we have to manage individual hosts that connect to the stores. That's sort of a pain.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using NetApp for the last 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability is good. It's great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For the AFFs, I haven't had any problems with the scalability. We went from two to six nodes without a problem.

It helped us easily move about 10 petabytes of data from San Diego to Phoenix.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been awesome. Whenever we have a problem, we just give NetApp's support a call, and they fix our issue. 

With the newer versions, we have needed less support. The solution has just been working.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't switch over. We have been using NetApp for 15 years.

This solution has reduced our data center costs because when we went from the 8000 and 3200 series that took us from 20 racks of storage down to two.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We've been deploying NetApps for the last 15 years. We are pretty familiar with the boxes.

I've been using the technology for years. For every model and version, the deployment is basically the same.

What about the implementation team?

My team did the deployment.

What was our ROI?

We use a private cloud, which is Wesco, and it definitely saves us a lot of space.

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

The pricing is good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did go through the whole vetting out process of scoring different vendors and NetApp won, when we went through a Greenfield environment.

What other advice do I have?

Check out the AFF. It is super fast and reliable. We've been using it for a long time. It's the perfect system for us.

I would rate the solution as an eight out of 10 because there's always room for improvement. To make it a 10, it would have to have super submillisecond performance at a cheaper price. It is about latency in our environment. We want submillisecond for everything across the board. If something can guarantee that performance all the time without increasing costs, that would be cool.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MD
Solution Architect at Advanced UniByte GmbH
Real User
You can configure everything with the System Manager

Pros and Cons

  • "We had some customers who were running virtualization workloads on classical spinning disks. We implemented an AFF system, and they got a huge performance boost out of it because the latency of the SSDs is simply much lower. Actually, most customers benefit from the improved latency and performance from the AFF systems."
  • "We have had customers asking about S3 support for a while now. I heard that is coming in one of the next versions. So, I would like to see S3 targeted support on the FAS system."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for customers who need absolute low latency and have low latency in their workloads. They need maximum performance in their virtualization and file storage environments.

How has it helped my organization?

We had some customers who were running virtualization workloads on classical spinning disks. We implemented an AFF system, and they got a huge performance boost out of it because the latency of the SSDs is simply much lower. Actually, most customers benefit from the improved latency and performance from the AFF systems.

Another important aspect of it is because we have customers who use SAN and NAS, they want only one system. This simplifies things by handling both the same way. You set up data protection, and it doesn't matter if it is SAN or NAS, you know the data is protected to a secondary system or to the cloud, wherever you want it to be.

A few customers are tiering out to their own S3 data center, not the cloud. For them, it has reduced their costs because they had an existing S3 solution. They just tier through that, then they need less space in the SSD tier.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it runs Data ONTAP, which is compatible with the whole Data Fabric, and its absolute performance.

Simplicity is a very key aspect of the system because you can configure everything with the System Manager. It does most of the complicated things behind your back, so you don't have to handle them. Since it integrates with the Data Fabric, it's very simple to set up a data protection scheme.

What needs improvement?

We have had customers asking about S3 support for a while now. I heard that is coming in one of the next versions. So, I would like to see S3 targeted support on the FAS system.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the AFF system is very high because it's running on ONTAP, and ONTAP is a proven operating system for about 20 years. So, it's very stable. We have thousands of systems with our customers and the AFF system inherits stability from the FAS system. We know it is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great. The cluster scalability can be scaled out. The cluster can be scale out to up to 24 nodes. You can also scale them up if you add disks. So, scalability is not a problem. You can even scale it down if you need to, and we've also done this with a few customers. We can scale down the clusters later if the workload or requirements change. That is definitely one of the big plus points.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support works well for us. We do the first level support for all our customers, so the customers call us. If we are ever in trouble and don't know how to respond to the support call, we can open the second level case with NetApp. That works very nicely. So, the customer is in good hands with us, and we are in good hands with NetApp.

How was the initial setup?

We do the initial setup ourselves. We use the CLI, so we don't use the simplified methods because we have some special requirements most of the time. 

What was our ROI?

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.

What other advice do I have?

The product is at least a nine (out of 10). I have been working with FAS systems for around 15 years. I've come to know how easy and reliable they are. They do what they are supposed to do, and they do it very well. Now, the AFF system is just the flash version, which does the same things, but faster. So, it's almost perfect.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
SM
Storage Administrator at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Good performance when moving very large amounts of data to the cloud

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features of this solution are the deduplication and the ability to move data to different clouds."
  • "It would be very useful if we could do the NFS to CIFS file transfer, but it is not supported at this time."

What is our primary use case?

We are in the process of moving to AWS and we are using this solution to help move all of our data to the cloud, using the tiering and other functionality.

We have approximately fifty AFF clusters spread across three locations.

We plan to use this solution for artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications, but we are still in the PoC right now. It is something that my team is working on.

Our DR and backup are done using SnapMirror.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped simplify our IT operations. We can easily move data from on-premises to the cloud, or from one cloud to another cloud. NetApp SnapShots and SnapMirror are also helpful.

The thin provisioning has allowed us to add new applications without having to purchase additional storage. We are shrinking the data with functions like deduplication and giving almost two hundred percent. It is very helpful.

This solution has allowed us to move very large amounts of data without affecting IT operations. We have moved four petabytes to the cloud. We have moved data from on-premises to the cloud, and also between clouds. It is easy to do. For example, if you want DR or a backup in a second location, then you just use SnapShot. If you have a database that you want to have available in more than one location then you can synchronize them easily. We are very happy with these features.

Our application response time has been improved since implementing this solution. The AFF cluster is awesome. Our response time is now below two milliseconds, whereas it used to be four or five milliseconds. This is very useful. 

The costs of our data center have definitely been reduced by using this solution. The power consumption and space, obviously, because this solution is very small, have been reduced.

We have been using this solution to automatically tier cold data to the cloud. I would not say that it has affected our TCO.

This solution has not changed our position in terms of worrying about storage as a limiting factor.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are the deduplication and the ability to move data to different clouds. We have been using Cloud Sync and Cloud Volumes, and we have moved four petabytes using Cloud Sync.

What needs improvement?

It would be very useful if we could do the NFS to CIFS file transfer, but it is not supported at this time.

We are finding limitations when it comes to moving data to AWS.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is fine. We have not experienced any downtime or any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is something that we are spending time on, but it is an internal issue related to seeking financial approval. The scalability of the solution is not a technical issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution has always been number one. There is no doubt that they are getting more responsive and more technical.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We performed a PoC using Cloud Volumes and Cloud Sync, and we were happy with the time, durability, and availability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We can install this solution ourselves.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI from this solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a solution by EMC, but we found they their filesystem was not as robust. That is the reason that we chose NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

We are really happy customers and this is a solution that I can recommend.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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