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NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is the #1 ranked solution in our list of best All-Flash Storage Arrays. It is most often compared to Pure Storage FlashArray: NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) vs Pure Storage FlashArray

What is NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)?

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.

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is also known as NetApp All Flash FAS, NetApp AFF, NetApp Flash FAS.

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Buyer's Guide

Download the NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Customers
Acibadem Healthcare Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Citrix Systems, DWD, Mantra Group
NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Video

Archived NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Reviews (more than two years old)

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Michael Archuleta
Chief Information Officer at Mt. San Rafael Hospital
Video Review
Real User
Supported our overall business initiatives, they've done a great job with cybersecurity

Pros and Cons

  • "Tech support has been absolutely amazing. I think on the technical aspects as well, my staff is able to get great support from the NetApp technical support resources that we have. What I love about NetApp is they have a health care division. At times, it's such an amazing thing because if we have a healthcare-related issue, there's no one better than having prior CIOs from health care organizations that NetApp has hired, and that are part of the health care team, to help out with any of those initiatives and support problems. Support has been absolutely phenomenal."
  • "The total cost of ownership has increased a little."

What is our primary use case?

We have a pretty amazing story about using AFS. When I went into this organization, we had a 59% uptime ratio, and at the time we were looking at how to improve on efficiency, and how to bring good technology initiatives together to make this digital transformation happen. When the Affordable Care Act came out, it started mandating a lot of these health care organizations to implement an electronic medical record system. Of course, since health care has been behind the curve when it comes to technology, it was a major problem when I came into this organization that had a 59% uptime ratio. They also wanted to implement an electronic medical record system throughout their facility, and we didn't have the technology in place.

One of my key initiatives at the time was to determine what we wanted to do as a whole organization. We wanted to focus on the digital transformation. We needed to determine if we could find some good business partners in place so we selected NetApp. We were trying to create a better, efficient process, with very strong security practices as well. We selected an All-Flash FAS solution because we were starting to implement virtual desktop infrastructure with VMware.

We wanted to throw out zero clients throughout the whole organization for the physicians, which allowed them to do single sign-on. The physician would be able to go to one specific office, tap his badge, sign in to the specific system from there. That floating profile would come over with him, and then you just created some great efficiencies. The security practices behind the ONTAP solution and the security that we were experiencing with NetApp was absolutely out of this world. I've been very impressed with it. One of the main reasons I started with NetApp was because they have a strong focus on health care initiatives. I was asked to sit on the neural network, which was a NetApp-facilitated health care advisory group that focused and looked at the overall roadmap of NetApp. When you have a good business partner like NetApp, versus a vendor where a vendor's going to come in, sell me a solution and just call me a year later and say that they want us to sign something, I'm not looking for people like that. I'm looking for business partners. What I like to say is, "My success is your success, and your success is ours." That's really a critical point that NetApp has demonstrated.

How has it helped my organization?

Everyone looks at health care because health care has been an amazing organization to be in. We're seeing the transformation of how we're becoming a digital company. Every organization is becoming a digital company, and we're starting to see the advancements of technology really come in to place. Your new CEO is the patient, and that's the bottom line. That's my CEO. As an organization and as a technologist, I have to build a very strong patient-centric strategy that focuses the technology on the patient's needs, because at the end of the day, that patient could choose to either go to your organization or to another. We want to keep that good loyalty and that good specific patient in our organization, and we want to make sure that we are creating very strong, asynchronous tools that benefit a patient both inside and outside the organization. That's why I always say patient care is number one. AFS has supported our overall business initiatives.

Applications are a critical point. I think that All Flash FAS is an amazing thing when it comes to speed, efficiency in what it's doing. We've been very impressed with regards to it as well. We look at different initiatives, and we're starting to focus on different initiatives when it comes to data analytics and data mining. Having that specific availability, and making sure that we can focus on those initiatives and those strategies, we're very confident that the solutions that we are choosing with NetApp are going to give us the edge advantage of moving forward into the future.

I think when you look at artificial intelligence and at machine learning, you look at predictive analytics. You have to have very strong data silo in order to get that clean data. I think with all the data that we're creating in this health care organization, we need to make sure that we can create well-structured data which will allow us to data mine that information to come out with some good valuables, meaning better patient care, better ways to reduce readmission rates, better ways to increase revenue. There are so many benefits in regards to good, strong data mining that produce great analytic reports.

Right now we do have a very strong cloud initiative. We are moving forward to the cloud because the thing is I think the future of health care, the future of artificial intelligence improvements is really moving a lot of these health care organizations over to the cloud where there is that data mining capability of really bringing in all these algorithms and all of these good collaborations because collaboration is definitely key. If we can collaborate, and if we could start focusing on more of interoperability, meaning that we're sharing information more successfully, because right now, health care, has no interoperability. Everyone talks about interoperability, but we don't have interoperability. You go from one facility to another, it's like you're getting completely different services. I want that information from one facility to another to go and share information, which I think is going to be a success, because, you come to one facility, you get poked for lab results, you get exposed for radiology results, meaning radiation, then you go over into another organization that's saying that they can't retrieve your lab or radiology results and now we're going to have to re-poke you and re-expose you to radiation. Those are problems.

Another one of my main focuses is on cybersecurity initiatives and cybersecurity improvements. I think NetApp has really focused a lot on cybersecurity. I was really impressed on some of the cybersecurity sessions that they had because you figure health care's one of the most attacked sectors out there and we hear about these health care organizations being ransomed all of the time. If we do get ransomed, we need to think about how we are going to restore that information and making sure that we have the capabilities that are in place. NetApp has done a great job with it. They do see a huge priority when it comes to cyber security, so it's very important for them to continue to focus on those initiatives.

What is most valuable?

The user experience has been absolutely amazing. We're about 80% virtualized on the desktop standpoint, so we do utilize VDI very highly. Using the All-Flash FAS solution, we had to basically determine that there was going to be some efficiencies and some speed as well, too, because you figure we're giving all of these health care users a virtual desktop, plus the utilization of All-Flash FAS, we need to make sure that their specific process is really rolling and moving in an efficient way, because the health care industry is a fast-paced organization. We're basically taking care of patients' lives. The technology that we bring has to be very efficient to provide the best patient care that we can have, and NetApp All-Flash FAS has really proven that point.

What needs improvement?

Considering that NetApp has health care view and that really strong health care initiative, they really need to consider what they need to do next to improve better data sharing and to make sure that the information that we are sharing with one another is fully encrypted, meeting HIPAA and HITECH regulations as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been pretty amazing as well. I came to an organization that was 59% uptime which was throughout the whole enterprise. That's a major problem because when you start measuring downtime, that is a loss of revenue for the organization. Since I've implemented a lot of these new strategies, we have done a complete 360. We've implemented these strong technology initiatives that have really produced better business efficiencies. We went from a 59% uptime to a 99.9% uptime ratio, which is absolutely mind-blowing. If you look at the before and after pictures, it's going to blow minds because we've been able to do some amazing things. We're a three-time Most Wired winner, which is given to health care organizations, top health care organizations making the most progress of health information technology. It's been an honor to have been able to design the team that I have, the very strong core team, and the good initiatives that we've had together because I always say that we must leave our egos at home. Collaboration is definitely the key to digital transformation, and we need to come together to make a difference in the future.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability, the improvements that we see with AFS, and the reliability has been such a critical element. I think the technology that NetApp has, especially when you look at a disaster recovery standpoint because you figure we're a health care organization and any type of outage is considered revenue loss, we really want to try to avoid those specific elements.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support has been absolutely amazing. I think on the technical aspects as well, my staff is able to get great support from the NetApp technical support resources that we have. What I love about NetApp is they have a health care division. At times, it's such an amazing thing because if we have a healthcare-related issue, there's no one better than having prior CIOs from health care organizations that NetApp has hired, and that are part of the healthcare team, to help out with any of those initiatives and support problems. Support has been absolutely phenomenal.

How was the initial setup?

We could definitely spin something up pretty quickly. It takes about ten minutes which is pretty quick. We have a very good team that does that as well.

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

The total cost of ownership has increased a little. When I look at building very strong, good strategies that get presented to the board of directors and the additional executive teams, I look at two things: I look at ROI and I look at total cost of ownership. At times, my overall goal is that I want to get out of the data center business. I know that TCO really does increase because you have that on-prem solution, but I think moving forward into the cloud-based initiatives that we have, we're going to definitely start seeing a decrease within that TCO because now we don't have all of this inventory to take care of. We're being a lot more efficient and a lot more agile as well too.

What other advice do I have?

I am part of the NetApp A-Team. I've been a huge advocate towards NetApp. I would say that nothing is perfect, but NetApp is leading the way when it comes to digital transformation and digital efficiencies as well. Their focus towards health care has been out of this world. I would give that specific product a nine, moving forward to almost perfect ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Greg Rose
Principal Engineer at a retailer with 5,001-10,000 employees
Video Review
Real User
TCO has definitely decreased and Implementation is dead easy

Pros and Cons

  • "The valuable features are the fabric pool. We are taking our cold data and pumping it straight into an estuary bucket. Also, efficiency. We're getting about two and a half times upwards of data efficiency through compaction, compression, deduplication, and it's size. When we refreshed from two or three racks of spinning discs down into 5U of rack space, it not only saved us a whole heap of costs in our data center environment but also it's nice to be green. The power savings alone equated to be about 50 tons of CO2 a year that we no longer emit. It's a big game changer."
  • "I would like for them to develop the ability to detach the fabric pool. Once you've added it to an aggregate it's there for life and it would be nice to disconnect it if we ever had to."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case for All Flash FAS that we have is pretty much everything. It is the go-to storage device that we use for block fiber channel devices on our heavy SAP workloads as well as user base files and file shares for databases. 

How has it helped my organization?

AFF improves how our organization functions because of its speed. Reduction in batch times means that we're able to get better information out of SAP and into BW faster. Those kinds of things are a bit hard to put my finger on. Generally, when we start shrinking the times we need to do things, and we're doing them on a regular basis, it has a flow on impact that the rest of the business can enjoy. We also have more capacity to call on for things like stock take.

AFF is supporting new business because we've got the capacity to do more. In the past, with a spinning disc and our older FAS units, we had plenty of disc capacity but not enough CPU horsepower and the controllers to drive it and it was beginning to really hurt. With the All Flash FAS, we could see that there are oodles of power, not only from disc utilization figures on the actual storage backend but also from the CPU consumption of the storage controllers. When somebody says "we want to do this" it's not a problem. The job gets done and we don't have to do a thing. It's all good.

All Flash FAS has improved performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs which are enterprise applications. It powers the VM fleet as well. It does provide some of our BW capabilities but that's more of an SAP HANA thing now. Everything runs off it, all of our critical databases also consume storage off of the All Flash FAS for VMs.

For us TCO has definitely decreased, we pay less in data center fees. We also have the ability with the fabric pool to actually save on our storage costs. 

What is most valuable?

The valuable features are the fabric pool. We are taking our cold data and pumping it straight into an estuary bucket. Also, efficiency. We're getting about two and a half times upwards of data efficiency through compaction, compression, deduplication, and it's size. When we refreshed from two or three racks of spinning discs down into 5U of rack space, it not only saved us a whole heap of costs in our data center environment but also it's nice to be green. The power savings alone equated to be about 50 tons of CO2 a year that we no longer emit. It's a big game changer.

The user experience from my point of view, as the person who drives it most of the time, is a really good one. The toolsets are really easy to use and from the service offered we're able to offer non-disruptive upgrades. It just works and keeps going. It's hard to explain good things when we have so few bad things that actually occur within the environment. From a user's point of view, the file shares work, everyone's happy, and I'm happy because it's usually not storage that's causing the problem.

What needs improvement?

I would like for them to develop the ability to detach the fabric pool. Once we've added it to an aggregate it's there for life and it would be nice to disconnect it if we ever had to.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability with AFF has been really great. We blew an SSD drive which we thought may never actually happen and it just kept on going. We've not had any issues with it even though we actually went to a fairly recent release of data on tap as well that just works.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is a really cool part of the product in terms of growing. We don't see that we'll actually need to do much of that. We'll take more advantage of fabric pool and actually push that data out to a lower tier of storage at AWS and our initial projections on that suggest that we've got a lot of very cold data we're actually storing today.

How are customer service and technical support?

AFF tech support we've had a couple of calls open and it's always been brilliant. I really like the chat feature because one of the things that annoys me is the conference calls that usually come when you have to contact the hardware vendor. You get stuck on a webex or a conference call for hours on end where it's just easier to chat to the techo at NetApp in real time and if he isn't able to help you he'll just pass you on to the next one and you end up staying in the chat which means that I continue working while dealing with a problem.

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

We knew it was time to switch to this solution because it was costing us a fortune in maintenance, especially when our hardware was getting over the three to five year old mark. With spinning disc, it's not like we can neglect that because drives fail all the time and the previous iteration of storage we had was a NetApp FAS, so we've gone from NetApp to NetApp.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented in-house. It was dead easy. All you have to do is throw it in the rack, plug in the network and fiber cables, give it a name, and away you go. There is very little that actually needs to happen to make it all work. I think we managed to get one of them up in two or three hours.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also considered Dell EMC and Pure Storage. The biggest reason we picked NetApp was the ease of actually getting the data to the next iteration but also the other vendors don't have a product that supports everything we needed which is file services and block services. It's a one stop shop and I didn't really want to have to manage another box and a storage device at the same time.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate AFF a ten out of ten. If I was in the position to tell someone else about All Flash FAS and why they should get it I would simply say just do it. I think everybody in the storage community is pressured to live on more with less and this product basically enables that to happen.

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.
542,823 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Ricky Santos
System Administrator at ON Semiconductor Phils. Inc.
Real User
Top 5
SnapMirror and SnapVault features provide DR and backup for data redundancy

What is our primary use case?

We have deployed NetApp AFF with four nodes; two of these are in our primary data center, and the remaining two are in the second data center. We are using Cluster Mode configurations.

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization has improved because this solution provides a Highly Available storage system with DR configurations, deployed across two data centers.

What is most valuable?

The features that I found most valuable are SnapMirror and SnapVault; these provide DR and backup for data redundancy. The High Availability and Cluster-mode Setup are also very useful.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see an improvement in the High Availability of the NFS and CIFS sharing during upgrade and patching; this would help to avoid…

What is our primary use case?

We have deployed NetApp AFF with four nodes; two of these are in our primary data center, and the remaining two are in the second data center. We are using Cluster Mode configurations.

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization has improved because this solution provides a Highly Available storage system with DR configurations, deployed across two data centers.

What is most valuable?

The features that I found most valuable are SnapMirror and SnapVault; these provide DR and backup for data redundancy. The High Availability and Cluster-mode Setup are also very useful.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see an improvement in the High Availability of the NFS and CIFS sharing during upgrade and patching; this would help to avoid downtime.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
reviewer1035522
System Administrator with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Having separate storage virtual machines with completely different setups for NFS and Windows solves problems the FAS has

What is our primary use case?

VMware datastores over NFS for DL585 G7 hosts on a 10G switch.

How has it helped my organization?

NetApp FAS was unable to keep up with the I/O. A200 has performed without a problem.

What is most valuable?

Having separate storage virtual machines with completely different setups for NFS and Windows solves problems the FAS has when the domain controllers are unreachable.

What needs improvement?

The system commander web management is good, but it is easy to make bad configurations, and it takes a lot of jumping around to work a single issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

VMware datastores over NFS for DL585 G7 hosts on a 10G switch.

How has it helped my organization?

NetApp FAS was unable to keep up with the I/O. A200 has performed without a problem.

What is most valuable?

Having separate storage virtual machines with completely different setups for NFS and Windows solves problems the FAS has when the domain controllers are unreachable.

What needs improvement?

The system commander web management is good, but it is easy to make bad configurations, and it takes a lot of jumping around to work a single issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MT
Infrastructure and Services Presales Consultant at ID Grup
Real User
We primarily use it as shared storage for virtualized environments.

What is our primary use case?

Shared storage for virtualized environments.

How has it helped my organization?

Reducing data fingerprint (deduplication) and speeding up access to data.

What is most valuable?

Deduplication SnapManager Autosupport.

What needs improvement?

Synchronous replication and active-active environments.

What is our primary use case?

Shared storage for virtualized environments.

How has it helped my organization?

Reducing data fingerprint (deduplication) and speeding up access to data.

What is most valuable?

  • Deduplication
  • SnapManager
  • Autosupport.

What needs improvement?

Synchronous replication and active-active environments.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Rodrigo Carte
Head of IT at Inacap
Real User
Has powerful tools for management

What is our primary use case?

Mixed sharing between Windows and Linux using CIFS and NFS is the best solution you can experiment with.

How has it helped my organization?

  • It provided an amazing response time for all apps, with websites getting better stability, and QA for all final users.
  • Implementation to share volumes between Windows IIS and .NET, and between Linux Apache and PHP. 

The best is you can use the same volume for different flavors of OS. In fact, that feature gives solutions to some cases where you have limitations for some applications when it does not support the OS, maybe when you have old apps that are not possible to migrate.

What is most valuable?

  • Its incredible performance
  • Stability
  • Proactiveness for possible errors
  • Powerful tools for management.

What needs improvement?

Communication with the customer for showing and exploring the new technologies is available.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user1013601
Senior System Engineer at ICTeam
Real User
It offers reliability, multi-tenancy and network segmentation

What is our primary use case?

VMware multi-tenant and SnapMirror destination, multi customers' filesystem too, no problem with multi AD and domain

How has it helped my organization?

  • IOPS
  • Reliability
  • Multi-tenancy
  • Network segmentation
  • easy to maintain and configure starting from a correct initial setup. focus on network conf in particular

What is most valuable?

Reliability. flexibility and multi tenant. we host 20 client virtual dc on our a200.

I scaled out our previous 2 node cdot cluster on the fly by adding cluster's switches and then the 2 node a200, after that data migration between fas 2554 and a200 was made non disruptively and on business time.

What needs improvement?

The full bundle is too expensive. It's needed to implement native replicas (i.e. snapmirror) and backup (i.e. snapvault) features

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

our system is very stable and reliable, of course it needs to be maintained and monitored, even in case of network switch failure a200 keeps to serve data, very important is the initial setup, so you have to focus on the final architecture.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

very good

How are customer service and technical support?

tech support is very responsive and effective to find solution to some issues, most of the issues can be resolved reading KBs

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

fas 2554, need to scle out with space and performances

How was the initial setup?

initial setup maust be done by cli, storage space privisioning made by gui, good interaction with vmware with vsc 

What about the implementation team?

I'm the vendor team and storage administrator

What was our ROI?

I need to ask for it to my ceo

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

full bundle too expensive I.e. full licenses to implement native replicas and backups

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

starting from a fas 2554 it was the best solution

What other advice do I have?

good deduplication and compression ratio

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: solution provider, datacenter
Rostislav Rusev
COO at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
It has a high quality of integration that is way beyond the competition

How has it helped my organization?

It has a high quality of integration that is way beyond the competition. 

What is most valuable?

Its efficiency and scalability are the most valuable features.

What needs improvement?

The scaling needs improvement. NetApp is limited for scaling options. 

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

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

With other options, you need to buy a couple of different products to achieve the same outcome.

What other advice do I have?

In comparison to other options, NetApp is the most complete. It is the single software choice that can give you every option that you need in the enterprise world.

How has it helped my organization?

It has a high quality of integration that is way beyond the competition. 

What is most valuable?

Its efficiency and scalability are the most valuable features.

What needs improvement?

The scaling needs improvement. NetApp is limited for scaling options. 

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

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

With other options, you need to buy a couple of different products to achieve the same outcome.

What other advice do I have?

In comparison to other options, NetApp is the most complete. It is the single software choice that can give you every option that you need in the enterprise world.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TahirAli
Chief Enterprise Architect at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Video Review
Real User
Rendering of FAS is so much faster than what they used to be and restore is twenty times faster

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features for AFF are the speed, durability, back up, the time, the workloads that we are using currently are much faster than what they used to be. We're getting a lot of different things out of All Flash."
  • "The bad part about having scalability is the expense. It is currently extremely expensive, to be able to scale so fast on flash."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for AFF is for all of the filers. We're also doing a lot of workloads for virtualization. All of our virtualization workloads are currently running on All Flash FAS.

How has it helped my organization?

We use almost all of our virtualization workloads on All Flash. Before we migrated to All Flash we used to use a different vendor for NAS solution. Some were NAS and some were Block storage. Now, logging ETLs are maybe ten times faster currently than what they used to be. We are getting amazing speeds off of FAS that we never had before.

We also use a lot of the AFF for end user storage. All the shared file systems, all the file systems that a particular user has, as a G drive, E drive, F drive or shared drives between various customers and various departments are all running off of the All Flash File system. So now, the rendering of FAS is so much faster than what it used to be. On top of that, we used to do Block. We would take Block, we would do NFS or do Samba to share those file systems for the users. Now, because they are coming straight off of NFS 3 and 4, the speed is marvelous. They are almost five to seven times faster rending all their files, saving all their files, retrieving all their files. It's amazing.

I don't know how much IT support has any bearing on All Flash File system. Now the only thing that we have provided that is better now is the speed and stability. Now if you can add that to capabilities, then, of course, IT has provided additional capabilities of having faster rendering and just getting their work done a little quicker.

The biggest workload that we have is maybe 95 to 97% of all virtual workloads are now running on All Flash. It has dramatically changed the way all of our VMs work. Now, not only they are faster but a couple of things that are in addition is that we do snaps off of our flash storage. Not only are the workloads faster but if the virtual machine goes down, the restore is 20 times faster now than it ever used to be. We don't have to go to a spin disc, we can just flash off of our flash back onto a no spin disc and the restore takes almost seconds to come back.

Total costs of ownership have two different values to them. One value is just strictly the capital cost of it. Number two is the operational cost. You've got to look at the CapEx and how much it cost. That is currently a little higher than it would be in two or three years. Now, Apex is where things are getting really nice. The maintenance is less. The discs failure are really low. Data issues or corruption is really low. The CapEx is currently high and Apex is getting to almost insignificant numbers.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features for AFF are the speed, durability, back up, the time, the workloads that we are using currently are much faster than what they used to be. We're getting a lot of different things out of All Flash.

We have not connected our AFF to public cloud yet. We are not sure if we are going to do it because of PHI. For any healthcare, it's extremely important to safeguard the security of your patients. We are looking very deeply into how we are going to either go to public or keep some for private. Also, because data analytics is coming our way we want to make sure that the data that we are going to do analytics on is not on public cloud. Because of ingress and egress, we don't want to pay a lot of money to pull it back. We are not there yet but maybe in the next year and a half we will think about it publicly.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Two things have happened with stability. Number one, the platform that renders the file system is so much better. It's ONTAP and NFS, they're much more superior. The stability of the file system is much better. Behind the scenes, the cache is better, the CPUs are better and of course, there are no spin discs, so it's all flash. That is way more stable than what it used to be. Coupled together, the stability is maybe six to seven hundred times better now than it used to be ten years ago. That's just the way it works now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is almost a catch 22. It's excellent because you can quickly scale, it's ONTAP, you can keep adding clusters without a problem, both the nodes, the controllers and of course the disc or the flash itself. The bad part about having scalability is the expense. It is currently extremely expensive, to be able to scale so fast on flash. What a lot of people are doing is that they make part of it all flash but as the data gets bigger, the archival, the older, the colder, migrate onto a slower, less expensive disc. That's what we are doing as well.

How is customer service and technical support?

So far NetApp is amazing. It depends on what type of team you have. What type of sales team that you are working with. Our sales team is phenomenal. Our support goes through them and they know all the right people to call and we get great support. Now, that is not true all across. There's great support, and there's some mediocre support. For us it's phenomenal.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for AFF was very quick and almost painless. We had professional services come in, they put it together and before we knew, we were carving all our discs, all our LUNs, and migrating data. Of course, the data migration was also really fast for us. We used to have older infrastructure. A little less than a year ago, we got brand new infrastructure that's all flash and we migrated it less than a year ago. It was no pain whatsoever.

What other advice do I have?

I don't think anybody is doing a NAS solution or a filer solution better than NetApp. If you only talk about NetApp's filer, All Flash, I would give you it a nine and ten out of ten. It's one of the best of the breed currently in the market.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Greg Weld
Senior CI Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Video Review
Real User
Extremely stable systems with solid performance and big scalability possibilities

Pros and Cons

  • "Previously we had migrated from Dell EMC and we had a lot of difficulties moving data around. Now, if we need to move it to any slower storage, we can move it with just a vault move within the cluster. Even moving data between clusters is extremely simple using SnapMirror. The mobility options for data in All Flash FAS have been awesome."
  • "As for AFF itself, I don't have any suggestions of what I would be excited about seeing. I think that adding the support for the rest of APIs to AFF would be super handy. I think it's something that we've been waiting for for a while which would be fantastic."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case that we have for NetApp's All Flash FAS is for on-premise storage that we've used for presenting LANs, NFS, and SIF shares for servers for analytics and ESX data storage.

How has it helped my organization?

NetApp AFF has improved our organization through the use of clusters. Previously we had migrated from Dell EMC and we had a lot of difficulties moving data around. Now, if we need to move it to any slower storage, we can move it with just a vault move within the cluster. Even moving data between clusters is extremely simple using SnapMirror. The mobility options for data in All Flash FAS have been awesome. 

AFF has given us the ability to explore different technology initiatives because of the flexibility that it has, being able to fit it in like a puzzle piece to different products. For example, any other solutions that we've looked at, a lot of times those vendors have integration directly into NetApp, which we haven't found with other storage providers and so it's extremely helpful to have that tie-in.

This solution has also helped us to improve performance. We have hybrid arrays as well so that we can have things that are on slower storage. For the times that we need extremely fast storage, we can put it on AFF and we can use V-vaults if we need to to have different tiers and automatically put things where they need to be. It's really helped us to nail down performance problems when we need it to put them in places to fix them by just having the extreme performance.

Total cost to ownership has definitely dropped because with deduplication compression and compaction always on, we're able to fit a whole lot more in a smaller amount of space and still provide more performance than we had before. Our total cost per gigabyte ends up being less by going to All Flash.

What is most valuable?

Some of the most valuable features of All Flash are the speed, integration with vCenter, being able to clone VMs instantly, and the ability to move data around quickly.

The user experience with AFF is much like others of NetApp's products: fantastic. It's extremely familiar. It's very intuitive. We can find all of the features that we're looking for through the GUI. The CLI is tap complete so that if we aren't exactly sure what the syntax is for a command, we can just tap-complete it which makes it a lot easier than having to look up every single thing that we're trying to do and the way to do it.

Our use case for AFF with the public cloud is that it allows us burst ability so that when we need additional capacity and speed instantly, especially if we need more and we haven't bought new nodes yet, it allows us to burst into the cloud quickly. 

The setup and provisioning of enterprise apps depend a lot on the automation, which has had really fantastic integration, just for being able to use things like WFA for provisioning. It has sped things up with the extra software that NetApp provides to be able to speed things along.

What needs improvement?

NetApp's always got their eye on new features and new use cases for things before we even get to them. It's been pretty amazing that they'll come out with new features, and we haven't even been thinking that this is a way that we might be able to use this in the future. I've been really excited about some of their other products, like SnapCenter, which is fantastic. We are also interested in the single pane of glass to be able to do snapshots and backups for anything in our environment, as long as it involves NetApp.

As for AFF itself, I don't have any suggestions of what I would be excited to see. I think that adding the support for the rest of APIs to AFF would be super handy. I think it's something that we've been waiting for for a while which would be fantastic.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability's fantastic. In the past, I've seen problems with ONTAP where we'd hit bugs and things. Since NetApp has changed their development schedule to every six months with a lot more scrutiny on their code, and a lot more checking of their code before they include it, we've hit far fewer bugs. We've also had extremely stable systems with solid performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability's fantastic. Many times we have had to add capacity which included the compute power and the storage. We've just added HA pairs to the cluster and it's extremely easy to migrate over to those. You can just do vault moves to get over to the new nodes and then evict the old nodes from the cluster. The fact that you can scale up to 24 nodes gives you a great deal of scalability possibility.

How is customer service and technical support?

Their tech support is fantastic. NetApp is amazing with getting you through difficult problems. When you call into global support there's somebody that answers the phone quickly and they're extremely helpful. We have other NetApp resources like our sales SEs and people that help us out. There's always somebody there to point you in the right direction and help you to get the solutions to the problems you need.

What was our ROI?

There has been an amazing improvement on ROI due to racks base and power usage going to AFFs, like A700S's being so small and so efficient, take up way less space per terabyte which is a great improvement there. 

What other advice do I have?

I give AFF a ten out of ten because there are amazing features on it. It's extremely fast, it's extremely usable, and the support's fantastic. 

I would advise someone considering AFF as a possibility for storage, I would tell them to look at all the features, positives and negatives of all the other storage vendors. In the past year, I've done an evaluation of a lot of different storage vendors and their features. The cost-effectiveness of their products and NetApp have come far ahead of all the others and so don't just buy into somebody from NetApp telling you these are all the great things about it. If you research all of the other companies and all of their offerings, I have no doubt that you'll decide that NetApp is the top provider. From the speed of their product to their flexibility to move into the cloud to their awesome support.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Jaime Cogua
Senior Unix Storage Engineer at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
Video Review
Real User
Excellent user experience, the speed enables initiatives to include more databases and reports in the all flash

Pros and Cons

  • "NetApp tech support is so good. Their tech support has always been so stable and the people are so good in case of any failure or any good feature that needs to be updated or features that supposedly can help with performance to improve some performance. NetApp support is one of the best that I deal with."
  • "I would like to see the ability to include more applications from applications to managed storage. If we can have more applications or more interface in more applications, that would be great."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary usage for All Flash is for the Oracle Database. 

How has it helped my organization?

All Flash is improving our organization because we used to have the databases on different tiers and now All Flash is reducing the report time. All of the reports and processing is taking less time, so all the information is ready in the morning for the executives to make decisions.

This solution is also bringing up a new initiative for our company to include more databases or more reports into the All Flash because of the speed of getting the information.

For enterprise apps, we mostly use Oracle. All of the Oracle applications have been improved a lot since we began using All Flash. All of the processing and ETL, for instance, used to take 25 hours, now it is taking three. That improves a lot of parts of the price of applications.

TCO has decreased. After we acquired the AFF 8080, we got a couple of A 700s, and they are cheaper than the 8080. 

As the main uses for the all-flash we have is for Oracle. For us to provision a new VM with new databases takes 35 minutes exactly.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for us is the speed of the read of the information. We can get the information as fast as possible. 

The user experience we are getting from All Flash is excellent. The performance is great. The administration is exactly the same as all the other storage in NetApp which is great. It is very good, we are so pleased.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the ability to include more applications from applications to managed storage. If we can have more applications or more interface in more applications, that would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is even better with version 9 with all the Oracle Databases including OVM, which is a virtualization of the Oracle.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability of the All Flash is the same as the other. We can increase the amount of storage needed as we need it. As we buy them we just add them up with no downtime required. We just go ahead and increase the size, that is it.

How are customer service and technical support?

NetApp tech support is so good. Their tech support has always been so stable and the people are so good in case of any failure or any good feature that needs to be updated or features that supposedly can help with performance to improve some performance. NetApp support is one of the best that I deal with.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a ten for the huge improvement in performance between All Flash and the hybrid storage to the All Flash with the ONTAP 9. From 8.2 to 8.3 to 9, the performance is almost double. Ten is the best answer I can give.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ME
Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Video Review
Real User
Robust hardware, simplistic and deploys easily

Pros and Cons

  • "Scalability is excellent. If we need more space, it's a no downtime solution. It's harder to get the funding than it is to get the solution itself."
  • "I come tech support with difficulty because I installed NetApp for many years I know what to expect when I call. When I don't get their support tech that I'm expecting and I'm trying to get to the right one, it can get very frustrating for me personally, trying to all-flash push my way into the right person. NetApp has the right people, it's just a matter of getting to them."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for its speed. We're using the AFF as a cache disk. We have terabytes of data that we have to move quickly off a system. The only way we could do that is with the 40 gig backbone that all-flash array provides and the speed of the disks.

What is most valuable?

Besides for the speed, one of the most valuable features that the AFF gives me is the robust hardware that it has. It's simplistic. It deploys very easily. It's already built from the factory to take advantage of the all-flash array.

I would describe the user experience of the solution as very simplistic. There's a very easy GUI to use, and then when you need to get very, very detailed, you have a robust command line that you could do anything you want with to enhance performance for your solutions. Really what we're using the AFF for is solely for speed. We really need the power of the backbone and the speed of the disks because we have to move so much data.

Setting up and provisioning enterprise applications take minutes. It's just not difficult. We only have to use the GUI, curate the spaces, and go. I've set up entire NetApp systems in a morning.

What needs improvement?

I don't need anything improved. This solution does what I need it to do. I would like to see a cleaner GUI and better help pages. The solution itself doesn't bother, a lot of times it's that after it's installed. I have more issues with the support after the setup. I want it to be more simplistic than it already is and I would love to see the GUI be more simplistic.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far the system has been excellent, no complaints. NetApp has always been built as a massively fault-tolerant system. If we have a problem, it just doesn't show it. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is excellent. If we need more space it's a no downtime solution. It's harder to get the funding than it is to get the solution itself.

How are customer service and technical support?

I go to tech support with difficulty because I installed NetApp for many years I know what to expect when I call. When I don't get the support tech that I'm expecting and I'm trying to get to the right one, it can get very frustrating for me to push my way to the right person. NetApp has the right people, it's just a matter of getting to them.

How was the initial setup?

I installed NetApp for many, many years. The initial setup of NetApp is very simplistic. Even as an installer, for years upon years, there's a giant poster board that I still use to this day, because that tells me exactly where my cables are supposed to go. It just gets me off the ground quickly and then it's just a matter of following the GUI and knowing what you're doing.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate the product at least an eight. I should give it a nine, if not a ten, but there's always room for improvement. 

I would tell someone considering this solution that it's expensive, but it's worth the money. You're going to get the speed and the backbones that you need to accomplish what you do. If you need that kind of speed and that kind of performance, you can get it out of the AFF.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DS
Payload Integration at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Reduces the time to move data around as well as boot and migrate VMs

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution makes everything a lot faster. The time to move data around, boot and migrate VMs is much faster."
  • "I need faster Fibre Channel over Ethernet. They top out at 10GBs today and I would like that to go to 40 or 100."

What is our primary use case?

AFF is our primary source for our data centers. We use it for our multi-tenancy data center. We like the crypto erase function available on the SSDs and we needed the high performance, IOPs that you can get from SSDs.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution makes everything a lot faster. The time to move data around, boot, and migrate VMs is much faster. The speed has also helped improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs.

What is most valuable?

We like the high security, self-encrypting drives, and the NVMe.

What needs improvement?

I need faster Fibre Channel over Ethernet. They top out at 10GBs today and I would like that to go to 40 or 100.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I find it very stable. Everything's been up and running well. We actually had an outage in our testbed data center and everything shut off hard and came back up without any problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support is good, although I don't use them that much. The product is good. 

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

We have always been a NetApp customer, it's a very good product. We knew that we wanted more performance. It wasn't a hard decision. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup was pretty complex. There was a lot of compliance and there was a lot of security requirements, but it went pretty well.

It took us two to three days to set up and provision enterprise applications using AFF because we're a little different. We do short duration uses which means that we build everything from scratch, tear it down, and build it again. 

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

Our total cost of ownership has increased. SSDs are expensive. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In the early days, we were considering Dell EMC but we decided to go with NetApp because its adoption across the DoD is widely understood.

What other advice do I have?

The user experience is the same as it ever was, only faster. 

I would rate this solution as a nine. It's not a ten because we would like to see the faster speeds on the Fibre Channel over Ethernet. AFF is definitely a good product. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Sonu Parmar
IT Manager at TELUS Corporation
Real User
When we move to all-flash, our response times were reduced to microseconds

Pros and Cons

  • "When we move to all-flash, our response times were reduced to microseconds."
  • "It has improved performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs. These improvements are a result of all-flash, throughput, reliability, compression, etc."
  • "One of the features that I am looking for, which is already in the works, is to be able to take my code and automatically move it to the cloud."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for NFS and CIFS to structure data. We have about a couple of petabytes of all-flash.

How has it helped my organization?

Some of the volumes for our response times were 30 to 40 millisecond. When we move to all-flash, our response times were reduced to microseconds. There was a tremendous improvement. In terms of the dedupe and compression, it is squeezing the physical size where we are now seeing an 80 percent reduction, which is very positive.

The solution has affected IT’s ability to positively support new business initiatives.

It has improved performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs. These improvements are a result of all-flash, throughput, reliability, compression, etc.

    What is most valuable?

    • Deduplication
    • Compression
    • Speed
    • The user experience is fast.

    What needs improvement?

    One of the features that I am looking for, which is already in the works, is to be able to take my code and automatically move it to the cloud. I believe this is coming out in version 9.4.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have been running it for two to three years. It hasn't gone down yet. It can't get anymore reliable than that.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Thanks to dedupe, our physical footprint is quite a lot. All the scalability that we have done, we have so far done it within our organization. We haven't expanded it physically yet.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Since the product hasn't gone down in three year, there hasn't been a need to contact technical support.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. Nothing to it. The professional services from NetApp came in to help us out, and they knew their stuff.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used NetApp for the deployment and our own resources. The experience was very positive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The vendors on our shortlist were Oracle, Dell EMC, and Hitachi.

    We chose NetApp because we were already using it, which make things simple, and its pricing. Also, some of NetApp's features are dominant in the market versus its competitors.

    What other advice do I have?

    With all-flash, you can never go wrong. I am in the process of converting everything to all-flash.

    We are not currently connected to the public clouds. We are looking to connect to them in 2019.

    It takes us days to setup and provision enterprise applications using this solution.

    We chose this solution because vendors are choosing all-flash over hybrid.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
    Rodrigo Carte
    Head of IT at Inacap
    Real User
    It takes us just minutes to set up and provision an enterprise application using the tool

    Pros and Cons

    • "There are many reports accessing the applications. We receive them very quickly. We used to wait a long time for them. Now, you just need to wait a moment."
    • "If you need a replacement part, they will provide it."
    • "We would like to have more behavioral reporting."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use data storage for our big environment. It creates an environment where students and teachers can work together. 

    We did the installation two months ago. Now, we are reviewing its affect on behavior over time, which has been incredible. We have less latency within all applications. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    There are many reports accessing the applications. We receive them very quickly. We used to wait a long time for them. Now, you just need to wait a moment.

    It takes us just minutes to set up and provision an enterprise application using AFF.

    What is most valuable?

    • The most valuable feature is the backup, which is fast.
    • The data analytics are an incredible tool.
    • The equipment is superior quality.
    • If you need a replacement part, they will provide it.

    What needs improvement?

    We would like to have more behavioral reporting. We would also like to have more optimization and credit check reporting.

    In addition, I am waiting for the version that has SnapMirroring with FlexGroup.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is 100 percent. I don't have any downtime.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I am very impressed with the scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is invaluable. If you need answers to a problem, they provide good answers. I am very happy with it.

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

    If you are compare it with our last application, IBM FS840, AFF is incredible in comparison. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was not complex, but we have good project management skills.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used an integrator who was very professional and helped a lot. They finished the implementation on time.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI.

    Our TCO has increased by 15 to 18 percent.

    What other advice do I have?

    I am not using VMs today, but maybe in the future I will.

    We have not yet connected to public clouds.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    MV
    SAN Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Maximizes Performance Of Our Critical Applications And Provides Flexible Scaling

    Pros and Cons

    • "My favorite part is all-flash solid drives. All of my applications are running on an all-flash array. Before, we used to get too many severity tickets on performance, but as soon as we migrated everything to an all-flash array, our critical applications are at top performance."
    • "To be more competitive in the industry, they can develop deduplication, compression, and smarter features in the same array instead of all-flash."

    What is our primary use case?

    NetApp is introducing All Flash FAS with the all-flash array. Our customers like performance, they don't want to deal with latency. Using an all-flash array, our customers get impact from performance.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I can definitely say it has helped our orginization. We have an SQL application server, which is in our NetApp storage. The records contain the number of transactions. Since my company is a financial company, we always look into transactions. NetApp all-flash array is faster than we're used to. The read and write, and the random IOPS are all up to speed. I don't see much of a difference when I run the 100k random IOPS with a 70% read and 30% write, and vice versa, 70% write and 30% read. That's a big improvement that we've seen since we started using this solution. It is a valuable asset.

    What is most valuable?

    They have come up with good back-end architecture. The features are the same as NetApp ONTAP. The only change is all-flash. There are no 7k, 10k, or 15k drives, only flash drives.

    My favorite part is all-flash solid drives. All of my applications are running on an all-flash array. Before, we used to get too many severity tickets on performance, but as soon as we migrated everything to an all-flash array, our critical applications are at top performance.

    We are very happy with the user experience from the all-flash array. Because their usual latency for the application depends on the critical application - they used to see four-millisecond latency with the non-all-flash array - with the all-flash array, they don't even see microseconds of latency. They might see microseconds, but that is not impactful.

    What needs improvement?

    To be more competitive in the industry, they can develop deduplication, compression, and smarter features in the same array instead of all-flash.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's better with all-flash. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is good. Compared to the different vendors, the scalability is very flexible, in the sense that you can scale up to whatever you want, expand your storage, expand your clusters, expand your nodes. NetApp makes it possible. Some vendors have come up with models that won't expand their nodes, which creates the need to buy different clusters. For example, let's say I have four nodes. My four nodes have the capability of taking one million IOPS, but my storage backend isn't complete, so I can't expand that. So the nodes are of no use. NetApp is not only thinking from the customer's point of view, but they are also thinking about every other prospective use and they include a lot in all-flash drives.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    It's very good. I have never personally seen any issues with the technical support.

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

    Our previous solution had performance issues. I see a lot of value in faster policies. I don't like when critical applications are running on drives with different speeds. When customers need to track all of their data and it's sitting on a 7k drive, the drive is working hard. The response is slow. With all-flash, it's better. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is straightforward. It's not complex.

    We have connected to AFF public clouds but I'm not really dealing with it.

    It took us less than two minutes to set up and provision enterprise applications using AFF. 

    What about the implementation team?

    We used NetApp, but we could've deployed it ourselves. NetApp Support knows the best practices. A good thing about NetApp is that even customers can easily deploy the storage. With other vendors, you usually have to entirely rely on them for deployment and all facets of the solution. 

    What was our ROI?

    We definitely see ROI. We save a lot more money with this solution.

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

    Using NetApp, our total cost of ownership decreased by 17%. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Other vendors aren't as straightforward as NetApp when it comes to the deploying, installing, and configuring. NetApp works more efficiently. By saving time, you're saving money.

    What other advice do I have?

    AFF has affected IT's ability to support new business initiatives. Nowadays, customers in financial companies are looking for more storage. From a business point of view, you need a faster response in order to compete with other financial companies. From the customer's point of view, they are looking for a faster response from their financial company. Using all-flash array, they can retrieve their old files within seconds. That's an important edge.

    AFF helps us improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics on VMs. It helps us with records. We need to be able to calculate more performance matters. Customers have complained that the performance latency exceeds more than three milliseconds for some applications. They will have delayed performance latency. When I used the 7.2k drives, applications could only support 300 accounts per second. If it was more than that, it would crash. NetApp all-flash array gives us one million IOPS.

    I would rate this product a ten because of flash. Because AFF is better for the customer, provisionally, deployment, and performance-wise.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ZM
    Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Reseller
    The file-based protocol supports NFS and CIFS

    Pros and Cons

    • "NetApp AFF is based on Unix, which makes it secure."
    • "The file-based protocol supports NFS and CIFS."
    • "There are some bugs with the solution which need to be fixed."

    What is our primary use case?

    Whenever we face any issues with performance, particularly any performance with our high outreaching storage site, we are recommended to use an all-flash service, because we rely on our primary solution at all times. If it seem like there are issues, we have bring in different vendors as a buffer. We have adopted an all-flash primary solution with this use case.

    How has it helped my organization?

    From the automation point of view, we want zero down time for our clients with good scalability and good performance. Client satisfaction is the most important to us.

    We haven't received any negative feedback yet. If we are not receiving any complaints from the client side, then it says that the client is okay with the product.

    This solution helps us improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs.

    What is most valuable?

    • NetApp AFF is based on Unix, which makes it secure.
    • The file-based protocol supports NFS and CIFS.
    • Capacity and latency with the AFF are good. We haven't seen a delay of latency nor performance issues. No issues have been recorded from the client so far.

    What needs improvement?

    There are some bugs with the solution which need to be fixed.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The client should not record with any type of stability issues, whether it be latency or features being affected. We should not find any module portions being affected because of performance issues. There should be continuous good performance as long as product performs.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is good.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    For vendor coordination, the technical support has been good. They do good work and analysis on things that I need. They specifically provide good answers to my questions.

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

    Our previous solution had issues with capacity, monitoring, and performance. These are the core areas where the customer was feeling the pain. So, we get them to a different place with a proper solution and fix for the issues. I feel like AFF has the features the customer needs. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Other vendors, who do other similar solution products, envy the features that come with this NetApp product.

    Our shortlist was Dell EMC and HPE. These are the vendors with whom I have worked. I feel all the vendors are very good, along with NetApp. However, NetApp has file-based and block-based features, which gives it additional value.

    What other advice do I have?

    We have connected this solution to public clouds. We have different clients using the public cloud solution. Our public cloud has clients signed up for SAP HANA. There are many applications which are running on front-end databases, like Oracle, MySQL, etc. 

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
    BP
    Storage Architect at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Our TCO decreased significantly by condensing arrays and reducing maintenance fees

    Pros and Cons

    • "We just migrated two petabytes of data storage from IBM over to NetApp All Flash. Some of the performance improvement that we've seen is 100 times I/O and microsecond latency."
    • "We can go through and do an upgrade without worrying about any issues with the process"
    • "Technical support is a little lackluster. Some of the issues that we've had were opening up tickets. They seem to be routed in the wrong direction or it takes one or two days to get a call back for simple tasks."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for block storage.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It takes no time at all for our production instance to be snapped over to development and QA servers.

    Because so many other features and products interoperate with NetApp, the IT team is able to expand our horizons and broaden our scope for future projects.

    What is most valuable?

    • SnapMirror
    • SnapVault
    • FlexClone capabilities

    What needs improvement?

    It takes a good administrator or someone with knowledge of the product in order to manage it. That was one of the downfalls that we had with AFF. We have a lot of offshore team whom we have to spend a lot of time training to be up to speed. However, once they're up to speed, they know the product pretty well, and it seems to be okay.

    The hardware is a little difficult to configure and operate. However, with the configuration and operation, you get a different nerd knobs that you can use to design and critique the environment.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is great. I like the capability and the upgrade functionality of all the clustered environment. We can go through and do an upgrade without worrying about any issues with the process. 

    It takes a node offline, and we don't even receive an alert for that. We click a button, and it's done unlike other storage systems which are out there

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    One of the scalability problems that we've had is the amount of storage per node, as it is 600 terabytes. This still seems a little low. However, there is a compute issue with large capacity, so it's just smarter to add additional nodes into a cluster. So, the scalability is there.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is a little lackluster. Some of the issues that we've had were opening up tickets. They seem to be routed in the wrong direction or it takes one or two days to get a call back for simple tasks. However, if we want immediate assistance, we have to open up a Severity 1 case, and sometimes it's not a Severity 1. But if we need a response back within four hours, we'll open it as a Severity 1, then once they contact us, we can drop the severity of the ticket.

    Calling technical support with NetApp, you talk to ten unknowledgeable people to get one half decent person. It becomes frustrating, especially if you have an immediate need for an enterprise outage.

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

    We were running into a lot of storage roadblocks that were performance based. Also, the IBM product that we were using was at the end of life for 90 percent of our enterprise.

    I spent 15 years with IBM. Anytime I go into a data center, and I see Big Blue, it is the first thing that I replace.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward, but complex. With the new clustered environment, you have to have a virtual server instance to run anything through the cluster, so you have to create a B server and a data logical interface to use block, then you create a separate lift if you want it to use files. The virtual instances have to be in place before you can actually use the product.

    What about the implementation team?

    I did the deployment, integration, and migration. We've done two petabytes in less than six months, and we're almost done.

    The experience was great when it comes to our virtual environment. It was a very simple process. We use vMotion and it moves everything across. It is a little more painful when it comes to standalone systems and Oracle Databases, but the integrated migration product (Foreign LUN migration) that they have, once configured properly, works well.

    What was our ROI?

    Our TCO decreased significantly because we were paying maintenance on nine different arrays throughout the country. We've condensed those down to three arrays, and our maintenance fees from the IBM product dropped by over a half million dollars a year, saving us $500,000 USD.

    We just migrated two petabytes of data storage from IBM over to NetApp All Flash. Some of the performance improvement that we've seen is 100 times I/O and microsecond latency.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The two vendors that made it through the evaluation process were Pure Storage and NetApp. We had Pure Storage and NetApp proof of concepts. Both of them performed admirably. Pure Storage beat out on the performance, but on price per terabyte, NetApp was considerablely cheaper.

    What other advice do I have?

    NetApp, being the behemoth company that it is, if you're looking to have a solution provider be end-to-end when it comes to file, block, scale, and cloud, NetApp is probably the leader of the market.

    Depending upon an application, provision enterprise applications could take from a day to a week. A lot of times, if it's just a simple application that we need to install, it takes an afternoon. However, incorporating it and twisting the nerd knobs and making sure that everything is operating as efficiently as possible that takes a week of deployment to make sure it's on the right tiered disk and making sure it has the right connectivity and it is on the right network. Sometimes, on our old, antiquated network environment, it takes a little bit longer.

    We might connect to public cloud in the future, but we are not connect at the moment.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user805152
    Technical Solution Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    The technical support is fantastic. No one else is like their team. We're happy with them.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Even though the complete workload will fill out the AFF storage box, it will give us sustained stability."
    • "The technical support is fantastic. No one else is like their team. We're happy with them."
    • "Going forward, I would like improvement in the response latencies, capacity size, cache, and controller size."

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is availability, performance, bandwidth, and throughput with respect to our applications.

    We are currently using an on-premise solution.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The user experience is fantastic. I'm looking forward to the AFF 800 storage box, which is all-flash with NVMe technologies. This will certainly give a boost to our applications, and make for a better user experience.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuables features is the response time that we are receiving from the AFF storage box. We are looking for performance and delivery times of the response from the host, which we are happy with.

    What needs improvement?

    We are looking forward to the all-flash NVMe which is coming out.

    Going forward, I would like improvement in the response latencies, capacity size, cache, and controller size. It also needs more fine tuning in regards to all-flash and AML workloads.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Even though the complete workload will fill out the AFF storage box, it will give us sustained stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    One of the key features of the AFF storage box is its horizontal scalability.

    Our new business initiatives, which are coming, demand more IOPS and performance. Our applications are scaling, which demand more performance in a very short span of time. This solution will improve technology driven things.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is fantastic. No one else is like their team. We're happy with them.

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

    Our previous solutions were Hitachi, Siemens, and NetApp. We switched to AFF because it had all-flash, better performance, and better response times. It also scales better.

    We used to do applications running on mechanical disk. With the introduction of SDDs and AFF All Flash, this has given us substantial improvements in our applications' performance.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was easy for us. The consultant was always there to support us. They have always been helpful in understanding the technical points, how it will help us going forward in terms of implementation, future scalability, and possible upgrade of storage components.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a NetApp consultant for the deployment, who we have also used for the sizing. Our experience with them was very good.

    What was our ROI?

    It does have good ROI.

    We are able to set up and provision enterprise applications using AFF quickly. We have seen tremendous performance, stability and growth in it. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    NetApp met our requirements.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is the first company who introduced NVMe protocols, which is end-to-end. It also has very good response times.

    The NVMe technology that we're evaluating will certainly help us with artificial intelligence going forward.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Ed Alexander
    Senior Systems Administrator at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    It has extremely high performance, and the storage efficiency is far superior to a typical FAS

    Pros and Cons

    • "AFF helps us improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics and VMs. We have moved our primary data stores for production over to AFF, and a lot of the problems that might happened have gone away."
    • "It scales well, probably more so than the FAS. Because of the storage density with the SSDs, we can't buy enough SSDs to max one out."
    • "We are spending less time putting out fires, so there's a tangible benefit right there."
    • "On the roadmap, NetApp is improving the solution's storage efficiency, compression algorithms to achieve more space savings, and the management interfaces. We are looking forward to these feature additions in the next release."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for high performance, block storage, and file storage. 

    The highest performance need apps are usually deployed on AFF. We're using adaptive QoS to identify what applications require higher performance and moving those volumes over to the AFF.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We are able to offer higher performance to meet the business needs. We see far less issues with applications complaining about not getting the throughput they need, the IOPS, or that they are getting to high of a latency. We put it on AFF and the issues go away.

    The user experience with AFF is fast and secure, with continuous access to data. Our users typically don't know where we're putting their data unless we have some benefit in telling them. If they say, "It's not fast enough," we put it over here, and they say, "It's good now. We're happy." Though, we have to be judicious in how we move it, because storage is a bit expensive. Although, the higher storage efficiencies somewhat compensate for it.

    The solution is providing IT more headroom so we can give higher performance to more applications. Like every business, our data footprint is growing. Our applications account is growing, and we're just able to keep up with it now somewhat better than we were before.

    We are spending less time putting out fires, so there's a tangible benefit right there.

    What is most valuable?

    • It has extremely high performance. 
    • The storage efficiency is far superior to a typical FAS.
    • The administration is ONTAP, so it's not like you have a new platform to learn. Everything is consistent with what we have been doing for years.

    What needs improvement?

    On the roadmap, NetApp is improving the solution's storage efficiency, compression algorithms to achieve more space savings, and the management interfaces. We are looking forward to these feature additions in the next release.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Like every NetApp platform, it's very stable. Occasionally, we hit a bug, but you encounter that everywhere. We've never had any problems specific to AFF. Overall, our problems with NetApp products have been minimal. It is a solid platform.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It scales well, probably more so than the FAS. Because of the storage density with the SSDs, we can't buy enough SSDs to max one out.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    As with all NetApp tech support, it's outstanding. It is the best in the industry. It is very easy to escalate.

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

    We didn't technically switch solutions. We just augmented it because we have been a NetApp customer for awhile. Thus, we're going from FAS to AFF, which is just a natural progression.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was not complex. Even though it's a higher performing platform, you run it, manage it, and administer it the same as you do any FAS.

    What about the implementation team?

    We have a VAR, Tego Data Systems, whom we work with closely. They know our environment as well as we do. So, when we come to them with a need, we don't have to spend a lot of time feeding them background. They're ready to hit the ground running.

    What was our ROI?

    Our TCO has probably stayed about the same per terabyte of user data.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at other vendors (Kaminario, Pure Storage, Dell EMC, and IBM), but decided that it made the most sense to stay with NetApp. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I would look at the performance of AFF, its reliability, and its outstanding tech support. 

    AFF is the wave of the future. Spinning disk will be going away and it just makes sense to go where the industry is going.

    AFF helps us improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics and VMs. We have moved our primary data stores for production over to AFF, and a lot of the problems that might happened have gone away.

    To set up and provision enterprise applications using this solution is quick. We're integrating it with ServiceNow, so it is a hands-off storage allocation. A user submits a request and can have storage in five to ten minutes.

    We are not yet connected to any public clouds.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    TF
    Senior Storage Engineer at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    The stability is solid. We are in a critical business and can't have any percentage of downtime.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The stability is solid. It doesn't fail on us, which is exactly what we want. We are in a critical business that we can't have any percentage of downtime."
    • "We were migrating from Data ONTAP 7-Mode to its Cluster-Mode. Therefore, we had to get swing gear, then do the migration from loner gear and back onto our new gear. This was a bit difficult. It took us several months to do multiple migrations."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for data storage, applications, and CIFS shares.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Through its Cluster-Mode, it's quicker. It also improves Exchange and SQL Databases.

    What is most valuable?

    • Compaction
    • Single-instance storage
    • Its compression features

    What needs improvement?

    I am still trying to wrap my head around all its features.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is solid. It doesn't fail on us, which is exactly what we want. We are in a critical business that we can't have any percentage of downtime. Therefore, if it stays up, that is what we want. We have been dependent on NetApp for almost a decade now.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    For capacity of storage, we manage about three petabytes of data. It is exactly what we need in terms of scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is first rate. We are very satisfied with it.

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

    Our last solution was at end of life and warranty. We went from NetApp to NetApp, so we stayed with NetApp, but we move to the latest, greatest solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's always a little bit complex when you're trying to integrate a new piece of hardware, with cluster mode as well. There's always a learning curve, but with that curve, there is knowledge which stays with me for the life of that technology. So, that learning curve is essential.

    We were migrating from Data ONTAP 7-Mode to its Cluster-Mode. Therefore, we had to get swing gear, then do the migration from loner gear and back onto our new gear. This was a bit difficult. It took us several months to do multiple migrations. Fortunately now, we are on Cluster-Mode and don't have to do that again.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a combination of a reseller/consultant. They did a great job handholding us all the way for any type of issues that we had with mission critical data. E.g., multimillion dollar uptime everyday ensuring we had virtually no issues.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI, especially in terms of data points and availability.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate other solutions. Our history with Net App is that it is a stable platform and does what we want it to do. It's not extremely complicated, and it's something which is tangible that we have used and want to continue using.

    What other advice do I have?

    Figuring out the basics as to what NetApp offers. It is not something that you can just dive into as you will need to have a bit of background knowledge of it. However, there is plenty of help out to to learn the technology, and it's very tangible. 

    Give it a go. I would recommend it. We are very satisfied with it and the whole deployment of it. We have almost seamlessly transitioned our production environment into a completely new hardware environment on the back-end.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    CW
    Sys Admin at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Replication and performance are key features for us - we have extemely low latency

    Pros and Cons

    • "Replication would be one of the most valuable features."
    • "The SRA stuff that intergrades with SRM is a problem point. It's a pain point. The support personnel aren't always knowledgeable on that product. At times, they are not even aware what product is supported and what is not, when one has been deprecated and there is a new one out, and what the bug fixes of the newer version are."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for all of our VM storage.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I don't know if it improved the way our organization functions, but I know we don't have any storage outages or slowdowns at this point. We just did a refresh about six months ago to the A700s and we have been very happy with the performance of those boxes.

    Our latency is extremely low. We average below a millisecond.

    What is most valuable?

    The replication would be one of the most valuable features. That's not just on the All Flash FAS, but that's a big one. The performance is also good.

    What needs improvement?

    I'm not sure if they can do it. We are using encryption. I'd like the deduplication crossed volumes encrypted. But I don't know if that's really technically possible.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability has been really good. We've had just a couple of minor hardware issues but nothing big; DIMMs that were bad and that had to be replaced. But it's been very good so far.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I know it scales but we are not looking to scale it out at this point.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is a little hit and miss, at least with the particular things that I've called for. The SRA stuff that intergrades with SRM is a problem point. It's a pain point. The support personnel aren't always knowledgeable on that product. At times, they are not even aware what product is supported and what is not, when one has been deprecated and there is a new one out, and what the bug fixes of the newer version are.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was straightforward. We did greenfield. We went to two new data centers so the installation of it was pretty straightforward.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used an integrator. It was very good. We partnered with them a couple times before, which makes for a pretty easy and seamless transition. And ONTAP is easy that way anyway, but they do a really good job of making it an easy transition.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We were pretty heavily invested in NetApp. We did look at INFINIDAT, but it just wasn't something that we were comfortable with.

    What other advice do I have?

    The product is about a nine out of then. We have been very happy with the performance. There have been a few minor issues. We failover a couple times a year. In some of the failovers, the SRAs haven't worked exactly as designed. If the SRA was better, maybe not bundled in with the whole Snap solution, that might help.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PH
    Executive director IT Systems at MemorialCare Health System
    Real User
    Highly stable, it gives us the speed and reliability we need

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for electronic medical record storage.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Because we use the production environment and copy down to test environments, we've taken it from days to hours.

    What is most valuable?

    • Speed
    • Reliability

    What needs improvement?

    The next solution needs to simplify the day-to-day operations.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is excellent. It's highly stable. We've just never really had a failure since we put it in. It's been two years.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There have been no issues of scalability, for our use.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been very good. We use scripting called WFA, and we've had a little bit of an issue with that, going from the first generation to the second generation. But the actual hardware, product, and support itself have been excellent.

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

    We were moving to a new data center, so we needed it.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was complex. The fact that it has to interact with both IBMs - AIX - and with the Epic application, means there are three vendors in the mix.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used an integrator, Sirius. Our experience with them was excellent. Sirius already knew the environment it was coming from, the reseller was an IBM flash storage environment. They brought it over to a NetApp flash environment.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    There were really only two on the shortlist: IBM and NetApp. We chose NetApp because we had an opportunity to make all of our environment NetApp.

    What other advice do I have?

    I definitely recommend it. It's very complex to set up. Everything is. Even though it's complex, NetApp, out of the other two options, would probably be the least complex.

    I would rate it a nine out of ten. We haven't had any failures in the production environment. The only issue, as I said, is that we've had some trouble with the scripting. Otherwise, we'd give it a ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    RA
    Storage Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Helped reduce our latency and increase our job flow

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it in the healthcare industry.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's helped with latency. It has improved our job flows.

    What is most valuable?

    It's fast and reliable.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see more functionality with the external software, SnapCenter. There should also be more integration with the flash side of things. But overall, it's been pretty good.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    My impression of the stability is that it's good. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's pretty scalable. When you add more to the environment it helps things, overall.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been really good. NetApp support has been really helpful. We have a SAM that we use as well, and he helps us with issues that come up, bugs, etc.

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

    We were pushing what we had too far on performance. It wasn't so good, so that's when we looked at All Flash.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was really straightforward, for the most part. We were used to working with FAS already and this is just adding All Flash and SSD to the mix. It's a lot of the same standards we had already.

    What about the implementation team?

    For the installation and configuration, we've done the recent ones directly through NetApp. Our experience with them has been positive.

    What was our ROI?

    We'll have the solid-state drives around longer so we won't be turning over controllers or disk as fast.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Our shortlist was really just NetApp, in our situation. We're pretty much all NetApp. We didn't evaluate anything else for this particular project.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend NetApp.

    I rate it at nine out of ten, and close to a ten. We've been pretty happy with the All Flash.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    JS
    Senior in technology and engineer at a marketing services firm
    Real User
    Ease of use, stablility, and excellent support have been the prime benefits for us

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for data storage.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have more storage capacity. Managing it is easier and it's available anytime we want it.

    What is most valuable?

    • Ease of use
    • Availability

    What needs improvement?

    Everybody's moving to the cloud. We, as a financial company, are moving to it as well. We need to find out what about the security of the information that we have on it. That's the main thing that they need to talk be talking about. How secure is that information?

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is extremely good. It's very stable. We've been running it for about four years now. We haven't had any hiccup with it so far. Okay, there have been a few here and there, but they have been easy to resolve with the engineers that we have.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The reason we have it is that it's very scalable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is excellent. We have an excellent team with NetApp. They help us and they are available anytime that we need them.

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

    We knew we needed to invest in a new solution because everybody is moving forward. We don't want to stand still.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. They had all the codes with them, they just implemented them on the system and, next thing we knew, it was up and running.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a consultant for the deployment. Our experience with them was extremely good. They knew what they were talking about, they made it easy, and didn't take a long time.

    What was our ROI?

    The amount of data that's stored is increasing day by day. We are a financial company so we have new customers every day and we need to keep their information safe and secure. It definitely has that return on investment in that we didn't have to invest in something else, outside of what we have now.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    There was one other option we looked at but it didn't have the scalability. It also didn't have the support that we needed. The experience that we have with NetApp support is excellent.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would definitely encourage colleagues to go ahead with it. I have had a great experience with it. I would definitely encourage them that this is the way to go.

    I rate this product at ten out of ten. It's easy. Once you know your way around it, there is nothing to it. You can do it in a flash.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    SS
    Data Delivery at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    The Initial Setup Is Easy And Straightforward; There Is No Complexity.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It's pretty scalable. It can scale up to 24 nodes."
    • "It is stable. In my three years working with the storage, I haven't seen any issues with our NetApp product."
    • "The product should be more competitive and come up with additional features. They should keep the client always in mind and as the top priority. This would be the best way to compete with other solutions."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are it for CIFS, NFS, and NAS. We are also using it for the cloud environment.

    How has it helped my organization?

    They have come up with top of the line inline deduplication. They are delivering compression and aggregate compaction, as well. Everything is improving with their new features coming out on a day-to-day basis.

    What is most valuable?

    • Inline deduplication
    • Compaction
    • I've seen them compress it a lot, which provides efficiency.

    These features are missing from other products in market.

    What needs improvement?

    The product should be more competitive and come up with additional features. They should keep the client always in mind and as the top priority. This would be the best way to compete with other solutions.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is stable. In my three years working with the storage, I haven't seen any issues with our NetApp product.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We started with a cluster of two nodes, then we reached a six node cluster. We have scaled this up, as needed, whenever we saw a requirement coming up from the client. 

    It's pretty scalable. It can scale up to 24 nodes.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    From a technical perspective, the technical support is good.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is easy and straightforward; there is no complexity.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used our vendor partner for the installation. We do have multiple vendors with whom we deal with for the procurement of NetApp devises. So, we call with them to come and do the deployment for us, as per our company standards. Our experience with these vendors is good.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend NetApp. It is a good product to use. 

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    CM
    Network Services Manager at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Before this solution, patients would have to wait for answers; now they get them almost instantaneously

    Pros and Cons

    • "The most valuable feature, primarily, would be speed. That's why we got it. Storage is costly but it's very, very fast. Very efficient, very fast."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for our EHR. We have 4,000 users who need to have access to a very large EHR called Epic. We are sharing a cache database through AIX servers. 

      How has it helped my organization?

      It made everything faster. The user performance went from about eight seconds, for certain screens, down to three seconds per screen. That was the primary reason. Our users can multitask faster. The way Epic works is that you have multiple screens up at the same time. When you have multiple screens up at the same time and you have a patient sitting in front of you, speed is quality. Where before, the patient would have to wait for answers, now they get them almost instantaneously. Our users can run multiple things at the same time. For the users, the nurses and doctors, it is faster. All around faster.

      As for IT's ability to support new business initiatives as a result of using this product, we are upgrading to Epic 2018 next year. The older system couldn't have supported it. That is another reason we went to a faster system. Epic has very high standards to make sure that, if you buy the upgrade, you will be able to support the upgrade. They advised me, top to bottom, make sure you can do it. Our new system passed everything. It's way faster.

      We have VMs and we're were running VDI. We're running VMware Horizon View. We have about 900 VMs running on it and we have about another 400 Hyper-V servers running on it. Our footprint is very tiny now versus before. We now have some 30 servers running 1,000 machines where we used to have 1,000 machines running 1,000 machines. We have Exchange, SQL, and Oracle and huge databases running out of it with no problem at all, including Epic. It's full but it's very fast.

      It takes us a minute or two minutes to set up and provision enterprise applications using the product. We can spin up a VM in about 30 seconds and have SQL up and running, for the DBAs to go in and do their work, in about two minutes.

      What is most valuable?

      It would primarily be speed. That's why we got it. Storage is costly but it's very, very fast. Very efficient, very fast.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Zero downtime so far. We've had it for two years.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We have not had to scale it. We bought it at about 128 terabytes and, right now, we are probably at about 80 or 90. Because of the upgrade, next year we are going to grow 30 percent. We will probably upgrade in 2020 or increase the space.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Zero downtime, so we've never really called. The engineer who supports it will call for firmware upgrades or for a yellow light: "Why is it on?" For the most part, we haven't had any issues with it at all.

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

      We were on a standard NetApp but we upgraded to the FAS because of performance. We had it in for a test and it succeeded. That's why we bought it.

      I have been with the company for 20 years and we have had NetApp for 20 years. We did switch over to IBM, about ten years ago, right before we went to Epic. But Epic said, "No IBM. NetApp." We were switching from NetApp to IBM, because IBM had a little bit of advantage, a long time ago. Then Epic came in and said, "No, switch back." So, we're back.

      How was the initial setup?

      We have clusters but our guy doesn't know how to do the cluster side of things. That's what the reseller did, primarily.

      What about the implementation team?

      We used a reseller, IAS. They have helped us. Our experience with them is good. We have had them for 20 years.

      What was our ROI?

      The benefit of getting the product, versus not getting the product, has allowed the clinic to do more. Since they are doing more, the return on investment is shrinking. We bought it two years ago and we have probably already paid for it.

      The old NetApp we had was paid for. The new NetApp was about $3 million and we paid for that in about two years. It was well worth it because we can do more. For example, our advanced imaging is all pictures, videos; huge amounts of data get used up. Now they can triple and quadruple the amount they could do because of the speed. So instead of seeing ten patients a day, they're seeing 30 or 40 patients a day.

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

      The total cost, the pricing of it, has gone up quite a bit.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Dell EMC. We looked at them briefly when they were EMC. We looked at IBM. But Epic pretty much says that NetApp sets the standard and we have to follow that.

      What other advice do I have?

      If you have the money, you can't compare it to what we had at all, you just can't. In fact, the one that we had for production for the entire clinic is now sitting in our DR as cold storage. It went from state of the art to boat-anchor in about two years.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      TC
      Data Center Engineer at a non-profit
      Real User
      Significantly increased our capacity and decreased our footprint

      Pros and Cons

      • "The most valuable features are the IO performance that we get, the cluster part, and the increased workload and performance with the SSDs."
      • "It's a little behind on security. It's starting to get into multi-factor authentication, they just started to introduce it but not for all products."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for typical data center workloads: Exchange, file shares, and SQL.

      How has it helped my organization?

      We have a big problem in our organization where I can't get the application engineers to give me performance requirements. Now, with the SSDs, I don't need to worry about that anymore. All of our applications are high. Our test applications perform at a higher level now.

      It has improved performance of our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs because we have a higher IO from the disk now. We run a lot of write-intensive VMs. For sure the solution helps out.

      Our total cost of ownership has decreased because of the nature of the SSDs, their mean time to failure is much higher. They don't fail as often and that's going to reduce it. And because we upgraded to the All Flash and the bigger SSD, we reduced our footprint. I increased my capacity 500 percent and reduced my footprint in the data center by 95 percent.

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable features are

      • the IO performance that we get
      • the cluster part 
      • the increased workload and performance with the SSDs.

      And the CLI portion of ONTAP, in general, is much easier to use.

      What needs improvement?

      It's a little behind on security. It's starting to get into multi-factor authentication, they just started to introduce it but not for all products. In my area, we are really big on security, using smart-card authentication. Multi-factor authentication is a big thing for us, being on the federal government side of things. We need all the products to have the ability to do smart-card authentication. That's the biggest one. That's the drawback of this solution. But otherwise, it's getting there. It's starting to catch up.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It has been very stable so far. It's about a year old, we haven't been using it for long, but so far it has stood up very well.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We haven't needed to scale it yet. We probably won't. But obviously, because we are in a multi-node cluster environment, with the switches we can scale out very easily if we need to.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      I mostly interact with my sales engineer who is very sharp. The few times that I've had to interact with technical support, it has been very good.

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

      The gear we were on was about ten years old. We always buy behind the technology curve. I noticed that spinning disk was going away and that the industry moving towards SSDs, so I wanted us to try to get ahead of the curve a little bit, to give us some more horsepower to do some more initiatives that we want to get done in the future.

      How was the initial setup?

      It was very straightforward. There are setup tools so if you're not very familiar with NetApp, they walk you through the process step by step: How to configure all the interfaces and the SVMs, etc. I'm more experienced with the command lines, so I deployed it that way. But it's very receptive to PowerShell scripting, so it's easy to use.

      What about the implementation team?

      We used an integrator, reseller, and consultant for the deployment. Resellers are resellers. I don't have a good or bad opinion of them. As for the integrators we had, I'd rather do it myself quite honestly. But it was okay.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Because we're federal government, we really can't choose. We've had NetApp for years. I did evaluate a lot of other products. Honestly, at the end of the day, storage is storage and disks are disks; it's all the bells and whistles on the front. Other solutions could probably have accomplished the same task. Ultimately, it comes down to dollars and cents, but I'm not really involved in that side of it. I'm sure they chose NetApp because of the cost.

      What other advice do I have?

      Know your workload, know your customer. Know what your requirements are, know what your future requirements are. Determine what's important to you. Think about the administrators, if you're not the administrator; I'm not, I just engineer it. Think about them and how they will use it. Think about the future, where you think your business will grow.

      When it comes to setting up and provisioning applications using the product, it depends on what you're doing. But I I can have an Exchange server up and running in about 30 minutes.

      At the moment the solution is not having any effect on IT's ability to support new business initiatives. I got it to support things like ADI and solutions like that. So hopefully, going forward, it will play a role in that. We have not connected the solution to public clouds. We do plan to in the future.

      I rate the solution an eight out of ten because there's room to improve. There's always room to grow. The security side of it: They have a large government customer base but it seems like they really don't pay attention to that side of things. There are a lot of security things, a lot of customers can't send their stuff offsite, and I'm one of them. So coming up with better ways to satisfy that part would be great.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      VS
      Senior Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Data efficiency is the most valuable feature because of the dedupe and compression

      Pros and Cons

      • "Data efficiency is the most valuable feature because of the dedupe and compression."
      • "I would like to see aggregate level encryption in the next release. This is critical."

      What is our primary use case?

      We are mostly using it for NAS, CIFS, and NFS protocols.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Logical data might be very high, but the physical data, because of efficiency features (such as, dedupe, compression, etc.), has been greatly reduce data. Therefore, we are getting 10 to 20 times the efficiency on this product.

      What is most valuable?

      Data efficiency is the most valuable feature of NetApp.

      What needs improvement?

      I would like to see aggregate level encryption in the next release. This is critical.

      Disk level encryption is already in the solution, but it is very costly. Its pricing should come down.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It is stable.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      It is scalable. On the NFS side, we have around 24 nodes, so that is pretty scalable. Also, the scale up is very high.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Technical support is always great from NetApp. It is the best.

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

      We were not previously using another solution.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup is very easy.

      What was our ROI?

      We have seen ROI from the product.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We were looking at NetApp and Dell EMC. However, NetApp is know for their NFS solution.

      What other advice do I have?

      This is the best solution in the market.

      NetApp is a good company. I use to work there.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      AM
      Senior storage engineer at a government with 10,001+ employees
      Real User
      High performance and aggregate level dedupe are key for us, but ONTAP has not been stable

      Pros and Cons

      • "The most valuable features are high performance and encryption. It also provides aggregate level dedupe."
      • "The system is pretty stable but most of the ONTAP versions are not really stable. There have been multiple bugs in different ONTAP versions."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for our VWware environment. We run virtual machines and our plan is to migrate all of them to the All Flash platform.

      How has it helped my organization?

      The improvement for us has been space savings on the All Flash FAS platform. The data space savings are almost three times better than the what we have right now, a two-to-one ratio.

      Regarding the user experience, it's pretty fast. For applications where they require a high throughput, this platform is pretty solid. It also helps improve the performance of enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs because it's pretty fast. We are on a different level of tiered platform, where the All Flash is completely hybrid, SSD aggregate, so it tripled the performance for the customer.

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable features are high performance and encryption. It also provides aggregate level dedupe.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The system is pretty stable but most of the ONTAP versions are not really stable. There have been multiple bugs in different ONTAP versions. The hardware is really stable but we see some glitches here and there with the software. That's how the system works.

      Right now, we are on a pretty stable version: 9.3.8.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We have not had to scale it. We have a two-node cluster.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Technical support has been pretty good. We have had to involve them two or three times per month.

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

      Our old solution was working fine but the system was going out of support so we needed to do a refresh.

      How was the initial setup?

      It is straightforward. The whole cluster configuration is pretty straightforward. Just bring up the node and add to the existing clusters. We didn't see any difficulties.

      It takes us one day to set up and provision enterprise applications using this product. Migration takes a lot of time but provisioning is setting up the cluster and that takes one day.

      What about the implementation team?

      We used NetApp Professional Services and they were pretty good.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Because we are government, it is an open contract. People have to bid on government projects. We don't have a say in the options.

      What other advice do I have?

      I would say this is a good solution but talk to the NetApp guys and see how it really fits in your environment.

      We do not connect it to public clouds at the moment. We have plans to do so in the future, depending on the use cases.

      I rate the product at seven out of ten. Their system is pretty good but we are still facing a few issues, mainly on the software side where there is an SVMDR. We had it in the previous configuration. We did an ONTAP upgrade but had some issues replicating the whole configuration. There are a few other glitches here and there. Other than that I would say it's pretty stable.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      SL
      Systems Engineer Manager at a hospitality company with 10,001+ employees
      Real User
      It has sped up our IOPS and made it a lot easier for users

      Pros and Cons

      • "We have SQL clusters across the United States. It has sped up our IOPS and made it a lot easier for users."
      • "I would like them to roll in global monitoring instead of having to buy another product for it."
      • "The initial setup was a little complex, because we weren't very knowledgeable in the NetApp at the time. We were using a third-party, and they didn't have a lot of technical individuals, so it took a while to get it out."

      What is our primary use case?

      We do storage across the United States.

      How has it helped my organization?

      We have SQL clusters across the United States. It has sped up our IOPS and made it a lot easier for users.

      What is most valuable?

      • Uptime
      • Ease of use

      What needs improvement?

      I would like them to roll in global monitoring instead of having to buy another product for it. If it was built into the solution, that would be awesome.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      We haven't had any issues, so far.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We are scaling up to the new solution. We haven't had a lot of scalability yet. We are looking forward to what it can do.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Our technical support experience hasn't been very good. However, we are hoping with our new contract that it will be a lot better.

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

      We were using HPE EVAs, which are very clunky and old, so we moved over to NetApp.

      We were just bought out by another company who has been using Dell EMC. They're not happy with that solution, so we brought them into NetApp.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup was a little complex, because we weren't very knowledgeable in the NetApp at the time. We were using a third-party, and they didn't have a lot of technical individuals, so it took a while to get it out.

      What about the implementation team?

      We used a reseller, EVOLTECH. It has been okay so far. There are not a lot of technical individuals with their group.

      What was our ROI?

      From an application standpoint, we have seen a lot of return investment on the speeds and responsiveness of the actual storage.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      NetApp and Pure Storage were on our final shortlist. NetApp just came in with a better price point that my VPs and CIO couldn't refuse.

      What other advice do I have?

      Do your research. There are a lot of different storage vendors who have a lot things which are good. Pick the one that you feel is best for you.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      SP
      Technical manager at Macrovention
      Real User
      Provides low latency and high performance, but cloud retrieval needs improvement

      Pros and Cons

      • "The most valuable features are the low latency and high-performance."
      • "We'd like to see improvement in the time to retrieve from the Cloud, whether it's on-prem to cloud and whether it's public or private cloud."
      • "We don't have many issues related to the appliance itself. In terms of the OS, we do get some hiccups here and there."

      What is our primary use case?

      We have a range of customers, from manufacturing to oil & gas, in Malaysia. We have been using NetApp for quite some time, but now performance is a big issue for our customers, along with other challenges for them, so they are opting to go to All Flash.

      NetApp is doing a good job of delivering to and satisfying customers. All Flash cloud technology has helped them a lot.

      How has it helped my organization?

      We try to provide a value-added proposition to customers, as a partner to NetApp. Most of them have been dealing with us for quite some time, five to ten years. They've been using a traditional base of NetApps and some other products. We have transitioned some of our customers from other companies' products to NetApp.

      It provides our customers with a secure, fast, and always reliable solution. It also definitely affects the ability of our clients' IT departments to support new business initiatives because things become simplified for them, easier to deploy and to get off the ground faster. It gives them more flexibility to scale in the future.

      In terms of it helping to improve performance of enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs, I have one customer that is running SAP on NetApp. The performance improved about 40 to 45 percent. That was a great improvement for the IT infrastructure services team.

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable features are the low latency and high-performance. Some of our customers are dealing with seismic data from the oil & gas industry, so they need data extracted and transported to the application faster. That's one reason we bring in All Flash.

      What needs improvement?

      We'd like to see improvement in the time to retrieve from the cloud, whether it's on-prem to cloud and whether it's public or private cloud. That's the most important thing we need.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      We don't have many issues related to the appliance itself. In terms of the OS, we do have some hiccups here and there. Our support team and the technical support from NetApp are able to handle that.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      At this point in time, a few customers are looking at scaling it. Since NetApp provides vast scalability, whether they scale up or scale out, it gives them better flexibility.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      Technical support is good. We have not had to involve them much. Most of the first-level and second-level cases are handled by us because we have a range of certified engineers. Only if it's really a critical issue that urgently needs an expert to dive in, then we will engage them NetApp support.

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

      We have customers who are not NetApp customers. We teach them what the capabilities and challenges are. Our main goal is to comply with and meet our customers' challenges. If NetApp really fits their needs, we move on from there. In a case where we need to transition the whole infrastructure from a different storage brand to NetApp, we'll do that.

      If the customer is an existing user, it's easier for us to convince them. If they're a non-NetApp user, it takes time because we have to do proofs of concept to justify it to them. If they agree technically, then the commercial conversation starts. Normally, the commercial conversion does not take that long, because the technical team has agreed to the solution.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup is straightforward. It is GUI-assisted. There are a lot of step-by-step guides, which are easy for certified engineers to follow. That makes things simple and we are able to make a good impression on our customers.

      What about the implementation team?

      We are an integrator and a consultant for our clients.

      What was our ROI?

      For some of our customers, within one-and-a-half years, they get a return on investment. One year after the deployment, the customer will either scale up or scale out. That will give the customer's site a better footprint.

      What other advice do I have?

      First thing first, I would advise you to gather the exact requirements and challenges. Try to blend those requirements with the NetApp solution, or part of the product, that suits you. Doing so will create a better engagement in the discussion. Otherwise, it could be very difficult to say that NetApp is the best product for the use case.

      It takes less than half a day to set up and provision enterprise applications using the solution.

      So far we have not connected any of our customers to public clouds. We have some challenges in Malaysia where some of the data, especially from the banks but also from the government and oil & gas, can't go out of the country. So we are not able to do that. In those cases, usually our customers will engage a managed services provider locally in Malaysia.

      I give this solution a seven out of ten. There's still a long way to go and there are a lot of new start-up companies that also provide all-flash and hybrid. For some of our customers' applications, the new solutions are better.

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
      it_user874449
      Principal Architect at a tech company with 5,001-10,000 employees
      Consultant
      Enables us to provide an easily automated solution using REST APIs

      Pros and Cons

      • "The most valuable feature is the ability to do QoS."

        What is our primary use case?

        We have a multi-tenant shared solution that we use with Quality of Service to provide bare metal as a service and IP storage to our customers. We keep it very simple. It's an automated solution which customers configure on a portal and then it automatically configures storage for them.

        How has it helped my organization?

        The solution has drastically and positively affected IT's ability to support new business initiatives. It's a very easily automated solution using REST APIs.

        Combined with OnCommand, the solution the solution helps improve the performance of our enterprise applications.

        What is most valuable?

        The most valuable feature is the ability to do QoS and keep customers from harming other customers in that solution.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's very stable. We have not yet had any issues. All solutions have issues, but we have not yet had any with this one.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        We scale up to 64 nodes in a cluster and then we just keep scaling clusters. We've had no issues with scalability.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        We've been a partner of NetApp for a very long time. Their support is very good. We use a lot of direct NetApp engineering resources, as a partner at our scale. We tend to work hand in hand with NetApp.

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

        For our use case, we were automating what we were doing so we chose to use the All Flash REST APIs.

        How was the initial setup?

        Our initial setup involved a lot of development. It was complex mainly because we had to make it simple. We had to simplify it for our own customers, so it was complex for us but it's a very easy solution for enterprises.

        What was our ROI?

        The solution is too new for us to see ROI yet.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        Dell EMC was our other option. Both Dell EMC and NetApp are partners of ours. We went with NetApp because of relationships and ease of set up.

        What other advice do I have?

        It's a pretty stout solution. NVMe is coming and pretty much everything we want is on their roadmap.

        In terms of connecting it to public cloud, we are a public cloud so we connect to ourselves. When it comes to setting up and provisioning enterprise applications using the solution, it depends on the customer use case. Some are quick, some are really complex.

        Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
        Sandeep Thota
        Consulting Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Real User
        Stores two times more data than what is purchased

        Pros and Cons

        • "The Active IQ feature is a productive mechanism that automatically collects reports and users' statuses."
        • "I would like to see more frequent updates at a faster pace."
        • "There needs to be compatibility with upgraded applications. We don't want the system to be upgraded, but not have backwards compatible to existing applications."

        What is our primary use case?

        Our primary use case is escalating a more global performance, which wasn't achievable with the regular spinning drives. We wanted to have higher breakthrough performance with a flash-based solution using all SSD drives. 

        How has it helped my organization?

        1. I am able to store two times more data than what I'm purchasing, which affects the way funds are being utilized. 
        2. The time for applications to give a response is much faster.

        What is most valuable?

        1. The OS running on top of it is ONTAP. The user experience is a breeze at the fingertips with ONTAP.
        2. The efficiency ratio.
        3. The Active IQ feature is a productive mechanism that automatically collects reports and users' statuses.
        4. The initial deployment is completely GUI-based.

        What needs improvement?

        I am looking forward to the enhanced features coming out: The upgraded version of ONTAP and more support on the protocols.

        I would like to see more frequent updates at a faster pace.

        There needs to be compatibility with upgraded applications. We don't want the system to be upgraded, but not have backwards compatible to existing applications.

        It needs to be able to integrate with Intel and other NetApp family products, besides ONTAP.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's a combination of the hardware along with the operating system which produces the stability. Based on the data protection factor and on its sustainability in case of a component failure, it is well-designed on the hardware and software fronts. 

        I am satisfied with the stability.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        The scalability is amazing. It is like an entry level box which scales up to almost a 144 drives. It is more than what an entry customer usually needs. It is suitable for expandability needs and can grow with the customer.

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

        Customers were already using the application. We took their feedback. It was the best product based on our requirements.

        How was the initial setup?

        I work on the phase when the solution when it is being designed. My involvement would be more on solution designing. Once the solution is finalized and has gone through, the implementation is not that difficult of a task.

        The initial setup is very simple. System Manager 3.0 is built into it, which makes it easier to set up the system. It probably takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

        What about the implementation team?

        We used a reseller for the deployment. We had an amazing experience with them.

        What was our ROI?

        This solution helps us improve performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs. It is why we provisioned it. Analytics require huge amounts of processing power. With this solution, the processing happens in a tick of a second, which would not happen with regular spinning drives. With SSDs, All Flash FAS, and the help of ONTAP, it nails the performance.

        Our total cost of ownership (TCO) has decreased by 40 percent.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        Dell EMC was an option, but we liked the operating system of NetApp.

        What other advice do I have?

        With an increasing amount of data cranking out every day and a lot of analytics running on processing applications, more performance is required from storage devices. This is a database solution which is All Flash FAS is suited.

        I have not connected AFF to public clouds yet, but possibly in the future.

        It takes half an hour max to set up and provision enterprise applications using AFF.

        It is a diversified solution.

        Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
        EC
        ICT Operations Manager at a government with 11-50 employees
        Real User
        I think it is a very stable product.

        Pros and Cons

        • "I think it is a very stable product."
        • "A while ago, they performed quite slowly."
        • "Implementation needs to be improved."

        What is our primary use case?

        It's, mainly it's for storage, we have various databases with different applications and we are using it just for storage, mainly as just a storage for our systems.

        What needs improvement?

        A while ago, they performed slowly, but now they are quite fast. 

        I think the major thing to improve is in terms of the implementation, especially where that technology is implemented for the first time. Be sure the partners are well aware in terms of what needs to be done from the moment the sale is initiated, or a purchase order is provided, to the point of being implemented.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Less than one year.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        I think it is a very stable product.

        How was the initial setup?

        Implementation was not easy.

        What was our ROI?

        When evaluating a possible solution, I look for:

        • Technical Capabilities
        • Scalability
        • Cost

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

        Always consider whether you can afford the solution.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        We also looked at IBM and EMC, but eventually we chose NetApp AFF because we already had people experienced with NetApp AFF. We did not want to invest in new technology completely.

        What other advice do I have?

        Make sure that you are very clear in terms of what you want to buy. Your specifications have to be very clear, so there are no gray areas. From there, it`s up to which vendor provides you with the right proposal, and if its cost-effective go for it.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        MW
        Storage Engineer at a university with 10,001+ employees
        Real User
        It should scale far beyond our needs. I don't think we will ever hit the edge of it.

        Pros and Cons

        • "It should scale far beyond our needs. I don't think we will ever hit the edge of it."
        • "We only had a few upgrade issues."
        • "I've had a few cases where support wasn't able to answer the question or they took quite a while."

        What is our primary use case?

        We are using it for VMware and Hyper-V data stores.

        How has it helped my organization?

        We have probably doubled the number of virtual machines that we've provisioned since getting an AFF.

        It has done everything we have needed it to do.

        What is most valuable?

        • Space savings
        • Performance
        • Deduplication
        • Compression

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's been very stable. We only had a few upgrade issues. Other than upgrading, it has been 100 percent completely stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It should scale far beyond our needs. I don't think we will ever hit the edge of it.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Support has been good. I've had a few cases where support wasn't able to answer the question or they took quite a while, but majority of issues have been answered fairly quickly.

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

        We were at the edge of the performance on our previous system. We took a risk with the AFF because it was more expensive than going with the newer model of what we had, but it was definitely worth it.

        How was the initial setup?

        The initial setup was straightforward. I'm very familiar with NetApp, so it's more of the same. I didn't have any problems.

        What about the implementation team?

        I did the deployment myself.

        What was our ROI?

        The cost savings has been higher than I expected.

        Our space savings through dedupe and compression is over 50 percent, so we are saving. I think our 8080s has 20TBs. We are saving at least 10TBs and that's over 50 percent of the capacity that we're using.

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

        I would like the pricing to be cheaper.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        Our shortlist would have been EMC, NetApp, and possibly Dell. This was before Dell bought EMC. 

        NetApp was there because of the NFS support. That's why we chose NetApp, because of the NFS support plus their compression and deduplication. The cost savings on that alone was worth it.

        What other advice do I have?

        It's worth the slight increase in cost for performance. In the end, you save money in the long-term (ROI).

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user577449
        Manager Biomedical System Services at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Vendor
        We have never had a failure. We can upgrade as we move along with zero downtime.

        Pros and Cons

        • "Over the past 18 years, it has been extremely easy to upgrade to newer products and technology. We can upgrade as we move along. So, we have been able to keep up with the newest technology with zero downtime."
        • "We have never had a failure. We can upgrade as we move along with zero downtime."
        • "I would like to see if they could move the virtual storage machines. They have integrated a DR, so you can back to your DR, but there's no automated way to failover and failback. It's all manual. I'd like to see it all automated."

        What is our primary use case?

        We use it for medical systems.

        How has it helped my organization?

        NetApp has always been very reliable. We have never had any data losses. They are a work horse.

        What is most valuable?

        I found the reliability of it to be the most valuable feature because it supports all the patient critical systems in our hospital. We have had the NetApp system for 18 years with no downtime.

        What needs improvement?

        I would like to see if they could move the virtual storage machines. They have integrated a DR, so you can back to your DR, but there's no automated way to failover and failback. It's all manual. I'd like to see it all automated.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        We have never had a failure.

        Over the past 18 years, it has been extremely easy to upgrade to newer products and technology. We can upgrade as we move along. So, we have been able to keep up with the newest technology with zero downtime.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        The scalability is endless. There have been no limits that we have come across yet.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Technical support has been excellent. We have local technical support. If we give them a call and need somebody onsite, they could be there within ten to 15 minutes.

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

        I think we were previously using IBM FASt100 in the 2000s. From there, we moved on to NetApp.

        How was the initial setup?

        I never found it to be complicated, but I have a lot of experience with NetApp setups.

        After upgrades, it's very intuitive and easy to pick up. 

        What about the implementation team?

        A NetApp support person did all our installations, upgrades, etc. Our experience with them was excellent.

        What was our ROI?

        We have been able to utilize and leverage equipment which was purchased a decade ago up until this past year. So, we were running disk shells for 13 years and all we were doing was upgrading the filings and controllers, and using the same disk shells. Therefore, we were able to do something where we didn't have to invest that much. Recently, we had to upgrade all our disk shells, but it was a lot less because the technology had changed a lot since those times. It is faster now, and we have SSDs. We have larger drives that are 4TBs and 6TBs. Everything can condense so we are saving disk shell space and rack space. We are paying less now than we did at that time. So, we've gotten our money's worth out of it.

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

        Look at the different options that NetApp offers. Look for a model and option which fits your needs correctly. Don't buy a low-end product for a high-end job.

        NetApps offers a lot of different options. Just take your time and work with the consulting teams. Lay out what your needs are to ensure you are purchasing what will help you be successful.

        What other advice do I have?

        We have put our trust in NetApp, and they have given us the customer support and a stable, reliable product.

        Sometimes, I have to get rid of the equipment and upgrade because it is no longer supported. It's not like we are getting rid of the equipment or upgrading because there's something wrong with it. It will last forever. I have had disk shells that we've had to just let go, which are still working, because they aren't supported.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        KL
        IT Operations Manager at Idaho State Insurance Fund
        Real User
        Because of the cloning and snapshots that we do, we are getting a high data efficiency ratio out of our production array

        Pros and Cons

        • "Batch times went from approximately seven hours down to about two and a half. Functionality during the day, such as taking or removing snapshots and cloning instances, is higher than it has ever been."
        • "Setting up storage for an application (storage provisioning) is quick and easy. Maybe a quarter of the time is now spent getting the application up and running, or even less."
        • "The initial setup was very straightforward. It was intuitive to set up storage volumes and get the networking functioning. Their engineer was very helpful. We got the current array on our production site the very same day it was shipped in. We had it up on the network and started to put some storage on it."
        • "I just got through the session where it looks like they are going to support Oracle running on Linux with SnapCenter. That is one of the main things that we are hoping to get integrated."

        What is our primary use case?

        NetApp is our primary storage device for our line of business. We use NetApp as our primary storage device and also for our DR.

        We are a workers' comp insurance company that has been in business for a 120 years.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It has helped us improve the performance for our enterprise applications, data analytics and VMs across the board. We recently upgraded from a FAS3250 platform to the AFF A300 all-flash array. Batch times went from approximately seven hours down to about two and a half. Functionality during the day, such as taking or removing snapshots and cloning instances, is higher than it has ever been. 

        We are employing the native encryption on disk along with NVMe. Therefore, it is a more secure solution. Our user experience and performance have been remarkably better as well. 

        A lot of application administrators have a lot more time. We have been able to do some things that we were unable to do before, so it has helped streamline our business a lot.

        What is most valuable?

        We enjoy the native built-in replication and the snapshot functionality (to take snapshots).

        What needs improvement?

        I just got through the session where it looks like they are going to support Oracle running on Linux with SnapCenter. That is one of the main things that we are hoping to get integrated.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        NetApp has always been a stable platform with very few problems at all.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It is very scalable. Because of the cloning and snapshots that we do, we are getting a data efficiency ratio out of our production array of about 32:1, which is a high ratio. So, we took quite a bit of data and shrunk it down in size, letting it scale out better.

        We are going to be adding another shelf to it, but storage to the NetApp application has always been easy to do. We usually do it ourselves without getting a third-party contractor involved.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        NetApp's support has always been top-notch. I haven't met anyone in the NetApp institution who hasn't been a remarkably intelligent, easy-going person to work with. It is amazing. Everyone from their support crews to their sales engineers are good. We have a good relationship with them.

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

        A big guiding point for upgrading hardware of any type now is to look at the support costs. If support costs get high enough, it financially doesn't make any sense to not upgrade.

        Usually once a new technology matures enough, you can look at TCO and decide to make the decision to move ahead. So, we invested in this solution because of costs and the technology improved to the point where we knew it would be stable.

        How was the initial setup?

        The initial setup was very straightforward. It was intuitive to set up storage volumes and get the networking functioning. Their engineer was very helpful. We got the current array on our production site the very same day it was shipped in. We had it up on the network and started to put some storage on it. 

        What about the implementation team?

        We used a NetApp professional services for this deployment. It worked out really well. We had involvement of several different support engineers to help with all aspects of the rollout.

        What was our ROI?

        The total cost of ownership has decreased a great deal. As far as percentages, it's hard to gauge, but we did have quite a few personnel staying up, making sure batches ran well every night. Now, batches are being done by 8:00 in the evening, so we don't have to do that anymore. When you start adding the employee hours that we have for people working in the off-hours, and it is not an issue anymore, I suspect TCO might have gone down 25 percent.

        Setting up storage for an application (storage provisioning) is quick and easy. Maybe a quarter of the time is now spent getting the application up and running, or even less. 

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        We also talked to Tegile and HPE, but nobody else offered up the functionality or snapshots. It was a no-brainer.

        What other advice do I have?

        We have been an NetApp customer for about ten years and have enjoyed the relationship a lot.

        The important thing for anybody to check out is the snapshot functionality of NetApp, and how well it works to provision for backup. It also provisions test environments with it. There are so many advantages to the way they do snapshots compared to other companies, and they have all these wondrous tool sets to leverage the snapshot functionality. Anybody who is looking into a storage solution needs to look at all of the attributes to the NetApp platform.

        Connecting it to public cloud is our next project. We are looking at DR using NetApp cloud services, so that will probably be coming up first quarter of next year.

        We are looking at a new series arrays for our building video security storage as well, and there is no doubt that we will be going with NetApp. NetApp just does a solid job, and their support is top-notch.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        PH
        Network Professional at a transportation company with 5,001-10,000 employees
        Real User
        Dual Controller gives us great stability and allows us to do daytime maintenance on a controller

        Pros and Cons

        • "The most valuable features are deduplication and compression, so we get more out of our storage. The replication is also important."
        • "It's very stable. It's always there when we need it. With the Dual Controller, if one drops out, the other one comes right online. We don't use any iSCSI so there is a little bit of a latency break but, over the NFS, we don't notice that switch-on. We can do maintenance in the middle of the day, literally rip a whole controller out of the chassis, and do what we need to do with it."
        • "I would like to see a little more flexibility in customizing some of the SnapMirror stuff. We have been having a little trouble and, in the first round with tech support, they say, "Well, this is how we do it." It's not exactly throttled but it's limited in the number of connections it makes. We would like to be able to tweak that, to increase it a little bit, because we don't have half a dozen large areas that we are protecting, we have more like 40 or 50 areas. They run into each other a little bit and I don't want to spend time on them."

        What is our primary use case?

        We use it for data storage for Citrix VDIs.

        How has it helped my organization?

        The improvement to our organization is in the ability to put more into the same storage platform. We came from EqualLogics and the ones we had didn't have that nice compression and deduplication to get a little bit more out of the storage.

        Also, the protection of the data, being able to replicate between sites easily. We were a "backup shop". The replication doesn't quite back up so I haven't won that fight yet, but at least it protects us offsite, easily.

        What is most valuable?

        The most valuable features are deduplication and compression, so we get more out of our storage. The replication is also important.

        What needs improvement?

        I would like to see a little more flexibility in customizing some of the SnapMirror stuff. We have been having a little trouble and, in the first round with tech support, they say, "Well, this is how we do it."

        It's not exactly throttled but it's limited in the number of connections it makes. We would like to be able to tweak that, to increase it a little bit, because we don't have half a dozen large areas that we are protecting, we have more like 40 or 50 areas. They run into each other a little bit and I don't want to spend time on them.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's very stable. It's always there when we need it. With the Dual Controller, if one drops out, the other one comes right online. We don't use any iSCSI so there is a little bit of a latency break but, over the NFS, we don't notice that switch-on. We can do maintenance in the middle of the day, literally rip a whole controller out of the chassis, and do what we need to do with it.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        We have not needed to scale it.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Technical support is generally very good, once they get a good idea of what the issue is. Occasionally you need to be a little more specific about your problem to get the right team working on it. But they're normally very good, very responsive, efficient, knowledgeable, and very patient. They're willing to take the time to make sure you understand their analysis and their recommended solution.

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

        The reasons we switched were performance and the number of IOPS in the previous product. It was an older product which was dog-slow. Some of the larger file servers were the worst. And that played out to everything else that was sharing the storage with it.

        How was the initial setup?

        There were a few initial setups. Two of them were relatively straightforward and one of them was a little bit more complex, the AFF8080. On that one there were a lot more network interfaces to figure out where they go.

        We also leveraged the IP Spaces which was really good because we house some data for an affiliate, rather than somebody in-house, so that was amazing.

        What about the implementation team?

        We used a reseller for the deployment. The only problem with doing it that way is that I find we did not have a good idea of the current roadmap. On some of the projects we purchased for, we might have made a different decision had we known what was coming six or nine months down the road.

        Some of that was on us. We probably could have pushed for that, but having that reseller "middle-man" made it more difficult.

        What was our ROI?

        We haven't had the time to do a proper analysis of ROI yet.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        The next closest option that we considered was Dell EMC.

        What other advice do I have?

        Try to get behind the sales guys to the people who do pre-sales tech support to really understand the roadmap and other aspects of the product. The sales guys are great but they're sales guys. If you can get to the tech guys behind them and really talk to them about what your problems are, and what you are trying to attack, I feel that works much better.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        Ashwin Bhadra
        Senior Manager of Product and Services at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Real User
        We can spin up VMs quickly and FabricPool enables me to extend hyperscaler storage

        Pros and Cons

        • "With the new version, they have the FabricPool which works for me. I can extend the hyperscaler storage."
        • "It would be great if they had a single pane of glass or a single dashboard where all the NetApp ecosystem storages could be viewed and monitored simply. That would help my Operations."

        What is our primary use case?

        We are a multi-cloud provider and we use NetApp All Flash as the base for providing the cloud services.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It gives us the power and agility to spin up VMs as quickly as possible.

        We have also standardized on NetApp. All the storage that we have for our services runs on NetApp. Being standardized, it's easy for our Operations. We can train them on a single platform.

        It helps improve performance for enterprise applications, data analytics, and VMs. With the power of flash, we moved from a traditional hybrid storage to all-flash. Having the full-fledged power of flash, and the controllers, it has doubled the performance compared to what we used to get.

        Finally, our total cost of ownership has decreased by approximately 10 - 12 percent.

        What is most valuable?

        The most valuable feature is the efficiencies that all-flash brings. It helps us reduce costs and be competitive in the market. It's quite easy to operate and monitor, to do business as usual.

        Whatever they talk about it delivers. It's fast, it's efficient, it's agile.

        With the new version, they have the FabricPool which works for me. I can extend the hyperscaler storage. The features we require today are present in ONTAP.

        What needs improvement?

        It would be great if they had a single pane of glass or a single dashboard where all the NetApp ecosystem storages could be viewed and monitored simply. That would help my Operations.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Being a service provider, we cannot afford any downtime. It's working fantastically as of now. It's sturdy and just rocking.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It's an all-flash so you just add more clusters, nodes, and you're done. Scalability isn't an issue. That was one of the evaluation criteria, we needed something that would scale out.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Tech support is not just for AFF, we have a long-standing relationship with NetApp. Overall, the support guys are very proactive. They help us with new fixes and patches - we keep up with them. We have a very good relationship.

        We haven't really had much of a need to escalate issues. We don't actually get into "escalation mode." We just talk with senior management and things get done. We're happy with the support.

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

        We did not have any other flash solution. We were running a tiered storage approach but because of market demand, where our customers wanted efficient performance, agile cloud storage, that is what drove us to evaluate the newer technologies. With all the technical evaluations we did, we settled on All-Flash.

        We chose NetApp because we had the SolidFires in place and we already had the standardization. We also went with NetApp because of the partnership and the support that we get from NetApp. In addition, it proved that it was technically better than the competitors in the benchmarks.

        How was the initial setup?

        I was involved in the technical and commercial analysis, but not in the actual environment setup. That was taken care of by another team. The initial setup was straightforward but there was definitely a lot of planning that went into getting it deployed smoothly.

        Being a services provider, every customer has unique requirements, which makes it more complex for us. We took a good amount of time to understand, evaluate, and come up with a proper deployment plan so we wouldn't get into trouble at the deployment phase.

        What about the implementation team?

        We had an in-house team do it.

        What was our ROI?

        I haven't calculated ROI because, being into the OpEx model, since we're providing serivces, typically the ROI is 36-plus months. We're not there yet.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        We evaluated Nimble, 3PAR, Dell EMC. 

        What other advice do I have?

        You should definitely look at NetApp AFF and evaluate it.

        In terms of how long it takes to set up and provision enterprise applications using AFF, we have a back-end provisioning tool so it's all automated. I cannot define it only with respect to AFF because the entire orchestration works. But on average, we take about five minutes to provision a VM.

        I would rate the solution at eight out of ten. It has definitely helped us bring our costs down and gives us a powerful storage at the back end to serve our customers. It would be a ten out of if they brought my TCO down even more.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        Damien Berezenko
        Technical Director at СT Consulting
        Real User
        Competitive in terms of performance, storage efficiency, feature richness, and scalability

        Pros and Cons

        • "We found AFF systems very competitive in terms of performance, storage efficiency, feature richness, and scalability."
        • "There are no pNFS with VMware VVOLs."
        • "There is no direct storage attachment available. Most configurations require additional switches for data access."
        • "There are no RDMA capabilities in CIFS (SMB) and NFS protocols."

        What is our primary use case?

        • All flash
        • SAN and NAS server virtualization
        • Databases (OLTP and OLAP)
        • File shares
        • Test or development

        How has it helped my organization?

        After testing with early ONTAP 9 versions including storage efficiencies, we found that AFF systems can decrease the data footprint with MS SQL databases (real customer multi-TB DB) to 1:4, while aggregate dedupe wasn't available at the time of testing and post-compression and dedupe were disabled. Snapshots, provisioning, cloning were not included in the result of 1:4 data reduction. Alongside with AFF systems, we tested EF & IBM FlashSystem for comparably in price. AFF showed not only the best storage efficiency, but also the best storage performance (based on overall application performance, using MS SQL DB).

        Therefore we found AFF systems very competitive in terms of performance, storage efficiency, feature richness, and scalability.

        What is most valuable?

        • SAN/NAS scale out
        • Online data migration
        • Data compaction
        • Application integration
        • Cloning
        • Snapshots

        What needs improvement?

        • No RDMA capabilities in CIFS (SMB) and NFS protocols.
        • No pNFS with VMware VVOLs.
        • No direct storage attachment available. Most configurations require additional switches for data access.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.
        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        ITCS user
        System Administrator at Dhaka Bank Limited
        Real User
        The business copy solution has become faster using SnapMirror

        Pros and Cons

        • "If the AutoSupport is well configured, then you need not to do a monitoring. You will get call and mail when any issue is completed."
        • "Setup was simple and easy."
        • "The business copy solution has become faster using SnapMirror."
        • "The graphical interface is still heavy and slow. Needs more improvement in this area."
        • "I have experienced slow responses several times, if the ticket has only been opened in portal."

        What is our primary use case?

        A centralized storage solution for Telecom organizations. Where NetApp FAS 6200 was connected to HP-UX, AIX, Linux, VMware, and Windows, this storage is used by the OLTP solution (database and application) as well as a data warehouse application.  

        How has it helped my organization?

        1. Operational load to system administrators has been reduced by utilizing the user-friendly storage.
        2. Earlier the Bill Run process (monthly bill processing for post paid telecommunication subscriber) was taking two to two and a half days in each cycle, while storage was a old model XP from HPE. After migrating to NetApp, it is has come to only six hours.
        3. The business copy solution has become faster using SnapMirror.
        4. Assured by RAID-DP, the organization started hosting their OS in NetApp rather than using local HDD of server. It improved the system performance, especially in the area of swapping/paging. Also, SAN boot ensured a higher level of redundancy in the OS. 

        What is most valuable?

        1. The Snap: including the Snapshot and SnapMirror. They are good for taking a copy of production, which can be used for reporting, contingency, backup, etc.
        2. Scripting: NetApp is actually more ONTAP. It has a very good command-line interface, which is user-friendly to system administrators when implementing automation using scripting. 

        What needs improvement?

        The graphical interface is still heavy and slow. Needs more improvement in this area.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Yes. It was a bug in an older version related with NVRAM. However, they have fixed it in both the FW and ONTAP levels.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No issues.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        The technical support team is really cooperative. I have experienced slow responses several times, if the ticket has only been opened in portal. On the other hand, a single phone call to them improved the case support tremendously.

        Also, if the AutoSupport is well configured, then you need not to do a monitoring. You will get call and mail when any issue is completed. 

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

        Earlier used EVA, MSA and XP from HPE. In order to enhance our capacity, we proceeded to switch to NetApp. Interestingly, after proceeding to NetApp, we discovered more features, which we had not even thought about.

        How was the initial setup?

        Setup was simple and easy.

        What about the implementation team?

        Implemented by vendor (local partner and OEM engineer). They are really experienced.

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

        So far, I understand the cost is less than many other storages of same/similar performance benchmark. If you go for Replication, Vault, and NAS, please ensure that the license has been ordered at the very beginning. However, licenses can been added or modified without rebooting the system at any time.   

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        We considered the product from EMC.

        What other advice do I have?

        This can be used as a storage (SAN/NAS) as well as a SAN's volume controller

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        ITCS user
        IT Specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Real User
        MetroCluster provides business continuity and is a critical part of our contingency setup

        Pros and Cons

        • "MetroCluster provides business continuity and is a critical part of our contingency setup."
        • "The speed is important; no more problems caused by high latency."
        • "I would like it to be an IP as our network is mainly IP-based."
        • "FC and ATTO bridges are still needed for cross datacenter replication."

        What is our primary use case?

        • Using NetApp AFF 8060 in two-node MetroCluster configuration.
        • Used for NAS protocols only. 
        • CIFS and NFS provisioned through several SVMs (vFilers). 
        • Shares for normal company office files, Oracle Middleware binaries, Citrix profiles, and more.

        How has it helped my organization?

        Used to run an older FAS with FC drives. We were always having trouble with performance. AFF is fast, with low latency, and plenty of I/O headroom. Management is fairly easy as we know our way around NetApp from experience with the old FAS. 

        What is most valuable?

        The speed is important; no more problems caused by high latency. 

        MetroCluster provides business continuity and is a critical part of our contingency setup. 

        What needs improvement?

        • FC and ATTO bridges are still needed for cross datacenter replication. 
        • I would like it to be an IP as our network is mainly IP-based. 
        • The ATTO bridges add to the total cost of the system.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        One to three years.
        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        BunyaminTasdemir
        CTO at Pronet Security
        Real User
        High availability and improved performance are key features

        How has it helped my organization?

        Improves performance reduces CPU usage Efficient use of RAM

        What is most valuable?

        Price/performance High availability

        What needs improvement?

        Stability could be improved.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Three to five years.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No issues with scalability.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        In the first years it was great, after that it has become worse.

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

        NetApp is getting too expensive.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        HPE 3PAR.

        How has it helped my organization?

        • Improves performance
        • reduces CPU usage
        • Efficient use of RAM

        What is most valuable?

        • Price/performance
        • High availability

        What needs improvement?

        Stability could be improved.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Three to five years.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No issues with scalability.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        In the first years it was great, after that it has become worse.

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

        NetApp is getting too expensive.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        HPE 3PAR.

        Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
        it_user527397
        Systems Architect at University of Iowa
        Vendor
        The systems actually started acting like real computers, not like a virtual system.

        What is most valuable?

        The valuable feature for us was, we started our VMware solution on a mid-tier NetApp solution. When we went to All Flash FAS our changes went form about a 5 or 10 millisecond response time to 1 millisecond. The systems actually started acting like real computers, not like a virtual system.

        How has it helped my organization?

        The benefits for our organization are that our customers actually noticed, and that's pretty hard to do sometimes. It was really good because they actually noticed the response times changing and that our virtualization system actually became more responsive for them.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Our stability has been very good. We haven't seen any down-time for five or six years probably.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Scalability on NetApp is unforeseen. I'm sure we're going to buy more. I'm sure the fact that we are using clustered NetApp, we can take that stuff and move the next heads into the next cluster and then just migrate things, and nobody notices in the background. That's probably the best thing about the scalability.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        The technical support is really good. We don't use it that much because I have a few guys on my team that are really good with the product. But the technical support, whenever we need them, is great. We actually work with Sirius Computer Solutions, our partner. They help us figure out where we should upgrade to. They'll come in and they'll do technology things to make sure that we are going for the next solution that will help our product.

        How was the initial setup?

        We did the initial setup. I would say it was an eight out of 10. There were some issues but it was okay. They helped us fix it, and we figured it out. That's mostly because we just like to do it ourselves, because we want to see what we're doing and what's in our datacenter.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        Yes, we evaluated other solutions but the NetApp solution seemed to be the best one for what we were doing, and for simplicity of moving from the current solution to the next solution.

        What other advice do I have?

        If a colleague was evaluating storage solutions I would tell them to buy NetApp. The decompression, the dedup, all those things that happen, are just better then everybody else's platform.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user527064
        Solution Architect at Intalock Technologies
        Consultant
        Easy scalability is key; clients don't know what their sizing needs will be in the coming years

        What is most valuable?

        Scalability, really, for us. We have a lot of customers who purchase other companies and they need scalability; the NetApp solutions really lend themselves to that. 

        I think for us the pricing point was pretty important too. In Australia, we find that selling solutions now, the features and functions are one thing, but the price point is pretty important as well, and NetApp provides a good price point.

        How has it helped my organization?

        There is a variety of features and benefits to customers using this solution. A lot of our customers are coming over from EMC, and the integration with cloud is pretty important to them. NetApp has a lot of roadmaps on cloud inspiration. That's important to them. That's one of the reasons I'm here, to understand more about the cloud inspiration, and having those on-site/off-site features. A lot of people are now looking at cloud. There are a lot of hardware solutions that are coming up, and NetApp really lends itself to them.

        What needs improvement?

        I don't really know. After this conference, maybe I'll have an idea of other features that I'd like to see, but at the moment the features provided are adequate for the customers' needs.

        I don't give a 10, or a nine out of 10, straight off the bat. I'd like to work more with it before I can give it a better rating.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Probably about two or three months.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        So far, no issues at all.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Most of the companies we do solutions for acquire other companies, so it's important to them at the beginning to know that, even though they don't know what their sizing is going to be like for the next three to four years, if they do purchase companies and a lot of data comes on board, the solution is easily scalable.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        I think I did one call with tech support and it was pretty quick. They got me the right answer immediately and I think the call was closed within one day.

        How was the initial setup?

        I've actually shadowed a NetApp consultant and it looked to be straightforward. I can't wait to do my own in the future.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        EMC, we do a lot of Celerra and VNX implementations; HPE EDS, and Hitachi.

        My experience so far, compared to other solutions, All Flash FAS has been pretty good. I think the documentation in NetApp is pretty good. I think the interface and your working tools are pretty good, compared to some of the other vendors where, with them, it gets complicated. I think other vendors have add-on components to their solutions. NetApp's seems to be native. Those are great benefits to us.

        The way my company integrates with customers is our sales force checks with the customers, they decide on a solution and then it gets passed over to technical, which I'm part of. We inherit the solution and then we try to make the best of it. We do give our sales boys a lot of pros and cons for each type of vendor.

        I suppose that's where the sales guy, when he has his initial discussions, works out a technical solution for the customer at a high level and then also works out a price point.

        I'd say the price point's an important factor. I think a lot of solutions provide similar functionality and I think that the edge would really be the price point, for us. 

        Sometimes the customer has had a relationship with another vendor and they get to a point where they'd like to move over to something new, because of support issues, or there might be some kind of issue with their sales rep. Lots of factors sometimes influence them. That's why it's important for our sales force to exactly understand what the issues are.

        What other advice do I have?

        The most important criteria when selecting a vendor start with, "Is it going to work for the customer?" We'd like to do best-of-breed for customers and we don't like to just push a solution down because of any relationship with the vendor. It must work for the customer. 

        So far, NetApp solutions that we have put together have worked for the customer. It is sometimes hard to get NetApp into a customer when they have another vendor, like EMC. It's hard to push the other vendor out, because not only the storage but there are also other parts that the customer sometimes aligns to a certain vendor, so it is hard to push it.

        Do good research. Make sure that the customer doesn't have any pre-existing relationships that might deter them from going to another vendor; that's really important. Sit down with the customer and go through the pros and cons of it. Sometimes it's good to point out the cons as well, so that they understand those and not realize those six months or a year down the track.

        I've had a really good experience. It's pretty straightforward. It meets the customers' requirements. The price point is really good. But I'm going to reserve the 10 out of 10 until I get a bit deeper into it.

        Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
        it_user731157
        IT Business Partner at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Consultant
        We have seen a speed improvement, and our applications are a lot faster

        What is most valuable?

        • The Flash component for performance
        • The management
        • ONTAP
        • The features that ONTAP now has with the availability to work with the cloud.

        How has it helped my organization?

        We have seen a speed improvement, and our applications are a lot faster.

        What needs improvement?

        Probably on the management side of things. It is very complex.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Probably six months.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Not really.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It is pretty scalable.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Tech support is very good, so give it an eight out of 10.

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

        It was an older system. It was a disc based system. So, we were looking for performance improvement.

        It was a natural progression from the previous system, so it was just more of an upgrade rather than a new system.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was reasonably straightforward. We received a lot of knowledge on the net about ONTAP systems, so the setup has improved.

        What other advice do I have?

        The NetApp ONTAP system is a very good system to work with and use. Very versatile and once you know how things work in the NetApp world, then it makes it very easy to keep the systems for a long time, to work with them, and they work very well.

        It is a brand new system, and it works extremely well. Performance improvements are as expected.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user522096
        Storage Administrator at LDS church
        Vendor
        Raw speed has reduced our latencies significantly and management tools make admin easy

        Pros and Cons

        • "Speed. it's very performance designed. It's designed to have a lot of high speed."
        • "Cleaning up false positives on alerts. We get a lot of those."

        How has it helped my organization?

        Our biggest use cases for the AFF are virtualization and data bases. We use it for file storage.

        For any of the performance intents of applications, it's just been night and day from when we put them on. We had them on spinning disk, then converted them to the AFF. The latencies have become really low and my customers are all happier for it.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What is most valuable?

        Speed. it's very performance designed. It's designed to have a lot of high speed.

        I like what they're doing with their management tools. It makes it really easy to manage them. They're always improving and going with those. It's been really great, especially with the APIs. We can use them to make our calls and to manage it. It's been good for us.

        What needs improvement?

        Cleaning up false positives on alerts. We get a lot of those. If we could find some way of not getting so many, so that the alerts that do come in are real and valid, and not so many false positives, that would make a big difference.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        We've been really happy with their stability. We did run into a bug that nobody else knew about and they came up with a patch for us to help fix it, and it's been rock solid ever since. So we're happy.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        With their clustered ONTAP we can scale as big as we need to.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        I've been happy with them. They've gotten me the answers every time I've called in. I haven't had any problems with getting the escalation I need. I just ask for it and they're able to kick it up and get the response that we need.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was a little complex. There were a few changes that we were not privy to. For instance, they had the 40 gig converged NIC that we didn't even know was available until we got it. Learning how to adjust that and manage that was a little bit different, it was a little bit of a learning curve, but it was not horrible at all.

        What other advice do I have?

        We've been a customer of NetApp for a long time and they're a good, strong company and we have a close partnership with them. We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on our experience with AFF because they're a great company to work with. They put out some good products.

        The most important criteria for us when selecting a vendor would be

        • somebody who is stable
        • somebody whose industry standing is a big deal
        • and then price point.

        They're a good strong system. I don't think that anything is perfect, but it's pretty close. It takes care of everything that we need. It's a fantastic solution. We haven't regretted getting it.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750528
        Senior Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
        Consultant
        Helps with application performance due to storage efficiency

        What is most valuable?

        Performance.

        How has it helped my organization?

        Application performance Less capacity required due to storage efficiency

        What needs improvement?

        More performance features. We need our jobs to run faster.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Yes, it is stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Yes, it is scalable.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Helpful for troubleshooting.

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

        We did not have a previous solution. We chose NetApp because we have other NetApp systems.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was an easy setup. It was done very quickly.

        What is most valuable?

        Performance.

        How has it helped my organization?

        • Application performance
        • Less capacity required due to storage efficiency

        What needs improvement?

        More performance features. We need our jobs to run faster.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Yes, it is stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Yes, it is scalable.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Helpful for troubleshooting.

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

        We did not have a previous solution. We chose NetApp because we have other NetApp systems.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was an easy setup. It was done very quickly.

        Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
        it_user750711
        System Engineer at Outfront Media
        Vendor
        Integrating it into our VMware virtual environment was very easy; it's flexible and makes DR simple

        How has it helped my organization?

        The big benefit is the performance increase over the previous versions and the previous systems.

        Also, to be able to do things such as moving machines around, moving volumes around, the little maintenance and everyday things you need to do. The tasks become that much quicker, and that makes it that much easier to do. You're not, say, waiting for a Storage vMotion to take half an hour to run, where on an all-flash system if it takes half the time of what you were used to. That's awesome.

        In addition, less time that you have to worry about troubleshooting stuff.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What is most valuable?

        Ease of use. To integrate it into our virtual environment is very easy, the integration with VMware is very nice. I think it's better than other vendors have. It makes it easy, even for people who aren't familiar with NetApp, to use. For example, a virtual administrator or Windows administrators who just come to it and need to provision a virtual machine that could use the VSE easily, as opposed to having to know how to connect this and that, specifically.

        Also, for disaster recovery, the SnapMirror; FlexClone for being able to do testing on the fly is pretty awesome. Being able to do tests very quickly, and within seconds have a clone up that you can attach to your virtual environment; and you can even have it automated, so you don't even have to do too much of the work.

        To be able to have that flexibility, do testing, do failover, disaster recovery testing, and restores with snaps that are super easy.

        What needs improvement?

        I've definitely thought about this at earlier times, where I would probably have more stuff than I do now. The integration is pretty good.

        I think there could probably be some more functionality out of like the VSC-type of plugins for the virtual environment.

        The backup-type of functionality that comes from NetApp is okay, but I could see some enhancements in that regard, too.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's definitely impressive. I haven't had a problem with the system. Been running it for about nine or 10 months now. It's stable, absolutely, 100%.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        We have a smaller environment, just a two-node cluster, one our primary side and one on our secondary side. One of the benefits that NetApp brings to the table is being able to add nodes to it if you want to, if you need more storage or you need more power, more processing speed - and boom! You can just add nodes and that's it.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        I've used them many times. There are always some techs that are better than others, but I've found that NetApp support is better than some other vendors, even non-storage related vendors, whose tech support you have to call.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

        We mainly run virtual environments, VMware NFS. We were previously using just SATA and SaaS disk and we went to the All Flash and the performance was way better. It was a great improvement over the previous system.

        We maxed out our previous system in terms of its space and also the IOPS and the actual performance we were getting out of it, as we continued to grow.

        We were a small company. Our parent corporation rolled us into our own corporation, we did an IPO. Then we grew a lot from that, so we had our older system that we had previously and, as we grew, we threw more databases and the like at it. We saw the performance was definitely not able to keep up. Once we implemented the All Flash FAS, it really wasn't an issue any more.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was very straightforward on the setup.

        The upgrade was actually very easy too. We didn't even really need to do a traditional migration when we did our "migration" to it. We didn't have to do the setup by migration tool. It was easier to set up the new cluster next to the old one, and then set up intercluster links and SnapMirror all the data over, and then just bring that volume. We did a planned failover, like we would for a disaster recovery, where you just bring up the new system, bring down the old system; that's how we did it.

        Actually, we took that old system to make our disaster recovery, so we just sent that to our failover site and then we already had the data in sync too. We didn't have to do that whole process of syncing the data across the LAN, we were able to do it right next to each other on our LAN, so it was super fast, and then sent over our system, and then just resume the SnapMirrors.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        We had NetApp already, so they were always a front runner, but we were looking at EMC, EqualLogic. And even, instead of having a NetApp, a different DR solution altogether, where we would have a third-party replication system that could replicate our data - instead of having another All Flash FAS or another FAS on the other side - and just relying on a different DR system altogether.

        Once we took into account the easy integration of everything, and how everything worked together, and since we already had that familiarity and that comfortability with it, it was easy to decide on NetApp; the company and the product.

        What other advice do I have?

        Right now we just use it for file storage. We were using block and file. I'm going to be using block in the future as well.

        In terms of my impression of NetApp as a vendor of high profile SAN storage, before I purchased AFF, I always liked NetApp. I was always impressed by the company in general, as a NetApp customer previously. But the All Flash FAS definitely has even increased that and enhanced my opinion of them more, based on the functionality, the new stuff in ONTAP 9. We were using an older 7-Mode system, so the transition was pretty easy; and just the overall benefits of the system and the new functionality.

        We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission-critical storage systems in light of our experience with AFF because of the reliability, the ease of the failovers, and the high availability of the system.

        Our most important criteria when selecting a vendor include responsiveness of the company to their customers, what they need and they want. I feel that NetApp has a very good finger on the pulse of their customer. They have good relationships with their partners and the third parties, so it is a very easy transition when dealing with NetApp partners. It makes the actual buying, and dealing with the quoting, very simple.

        Also, in selecting a vendor, support is definitely an important issue; having someone to lean on if there is an issue - and when there is a mission critical issue - that you know you can rely on. It's important to have someone who is going to respond right away, so that you're not waiting for someone useful to help you.

        Do as much hands-on testing as you possibly can. It's hard to test it out in the real world. The NetApp Insight conference is cool because you can see the product up close and personal, and they do demos and labs. But definitely do your research, as much as you can and pick something that works, that makes sense for your company, and organization as a whole.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750720
        Storage Engineer at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Vendor
        Inline deduplication and integration with SnapManager allow us to set the storage with the Exchange team and forget it

        How has it helped my organization?

        Our use case is really just our Exchange environment right now. In terms of block or file storage, we present it to VMware and then present it off as RDM's to the virtual servers. Our AFF is not currently part of a cluster together with other NetApp FAS systems.

        Because of all the inline deduplication and the integration with SnapManager, it allows us to set the storage and forget it with the Exchange team. They do all the restores through the Snap Single Mailbox Restore.

        And it's quick, it's fast, even though IO is not huge for the Exchange environment, it's still nice to have that speed for when they do have that need.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What is most valuable?

        Its integration with SnapManager products, really, is the main reason that we've stuck with it. Without having that integration it wouldn't allow our Exchange team to operate without us.

        What needs improvement?

        For us, probably the best feature would be an ONTAP-as-a-whole feature, the fabric pulling directly to cloud with unaccessed blocks over time. For us that would be the feature to revolutionize where NetApp stands, and bridge their connection with the cloud. It's actually a feature that they're introducing now, it's just not mature.

        Right now you're only aging snapshots up to the cloud, and only if the aggregate is at 50% or more. It would be cool if the feature was that the fabric pulled just aged/unaged blocks. Who cares if a block is still there or not after it hasn't been accessed in three years? Just age it up to the cloud, if suddenly I need it just pull it back.

        That should be automatic without extra things. You could use FPolicy to do it one way or you could do it a different way. But if that was just in the array and part of the normal hybrid flash pull array with the fabric pull on the end, to get rid of that extra old data.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's really stable, in our experiences, this stuff has been pretty rock solid.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        We haven't had to deal with scaling yet.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        I use NetApp's tech support all the time. I actually think they've done a great thing - the introduction of chat support has been really great.

        Increasing hours for that would probably be good because it's easier to be on a chat call and be troubleshooting with something. Sometimes a lot can be lost on a phone call.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

        We've been a NetApp customer for a while so we've used disk-based and hybrid storage from them.

        We use Nimble for our primary VMware storage right now. We haven't switched that back to NetApp yet. We're going to see how the next few years go and then we'll figure out from there.

        We were using Exchange, we were using NetApp storage before, and we knew the SnapManager products were a huge part of that. And when you couldn't get the same functionality out of trying different things with different vendors, you don't want to beat your head against the wall reinventing the wheel with what you're doing. It was a natural progression for us.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was pretty straightforward. Our need and setup for it wasn't crazy.

        What other advice do I have?

        Our impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance SAN storage before and after we purchased AFF was good. For our primary VMware storage, before, we went with a different vendor for a little while. Then we pulled back to NetApp for this, because of the ease of functionality and ease of use relationship with ONTAP.

        Based on our experiences with AFF we are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems in the future because of its reliability. We've tried out other vendors, and we might end up going back to NetApp for those solutions, given our different experiences.

        When selecting a vendor to work the most important criteria for me would have to be:

        • Support - To me, that's the most important. Being an engineer, you have to rely on the support people to know what they're doing.
        • Ease of use, what you're familiar with, obviously - NetApp has a big community out there so it's easy to look up other stuff, and to find other opinions, and work with the information that's available, in the information age that we are in. In some cases you might find other solutions compared to when you call support. Support is down to looking through the same thing you are.

        As for advice I would give to a colleague in a different company who's looking at AFF and other similar solutions, it depends on how they support their Exchange environment. But if they were willing to pay for the SnapManager and the Single Mailbox Restore suite, it's really hard to beat what NetApp has done with it. If you set up everything properly, and restores are pretty much a non-storage event, you can mostly push that off on your Exchange team, and just worry about when they need large data increases.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750645
        Software Engineer at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
        MSP
        Improved performance, fast data, have resulted in additional customer revenue and better service

        Pros and Cons

        • "The performance. The flash performance helps move data pretty fast."
        • "ZAPI is kind of difficult to use. You know, it's SOAP-like, it's not really SOAP. I would like to see it more of a REST-based JSON, instead of XML."

        How has it helped my organization?

        It has resulted in more customer revenue. We've got a very diverse crowd as far our customers go. Different customers are asking for faster, more performance, more service, and AFF pretty much delivered that.

        What is most valuable?

        The performance. The flash performance helps move data pretty fast.

        What needs improvement?

        I don't know if it's really specific to AFF, but metrics as far as performance. I would like to see a lot more of that.

        Also, ZAPI is kind of difficult to use. You know, it's SOAP-like, it's not really SOAP. I would like to see it more of a REST-based JSON, instead of XML.

        One of the biggest things that would really help is if it were driven like AMQP on the EMS would be really nice, so I can actually see when things are being created instead assuming things are created based on API calls.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It's very stable. I don't think I've noticed any problems with it at all. It's one of those things you don't really think about until you run into a problem. I haven't run into a problem, so it's actually very stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It's scalable. As far as NetApp products go, in general, they're very scalable.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        I haven't used it directly. We have residents so usually, if I need support, I go to the resident or one of the Professional Service guests that works with us. But the support they provide is excellent.

        How was the initial setup?

        I'm generally not involved in initial setup. Usually where I get involved is after it's gone through RDS, and I do the automation orchestration as far as our customers' provisioning and billing, etc.

        What other advice do I have?

        For the most part our use case is databases. We use AFF for both block storage and file storage. We've got arrays for both. We've got a very mixed NetApp setup. We've got some that are just AFF, some that are AFF FAS systems - flash pulls and the like.

        I've always been a fan of NetApp. I've dealt with other vendors but I like NetApp because when we need support, they're usually there, they show up, whereas other vendors don't quite do that. As far as AFF specifically, it's just another good product that NetApp put out. We're definitely more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems in the future, based on our experiences with AFF due to the support that NetApp provides. Very good support

        When selecting a vendor to work with, the most important criteria for me are

        • support
        • generally performance - if it's a performing product
        • scalable is always good.

        I would pretty much tell colleagues to go with NetApp because of the support. When something goes wrong, that's usually the most important thing to me: how do I get support? NetApp's always delivered on the support side.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750615
        IT Administrator at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Vendor
        Integrates seamlessly with what we're used to for FAS while getting the raw performance of flash

        Pros and Cons

        • "The ability to do SnapMirror or SnapVault for data resiliency and backup."
        • "Additional performance, additional data efficiencies, that's what everybody wants right now."

        How has it helped my organization?

        One example is we're moving a legacy application over. I'm actually in the middle of a project for that right now, where it's four Windows servers each with eight terabytes, that our actuary department uses for data analytics. With the efficiencies on the AFF, that eight terabytes has gone down to about two and a quarter of actual capacity used. So we're going to save a lot of space there, in addition to letting them run more simulations and get more simulations done more quickly because of the storage being so much faster than what they're on now.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What is most valuable?

        Some of the best things about AFF are that it integrates seamlessly with what we're used to for FAS as well. We can use the same ecosystem, OnCommand Unified Manager, but get the performance, the raw performance of flash. It's great that way.

        I think that's the most important thing, the integration with the existing features that we already have and existing management systems. Among those features are the ability to do SnapMirror or SnapVault for data resiliency and backup. The other features are the data efficiencies, compaction and inline dedup compression, that let us use it more efficiently too. Those are huge on the list.

        What needs improvement?

        Looking at the road map that's out there, I think they're heading in the right direction. Additional performance, additional data efficiencies, that's what everybody wants right now.

        And then the integrations that I'm really excited about - and part of the reason I'm here at the NetApp Insight 2017 conference - is to look at the integrations with AFF and things like StorageGrid Webscale. So you're getting even more efficiency out of the platform and offloading cold blocks that you don't need right away.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        We haven't had any issues, even going back to the longer experience I have with the FAS platform. They're typically few and far between, especially compared to some of the other vendors we've worked with. When we do uncover an issue, we typically get escalated to the right teams and get it worked out.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It's really good. There are some that things that could be done better there, like NetApp is doing; it's other products like Webscale and SolidFire. As long as you're aware of the design considerations, it's very, very easy. Shelves go in like a snap. As long as you make sure you have the proper compute to go with it, you're good to go.

        We're not really having scalability issues, it's just you have to make sure that you're not exceeding the capacity of your heads when you're expanding your logical storage out, that's all.

        It has caused problems for my company in the past, but I think that was the result of not having storage administrators with a high level of proficiency and knowledge of NetApp. They made some very poor sizing decisions, but you can't blame the vendor for that. It's more of the admins' fault for not specking them out properly.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        For the AFFs, I don't know if we've had to specifically leverage NetApp support yet. I don't think we've had an issue major enough that we've had to reach out. That's been more on the FAS side.

        Support has generally been pretty good. Occasionally there are struggles getting to the right people but, once you do, they know what they're talking about.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

        Yes and no. We're in the process of retiring some old storage frames, old Hitachi frames actually. I believe it's just disk-based. There are actually three different Hitachi frames and they're different. One is all flash, one is hybrid, and the other one is purely disk-based. So there's a mix. We have another all-flash platform that we could move workload to, but the NetApp fit the workload a lot better for this in my opinion. So it made sense.

        The original intent was actually to extend our NAS - we primarily use NetApp for NAS and a lot of our environment. But we've pitched the AFF that we just installed, the A700, primarily as a SAN platform. So we're really trying to leverage more towards that now.

        It will eventually be used for both block and file storage. It was originally slated for file usage NAS, but we're leveraging it more for block.

        I had worked with NetApp as block storage in the past, and I always had a high opinion of it. I think NetApp is the best in the industry at providing a unified platform for file and block. Hands down.

        We don't get too deeply involved in the cost analysis, but management and engineering rely heavily on the input from myself and my co-worker on the storage team, for these kinds of decisions, on a technical level.

        How was the initial setup?

        We had Pro Services, but we were heavily involved.

        For someone who is experience with any NetApp platform it's very, very straightforward, very similar to anything else that you would do. Obviously there are some specific guides, specific to AFF. You want to make sure you're following those best practices, but other than that it's a cinch. It's something that I could have done on my own without Professional Services, that's how easy it was.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        We have storage frames from most of the large vendors, so EMC would have been on the table, IBM would have been on the table, Hitachi. And really with the ecosystem that NetApp has built up around it, it just makes the most sense from a management perspective for sure. And the performance and value for money is there as well. It's a tough combo to beat.

        What other advice do I have?

        We have a 8080 EX HA pair, an 8040 HA pair, and an A700 all in the same cluster. That's our production cluster. We also run an AFF8040 for non-production and then a couple of other FAS heads: two HA pairs, 8040s for DR. So we've got some NetApp spread around.

        Based on our experience with AFF, we are definitely more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems in the future because it's the same quality and the same value for money as we have always come to expect from them.

        This is the direction the industry is going. My personal opinion is that SaaS 15,10k is going to be dead, completely within the next three to five years. Everything is going to be flash for performance and cheap and deep SATA, probably object storage for archival. I just think this purchase puts us better in alignment with where the industry is headed as a whole, it's more future proof.

        When it comes to the most important criteria when selecting a vendor to work with I think what's important is performance, value for money and, in addition to that, having support that's easy to work with, that can get you the answers quickly when you need them. That is the other big thing.

        I give it a nine out of 10 because there's always room for improvement. I don't think anything is perfect in IT, but it's pretty darn good. It's really pretty impressive technology when you get it running.

        What would make it a 10 goes back to what we talked about above, with the additional integrations and single panes of glass and getting a whole functional flow; what NetApp keeps pitching on the roadmap as the "Data Fabric," getting a single pane of glass for everything in your infrastructure and tying it all together.

        Advice as far as choosing a solution? Everybody's requirements are different, but if they don't have NetApp at the top of the list as candidates, they're doing something wrong.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user652587
        Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Consultant
        They have the ability to have a cluster of disks contained of different kinds of disks, which has been useful

        What is most valuable?

        • Performance
        • Density per rack unit from the capacity perspective with some of the other drives.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It solves the performance issues of the past. 

        The primary use case for my customers is enterprise vSphere workloads or Oracle workloads. We have customers using it for both block and file storage.

        This is not a directly specific to AFF, but I like the idea in the cluster that the data from ONTAP would allow having a mix of All Flash HA pairs with hybrid arrays. This allows for a somewhat tiered approach for storage. So, that is cool.

        What needs improvement?

        I am excited to see how the data fabric story plays out from the entire NetApp portfolio that connectivity of all the different devices. I know in the beginning when it was first spoken about, SnapMirror was something talked about. I liked that idea of just having the ability to transfer data between different NetApp platforms, and that would obviously include the All Flash line.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Cluster data ONTAP as an operating system is very stable and very mature. We seemed to like with 9.2 that there is inline deduplication at the aggregate level. That is a welcomed addition.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Since we are talking 24 nodes for NAS, that is really good. I forgot what the scale number is for block on clustered data ONTAP, but I have not run into any opportunities where we had to go beyond what we had.

        What other advice do I have?

        When you are looking at NetApp as a scale-out NAS player, they have been in the SMB in the FAS space for long time. They have done it well. They have done the multi-protocol access, NFS to NTFS access and reverse really well. They have the ability to have a cluster of disks contained of different kinds of disks, which has been useful. Also, as a unified box, it is like the Swiss army-knife of the unified boxes.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        Dathon Stokes
        Systems Administrator at Anthc
        Real User
        It has improved our applications' overall performance, and it has simplified our management of it

        What is most valuable?

        It is the flexibility of configuration. It is optimized for flash, so we do not have to manage the configuration of what optimizes flash, but we do have the flexibility to configure what optimizes our environment.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It has improved our applications' overall performance, and it has simplified our management of it.

        We use it for all of our VMware infrastructure as well as for our X-ray data storage, for the short-term storage. We use both block and file storage.

        Now, we can manage failed disks in our SAN before we replace them or manage how quickly they are replaced. All these kind of decisions, we can make. This flexibility is critical to having a comfort level with our environment.

        What needs improvement?

        Being able to move SVMs from one cluster to another.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        We have had two issues:

        1. There was a server and one of the heads rebooted because there was a system failure. We were unaffected, because the system stayed up and running. So, that was awesome.
        2. We had an issue, which was a self inflicted outage. Unfortunately, that one actually took our entire environment down. This was our own fault.

        Overall, the stability has been pretty amazing.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Scalability is excellent. There has never been a question as to whether it could scale out. It has been more a question of, "Do we have the finances to be able to do it?"

        How are customer service and technical support?

        They have always been good about being responsive. I love the auto support. The people that we get on the phone are usually pretty knowledgeable, and if they are not and they don't know what to do, then they hand it off to somebody who does.

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

        We also have Pure Storage.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was pretty straightforward.

        What about the implementation team?

        We did have a rep on site as well that helped us with the installation. We have used it as part of a cluster to connect with other methods.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        NetApp does a good job of being able to provide a lot of options for its customers and supporting those options with information. Even before AFF, we always used NetApp for mission critical stuff.

        What other advice do I have?

        It offers everything we need.

        If you are considering this solution, ensure you do the research and know what you are actually getting. Also, make sure you know what your needs are before you start doing that research.

        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.
        it_user750657
        Manager Enterprise Services at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Vendor
        Flexible, helps us migrate without taking systems down, and keeps our critical systems up and running

        What is most valuable?

        Flexibility in some of our big things. We're constantly doing new projects or new directions in IT, because it obviously changes all the time. NetApp has been great working with us, being flexible on having to do migrations, if we want new solutions without taking any of our applications in our current systems down. That has been a good benefit. And they've grown over the years to get better at that.

        How has it helped my organization?

        For us, it's probably along the lines of keeping everything up and running, critical, 24/7. DR's been a big push for us over the past couple of years with the environment. Different things happen and you need to keep all of your critical systems up and running. All the new technologies that NetApp has come up with, helping us do that, has probably been of the biggest benefit for us. The flexibility and being able to change on the move.

        What needs improvement?

        Some of the applications have changed over the years. Their complexity was there before, but moving forward we've seen a few features being taken away in some of those applications, that we had grown to love. But that happens in any type of software. You get stagnant, you like a feature, change comes along. It can be a little bit difficult to do.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Very good. I don't know if I could say anything bad about it for stability. I've never had any issues.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Very good.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        Personally, I have not used tech support, but guys on my team have used them. They've always been great. We have a special account manager who has helped us elevate critical cases if need be, and our sales team and all the people we work with there have always been available for us all the time.

        What other advice do I have?

        We use it for our high demand applications. Mainly email, our critical systems, that is what we're using our all-flash array for, tiered storage. We have some non-flash, where we store archival data and things of that nature, but the flash is performant for our tier-one applications. We use it for book storage and file storage.

        We've been an NetApp customer for nine years now, so as they've grown, we've grown with them and implemented any of their new solutions, software or hardware based. We've been a great customer.

        If you want an all-around company that can meet your needs, whether it be scalability, performance, the software application availability to interact with your applications, NetApp is a great place. We've looked at other storage vendors over time. They didn't seem to have all of the pieces that NetApp can bring. Some storage vendors might have something you like a little bit better, but NetApp can bring it all together much better than others, and that's why we have stuck with them.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        TG
        Systems Engineer at a individual & family service with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Real User
        We have been able to successfully use their high availability as well as run online upgrades without any disruption

        What is most valuable?

        It has to be the ONTAP System Manager. It is really easy to use and the interface is really clean. We are running 9.2 at the moment, and I have been able to configure it without a lot of assistance from the NetApp technical team.

        How has it helped my organization?

        We have been able to successfully use their high availability as well as run online upgrades without any disruption. It is the non-disruptive upgrade that has really impressed me.

        We use it for our VMware environment. We store our virtual machines (VMs) and use it to run our work loads. It is used for file storage.

        What needs improvement?

        I have been looking at 9.3. It looks like they already have some really promising features, with the ability to import into CSV. So, this would definitely simplify the configuration without having to do point and click.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        They have been very solid so far, in the five months that I have used the product. I have not seen any outages and their support is outstanding.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It has been very stable so far.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        We have scaled so far to another unit and have a FAS2620 that we recently added. We were able to get that up and running without disrupting the environment.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        Their tech support is very responsive. We have been able to put P1 cases in and we have gotten responses within the hour.

        How was the initial setup?

        I was involved in the initial setup. We have an AFF and a FAS. We were able to set those up in a cluster.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        There were other vendors on the list, primarily EMC and HPE, as they are the other players. NetApp came in at a better price.

        I came from an EMC shop with block level storage and found that NetApp was a lot easier to manage and configure. From a learning curve, it was easy for me to set up and pick up.

        What other advice do I have?

        Definitely give them a chance and see if the solution works for your environment. If you are doing block level storage, maybe try NFS.

        Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: price.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750699
        Sr Storage Admin at General Dynamics
        MSP
        It improves organizational performance

        What is most valuable?

        Performance Block storage

        How has it helped my organization?

        It improves organizational performance.

        What needs improvement?

        I want to see more send features. It takes awhile to learn the system.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It is stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It does not matter much in our environment. We have not thought of scaling out.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        We have used the technical support. They are good.

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

        We had EMC, then we introduced NetApp. We switched due to cost.

        How was the initial setup?

        I was involved in the initial setup. There was a little bit of an issue, but it turned out okay.…

        What is most valuable?

        • Performance
        • Block storage

        How has it helped my organization?

        It improves organizational performance.

        What needs improvement?

        • I want to see more send features.
        • It takes awhile to learn the system.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        It is stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        It does not matter much in our environment. We have not thought of scaling out.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        We have used the technical support. They are good.

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

        We had EMC, then we introduced NetApp. We switched due to cost.

        How was the initial setup?

        I was involved in the initial setup. There was a little bit of an issue, but it turned out okay. Basically, we had to call NetApp for assistance during the setup due to an odd issue.

        What other advice do I have?

        We use AFF as part of a cluster with other NetApp class systems.

        I would definitely recommend AFF.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750630
        Senior Systems Engineer at Age Of Learning
        Vendor
        Inline compression and dedup enable us to run multiple copies of various instances due to space savings

        How has it helped my organization?

        The primary use case for our All Flash system is for databases. We use it to keep slave backups of our production databases running on-premise. We use it for file storage, not block storage.

        Before we purchased NetApp we knew it was fast and could do a lot of great stuff. After we purchased it, we were surprised because we're trying to run replication on MySQL databases in-house. When we ran those on a regular FAS 8040, the replication couldn't keep up. We weren't able to keep copies of production databases on-prem.

        Then, when we brought the AFF A300 on-prem, we were actually shocked that it even outperformed the replication that we were running on AWS cloud for database replications, that we run from different regions on AWS. It was actually replicating faster, which is amazing because you would think it would be faster to replicate a database that is running in AWS from another master database that is running in AWS. But our on-prem that's running in LA was actually faster by 15 to 20 seconds of replication time.

        It has improved the way we function because it has given us the opportunity to run, as I said earlier, an on-premise MySQL replication database. Before, we couldn't run it on-prem, so we had to poke firewalls to give access to developers to do queries - which we didn't like to do - out onto AWS cloud. Now, it's all in-house, on-premise, and it's allowing us to no longer run those open firewall ports that we had to do before.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What is most valuable?

        For us, it'd have to be the inline compression that it does and the deduplication. We're able to run lots of copies of different instances, because we not only use it for databases, but we use it to copy other VMs that we run as well. The fact that we can make duplicate copies and save a lot of space is very valuable.

        Some of the new features that are coming out with FabricPool are really exciting for us. The ability to be able to move cold data off to S3 bucket and do the tiering and the back-end, versus trying to do it with the customers or with our different departments. We have to tell them, "Hey, you need to archive this stuff. It's been over a year." We're really excited to see the FabricPool feature on AFF A300.

        It's fast, all the other features that it come with it, with the snapshots and all that, it's just great.

        What needs improvement?

        I think eventually it's going to come out, but what I would like to see is, right now we have the availability with FabricPool to do tiering, but just with snapshots on our volumes. I'd like to see that happen with the data as well, not just the snapshots.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        We haven't had any outages with NetApp so far. It's very stable, I mean fully HA pair redundant. We can SnapMirror stuff off of it to another filer, it's great. It's awesome.

        Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Scalability is great. Before we had the AFF A300, originally we started off with a 2552. We outgrew that, obviously, and we went to 8040. We were easily able to upgrade to an 8040, and then grow our cluster to add an AFF A300. Now, we have AFF A300, an 8040 in our cluster and it's just easy to scale up. It's a big feature and bonus for NetApp on that.

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

        Before NetApp, we were using lots of cheap storage solutions. We were just running these servers with blocks of disks. They're made by another vendor, I can't remember the name. We would just buy these disks and use them up. Then, we ended up going with NetApp. Then, we do some on cloud stuff with S3 buckets. Really, NetApp was our first choice when it came to an enterprise solution, when we were ready to go.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        Nimble was on the shortlist.

        What other advice do I have?

        We are definitely more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on our experience of AFF because of the support. A lot of the features; NetApp's constantly providing and innovating with stuff, and it's reliable. That's the bottom line.

        NetApp has been around for a long time. Their support is great, documentation is great as well. If you're a guy that likes to do it on your own, you can do that, read up the documentation. If you need support, they'll help you out every step of the way. It's great.

        My advice to a colleague who is researching a similar solution would be to really look into NetApp and all the features that they provide, and to really consider NetApp. I think you can't go wrong.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user750678
        Storage Admin
        Vendor
        We use it for block storage, because we need a lot performance in all of our systems and databases

        Pros and Cons

          • "We installed NetSender to test it. I think it could be a good solution. It is very small now, but will probably become bigger in the next few months to years."

          How has it helped my organization?

          We automate a lot with our NetApp All Flash system.

          We use AFF for block storage, because we need a lot performance in all of our systems and databases.

          What is most valuable?

          1. Performance
          2. We need Snapshot.

          What needs improvement?

          We installed NetSender to test it. I think it could be a good solution. It is very small now, but will probably become bigger in the next few months to years.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          It is stable. We have a network cluster. For two years now, we have not had any issues. It is good.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          The scalability is good. We scaled out three to four months ago. There were no problems.

          How is customer service and technical support?

          I have used the technical support at times. They are always good.

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

          It is pretty expensive compared to other solutions. I would give it a seven or eight out of 10 in price (where 10 is expensive) compared to similar solutions.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          Before and after we purchased AFF, we viewed NetApp as a vendor of high performance. They are a good vendor.

          What other advice do I have?

          Until now, I have had no problems with the system. I would recommend this solution.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user750702
          Senior It Solutions Analyst at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
          Vendor
          Gives us high performance, improvement in IOPS, reduced latency, and it's easy to manage

          What is most valuable?

          • High performance
          • Good improvement in IOPS
          • Less latency
          • Easy to manage

          How has it helped my organization?

          Functionally it did improve our company. It improved internal customer performance.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          It's good.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          Scalability wise, it is also good, although we have not had to scale yet.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          It is good. I rate it nine out of 10.

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

          We have other storage as well but we have been using NetApp for a long time.

          We have a weekly call with the NetApp representative, we have been getting that from them. From them we understood that we needed to get a new solution.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          EMC. We chose NetApp over EMC because support is good.

          What other advice do I have?

          Our primary use case is databases using NAS file storage. Our impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance SAN storage before the purchase was that it's good. Now that we have it, we still think it's good. We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems because of the improvement in the performance.

          In terms of selecting a vendor, in the case of PoC, we look for more support and faster responses.

          I would advise a colleague researching similar products that this is the preferred solution.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user750759
          Ceo at Enterprise Computing
          Consultant
          We have had significant optimizations across the board. Performance has improved significantly.

          Pros and Cons

          • "The Snapshot, SnapMirror, and SnapRestore functionalities."

            How has it helped my organization?

            NetApp has been excellent. Performance has improved significantly.

            Because it has been used to deploy the virtualization solution, the consolidation helped optimize its center space, in terms of power, cooling, and so on and so forth. Therefore, we have had significant optimizations across the board. Also, there are SVUs to deploy virtualization solutions for our customers.

            We are more like to consider NetApp for mission-critical storage systems based on our experience with AFF, which is currently being deployed for core banking applications as well.

            What is most valuable?

            • The Snapshot, SnapMirror, and SnapRestore functionalities.
            • It is very easy to manage.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It is very stable. We've had no problems. Drives last for a very long time with very minimal failure, if any at all. Support is also excellent.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            It's extremely scalable with minimum downtime when one has to do the scalable solution.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            They are very efficient. Once you open a case, you have an engineer who is assigned and stay with you until the problems are resolved. We are reaching the right person quickly and easily.

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

            Previously, we were using external drives for backup solutions before we came across NetApp. We switched because of the features NetApp comes with, then the ease of use.

            How was the initial setup?

            I was involved in the initial setup. It was all straightforward.

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

            Price is always good, as long as price is coming down, especially for flash systems. The entry point for potential customers, who are looking at coming onboard for flash systems, it may be a bit expensive. It would be good if the price comes down.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            There was EMC and IBM.

            NetApp has always had a good name in the industry for providing excellent solutions, especially with the added protection functionalities, Snapshot, SnapRestore, and SnapMirror features. It makes it easy to have One-Box that provides all the solutions a customer would need to protect their data.

            We decided on NetApp because of ease of use.

            What other advice do I have?

            We use both block and file storage.

            With the current release of the ONTAP also, it's going to be easy to migrate the data to the cloud, which is very good because of the trend of doing hybrid solutions now.

            NetApp is doing a perfect job. Just go NetApp. You won't go wrong.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

            • A solution which is fast.
            • It is reliable.
            • Support is excellent.
            • Ease of use.
            • User-friendliness.
            Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
            it_user750582
            System Engineering Engineer at Cleveland Clinic
            Vendor
            The key features for us, in medical treatment, is its high availability and multiple layers of redundancy

            Pros and Cons

            • "Performance is excellent. In fact, it's so fast that we're not really even taxing it all that much."
            • "​A lot of the tools that are built into the stock, ONTAP operating system, instead of having to buy the add-ons and things.​"

            How has it helped my organization?

            It gave us a lot more peace of mind, because before we had a SAN solution that worked - it gave us the ability to have Microsoft SQL clusters for our treatment. This adds an extra layer of protection with the high availability, the multiple layers of redundancy, having SnapMirrors so we can replicate and do snapshotting. It's just given us a lot of peace of mind.

            When you've got patient-data, you've got to make sure it's there.

            Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

            What is most valuable?

            Probably the biggest single thing would be the high availability options, because it's medical treatment, so it's got to be pretty much up - because we do treatment with it.

            Performance is excellent. In fact, it's so fast that we're not really even taxing it all that much.

            What needs improvement?

            I don't know if I could come up with another feature. Of all the new hardware we bought for the new building, it's the only thing that we've yet to have any troubles with.

            Maybe the reporting tools, the performance reporting tools. Performance is excellent. In fact, it's so fast that we're not really even taxing it all that much. I know they're getting better on that but I suppose that's one thing I'd improve.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It's been perfect. We haven't had anything wrong with it.

            Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            I think it's excellent. We haven't scaled it up yet because it was a new system, so we haven't added to it. Actually, we did add a shelf to it, but it's awesome. You just plug things in and they go.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            Technical support has been excellent. Excellent. We've had our resident engineer who comes out all the time and assists us on things. We went to add that shelf in, he came up. We wanted to make sure we were doing things right, as in adding the disk in, and where to put it, and how to balance the system. He came right up there and helped us the better part of an afternoon, and just showed us things, and what to do.

            It was great. Never a complaint.

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

            We were using Hewlett-Packard P2000s, and they were fine, but it was basically just a rack of disks that allowed us to do SAN solutions. They were actually pretty good, too. They didn't have the high availability features, and they couldn't do replication. They could do some snapshotting, but it was nothing like what we have now.

            What happened is, it was kind of an end-of-life, they were getting real old, long in the tooth, and we needed more room. When the entire enterprise looked at vendors, they had brought on NetApp. When we looked at it, we thought, "This is great," and here we are. That's why we bought it. It just filled in. It did everything we needed it to do.

            We've been extremely impressed with NetApp. I like the interface. I like all the tools they give us. The support is incredible. Our rep is awesome.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            Hewlett-Packard, again, was one. EMC, because we do actually have some EMC stuff. And NetApp. That was basically our list. I think IBM was in there for a little while, but I think they kind of fell off. I remember hearing about it, but I didn't know anything about it. That was our short list.

            What other advice do I have?

            Our primary use case for the All Flash FAS is medical data storage. We use it for both block storage and file storage at the moment.

            We're more than "likely" to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems. It's already mission critical. This is cancer treatment. That's what it's doing.

            Our most important criteria when selecting a vendor are support, features, and support. Can I say one twice? Because I know in healthcare, if something goes wrong, and we can't get it back up and running, patients are affected. If cancer treatments stop, it's really bad. Or somebody's mistreated? The feds come out, and it's a criminal kind of thing, so we've got to make sure that nothing goes wrong. So, I'd say support twice.

            My advice to someone researching a similar product would probably be pay attention to growth, scalability. That was probably the other big thing with our P2000s. There was no way to scale. If we wanted to do something, we had to buy a whole other product. Once we ran out of room on that one thing, we had to basically look for something else. You have to do a data transfer. With the NetApps, we can just add on these racks of disks, and scale out with more controllers. I'd say that's it. Just make sure you pay attention to growth, and things like that.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750561
            Storage Admin at Bay View Financial Trading
            Vendor
            ​Speed, storage efficiency mean no complaints from customers and we don't have to buy as much space

            What is most valuable?

            • Easy to manage.
            • It's quick. It's very fast.
            • We've been getting something like 27-to-1 compression, so it's been really good.

            How has it helped my organization?

            Because of the speed and storage efficiency, we have no complaints from the customer and we don't have to buy as much space, because we can compress it.

            What needs improvement?

            I know we're looking at cloud solutions, so maybe if they have something cloud-based, that might be something. It could be important soon. Right not it's not but it could change soon for us.

            For how long have I used the solution?

            Two years.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            We haven't had any down-time yet. So far the disks are really reliable, so I'm happy about that.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            We haven't had to buy any new flash for a while because of the compression. So far, being able to compress the data has been able to help us save money on buying more disks.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            I haven't had to use it yet. I've been able to do it myself so far.

            NetApp's been responsive on other issues. So far, on the flash side, I haven't had any issues to have to call them.

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

            We needed something quick for our SQL DBAs, so that was the recommended path that we take, and it's been great so far.

            We were using the 600 Gig drives, regular SCSI drives, and they weren't fast enough. We switched because of the complaints of how slow the disk worked prior to us moving over to the flash.

            How was the initial setup?

            We had a vendor help us, but it seemed like it was pretty straightforward.

            What other advice do I have?

            Our primary use case is for SQL databases. We use it for block storage.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for a mission-critical storage system, based on our experience, because of the speed. We have a cluster, so the high availability. Those are the two.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

            • Dependability, like at 3:00 in the morning, if I need help, they're there. That's really number one for me.
            • The willingness to be able to train me so I can do it and I don't have to constantly call them.

            Those are the two, my major factors.

            To a colleague in another company who's researching a similar product I would say, "Go for it." If they don't want to be woken up in the middle of the night saying their backups are slow, they've got to go with the fast disks.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750672
            Senior Sys Admin at a tech services company
            Consultant
            The scalability is excellent. We added a shelf three weeks ago and it took less than 10 minutes.

            What is most valuable?

            • The speed
            • Performance
            • The storage efficiency is very good.
            • We use the SnapMirror for disaster recovery, though not for tiering.

            How has it helped my organization?

            By moving everything to the All Flash Array, our outage times have gone dramatically down, if not disappeared completely, for the most part.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for our mission critical storage systems based on our experiences with AFF. We are actually moving all of our production data onto our AFF system right now as it's been extremely fast and stable.

            What needs improvement?

            More reporting on a granular level within system command.

            For how long have I used the solution?

            I have personally used NetApp for 15 years now. A long time.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It's extremely stable. We've never had an issue with it, even through multiple OS upgrades.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            It's excellent. We added a shelf three weeks ago and it took less than 10 minutes.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            We haven't used technical support yet.

            However, I would recommend if someone is researching NetApp and similar solutions that they take a look at the support offered by other companies and look at what Netapp offers as well.

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

            Our existing solutions, which were Netapp, were basically just overrun.

            How was the initial setup?

            I was involved in the initial setup and it was straightforward.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            We looked at not only Netapp, but we looked at EMC which was the big one. Then we started looking at some cloud providers, but we actually moved away from that.

            We had a very high impression of NetApp as a vendor of high-performance sound storage before purchasing AFF, and an extremely high impression of them afterwards.

            What other advice do I have?

            The primary use case for our All Flash system is VMware. It's NFS-based, therefore it's NAS-based.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

            Typically, with vendor selection, it's going to be more about the support after. Most of the features across the vendors that I've talked to are pretty much on par with everybody else.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750534
            Data Analyst at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
            Vendor
            Gives us the performance and flexibility we need; Snapshots are really impressive

            Pros and Cons

            • "Performance. Mostly with our default settings it's good. All of the factory settings are fine. We don't have to tune it."
            • "When you look at the competitors, they have some features available, for example on the deduplication side.​"

            How has it helped my organization?

            One thing we see is the kind of flexibility NetApp is giving, taking the Snapshot and other features; wherever we want to keep it, we can keep it. Those things, are really impressive. We don't have to look into that traditional backup model like a tape backup model or protecting your data.

            What is most valuable?

            Performance. Mostly with our default settings it's good. All of the factory settings are fine. We don't have to tune it.

            What needs improvement?

            In the future, a few things.Performance. Mostly with our default settings it's good. All of the factory settings are fine. We don't have to tune it. We want to see that in NetApp. It's very important from the operational perspective.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It's really good. We would say 99.99% up-time, we are seeing that with the NetApp product. It's really good.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            On a scale from one to five, I would say four.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            It's really good. We're getting the right response, so everything worked.

            Right now, in current scenarios, we don't get many issues with the NetApp products. We mainly use them for the upgrade.

            And so far we are getting good response in case the case of a disk failure or some cluster issues, then NetApp support is there, really.

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

            We have a kind of recycle policy, and the end of warranty. We look at every purchase in the last three years, book value. We'll use that analysis as our first indicator.

            The second one, the demand from our customers, our internal customers. What kind of application they are going to use, what kind of power they will need. We'll check with NetApp, our account team, whether there are any new solutions available from NetApp, or we can use the existing one. Mainly the NetApp account team will help us on this.

            How was the initial setup?

            I'm only involved in upgrades. They're pretty simple, and their documentation is very clear, and it's all really nice.

            What other advice do I have?

            Our primary use case for All Flash is just as an alternate solution of storage. We are just exploring how it fits us. We use it for file storage right now but we have a plan for block storage also.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission-critical storage based on our experience with AFF. We are in the very initial stages of the AFF storage. It's very good. We are seeing good performance with it. But still, we need to see, with our mission-critical applications, with NetApp... Because right now we are just using the file storage, and we did not put any mission-critical applications.

            Our company has certain policies a vendor has to meet; first they must meet our company basic criteria to be a vendor. For example, a vendor has to be in the market for more than this many years. Then, we look at other areas like how good they are in the market and how stable their products are.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user527238
            Sr. SAN Engineer at a religious institution with 1,001-5,000 employees
            Vendor
            Very easy to add nodes as needed and move data around within the cluster to balance the workload

            What is most valuable?

            • Data availability
            • Speed

            Being able to keep the system up - five nines are better - so I have that system online and have that data available to our customers. And the new flash stuff is really fast.

            How has it helped my organization?

            The ability to manage very easily, and the replication between sites for backups is also very easy to use. And it stays up.

            What needs improvement?

            I'm just keeping a really close eye on where NVMe goes and how that's going to affect the next lifecycle of disk and connectivity to the server. So that's what I'm watching for.

            One thing they could improve right now is support. Other than that I've been pretty happy.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            Stability for us has been good. We've had a few bumps, a few bugs, but it's based on the new hardware platform.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            Scalability is great. In the cluster, being able to add nodes as needed, and to be able to move data around within the cluster to balance the workload on the nodes is just crazy easy.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            We use technical support a lot. It's doing better. It's got some hurdles to overcome but they're certainly doing better. I can see them making progress towards what they need to be, but it's a little hard to get through level one.

            When we get through level one and get to the back-end guys, we definitely have the right guys.

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

            It was lifecycle for us. Equipment had aged out so it was time to replace.

            How was the initial setup?

            Since we already had it running on a fast system, we just added them to the cluster and moved the data, without the customers even knowing. Just seamless.

            What other advice do I have?

            We use it for Oracle databases and for our virtual environment, and use it for file storage, not block storage.

            Our impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance SAN storage before we purchased it was that we could use them for general purpose storage, didn't really think of them as high-performance, but they're definitely there now. We are likely to consider them for our mission critical storage because we've been running on them now for eight years and they've been running our critical applications, so they've proven it to us.

            The most important criteria when selecting a vendor include that they've got to have a pretty good track record. We don't do business with very small companies because we're a pretty big enterprise, fast customer; so they've got to be up in the reviews. We use reviews to tell us all of those quadrants and where they sit, and then we typically do an evaluation and an RFP among the big players in those fields, and then select a choice.

            For a colleague who is considering a similar solution, I would tell them to definitely consider what NetApp is doing and how easy it is to use and migrate data.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750609
            Senior Information Systems Engineer at Varian Medical Systems
            Real User
            The compression, dedupe, and speed are the most valuable features

            What is most valuable?

            • The compression
            • Dedupe
            • The speed

            With the ONTAP, the flexibility is also a nice feature.

            How has it helped my organization?

            We've had quite a positive response since we've moved to the AFF for our VCD and our VDI environments. The feedback from the end users and the virtualization team that manages it has been very positive.

            We have a fairly large vCloud, vCloud Director (VCD) environment, which we use for our AFF systems, that and VDI. We use it all for file storage.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It is solid.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            It scales out very well. We have not had any issues trying to move anything around or when it comes to expansion. We haven't had to expand the AFF yet, but other ONTAP systems are very easy to expand.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            They're very professional. They usually find the issues, within the first couple of calls. The software support for all the SNAPManager products, sometimes the support is a little iffy on that, but the hardware support and the ONTAP support have always been pretty solid.

            We had some issues with SNAPManager for Exchange around Snapshots not getting deleted, and it's been an ongoing problem for us. We haven't really come up with a solution yet. That's still been a problem. It's gone around the block a few times in support. In support you get a new guy, they start over with a case, that's been the frustration.

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

            It was all disk space, it was on a FAS system, it wasn't AFF. We switched because of growth. The amount of IO that we needed from our existing system just couldn't handle it.

            I felt that NetApp was a little late to the game, but I guess that made them a little bit more mature when they got there. However, I've always been a fan of NetApp, an advocate.

            How was the initial setup?

            I was involved in the initial setup and it was very straightforward.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            We looked at Pure. We looked at some of the Nutanix stuff, but it just wasn't what we needed.

            What other advice do I have?

            I have been an advocate of NetApp for a long time. It's a good company, has good equipment, and good support. I am more like to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on my experiences with AFF.

            Our current AFF is not part of a cluster of NetApp FAS systems, we have other systems that are multi-node clusters.

            Definitely, heavily look at NetApp and its AFF solution. It's a rock solid platform. That's my recommendation.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: stability and longevity. That's why I'm looking at some of the other Flash providers out there. They haven't been around long enough really for us to know that they're going to be there when we need them. NetApp has been a pretty solid vendor for us.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750705
            Systems Engineer at George Fox University
            Vendor
            Usability and consistency, we've never had an outage and backups are 90% faster

            What is most valuable?

            Usability, in general. Currently, just basic functionality and consistency is all we really aim for.

            How has it helped my organization?

            Potentially. Hopefully just the consistency and integrity. That's our main goal as a small shop, compared to some.

            Hopefully, you never have to actually use those backups but those backups are probably completing 90% faster. If we had roll back to a backup, then we're going to have more consistency. That's the main thing - that I hope I don't have to use - that would be there for its benefit.

            What needs improvement?

            Lower the price. I would say being forced as a small shop wanting to go to All-Flash and being forced to buy all of the licenses that we don't use and we don't need, that was a bummer, and that was a stretch as far as convincing management. That's probably the only thing I can think of off the top of my head.

            For how long have I used the solution?

            I've been in charge of NetApp for three years.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            I've never had a problem. We've never had an outage. All the upgrades have gone well. There have been a couple of hiccups getting to the point where you can upgrade, as far as configuration changes, but nothing that caused any outages, or data loss, or anything like that.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            We'll see. We're only running about 27 terabytes in production right now. We're keeping everything else on our secondary FAS in our DR location. So we think it would scale well. But we'll see. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            We haven't used it for a while, and then only a little bit. Just conversing about upgrades and making sure we're set to go to various versions.

            They've been very knowledgeable. I haven't really had any problems with them. We haven't had anything critical where I needed an immediate response. So I also haven't worried that much about it.

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

            We didn't need invest in a new solution but our support was up on our system. So we had to upgrade. We had a 15K SAS disk before that was sufficient but it was going end-of-support at the end of this year or the end of next year, so it was a good time to upgrade.

            We chose NetApp because we put a lot of money into the training already. I'm very comfortable with it. I like it. It's pretty industry standard. It's very a valuable skill. So I'd rather not go to some smaller start-up vendor and then, if I ever do look for a new job, I can say, "Yeah, I'm very experienced with NetApp," not whatever other company. And HPE was horrible four or five years ago.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            I'm coming from a HP MSA and they were just horrible. Very unfriendly. Disks failing every week. Every month.

            We had a NetApp FAS8020 before and I thought it was great. We went from HPE to NetApp and there's no comparison. We looked at a couple of other vendors but they weren't as robust so we stayed with NetApp.

            We looked at a company called Datrium. They were not robust enough to fit all of our needs. I looked at Nimble Storage. I don't remember what the other company was. I didn't actually talk to them, but I looked at their product. Everything's basically the same price and so why not just stick with NetApp.

            What other advice do I have?

            We use it as our production stack, VMware, Oracle, and file shares for the most part, and use it for both block and file storage.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems, based on our experience, because we didn't have a disk fail in six years with our first FAS. That's hard to beat that. I hear different stories on that, but that's our experience. So I'm pretty happy.

            Everything runs well. The main thing that we've noticed is Oracle including backups at night, and queries and the like. Other than that, the database guys were the only ones that complained anyway. So they're happy now and that's my only job, really.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

            • Primary is data integrity (not losing my data).
            • Secondary would be uptime. With NetApp we haven't had any down-time.

            In terms of advice to someone who's looking for this kind of solution I would say do your research. You can't go wrong with NetApp. But make sure you're getting the right product for what you use or what you need it for. With the right use case.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750723
            It Manager at HSBC
            Vendor
            Enabled us to reduce physical rackspace on one project by 70-80% while providing performance and reliability

            What is most valuable?

            • Performance
            • Reliability
            • Scalability

            They're important because it's critical user data. As a global bank we need to make sure that users' data is accessible at all times; that there's no outage window or things like that. Performance is key.

            How has it helped my organization?

            The consolidation, the physical rackspace. For example, we've got a project ongoing at the moment in consolidating our footprint from 20 rackspaces down into two. I think we've got a 70-80% footprint reduction in going from old FAS controllers to AFF.

            What needs improvement?

            There's not really anything that's standing out at the moment.

            Perhaps the node count on a block basis, even though we don't really use it that much for block, but that would be one.

            The only other thing from our point of view would be, on the storage efficiency side, the compaction storage efficiency - there's no way of seeing that on a volume level, you can only see that on an aggregate level.

            For how long have I used the solution?

            We've had All Flash installed now for coming up to two years. I think it was February, 2016 that we put in the first All Flash array.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            The All Flash is very good. So far it seems more reliable, there's not been any issues with it.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            Good. We've not really had much scalability, so far, to grow that much on the AFF, but what we have had to do has been good.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            Very good. As an enterprise, trust me we've got quite a lot of the account team that were involved with this, so quite a lot of NetApp staff helped us out in the build, the design, the configuration, the maintenance, etc.

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

            We were using NetApp. We were using FAS NetApp, and it was just the new system, the new growth that we needed.

            How was the initial setup?

            Straightforward. No different to any old system that we've put in before, so an AFF is no different to a FAS.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            Dell EMC, NetApp, IBM.

            NetApp are our chosen vendor for IP storage.

            What other advice do I have?

            The primary use case for our All Flash FAS is user data: Windows user file data, application data, NAS IP data. We use file storage.

            We've just got a great partnership with NetApp. We've got NetApp installed in over 52 different countries. I think our hardware install base is over 600 systems globally. We've got a very good relationship.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage because of the reliability that we get with them, the support that we have with them, the infrastructure that they have available.

            The most important criteria when selecting a vendor are

            • Manageability
            • The customer base that they have
            • What enterprise accounts have they got
            • Cost is the main thing

            By manageability I mean how easy is it to manage the infrastructure. You don't want to manage a complex infrastructure and have multiple use cases, of having issues which are hard to manage. Having a single vendor and being able to manage it through a single support center makes it much easier.

            My advice to a colleauge considering a similar solution would be: Depending on the work load that you've got, that you require your systems for, if you're looking for high performance NAS then you'd look at NetApp. But you've definitely got to be able to manage the estate that you've got, so depending on the size of the infrastructure that you have would determine the solution that you choose.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750669
            Enterprise Storage Admin at Commonwealth Of Kentucky :Cot
            Vendor
            Its ability to handle the load which we throw at it

            How has it helped my organization?

            Ease of use: We're familiar with the NetApp platform and ONTAP. We're comfortable with the tool sets that it has. We've been trained on it as a group for quite sometime. We started out with IBM-branded NetApp with 7-mode. We've grown from 7-mode all the way into ONTAP 9.0. The cross training amongst players or team members allows us to help each other with issues that we deal with on a regular basis. We find that there's a lot of value in that.

            We use it for a storage location for Riverbed centralized storage. We use it for VMware, VMFS volumes, and for our VMware platform. We also use it for iSCSI and for regular RDM server storage. We use it primarily for block-related storage.

            We use it for multiple apps. It's enterprise-wide. We have eMARs. We have what they call the Obamacare Exchange running on it, and HBE for the State of Kentucky. We have a lot of VMware running on it, which have 1000s of servers that their VMDK files are nested in VMFS volumes which run on the AFF8080.

            One of the primary reasons that we went with the AFF was because of the dedupe, the compression, and that it's not software-based, but it's hardware-based. It's inline.

            Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

            What is most valuable?

            • Performance
            • Integration into the ONTAP
            • The cost of the product itself

            With the compression and dedupe, it's not necessarily a one-to-one gigabyte for gigabyte, where the compression and the dedupe allow you to buy a lot less, but to obtain a lot more storage capacity at the same time, hence getting the performance of SSD but they are not impacted by the two components of dedupe and compression. In summary, they don't get in the way of the performance of the product.

            What needs improvement?

            I would like to see a little more integration with some of the core fundamental components of OCI as part of the ONTAP OnCommand Manager, instead of it just being either all OnCommand Unified Manager or being able to see OCI and all of that it does. With what we pay for a node-pair and the OnCommand Unified manager, there ought to be at least a third of that integration in performance monitoring and alerting, and there's a lot there, don't get me wrong. We've got all the alerting and everything, but there should be a little more of the OCI bundled into the OnCommand Unified Manager.

            In future versions, since we own every license that NetApp has except SnapLock. I would like to see SnapLock integrated into the platform, and not be an additional cost for a license.

            We had every license when we purchased our platform. We're a major player in NetApp when you consider our total platform, as far as all the data that we manage is around about 12.5 to 13 petabytes. When you consider the size of our investment into NetApp, whether it's the AltaVault storage grid, E-Series 2800, FAS8060, 8080, or the AFF8700, we have a substantial purchase into all of their products at both the Commonwealth datacenter and also the alternate datacenter. When you consider we own every license that they have, except the SnapLock, and that's the one that we need the most right now for our stakeholders' legal purposes.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It's pretty good overall. With the auto-supports and the support SEs which are on staff when stuff goes bad and we have bad hard drives, we found that it's a pretty stable platform.

            Also, all storage platforms have issues. There's things that go wrong with all storage platforms. There's no magic platform out there, but the response of the NetApp support staff, engineering, the ticketing, and the people whom help when you call in a ticket, they're very responsive and that also has a great value.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            It's very scalable. Right now, at our primary site, we have four FAS8060 nodes. We have two node-pairs of 8080, and we're adding an additional node-pair of 8080 along with a node-pair of A700. At an alternate data site, we've got a node-pair of 8060 and a node-pair of 8080. We're adding a node-pair of 80200. For the upgrade at the primary site, the only portion of that would be considered risky is it has to go through change control when replacing the intercluster switch. Because we're expanding beyond the capacity of the original switch that we purchased, and it's very scalable, and we like the product.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            They're always very good. Whether I contact them online or whether I call in, they're very diligent in following up and making sure issues have been resolved before they close the ticket.

            Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

            We have multiple platforms. We have EMC, VNX7600s, and we just got rid of a VNX5600 and 5400 that were not able to keep up with the compute for what we were driving through them. We had on one of those systems, the VNX5600, we had 250 terabytes of free space that couldn't be utilized because the processing power on the platform couldn't keep up with what we needed. It was over-utilized, therefore we went with NetApp because it has the ability to handle the load that we throw at it.

            How was the initial setup?

            I was involved in the initial setup. It was somewhat complex, because we did cutover from 7-mode, where we stood up a brand new platform, were having to move the data from one to the other, and were dealing with the outages that were involved, but also going from the seven-mode to the ONTAP and the clustering and how it is different.

            I also do a lot of the infrastructure, as far as the fabric management, the ports, the trunks, and the fiber-connections from the NetApp platform or the NetApp cluster to the IBM Brocade Branded Directors. I do all of it: the zoning and the fabric management. It's very detailed and very complex. You have to really know what you're doing in order to get that set up properly. It is not on NetApp. That's just in general. If it was any system, you would have that to deal with.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            Every time we go through an upgrade process or we have a new purchase, we look at what functionality is offered by each vendor/manufacturer and we don't purchase based on fidelity to a single vendor. It has to be based on:

            1. Monetarily does it make sense for us to go with that vendor. Are they willing to work with us on the price?
            2. What they're offering. Does it give us what we need?
            3. Does it allow us scalability in what we're doing?

            We just got finished purchasing a new node-pair of 8080, AFF8700, and an 8200. If Unity would have come in at a comparable price, we could have gone with them. We didn't simply because of the scalability of the product.

            What other advice do I have?

            Look for these three major components when researching a similar product:

            1. Supportability with tech support
            2. Scalability
            3. The stability of the platforms.

            As far as AFF, we've had far better response and longevity of the actual drives themselves because they don't wear out as fast as a spindle drive does. I would say don't go with spindle. Go with All Flash unless it's archive.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

            • Supportability
            • Performance
            • Scalability.
            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750651
            Leads Systems Engineer at Tuscon Medical Center
            Real User
            It makes for easy upgrades; you just add new nodes, move stuff off, and take the old nodes off ​

            How has it helped my organization?

            We're a hospital and we store all of our patient records on it. Everything that we do in the hospital is done on there. It does it for VMware as well as databases and Oracle, we do everything on it. It allows us to do our job.

            Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

            What is most valuable?

            The capabilities of ONTAP is what drives me towards NetApp.

            Their ability to put more storage on smaller spaces through their deduplication compaction. Routines and thin storage are very valuable to us. 

            What needs improvement?

            An additional feature that I would like to see better support for is block level storage, where they understand what's inside the LUNs as well as the LUNs themselves.

            Though with 9.2 coming out, there is very little else that I want. I think anything they add at this point is going to be just icing, because it's already meeting my needs.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It's very stable.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            I like the scalability, the clusters, being able to add new nodes and such. It also makes for easy upgrades; you just add new nodes, move stuff off, and take the old nodes off.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            They are very good, knowledgeable, and responsive. Though every once in awhile, you get a knucklehead.

            Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

            We were using an EMC solution before this one. We switched when we ran out of performance on what we had.

            How was the initial setup?

            I was involved in the setup.

            They preconfigured it at the factory and that is a pain in the neck. This should stop.

            Which other solutions did I evaluate?

            We evaluated EMC, Hitachi and NetApp.

            What other advice do I have?

            When choosing a storage, it's a matter of management. Once you've bought the storage, all your time is spent in management. So, look at the software as well as the hardware.

            We use it for block storage almost exclusively.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems because they have been excellent to work with and their product has been stable.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: support and performance.

            Previous Solutions

            We were using an EMC solution before this one. We switched when we ran out of performance on what we had.

            Initial Setup

            I was involved in the setup.

            They preconfigured it at the factory and that is a pain in the neck. This should stop.

            Other Solutions Considered

            We evaluated EMC, Hitachi and NetApp.

            Other Advice

            When choosing a storage, it's a matter of management. Once you've bought the storage, all your time is spent in management. So, look at the software as well as the hardware.

            We use it for block storage almost exclusively.

            We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems because they have been excellent to work with and their product has been stable.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: support and performance.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750639
            Enterprise Storage Engineer at Providance Health Services
            Vendor
            Tech support is good, smart, and responsive

            What is most valuable?

            While our VDI people are storing user profiles, we make good use of single name space. With application driven ride, VDI has driven us to use NetApp because they needed a single name space and there's just no vendor on the market that can do single name space with All Flash.

            How has it helped my organization?

            In the single name space, the profile pad need not be changed for various users. All the users of VDI can be pointed towards one profile source.

            Our primary use case for All Flash is we put VDI on it and we put our Providence Health Systems work on Epic. Epic is our tier one app. We put all the NAS needs for the Epic app on All Flash, and we also put our user home directories on All Flash.

            What needs improvement?

            We would like to see permission repair technology built into ONTAP. We have it in EMC Isilon and we have been asking our accounting to take it to the engineering team. We want a job repair technology in EMC Isilon, in that app as well, so that app can refer to it and build on it.

            Also, the product could be made cheaper.

            For how long have I used the solution?

            We have been using it for eight months.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            The stability is good.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            It is certainly scalable.

            How are customer service and technical support?

            We used tech support. They are good, smart, and responsive.

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

            No, we didn't use a previous solution. We came to AAF 300 All Flash because we were refreshing all of our NetApp applications.

            How was the initial setup?

            I am the lead for all NetApp installs. Every time we had a good installer coming onsite, so we make it easy for them and they make it easy for us.

            What other advice do I have?

            We use All Flash for block and file storage.

            We have been a NetApp shop for a while, even before AAF 300. Thus, our impression of NetApp has a long history. It's been good to us in providing the support and giving us the right solutions when we need them. Therefore, we have a good impression of NetApp.

            I recommend NetApp. If someone is looking at a similar solution, I would give them the advice, "Go for NetApp."

            When it comes to NAS services, they have better operating systems compared to anyone, even other vendors would have it, but NetApp has a long history of being in the market and large customer base. Therefore, they might have gone through various problems and solutions compared to any new vendors who are out there. Experience matters.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

            • How robust the technology is
            • How reliable the vendor is
            • How experienced they are.
            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750633
            System Admin
            Vendor
            They've always been really supportive, easy to get ahold of, and easy to work with

            What is most valuable?

            • Performance
            • Contingency, failover, and data recovery
            • It's a good vendor.

            They have always been really supportive, easy to get ahold of, and easy to work with.

            The primary use case for All Flash is improved performance.

            How has it helped my organization?

            • Better performance
            • More reliable systems
            • Less space needed versus competitors of similar storage

            What needs improvement?

            Simplifying the solution for performance, though they are already working on it. Also, making the UI more user-friendly couldn't hurt.

            For how long have I used the solution?

            Over five years.

            What do I think about the stability of the solution?

            It's very stable. We haven't had any problems in our environment.

            What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

            It is very easy to scale.

            How is customer service and technical support?

            Customer Service:

            We have a good relationship with our representatives through them. Our sales representative gave us a lot of information as far as moving forward with upgrading stuff.

            Technical Support:

            It has been used quite a few times and we always have always had a good response from them. They are very knowledgeable.

            How was the initial setup?

            It was very straightforward.

            What other advice do I have?

            We use both block and file storage.

            NetApp is the leader in the field for high performance and storage systems. They have always been our primary go to. We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on our experience.

            Advice for someone looking at similar products: Just do the research beforehand and you'll be able to tell what vendors separate themselves from the rest as far as other companies' reviews out there. I would definitely recommend NetApp All Flash FAS.

            Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: compatibility and communication. Being able to rely on them whenever we need them.

            Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
            it_user750558
            Manager San Operations at a media company with 10,001+ employees
            Vendor
            We do our upgrades in the middle of the day

            Pros and Cons

            • "The performance is the most valuable feature."

              How has it helped my organization?

              We have been able to construct a business intelligence environment with nearly instant reporting for our parks, so they can determine where resources need to be put during the middle of a day. So, if there's a rainstorm, they can determine that we need to move people to front gates, we need to move pizzas here, etc. It enables realtime actions to events.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What is most valuable?

              The performance is the most valuable feature.

              The primary use cases for our All Flash storage system are primarily server virtualization and data storage for unstructured storage. We use it for both block storage and file storage.

              What needs improvement?

              The only complaints I ever had was with OnCommand Unified Manager and Performance Manager, and they fixed them in the last version.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It's pretty reliable. We do our upgrades in the middle of the day, with parks open. If I'm not up at 3:00 in the morning doing an upgrade because of a risk, that's a great thing.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We haven't had to scale yet. However, we built it so if we do, it's very simple to do. We could probably do it with an onsite staff and not need professional services.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We have frequently used tech support. They are one of the best departments at NetApp. Without them, we wouldn't be able to operate the way we do.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

              We had a different NetApp solution before. We actually started running the numbers, and due to the age of the systems, we were starting to lose multiple disks at a time. We were going to have a point where we lost data, so it was time to replace them. NetApp was the only vendor that really worked out during the quote process.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was involved in the initial setup. It was very straightforward. By the end of the process, we had it down to where we were converting an entire park within 48 hours.

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

              Definitely go with NetApp. You're going to look at other vendors. They may come in at a cheaper price point, but you will pay in the end with management costs and downtime.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Before purchase All Flash, we had a very high impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance sound storage. It is still very high as it is the only vendor we would consider for mission critical systems based on our experience at this point.

              We looked at some other vendors. They can't provide the single pane of glass management. We're a very thinly-staffed environment, and we need to be able to have a minimum number of people managing the maximum amount of resources. Other vendors don't do that.

              For example, we looked at EMC. Their primary problem was the pane of glass problem. They offered three solutions to do what we're already doing with one. Nimble was the other solution which we looked at, and they were protocol limited. They could only do iSCSI, which would have required a significant architecture rebuilt for us.

              What other advice do I have?

              Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

              • High availability
              • Reliability
              • Performance.

              We have to be able to do the three P's. Get people in the front gate, sell them plush "Bugs Bunnies", and sell them pizzas. If we can't do that, we have a problem.

              Previous Solutions

              We had a different NetApp solution before. We actually started running the numbers, and due to the age of the systems, we were starting to lose multiple disks at a time. We were going to have a point where we lost data, so it was time to replace them. NetApp was the only vendor that really worked out during the quote process.

              Initial Setup

              I was involved in the initial setup. It was very straightforward. By the end of the process, we had it down to where we were converting an entire park within 48 hours.

              Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

              Definitely go with NetApp. You're going to look at other vendors. They may come in at a cheaper price point, but you will pay in the end with management costs and downtime.

              Other Solutions Considered

              Before purchase All Flash, we had a very high impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance sound storage. It is still very high as it is the only vendor we would consider for mission critical systems based on our experience at this point.

              We looked at some other vendors. They can't provide the single pane of glass management. We're a very thinly-staffed environment, and we need to be able to have a minimum number of people managing the maximum amount of resources. Other vendors don't do that.

              For example, we looked at EMC. Their primary problem was the pane of glass problem. They offered three solutions to do what we're already doing with one. Nimble was the other solution which we looked at, and they were protocol limited. They could only do iSCSI, which would have required a significant architecture rebuilt for us.

              Other Advice

              Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

              • High availability
              • Reliability
              • Performance.

              We have to be able to do the three P's. Get people in the front gate, sell them plush "Bugs Bunnies", and sell them pizzas. If we can't do that, we have a problem.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user750564
              Infrastructure Admin 3 at Grant Ham University
              Real User
              If we have any issues, we can call into NetApp and their support is really good

              Pros and Cons

              • "The most valuable feature is the support. If we have any issues, we can call into NetApp and their support is really good."
              • "It would be nice to have better integration between SRM and VMware, as I've had some issues with that."

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable feature is the support. If we have any issues, we can call into NetApp and their support is really good.

              Speed and reliability of the data's access is the main reason why we went with All Flash. We mainly use All Flash for file storage.

              With the new all solid state, it has really good performance.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We have had NetApp for many years. It's been reliable. If we have a disk go bad, they send it out with all the auto support features. We're hands off and all that stuff is being done behind the scenes. That's really valuable.

              The primary use case is to put all of our data on NetApp, all of our primary data anyhow. Our SQL databases are Oracle databases. We even have all of our SIF shares on there right now just because we don't have that much. We're probably looking at 120 terabytes of data. We don't have that much, so we are able to put everything on All-Flash.

              What needs improvement?

              It would be nice to have better integration between SRM and VMware, as I've had some issues with that. Though this may just be our particular system and may not be a global issue.

              Also, maybe include additional instructions on how to set it up properly.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We have been a NetApp customer for many years, so we had all SATA/SAS drives before. Just last year, we got the All Flash FAS system. Every year, it gets better.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have been with NetApp for many years and haven't had any issues. If we do, NetApp is there to support us.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              It's really good.

              What about the implementation team?

              We had a vendor come in and they set us up.

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

              Obviously depending on the price point, NetApp is obviously a little more expensive than your generic Dell SAN solution or whatever.

              What other advice do I have?

              It's reliable. The speed is good. We've tried to push the thing to the max and it's almost impossible. The CPU of our host gets limited before the storage gets limited, therefore backup solutions for it is easy.

              Depending on what your needs are, obviously NetApp would be the way to go.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user750576
              Storage Engineer at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              We just implemented it this year and that dropped the latency by at least four times

              Pros and Cons

              • "Easier to manage with the clustered system and everything with the newest ONTAP 9."
              • "Higher communication: I love the professional services and I love everything that everyone's able to offer us, but I find sometimes we're not aware of all the things that NetApp can do."

              How has it helped my organization?

              We have our ESB system which was actually running on an older NetApp that was having severe latency. Therefore, we just implemented an All-Flash system this year, which dropped the latency by at least four times, so now it runs without any hiccups or problems.

              The company as a whole definitely is far more lenient towards NetApp now that we have the All-Flash array because the major ESB system is now running without any problems. Thus, it's made a big difference in the outlook of NetApp for our company.

              What is most valuable?

              • Lower latency
              • Easier to manage with the clustered system and everything with the newest ONTAP 9.
              • Also it has the WAN acceleration between locations, which sped up our replication as well.

              What needs improvement?

              Higher communication: I love the professional services and I love everything that everyone's able to offer us, but I find sometimes we're not aware of all the things that NetApp can do.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              With the new clustered system, because it has the switches in-between the cluster, it's far more redundant and far less likely to have any kind of outage, even if our network isn't as stable as we'd like it to be.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We haven't had to scale it yet.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              I was the main engineer on the implementation. We had professional services that came out and helped us, install it and set it up, to make sure that everything was running properly, which was amazing. The set-up of the clustered system, while complex, was very necessary to ensure redundancy.

              After it was set up, it was very straightforward getting moved over; pretty seamless for the most part.

              What other advice do I have?

              Give NetApp a shot. There's a lot of other really good solutions out there as well. I'm pretty entrenched in NetApp personally because I think they do a great job.

              Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Dependency and redundancy; just ensuring that we're able to stay up constantly. That's the biggest thing. It's because any downtime causes our stores not to be able to take transactions, that's not okay.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user750585
              Systems Administrator at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
              MSP
              The benefits are automatic; the power consumption is very low and the performance is very high

              Pros and Cons

              • "The scale up version of it is the most valuable feature. You can go to 24 nodes, which is very cool."
              • "Going forward, I would like more performance analytics on it, on the area itself, instead of using some other tool."

              How has it helped my organization?

              The benefits are automatic; the power consumption is very low with the All Flash and the performance is very high. So, it helped us to better serve our customers to do the VMware data source.

              What is most valuable?

              The scale up version of it is the most valuable feature. You can go to 24 nodes, which is very cool. We are primarily using VMware environment. We use it for VMware data source for our hosting customers. We have 32 petabytes of data on NetApp's storage, so we definitely use it for primary storage.

              What needs improvement?

              Going forward, I would like more performance analytics on it, on the area itself, instead of using some other tool.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It's very stable.

              We have a 9.1 operating system on it, and it's very stable. We did an upgrade online, and we had no issues. We did a failover testing, and nothing. It's solid.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              The scalability is good.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I use it for small issues, like how to configure using multiple VLANs. It was pretty easy to set up, and the technical support were very good.

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

              We decided, as a company, to not buy any more disk storage for our primary customers, and that's the reason we needed All Flash. NetApp was a perfect fit because we could grow as we needed and it scales out the architecture works for us. We were looking for a high-performance, small, low footprint block rate, and NetApp fits in right there.

              How was the initial setup?

              Very straightforward. NetApp already does all the installation for us. They just come in and set the IPs, etc.

              What other advice do I have?

              It's a pretty solid solution. If you're looking for a block solution, or file solution, on flash, you definitely have to look at it.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user750546
              Senior Storage Administrator at a leisure / travel company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              Allows us to increase capacity, update hardware without having to take an outage

              Pros and Cons

              • "​It supports our virtualization, our VMware environment."
              • "Better stability, not releasing features until they are fully functional, or at least giving us a software train that doesn't add them until they are fully functional and proven."

              How has it helped my organization?

              It supports our virtualization, our VMware environment.

              We're more nimble. We can move from block to file. The ability to have all of the efficiencies that come with it. The dedpulication, the compaction, the compression, give us those capabilities to get more bang for the buck.

              What is most valuable?

              The fact that we can move forward, increase capacity, update hardware, without having to take an outage.

              What needs improvement?

              There are a bunch of features that are available but aren't vetted for enterprise use yet, at least not in my environment.

              Better stability, not releasing features until they are fully functional, or at least giving us a software train that doesn't add them until they are fully functional and proven. Right now, the long-term support model is nice but it still has features in it that are not ready. At least not for our environment.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              NetApp's base solution is very solid. The latest, greatest features of course are not always that stable. We avoid those. If we stick with the tried and true, we have no problems. It's very stable.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              It's extremely scalable. With the cDOT, you have the ability to add many, many nodes, and that gives you that capability of also being able to upgrade portions of it without taking the entire thing out.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support, the first wave is a little bit rough sometimes to deal with. However, once you get to the right resources, it's quick in action.

              It's actually kind of hard to deal with the first level because of the questions and we already have visibility into the triage sheets that they are asking us the questions from, and we've already gone through those. So we've moved beyond that dependence on the first level because of those triage sheets that are publicly available on the website.

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

              It's been there as long as I've worked there. So, before that, CIFS, user shares, that kind of thing. It was never really an option for high performance storage.

              We've been using Netapp for many years, long before I even came to the company.

              How was the initial setup?

              It was very straightforward.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We're multi-vendor. We do EMC and NetApp. We will look at others but most don't have the track history that we are looking for.

              What other advice do I have?

              We use AFF for both block storage and file storage. We are more likely to consider to NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on our experience with AFF. With clustered data ONTAP, it's actually a true enterprise solution that has upgrade paths that don't require actual downtime.

              Most important criteria when selecting a vendor solution is the ability to deliver in the long-term.

              The TCO makes it a very desirable solution. The efficiencies are more than worth the money. It means you can have a small footprint but support a lot of different solutions within the datacenter.

              Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
              it_user750543
              Systems Administrator at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
              Vendor
              Consistent with ONTAP versions, and the speed and performance are assets

              Pros and Cons

              • "I would say the consistency with the ONTAP versions and the speed and performance from the flash."
              • "With some of the larger clusters being able to do a patch upgrade is helping. They still take three, four hours by the time you get the night started, finish things up, do the upgrade."

              How has it helped my organization?

              Reduced latencies, and the cluster data ONTAP, less down time, able to do upgrades, things like that, without much disruption.

              What is most valuable?

              I would say the consistency with the ONTAP versions and the speed and performance from the flash.

              What needs improvement?

              A shorter list of bug fixes would make it a 10 out of 10 for me. It looks like they're doing monthly releases now, so there are a lot more upgrades. It feels like a little too much, but we get to choose whether or not we need to pick that version or if we're going to wait. It's good not to have to wait four months for a patch.

              With some of the larger clusters being able to do a patch upgrade is helping. They still take three, four hours by the time you get the night started, finish things up, do the upgrade. The upgrades are very minimal. They've got the waiting period in between them, kills about 15 minutes of time. It'd be nice if that was streamlined a bit. I'm sure the engineers have that pause in there for a reason.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Normally good.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              I think we've got an eight-node cluster right now, so it's meeting our needs.

              It's been easy to tag nodes and scale out.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              It's always been a good experience. I've never had any issues getting the right level of support.

              How was the initial setup?

              Pretty straightforward.

              What other advice do I have?

              I would say the primary use case for AFF is a combination of database and virtual servers. We have both block storage and file storage.

              Our impression of NetApp as a vendor of high performance SAN storage, both before and after we purchased AFF, was top-notch. We are definitely more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems in the future based on our experience with AFF, due to its reliability, ease of administration, cost.

              For us, reliability, cost, and just a good relationship are the most important criteria when selecting a vendor.

              It's reliable, fast, low latency, and we haven't had any issues with it. It's been quality.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user748323
              Lead Storage Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
              Vendor
              We get a lot of compression and efficiency out of the dedupe, you can put a lot of stuff in a little space

              Pros and Cons

              • "The in-line dedupe, and the compaction saves us a lot of space because most of our AFFs house VMware VMDK files."
              • "It would be much better if you had it more like the way they do Metro Clusters, where they have a switch, and the storage is all attached to a switch."

              How has it helped my organization?

              With the AFF, we can run VMs with databases now. That was one of the big features with the AFF, we needed the speed for databases. By moving them over, we can put VMDKs housing databases on there and use them on the VMware infrastructure now.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What is most valuable?

              The AFF we have, we use the in-line compression. The in-line dedupe, and the compaction saves us a lot of space because most of our AFFs house VMware VMDK files. We got a lot of compression, a lot of efficiency out of the dedupe because a lot of the VMware are similar with the OS, VMDKs, etc. It makes it really compact. You can put a lot of stuff in a little space.

              What needs improvement?

              That's a hard question to answer off the top of my head. I'd have to go through and evaluate everything. Right now, it fits our needs. I'd have to evaluate what else I'd like to see, I guess.

              While not for AFF specifically, for clusters in general, it would be nice to be able to have volumes everywhere. For example, now you have volumes tied to a node tied to an HA pair. It would be much better if you had it more like the way they do Metro Clusters, where they have a switch, and the storage is all attached to a switch. Then, they have a volume owned by something and have it should be able to move around to anywhere based on ownership of a volume, as opposed to between HA pairs. That would be a good improvement in their infrastructure.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              The NetApp AFF itself, the FAS's, they're stable. They're in a cluster mode, they're HA, so we fail them over, we have upgraded fail back. We've never had an outage due to NetApp in the 12 years that I've been there.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability, it's like anything else. The ability now to take out and add shelves, pull out shelves from the middle of an array if you want, to upgrade them, to pull heads out, and put new heads in as a non-forklift upgrade. All that functionality and scalability is one of the things that makes NetApp really good for our environment.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We use tech support for everything. Since it's a cluster, something that's not specific AFF, it's just nodes in the cluster. But we use support all the time.

              Tech support is like everything else. It's hit or miss. It depends on who you get and what the subject matter is. We had a Support Account Manager (SAM) at one point too and, when we had the SAM, it was a lot easier to work with their support through the SAM. We've dropped the SAM stuff.

              Sometimes it's difficult to escalate correctly and get the right people involved. It's not been as bad as it was before we had the Support Account Manager (SAM) though. Our SE helps a lot as well. It's pretty good support. We just had a support call yesterday with him and the guy we got was knowledgeable about what our problem was, so it worked out pretty well.

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

              We've been a NetApp customer for 10 to 12 years now. We use their non-flash stuff a lot. We use hybrid flash, and after that, hybrid arrays. All Flash was the next logical move. Our next move is going to be the object storage, as well to spin off some of that data, the snapshots, on to object storage, because they've got flex groups.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was involved and it was seamless. We had a two-node star cluster with AFAs on them. NetApp did the install. A few years ago, we used to do our installs ourselves, as a company. Then we started using NetApp installation services to do them. They did the install. They inserted it seamlessly into our cluster. It came up, we had the arrays, and we could create aggregates on it, pretty much right after they got them installed.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We're using NetApp now as our hybrid storage. We have VMs on there. They wanted to put databases on the VMs. We said, "Well, we don't have the speed to put your databases on there. If you want to stay on the NFS structure with NetApp, the next logical solution is just to put you on All Flash, so we just throw some of those in the cluster and do a motion of your volumes over."

              For All Flash, we have a SAN infrastructure and a NAS infrastructure. We use the EMC for the SAN infrastructure, for the block. NetApp is the only NAS we have. There's not much else we can look at besides Isilon. Isilon just isn't fast enough. It's slower than what we had them on at the beginning. NetApp was really the only logical choice for that particular environment if we wanted to use NAS.

              What other advice do I have?

              The primary use case for our All Flash FAS (AFF) system is pretty much VMware and its servers. It's just for file storage right now, for NFS, for the VMware stuff. We're investigating using it for other things. It's also used as a Zerto, a web application depository for some of the Zerto replication for the VMware stuff.

              We use it for our mission critical stuff right now, as our VM infrastructure.

              The most important criteria, when selecting a vendor to work with is functionality. I look at the functionality of the systems, what they provide us, what the features are, and where they're going, and what we need. Then, after that, I'll look at support. Of course, my company wants to look at market share and similar thing to it, but I look at the those things last. I look at the functionality first.

              I give it a nine out of 10 because nothing's perfect. It works really well for what we want to do with it. It may not work well for other people. But in my experience, nine is where I would put it. It's functional, it's expandable, no forklift upgrades, and no disruptive upgrades, even for the OS or for the hardware itself. The flexibility of moving things around. All of its features, including its SnapMirror functionalities, make it really good for our environment.

              All the features and their flexibility is where I would give it the bigger rating. What would make it a 10 out 10 is better support.

              Regarding advice, it's the same advice you give to everybody. Evaluate what your criteria are, then look at NetApp. If you're looking for NAS, even for block, NetApp to me is mid-to-high level block. If you're looking for certain things in block, something else might be better, as opposed to FAS. You can look at NetApp for their other products. Look at NetApp for their file system for; FAS, look at their block stuff. Look at their stuff because all their stuff is available for use, it's just that the FAS itself is not suitable for everything, but they have other stuff that is.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user748317
              Senior Architect at a tech vendor with 5,001-10,000 employees
              Vendor
              Gives us high performance and deduplication capabilities with simpler management

              Pros and Cons

              • "Deduplication"
              • "It would be helpful if the compatibility matrix was a bit better."

              How has it helped my organization?

              The primary use case for our Flash FAS is general storage for our hypervisor, software as a service provider. We primarily use it for storing our applications, web servers, file servers, and whatever other applications we have. We mainly utilize the AFF platform for the high performance and the deduplication capabilities. The management is a lot simpler on an AFF.

              What is most valuable?

              • Deduplication
              • Compressions
              • Simpler management
              • The performance is great.

              What needs improvement?

              I'm not sure there are any additional features which I want to see, except for maybe more compatibility within the hardware universe and more compatibility for cables and other hardware. Some better integration with the E-Series to give us more options to scale. The other issue though is a completely different product called HCI, so this might not even be an AFF request.

              It would be helpful if the compatibility matrix was a bit better. That's what we run into a lot. Our datacenters have a need for more flexible cabling and NetApp has very strict guidelines on what kind of cables you use. That's the only reason why I wouldn't rate it a 10 out of 10, but everything else is great.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability is very good.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Regarding scalability, on a scale of one to 10, I'd say about a five.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Tech support is great. I'd rate it as a nine out of 10.

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

              The initial reason for going to NetApp was that our original solution, which was Dell Storage, just wasn't cutting it. We did our own in-house testing, performance-wise, resilience-wise, etc. The Dell Storage just wasn't cutting it. Dell's other solution at that time was Compellent, and NetApp was just better. The initial reason we didn't go with NetApp was because of cost, but they were able to meet us in the middle and we just went from there.

              How was the initial setup?

              Not straightforward, there is a learning curve when it comes to AFFs, but once you understand the setup it's pretty easy.

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

              Our initial perception of NetApp was it's extremely expensive and a little too inflexible. However, once we did get into the NetApp ecosystem, we realized that the cost effectiveness was greater than we originally thought.

              The cost effectiveness is due to deduplication compression, the number of managed hours that we need to maintain the system, and the flexibility of NetApp which is geared toward keeping their systems more resilient.

              What other advice do I have?

              I would check to see that you're okay with centralized storage because that's what NetApp's bread and butter is. If you want a centralized storage platform that is bulletproof, NetApp is great.

              We use AFF for both block storage and NAS storage. We are more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on our experience with AFF.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              EM
              Systems Mgr at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
              Real User
              Using Snapshot, we are able to replicate/clone the production environments. Some workload balancing activities across the nodes are not transparent.

              What is most valuable?

              Two functions are valuable for us:

              • Snapshot: We are able to replicate/clone production environments to test the SW version up (e.g. the Oracle Financials upgrades).
              • MetroCluster: Our disaster recovery is based on two active-active sites. The MetroCluster feature allowed us to continue our operations (without business interruption) when we stopped one of the sites.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What needs improvement?

              This solution is based on the scale-out concept. Some workload balancing activities across the nodes are not transparent (requires server downtime).

              When moving volumes between controllers, you should always use the optimized path.

              FCP is doing this automatically, but NFS unfortunately not.

              So when moving NFS volumes between controllers, you will not move the load to the other controller.

              To do this, you need to remount the volume to the correct LIF.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We did encounter stability issues but nothing that interrupted the solution; more background type of problems.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We did encounter scalability issues, the solution is not delivering the requested performance (I/O response time for the requested IOPS).

              How are customer service and technical support?

              The technical support level is between poor to medium in our geography.

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

              Previously, we were using the older generation of the NetApp MetroCluster (6240 unit). We switched as this unit was not performant enough, i.e., it had a high maintenance cost for the performance delivered.

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

              Negotiate everything, i.e., including the price for the future capacity upgrades as part of the deal.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We looked at EMC, HPE, and Fujitsu.

              What other advice do I have?

              You need to understand the limitations of the scale-out architecture.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user351189
              Senior Infrastructure Architect at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
              Consultant
              I expect it to provide us a lot more speed because of low latency and clustered Data ONTAP, although the current version has some problems with global deduplication.

              What is most valuable?

              Clustered Data ONTAP

              Low latency

              My company uses mostly NetApp products, so I have existing knowledge of using their products.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We're still testing it, but I expect it to provide us a lot more speed because of low latency and clustered Data ONTAP.

              What needs improvement?

              They still have to reduce in price when compared to their competitors. Also, the current version has some problems with global deduplication.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              It's not yet in full production, but I have been testing the product for few month now with VMware.

              What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

              I've had no issues deploying it in our test environment.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We do not expect any issues, and have had none so far.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              It has problems with deduplication when done globally.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Customer Service:

              Their customer service is one of the best, and I am a demanding customer.

              Technical Support:
              • Tier 1 – room for improvement as they hold onto tickets for too long
              • Tier 2– much more serious

              How was the initial setup?

              From my experience with NetApp products, initial setup is going to be nice and easy. We are very techy, so it was easy for us.

              What about the implementation team?

              The majority of work was based on existing knowledge, but we also got help from the vendor.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We considered Kaminario and XtremIO. We chose NetApp in order to utilize current resources.

              What other advice do I have?

              It has better adaptation than pure flash solutions such as XtremIO. It’s important to learn the weak spots of the suppliers in the market, and I can say that I have great expectations for the migration of the flash array to disc via cluster.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              ITCS user
              TAM & Solution Architect with 51-200 employees
              Vendor
              All flash disks allow extreme performance at low latency​.

              How has it helped my organization?

              The customer improved its time to market.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What is most valuable?

              I have found three main features to be valuable:

              Ease of use: Business continuity solutions are not typically so easy to manage from a storage admin prospective

              Storage Efficiency: Inline compression, inline reduplication, and other inline features allow space-saving without losing performance

              Performance: All flash disks allow extreme performance at low latency

              What needs improvement?

              There should be more functionality regarding tiering of the oldest data.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              The solution is very stable.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              The solution can scale-in and scale-out.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I would rate the level of technical support 10/10.

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

              The customer previously had the NetApp solution based on hybrid disks.
              They don't have a business continuity solution.

              How was the initial setup?

              It took one week for the startup to pepare the storage for use. We have migrated about 150TB of data in six months (VMware, Oracle, SAP, filesystem, etc.).

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

              Licensing is very simple: all flash solutions include the entire license. Regarding pricing, storage efficiency can lower the cost per TB.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              The customer evaluated EMC and HPE.

              What other advice do I have?

              Involve a competent and certified partner.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527370
              Senior System Engineer at Colorado Judicial Branch
              Vendor
              The inline compression and inline dedupe features are valuable.

              How has it helped my organization?

              Right now, we've seen a few different systems that we're running on the all-flash system, where we've seen performance increases with application functionality. We have databases running on there. The database query is running faster. The application is running faster in general. It has saved us by not having to tax the system to get the data access going quicker, less network usage. People using the applications are able to perform their tasks more quickly.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What is most valuable?

              I'd say the biggest one for us, other than just being SSDs, was the compression; inline compression, inline dedupe. Previously, we used dedupe but compression in dedupe has helped a lot, just to be able to maximize our storage, not having to buy more disk and items such as that. That is the biggest one we've seen so far.

              What needs improvement?

              It’s difficult to say because there are already a lot of features that have been released that we didn't have previously, especially going from 7-mode to cDOT. ONTAP 9 sounds really interesting with better dedup and compression; the disk partitioning features that they are going to be doing with that. I'm eager to see what ONTAP 9 has. Right now, I believe were on 8.3, so we’re definitely going to be interested in upgrading that when it comes out.

              I’m not sure if I see anything that's really lacking because there are so many features that we still have not taken advantage of that we could probably use going forward; no specific ones that I can see right now.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We've only had it about two or three months. We haven't had any issues since we've had it up. It's been in production and has been rock solid so far. I don't have a long-term say on that yet, but it's been really good so far.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We're not a huge shop. Our previous NetApps have always been a two-node setup. Right now, I don't really necessarily see us scaling out any more. We were pretty much a 7-mode shop previously; now, we're a cDOT for these 8080 AFFs. With cDOT, it's very nice how you can scale it out and add more nodes to it. I don't necessarily see us taking advantage of that anytime soon. It's nice to have the option there.

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

              We've had 30-40 controllers for about five or six years now and we've previously had the NetApp 2000 series. We have kind of been a NetApp shop. We've had different vendors like Pure Storage previously come in just to talk about stuff. I think the main reason we went to All Flash was the price point.

              When we were looking, we were doing a big project in which we were re-hauling a lot of our core infrastructure. We wanted to refresh the hardware on the NetApps. At the time, we were looking at doing a hybrid of spinning disk and SSDs; maybe doing flash pools and that kind of stuff. Then, working with our vendor and working with NetApp, we were going to need more space anyway so the cost of the new system plus additional shelves for the space was pretty much the same price at which they could give us an All Flash system. With the 4-to-1 compression and the similar features All Flash has to offer, it was kind of a no-brainer to move to that; a lot of performance increase as well, being on All Flash.

              A lot of our workloads aren't really disk-intensive, so we don't really need all flash, so at the time it wasn't needed, but the price point that NetApp was able to bring it in at was a deciding factor. Also, at the time that we reviewed Pure Storage, a lot of our systems were using multiple protocols on the same controller; we were using fiber channel, NFS, CIFS. The Pure Storage systems, at least when we reviewed them at the time, they didn’t really support all of those protocols on the same controller. We would have to buy multiple systems to be able to cover all our protocols. That made them more expensive. That was definitely a disadvantage for them.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was in charge of the original setup. I worked with our vendor to help actually do the install and configuration. It went really well. Coming from a 7-mode background to a cDOT was definitely a lot different with the lists and similar items to configure. It was very straightforward. We pretty much got it on the network within something like 30 minutes; got our VMware environment pointed to it and within a couple of hours, we already had data on it in the first half of the day.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              I don't have a lot of experience with other vendors. We've reviewed Pure Storage, and even though we didn't officially have Nimble in, we've talked to Nimble at a lot of booths in some of the trade shows. They are pretty much the same as Pure Storage when it comes to some of their features, restrictions and similar items. EMC, I don't have any experience to speak for.

              What other advice do I have?

              I've been using NetApp for a long time now, so I really like NetApp, especially with the new ONTAP features, with clustering going forward. Give a good look at NetApp. They have treated us well and their product has been really rock solid for us.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527247
              IT Infrastructure Specialist at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              We compared this tool against EMC’s XtremIO head-to-head, and NetApp blew it out of the water.

              What needs improvement?

              There's always a little room for improvement.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have had no issues, but we never went to production.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              The technical support is excellent. Anytime we've had any kind of questions, our rep can help us or we'll call into NetApp auto-support. We have not had any problems. Tech support is knowledgeable and their response times are good.

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

              We compared this tool against EMC’s XtremIO head-to-head, and the NetApp blew it out of the water. There was no competition. We were already a NetApp shop, so they were our preferred tool anyway. It has more features and links to my OS, innovative CIFS, and deduplication. We had the knowledge of the system already. It wasn't reinventing the workforce.

              How was the initial setup?

              The installation was pretty easy. It was my third setup, so it was nothing really new. There's only one minor switch that turns it into an AFF.

              What other advice do I have?

              We use the system to do stuff that isn't quite out yet. We love to do some oddball things. We're one of the first to use NetApp shift to compete and migrate away from VMware. We didn’t run into any issues with it, and it beat the competition.


              When looking for a vendor, it's usually value first, which is not the right way to do it. That's what it comes down to. The value and then next is feature set.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527109
              IT Systems Admin at Greater Harris County
              Real User
              The tools it has are helpful if you're not a CLI type of person.

              What is most valuable?

              Support's good. The product seems reliable. The uptime is good. We haven't had any major failures or anything like that. It runs all of our SAN VMware infrastructure with no problems, really.

              The tools that it has, such as OnCommand Manager and so on, they're helpful if you're not a CLI type of person. I actually like the CLI as well. They're both pretty easy to navigate, especially with the cluster mode. You can do the tab completions and everything in CLI now. That helps you to navigate through otherwise long commands.

              SnapMirror, all the Snap technology, is pretty cool. You can do SnapMirror, the vault and everything like that.

              What needs improvement?

              The migration from 7-mode to cluster mode probably could be improved. The migration tool that they use, the copy free transition tool, it's new and it seemed like, while I was trying to get everything prepared, few people really knew much about it at NetApp. I had to make a lot of calls, send out a lot of emails to find out if the current version was going to do what we needed it to do. I was told, no it won't; then I was told, yes it will. I'd say they need to keep working on that migration tool.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              I have been using NetApp for about three years.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not really experienced any downtime to speak of. I did a migration recently from a 7-mode system to a cluster-mode system. While we were doing some of the migrations of some of the live VMs, our older ones started to max out on its processes. It didn't necessarily create downtime. It just kind of messed up our migration a little bit. We had to basically stop, regroup and then schedule it for another weekend. That'd be the closest thing to downtime, but I don't really consider it downtime, necessarily.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              It's definitely scalable, especially with cluster mode. You can just hook in another set of controllers, add disk shelves. It's definitely scalable.

              I feel like it's going to meet the organization's needs moving forward. As I've needed to add storage to it, I just grab another shelf and hook it up. It pulls in all the disks; you create your aggregates and everything. As far as if we ever need to add more controllers, you just connect them into the fabric, they come up and you can start sharing files, LUNs and all that stuff. It's definitely scalable.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is really good, knowledgeable, and responsive. Even with the migration I did, they sent out a professional services engineer at no charge to help us complete the migration of going from 7-mode to cluster mode between new hardware as well. We weren't just upgrading one system from 7-mode to cluster mode, we were actually upgrading and migrating to new hardware, so they sent somebody out and he assisted with the whole thing.

              The auto support and everything like that is good. When we've had a disc fail, they're calling, they're emailing, they're sending disks out. I get a disk the next day. Support is definitely good.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup is not too bad. The cluster system I did not too long ago; you just console cable into it. It's got a guided setup on the CLI. After that's complete, you're on the network. You can use your web browser and access the OnCommand Manager application and start configuring SVMs and all that stuff. It's not super difficult. I know there are products out there that are probably easier. I've heard that Nimble Storage is supposed to be one that's really easy to use. On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of complexity and everything, I'd say NetApp stuff is probably about 7 for me. I've only been in SAN storage and everything for, like I’ve mentioned, about three years. I'm still relatively new to the industry of SAN storage. I'd give it about a 7.

              What other advice do I have?

              I recommend the product. I don't have a lot of experience with other solutions such as EMC Storage, Nimble, Fujitsu or Hitachi. I've never really messed with any of them so it's hard for me to compare.

              I've been doing IT for a while. There some complexity to the NetApp stuff. I know that there are easier solutions out there such as the Nimble one. But overall, the NetApp AFF is a good product. You just need to know what you're doing a little bit or you're going to rely on support and other people. Take the classes. Make yourself familiar with it. That's what I've been doing.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user531243
              CTO at a tech company with 51-200 employees
              Vendor
              With dedupe, we achieved more capacity than expected.

              What is most valuable?

              Dedupe (cost saving): We were able to achieve a lot more capacity than expected.

              How has it helped my organization?

              More desktops on storage Ease of management

              What needs improvement?

              Software packaging and ordering. We wanted to integrate with replication and Commvault options, and that was difficult.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We have been using the solution for about six months.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not encountered any stability issues.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We have not yet encountered any scalability issues.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I would rate the technical support at about 8/10.

              Which solution did I use previously and why

              What is most valuable?

              Dedupe (cost saving): We were able to achieve a lot more capacity than expected.

              How has it helped my organization?

              • More desktops on storage
              • Ease of management

              What needs improvement?

              • Software packaging and ordering.
              • We wanted to integrate with replication and Commvault options, and that was difficult.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We have been using the solution for about six months.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not encountered any stability issues.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We have not yet encountered any scalability issues.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I would rate the technical support at about 8/10.

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

              Other solutions were not all-flash compatible.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was easy.

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

              Compare and look for your use case.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We evaluated Pure Storage, SolidFire, EMC Unity.

              What other advice do I have?

              The migration plan should be clear upfront.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user202125
              Lead Storage/System Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              It is stable, has enabled us to buy capacity as needed, and helps us refresh UAT/DEV environments as needed.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are the deduplication and compression, along with NetApp's Snapshot technology.

              I'm looking forward to the compaction feature after the code upgrade in a few months.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We have been looking for a flash solution that scales horizontally along with a proven application integration stack. NetApp has been helpful and stable, and enabled us to buy capacity as needed, as well as help in quickly refreshing UAT/DEV environments as needed.

              What needs improvement?

              The product still uses the concept of decoupling hardware with multiple HA pairs where system resources like CPU/memory is bound to a single controller. This approach definitely helps keep the system more resilient and stable, but it makes the environment a little complex for the end user to decide where to place their application for best performance. This is being mitigated by a few of the performance and automation tools they provide, but it may not be the most efficient approach in real time.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              I have used it for one year.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              There were no issues with stability.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability in regards to capacity hasn't been an issue. The product really scales well.

              With regard to performance, storage pools/aggregates are tied to a single node, so a storage device/LUN can only use CPU/memory of that particular node.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              NetApp technical support has been excellent for years and they are also improving with their deep software engineering skills/customer reports.

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

              We used to deploy other large storage vendor products that didn't integrate well with the application stack. Automation and efficiency has been a driver in the company, which made us switch to NetApp.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was straightforward.

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

              Snapshot/FlexClone are the core licenses that I would recommend to others. Opt for a converged infrastructure like FlexPod, where the Cisco UCS server platform is involved.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We evaluated other large flash vendors including EMC and Pure. Every vendor has their own niche in the flash industry.

              What other advice do I have?

              Decide your current and future requirements in terms of performance, capacity scaling, application (SQL/Oracle/SharePoint/Exchange/SAP) integration, storage efficiency (dedupe/compression), operational overhead, etc., and decide on a vendor based on it.

              No vendor is perfect in every aspect, so chose the vendor based on your requirements and test them!!!

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user472458
              Solutions Architect at a non-profit with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Real User
              It's easier to provision applications for VMware, VDI, Oracle, and SQL. Supports multiple protocols.

              What is most valuable?

              • CIFS (stable solution)
              • Ability to support multiple protocols

              How has it helped my organization?

              • SVM application provisioning: makes it easier to provision applications for VMware, VDI, Oracle, and SQL.
              • All flash: low latency and higher IOPS since it’s all flash.

              What needs improvement?

              Firmware upgrades consistently continue to be the weak spot in all NetApp products.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              For 8 months now.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              I have not yet had any stability issues.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              I have not had any issues with scalability.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Customer Service:

              On a scale of 1-5, I would rate them 3.5.

              Technical Support:

              On a scale of 1-5, I would rate them 3.5.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was complex. In spite of the new CDOT 9, NetApp setup is still complex. It requires configuration of all the network interfaces, SVMs, which can become a little overwhelming.

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

              NetApp is trying to stay in competition and are offering competitive prices to existing/new consumers. The key is being aggressive.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We looked at Pure Storage and Nimble.

              What other advice do I have?

              Be prepared for a lot of configuration hiccups before being operational.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527193
              R&D Executive Supervisor at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              It supports VMware and enables bringing up and shutting down the system without problems.

              What is most valuable?

              It is very user friendly. Someone in my position needs to be able to bring up and shut down the system quickly, efficiently, and shut it down if there's a power outage quickly and efficiently without having trouble. It also supports VMware, which is what we use; but we use the NetApp as our only filer.

              How has it helped my organization?

              I am trying to understand it more, so I can employ it better during high tense situations.

              I have been able to manage the system easily myself since we got NetApp four years ago.

              What needs improvement?

              The Ilom's graceful shutdown feature is no longer there in the version that I have. I believe I'm using 7.0.x, using the FAS 2040 and also the FAS 2020. I don't know where to say it needs improvement because I'm just not that versed in it yet.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It is excellent in terms of stability. I've had no issues during the last six years that I've had NetApp. Just recently, on one system that's been out and had a lot of controversy about, we had a filer fail on us. We were able to get a filer the following day. It was excellent.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              For what we do, I can have up to close to 120,000 separate widgets running simultaneously and delivering data to other systems; and everything works, no problem. I am currently trying to find out where we’re moving ahead from here.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is excellent.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was involved in building it. I found it a little bit grueling to get my certification to build it, but I really can't speak to the NetApp filer documentation. The documentation that we use for it is different from what NetApp uses.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              I didn't evaluate anything. That is done in the organization at higher levels than I am. I know that NetApp won the contract again, so they must be doing something right because we’re not going to give a contract to anybody for a bad product. Right now, I'm concentrating on our collapse-down strategy in which we're taking multiple systems and putting them all on one system. That's why I'm here. I'm curious to see how it's going to impact the filer: whether the filer is going to need to expand; whether we're going to be migrating to a new filer; and so on.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527292
              Computer Systems Engineer at a government with 5,001-10,000 employees
              Vendor
              The performance is probably the most valuable feature.

              How has it helped my organization?

              From a relations perspective, it makes us look better that we have the best foundation to run things that we can. It also provides cost savings because it has efficiencies we can gain with it.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What is most valuable?

              The performance is probably the most valuable feature. It allows us to meet our customer's needs, being able to provide that level of performance that they need for their workloads.

              What needs improvement?

              There's always going to be room for improvement. I don't really have anything sticking out that's a major pain point or something that it's not doing that I need it to do.

              Anything that I might like to have seems to be happening already, whether it’s the price coming down, tracking performance, or higher capacities; that work is already getting done or it already has been done.

              We're interested or excited in getting to 32-Gb fiber channel. With their new models, NetApp will be moving to 32-Gb fiber. That would potentially raise performance and or lower our port counts, simplifying or minimizing the amount of cables we need to put in places. It would be a nicety, to be able to clean things up and simplify. It’s something I’m looking forward to.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It seems to be rock solid. We've not had any issues with it at all.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Since we've added the All Flash FAS, we have scaled up. We've added additional disk shelves; it seems to be growing just fine with us.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I don't think we've had to open up any cases, or needed any kind of tech support on it, other than working with our VAR setting it up.

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

              I've contributed opinions regarding the decision to invest in the All Flash FAS.
              We've been NetApp customers for quite a while, so we just kind of grew into it, from disk to flash cache, flash pool and then to all flash.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was involved in the initial set up. It was very straightforward. Working with our partner, they tend to do a lot of the work on our behalf but it's still a pretty straightforward process. That were really no gotchas.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options.

              What other advice do I have?

              The solution is great; the company is fantastic to work with. I cannot think of a bad experience that we've had with either the company and or the product itself. We've had issues but nothing that wasn't overcome and worked through and better in the long run for working through it with a good company like NetApp.

              We're very pleased with it but then I guess we don't have a lot of experience with other things to maybe compare.

              The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is the support. Everybody's going to have issues with something, but being able to resolve or remediate any issues as quickly, seamlessly and as open as possible is very important to us.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user521703
              Assistant Director Division of IT at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              The snap capability and remote snap are valuable features. We've had no downtime.

              What is most valuable?

              With the FAS, the most valuable features are the snap capability and remote snap.

              What needs improvement?

              We would like to be able to import the share as NFS and CIFS at the same time. I recently came into three different scenarios where I needed to share the same data both to Windows and UNIX. Samba was not a solution that we could use, so it would have to be CIFS and NFS to UNIX.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              I’ve been using this for at least 5 years.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not had any downtime with the FAS series. It has been very good and stable.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability is good. It's going to meet our needs going forward. We are in the process of adding…

              What is most valuable?

              With the FAS, the most valuable features are the snap capability and remote snap.

              What needs improvement?

              We would like to be able to import the share as NFS and CIFS at the same time. I recently came into three different scenarios where I needed to share the same data both to Windows and UNIX. Samba was not a solution that we could use, so it would have to be CIFS and NFS to UNIX.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              I’ve been using this for at least 5 years.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not had any downtime with the FAS series. It has been very good and stable.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability is good. It's going to meet our needs going forward. We are in the process of adding drawers to it right now.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is good. The problem right now is that NetApp is in the process of discontinuing old disks and the new disks are not yet available. We were in the process of upgrading, and I had to buy old disks that are going to be end-of-life by the end of the year, but new disks are not available yet.

              What other advice do I have?

              This is a good solution. I would recommend that they go for it.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user522096
              Storage Administrator at LDS church
              Vendor
              They keep the same operating system for all of their products. We're surprised at the low utilization and high performance.

              How has it helped my organization?

              First of all, we have very low latency. We just moved a good piece of our stuff over from spinning disk onto All Flash FAS. We didn't have performance problems before, but now we are screaming. Things are really fast with really low utilization now. We're surprised at the low utilization and high performance.

              What is most valuable?

              I like that they keep the same operating system as they do for all of their stuff, so you learn all their platforms. It's easy to learn and user friendly.

              What needs improvement?

              They haven't added all the features in that they have from everything else because they're still kind of new to the all flash game. They haven't added all the features in that you can get on a spinning disk system. It's getting there, but it's taking time.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not had any problems with stability.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              The scalability meets our needs.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              We have a support account manager through NetApp and he helps us out anytime we get stuck on something. We let him know about it and he jumps in and takes care of tickets or problems.

              How was the initial setup?

              We used their professional services. They came in an installed it for us and it went really well; flawless. They just went in and took care of it all. Then we just put our configurations in and away we went. I thought it went pretty slick.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Currently, we are comparing NetApp Flash with HPE for one of our customers for one of our applications. We are comparing those. I'm not involved with that, so I don't know really how that's going, but I know that that process is under way.

              What other advice do I have?

              I've been really happy with NetApp All Flash FAS, and I'd hope that others find the same success. I've been really happy with them.

              Before we started working with it, we moved input data and resources over. We virtualized the environment over to all flash and it went smooth. We didn't have any problems with it. There wasn't anything crazy we had to do for it.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527217
              IS System Analyst at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
              Vendor
              It gives us enough IOPS to manage our whole system.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are that it's all flash and it's super fast. The only problem is, it's a little too fast in some situations. It's actually causing problems with our applications because it's too fast.

              Other than that, it's great because it gives us enough IOPS to manage our whole system. Except for that one, it works great.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We're able to bring in a bunch of SANs together, into one solution, instead of having a bunch of separate ones. We had about two or three other ones we were using, and now we just use one.

              What needs improvement?

              It's as fast as it's going to be. The problem is the whole application somehow manages to eat up 450,000 IOPS, which is insane. It just has bursts of speed because it's programmed badly. We've been trying to fight with the vendor about that because that was originally why we went with the solution.

              Other than that, I can't see any areas with room for improvement right now. I haven't used it for too long. It's only been a couple of months, because it's relatively new.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability hasn't been an issue at all. It's just been that one program, pretty much, lately.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability hasn't come up yet. It's pretty nice because we're planning to expand on to an offsite location, as well, to have redundancy. Scalability seems pretty good.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We haven't yet needed to use NetApp technical support. We have gone with the vendor that sold us the NetApp. They've been helping us with it, when we have any questions. We haven't had to directly contact NetApp.

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

              We were having performance issues with that specific application and we were trying to fix that. Then, once we moved, we came to the conclusion it wasn't the speed problems; it was the application itself. So now, we're trying to get them to fix it. It was actually more proof of that for them.

              In general, when I choose a vendor, the important criteria that I look for in a vendor are cost and performance. That's what it comes down to: Who has the best prices? The most bang for your buck.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup seemed pretty straightforward. The vendor pretty much took care of most of it, but it was more of the implementation of the VMware. That's what we were working on, or what I was working on, anyway. It was fairly simple.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              I think we looked at EMC a little bit, but I think they were too expensive. They were out of our price range, and we wanted to go all flash. That's pretty much why we chose NetApp.

              What other advice do I have?

              Make sure all your applications aren't the problem with what you're trying to fix. There really weren't that many problems with it. It just worked. It works like any other SAN really; it's just really fast.

              There’s probably more VMware-type issues that you might have to run into. I’d look into how to set up a lot of iSCSIs if you have a lot of databases. Other than that, it wasn't so bad.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user335835
              Global Manager (Storage) Cloud Managed Services at IT Convergence
              Real User
              It requires less real estate in the data center, saves power, and adds serviceable IOPS.

              What is most valuable?

              With All Flash, the benefit we have seen is the real estate in the data center has really shrunk by leaps and bounds. We went from having a huge rack full to provide about 10 TBs of storage to using just two shelves to provide 72 TBs of storage with solid state. It saves a lot of power and adds to the IOPS that can be serviced.

              What needs improvement?

              I would like to see end-to-end automation that would enable service providers to get the infrastructure with faster provisioning, decommissioning, or even performance analysis; end-to-end includes compute, network, storage and applications.

              We are interested in seeing more compatibility with other virtualization platforms, especially with Oracle. That's a vast area. There seems to be two worlds: Oracle is on one side; VMware, NetApp, Cisco and all of them are on the other side. They need to come together to integrate and provide more compatible solutions. We are Oracle service providers for Oracle databases and applications. It’s a niche area and FAS still isn’t there.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              The ONTAP OS is stable. We have the performance of the SSDs. We have the CPU processing speed, which helps us support 1 million IOPS.

              I think we have a couple of options for the ONTAP versions: the 8.3 version and the new 9, which I think just reached general availability. We intend to use the 8.3, which is more stable in our environment for SATA, SAS and hybrid. We will continue to use the same stable ONTAP version for our All Flash.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              As I mentioned, scalability with respect to the space is very nice. cDOT gives us the scalability to expand the cluster. So we have a two-node hybrid. We added two more, making it a four-node cluster. We can expand it to eight nodes in a pure SAN cluster.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is nice. It has been working well for us.

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

              We have traditionally used SATA disks; then we migrated to SAS, and then to a hybrid which included a flash pool. Now we have embarked on all flash. This journey has been really exciting for us. We have used each of these storage systems to package storage services for our customers.

              We were previously using HPE 3PAR. I was not involved in the switch between 3PAR to FAS, and I’m not sure why we switched. When I joined this company, we already started with NetApp.

              How was the initial setup?

              The initial setup was straightforward. There were no problems. We usually have a professional service engineer in the data center, and we have certified engineers within our organization to work together to design and implement.

              What other advice do I have?

              It has usually been a unified computing platform with NetApp All Flash; so you get NAS and SAN protocols from the same box.

              I would encourage my colleagues to evaluate multiple products, and find the right fit for their use cases.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527298
              Storage Administrator at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              It runs on a native ONTAP operating system and supports multi-tenancy.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are its fast performance and that it runs on a native ONTAP operating system, which is the coolest thing.

              How has it helped my organization?

              If you are looking for high-performance, reliable, multi-tenancy supporting equipment, then this is a very valid, legitimate solution with a proven background and history.

              If you have a system administrator doing workflow that you have defined, then it is not going to save you time or money. If you have some kind of automated system, even though you haven't paid for those services, then it is going to make a lot of difference. It will save time because this is a high-end, high performance solution.

              What needs improvement?

              See my comments regarding technical support.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              The tool is stable. Over the past several years, ONTAP has proven to be very stable OS solution. People may have experienced latency issues, but my workflow and workload is significantly small, so latency happens on the fly and it is easy to fix quickly.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Based on what I've heard, this tool is highly scalable. Even though I am using it in our relatively small environment, the tool is highly scalable. Any medium to large size company can afford it and it will be a good fit.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              We do have premium support or regular support, whatever they call it. Every time we have an issue, we call technical support, and they get online right away. I have found them very helpful. The NetApp technical teams are pretty excellent in offering services.

              SolidFire is in the same boat as NetApp in terms of supporting this product. It is a fairly new technology for them as well. Comparatively, the level of support for this solution takes a little longer, but it’s all relative. It takes little longer to get support for this tool than it takes for any other FAS system.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was partially involved in the setup. It followed the same setup process for any other FAS system. It is pretty slick. The setup is pretty decent.

              I know it uses the same OS, so I don't see why it would be different than any other FAS system. It has a different flavor, but it is not completely different. It is not using an “out-of-the-blue” OS.

              What other advice do I have?

              This is proven technology. You cannot question its reliability and its high scalability. It is a very solid solution. If you are looking for high performance storage gear, it is definitely a very strong solution.

              We have been a long-time consumer of NetApp solutions. The reliability with NetApp is very valuable to us. We don’t want to put that at stake by trying another solution.

              I currently use several other NetApp systems, such as cDOT. We are pretty much a NetApp house.

              We are also using a number of systems in parallel with this tool. We have a EMC VNX unified converged solution, IBM DS, and IBM Storwize V7000.

              If I were a decision maker, I wouldn't go with only one solution. I prefer to diversify. That gives me more flexibility to keep vendors competitive and then they can offer me more. I don’t want to get locked into only one solution provider. I prefer to work with multiple vendors so I have more flexibility with price.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527220
              Service Manager IT at a tech company with 51-200 employees
              Real User
              Performance and density are two important things for us. I am looking forward to the SolidFire integration.

              What is most valuable?

              All-flash performance and density are two important things for us. In terms of performance, we have a humongous database. Before this solution, we had a lot of performance issues. With this tool, we were able to nail them down to at least 20-30% performance gain. In terms of density, I don't have the numbers, but it is definitely better than the older disk-based solutions.

              How has it helped my organization?

              The business benefit is the rate. If you have better performance from your critical ERP applications and databases, that's a gain from the cost perspective. We are able to manage our data centers better from the space perspective. Those two pieces are the key benefits.

              What needs improvement?

              At a recent NetApp conference, I got a lot of good ideas from the sessions where they are trying to bring in a newer AFF. That should be good. I am looking forward to the SolidFire integration. That will give us more benefits.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I have not used technical support personally, but we do use technical support on our operational issues. The team is getting pretty good response from them.

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

              This is where my organization's innovation comes into the picture. They keep their eye on the market and what's going on. We started that relationship around two years ago and we started ten years ago with NetApp.

              We also keep an eye on how we can improve from a data center perspective. We are a big data center provider and we look at how we can make our data center more cost effective.

              What was our ROI?

              The ROI is good. AFF is definitely pricier than other solutions, but the price gets compensated by performance and the density.

              What other advice do I have?

              When looking for a vendor, I definitely look the product they are offering. I look at what the change is and how it will make a change for us. I look at the costs and benefits, the ROI, and the operation.

              I am not technical, so I cannot give technical advice. However, I am part of the decision-making process at my organization. We are the central hub of providing the whole infrastructure to the company. We do a lot of homework. If we decide that we want to go with this solution and we can prove the ROI to our senior leadership, then that's that. We are then on it.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527340
              Storage Technical Lead at Mercadolibre.com
              Consultant
              We moved volumes across the cluster without downtime.

              What is most valuable?

              What we like is the performance of the equipment. It's really much better than hybrid aggregate or machines with flash cache. We have been using the FAS series for a long time and it's still performing well. First we started with 7-Mode. Then we moved our databases to clustered data ONTAP. Today we have more than 24 nodes; we have a lot of machines working in cluster mode with all activities on site. It works perfectly.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We use an ONTAP cluster for the core Oracle DBs. The benefits are performance and the features we use, such as FlexClone to clone and restore the DBs everyday and to check if backups are properly done. These are great benefits.

              What needs improvement?

              In future releases, I would like to see improvements in performance. That's something that we always need. But the performance that we have right now is really good.

              Also, I'd like more features related to All Flash FAS with OpenStack or All Flash FAS with Manila.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              In terms of stability, it is much better than 7-Mode. In terms of stability and performance, it is a very good machine with very good improvements. The cache layers are warm and everything is solid state; the kickbacks are really fast; better than other solutions. It is really good.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We scale one or two controllers every year by adding an extra part to each cluster if we need it. Last year, we just bought a shelf, but in the previous years, we were increasing by one or two HA pairs per cluster; that's a lot for us. But, it's easy to scale. The most interesting thing we did is we moved volumes across the cluster without downtime and with a minimal performance impact. That's something that we couldn't do in the past with 7-Mode. So that's really good for the company. For a commerce company like ours, we can't support these functions with downtime; it must be while online.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is good, but it depends on the tool that you're using. In the past, we had troubles with DFM and we eliminated DFM from our infrastructure. Support for OpenStack, Cluster-Mode, and 7-Mode is really good. Because they have been doing it for many years. But in general, support from NetApp is really good.

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

              We decided to switch to all flash because we needed better performance and lower latencies that are stable with higher IO. That's something that traditional arrays can’t do.

              How was the initial setup?

              We normally set up our clusters ourselves. We request professional services from NetApp when we want to add new machines into the cluster. But for other tasks, such as to configure, generate reports, create the aggregates and move databases across the cluster, we don't need technical support. It’s relatively simple.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We tried SolidFire also and we liked it. But we don’t use it for Oracle, we use it for OpenStack. We also looked at other companies. For example, EMC, which is a good solution, but it's really expensive. If you compare it with NetApp, the performance is the same. When using NFS, the best is NetApp. For Oracle, we are using NFS. NetApp does not have a competitor for NFS.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527412
              Sr. Unix Administrator at Synopsys
              Vendor
              Deduplication​ saves space because we use it for VDA.

              What is most valuable?

              The important features are space savings, deduplication, compression and compaction. By enabling the deduplication, we save a lot of space, because we use it for VDA. We also see some performance improvement compared to the SAS spinning disks.

              How has it helped my organization?

              This solution gives us better throughput, better performance and better space-saving efficiency. These are the benefits the user group has seen.

              What needs improvement?

              They should really prove the performance numbers they show you. They provide some general performance numbers, but performance varies for every different customer site and different workloads. What they say it will do doesn't necessarily match what it does. But we have seen some difference in workloads other than the VDA. So they should say, “For this kind of workload, here are the performance statistics and for other workloads, it varies.” They should not simply say that these numbers apply to every situation. That should not be the case.

              We assumed that the performance statistics they provide are applicable for everything and we purchased it. Then, we found that this is not a scalable solution. We did not get the performance we expected. They could provide a clear indication that the numbers they show are only for a particular type of workload. They could also improve the performance to match the numbers.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability is good. We have been using NetApp products for a very long time. We are the first customer for NetApp and we have been involved in various other FAS deployments. Stability-wise, it's gotten better.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Three years back, we deployed many customer systems; we have a big 24-node cluster. So scalability is very good.

              For this particular deployment, we have only one HA pair. Currently, there is no requirement to grow from a scalability point of view. Our requirement is very small.  In the future, we may think of adding additional HA pairs and we can grow that scalability; we can distribute it in the future.

              How was the initial setup?

              The initial setup was straightforward. It was just like any other FAS system. Just install and enable some features for the AFF systems. It was not like a regular FAS system, but other than that, configuration is exactly same; simple and easy.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Initially, we approached multiple vendors for this kind of solution.

              We have a NetApp on-site PSE and a systems manager – a NetApp group – sitting in our company. They suggested, “Why don't you explore this All Flash FAS for the VDA?” Then we evaluated the E560, a NetApp product, as well as AFF. We also evaluated other vendors such as XtremIO from Dell EMC.

              Finally, for the simplicity and the flexibility, we thought of going with the AFF system.
              This is a newer deployment. We used to use just the FAS system with the spinning HDD. We have changed it to all-flash.

              What other advice do I have?

              You definitely should consider it.

              One important factor for working with vendors is flexibility. The ease to use many features like FlexClone, SnapMirror and disaster recovery features. Other than that, the support prospect is very important to us. So the storage unit itself was not the only thing we considered before deciding to go with this particular solution.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527148
              System Administrator at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
              Real User
              We have some OLTP applications. It is useful for that environment.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are speed, latency, and throughput. We have a few workloads where we need speed, high throughput, and fast response time. We have some OLTP applications. It is very useful for that environment.

              How has it helped my organization?

              In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, the other thing is we are short on rack space. We can fit a lot of this storage in less rack space. It actually helps us reduce our cost, and increase efficiency.

              What needs improvement?

              Right now, even though they say that you can increase the cluster to a certain number of nodes, internally, the HA is only in two nodes. It is two-node HA architecture internally in the cluster. I think they should try to really scale it out, as a solution. For example, if you have a four-node cluster. Internally, it's still like a two-node HA. You have two-node HA and two-node HA, and you can't combine that into a four-node cluster. That is, we can combine them but internally, it's still two-node clustering. If one node goes down, you are exposed. You are only on one node in your HA.

              I have already spoken with the engineering folks. Maybe they can have a common back plane, so that every node can see all the shelves. They'll have to go to their hardware folks.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It is very stable. We have been using it for the last 2-3 years and so far, it's been very stable.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We don't scale it too much because we don't want a lot of workload in the same cluster. I'm sure we can scale it if we want to.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is really good; very experienced folks; very helpful; and easy to reach them. So far, so good.

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

              We were using the hard disk version of ONTAP in our environment. We did a PoC with All-Flash. We saw the benefits of it, so we implemented it in our environment.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was very simple, very straightforward. We knew exactly what to do, so it was easy.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Before choosing this product, we evaluated other options, but I don't think we can name them. We saw a lot of benefits. Here, we can have multiple protocols. The other vendors were only supporting specific protocols on their storage. We thought this would be more scalable in the future.

              What other advice do I have?

              So far, my experience with ONTAP is really good. It is highly available, easy to use, easily scalable, easy to implement, and so far, we are really happy with it. We are really happy with the performance, ROI, and the cost.

              I would give it a perfect rating if they reduced the cost – it is still expensive – and then, what I have mentioned about HA.

              The most important criteria for me when selecting a product are that it is highly available, scalable, and easy to use. It should be able to work in our environment, basically; in a mixed-workload environment.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527127
              IT Consultant at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
              Vendor
              Performance is the most important feature. We use it for SQL, Oracle and SAP.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are the performance, speed, and that it is easy to manage. The most important one is performance. We use it for SQL, Oracle and SAP.

              How has it helped my organization?

              It makes the applications faster for production. There are no complaints from users about slowness. Performance is the main benefit of the All-Flash FAS.

              It has made us more efficient, because we are an oil and gas company. Most of our applications depend on Oracle, SAP, or SQL, where it needs good performance. We have 24/7 operation. We cannot stop for any reason, because we need to produce oil, always.

              What needs improvement?

              There is room for improvement with the price. I’d like the price to go down.

              At a recent NetApp conference, I attended a lab for Data ONTAP 9. I don't know everything about it. I need to spend some time to go through it; to see what they can improve.

              Other than that, I don't have anything in mind.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It's very stable; no issues. We have had it installed for the last 12 months, and there have been no issues up until now.

              We have already decided to buy more of them. I think, by end of this year or the beginning of next year, we will release the order for this.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              About 90% of our data center is sitting on NetApp, either All Flash, 8080 or something else. VMware is also sitting on NetApp. That’s also good; no scalability issues.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is very good. But we are also very good; we have solid knowledge of NetApp. I have been using NetApp for the last 12 years.

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

              We previously used HPE, but that was a long time ago. Since we moved from HPE to NetApp, we’ve only been working with FAS.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was straightforward. Installation is easy, but we spent a long time proving it's good; convincing our users, which are application developers or DBAs, to move to this one. But the initial setup is piece of cake.

              What other advice do I have?

              As a storage admin, I just need to install my storage. I don't want someone to call me back and say, “Oh, there is an issue.” Right now, we don't have complaints from users. That means less stress, which is fantastic.

              The interface is pretty good. It’s really easy to use.

              The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are stability; how much they improve the technology; service; and support. All of these together are very important.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527169
              Lead Storage Specialist at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Real User
              It integrates with the NAS solutions we use. Bugs need to be addressed at a much earlier level.

              What is most valuable?

              It's an all-flash array and it integrates with the NAS solutions we use; that's a key part. We were looking at the different arrays. For example, SolidFire doesn't integrate with the NAS. Our solution mainly focuses on the NAS part of it, so we we're looking for a high-performance array. AFF basically is geared to those needs, apart from the base services which come with the NetApp product.

              How has it helped my organization?

              It has improved, in terms of latency and performance issues we were having on the spinning media; those will be gone. We can sell the customer what they need; all customers.

              What needs improvement?

              I haven't thought much about additional features or improvements. We’ve only been using the product for a short period of time; the main part is that it integrates with the NAS solutions and all the backups, SMVI, we would like to do. We're happy as of now.

              Maybe thinking from my current problems or customers is why I can’t really think of anything. Maybe our environment is not as challenging as others. That could be a reason that we're not looking for extra things.

              An example of something that is lacking, not necessarily for the AFF, as such, and that we might not have faced, is that in the FAS series, we were told about the faster 3200, if we get into an issue wherein it’s looking at a cluster interconnect, we need to basically replace some motherboard. Sometimes even doing a failover and give back wasn't even possible. We had to do a forced takeover and give back, and we basically corrupted couple of databases; it went to that extent. Hopefully, those are not issues in AFF. We haven't faced that yet but you never know until you actually use the product for a while.

              Basically, they could do better in terms of software integration. There are a lot of features that, when we try to do it or, when NetApp tries to do it, they come across a lot of bugs which could affect us as customers.

              Bugs need to be addressed at a much earlier level. There could be more QA done at NetApp itself before they get it out as a product.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We have been using it for three months.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not been using AFF for a long time, but the FAS series has been stable. We had issues with the 3200 series, wherein motherboards needed to be replaced under certain conditions, which we didn't like. We had to take some hits on that. Otherwise, if we go to the higher-end arrays, they're very stable.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              There haven’t been that many issues. We do not have a lot of performance issues or demands, so we haven’t had many issues, in terms of scalability or performance.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We have used technical support. Whether it's a hardware or software issue, we do use it. We use it through a partner, if not directly with NetApp. They're helpful. It’s generally been a good experience with technical support.

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

              We were previously using the FAS series with spinning media.

              One of the key factors in our decision to move to a new solution was that NetApp was marketing it very well. We were running five-year-old hardware and we were about to do a tech refresh on them. We looked at spinning media, FAS and the AFF solution. AFF was making some sense cost-wise and performance-wise, so that's why we went to AFF.

              How was the initial setup?

              We used professional services from another vendor for the initial setup, so we didn't feel it was that difficult.

              The training for AFF was not difficult; it wasn't complicated.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We looked at Tintri for the VM piece of it. Finally, we went to the AFF.

              In general, when I’m choosing a vendor, I look at what kind of products or aspects of the product we are looking for, whether they satisfy that or not, as well as performance. Third but not least is the cost, as well as how much difference it is from our current NetApp solution because our staff needs to be trained on that.

              What other advice do I have?

              It does integrate; if you know the FAS series platform, it's not much different if you know CDOT. It's not much different doing implementation.

              Determine which volumes need to go where; do that preparation from the customer’s perspective: how they want to use the product rather than how to deploy a product.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527238
              Sr. SAN Engineer at a religious institution with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              I can rely on the IOPS being there. Latency is predictable and low, and snapshots do not affect it.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are the speed and the predictable performance. Compared to the spinning disk, I don't have to worry about IOPS anymore. I can rely on the IOPS being there. I can worry about CPU now. It's one less thing I have to worry about as far as performance.

              How has it helped my organization?

              The latency is very predictable and lower. It's very sustained, we know what it's going to be, and it doesn't get impacted by snapshots and so forth.

              What needs improvement?

              The AFF, which is what turns on the bit so that you can have an all-flash array compared to the hybrid array; I'm having troubles in my environment buying systems for smaller sites because I want the all flash array and I want the speed. I can go hybrid and still do SSD but it's making choices hard for me when I'm doing a lot of SnapMirrors and SnapVaults between sites.

              I want the all-flash but I know I can't because I have to have SATA for the low-cost SnapMirror and SnapVault. It'd be nice if they would turn the switch on per aggregate, or maybe even per node, so that I could use it on some nodes. That way I wouldn't have to choose. Right now, I'm having a hard time choosing between hybrid or flash. I want the flash but I can't get it if I have to go hybrid.

              I’m also looking forward to more CPU and power that's coming out in the AFF 700 and so on.

              Other than that, so far, I'm pretty happy.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We had a stability issue. We got bit by a bug that was a compression problem, and we had to do a WAFL check. It was the first time we've ever had to do that only on the all-flash array.

              The bug had already been identified, but nobody had hit it. We were the first one to hit it. The QA lab had found it. They should have notified all AFF customers before we hit it, because then we could have turned off compression and not hit it until the bug fix was released.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support needs improvement. We need access to the backend people without having to go through two layers to get to them, because we're always above the two layers. It's a waste of our time to have to work through them.

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

              We previously used a different solution, which was coming to the end of its lifecycle.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was good. It's quicker, now that they've started sending out the pre-configured systems, or optimized systems.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              There weren’t any other flash storage vendors on our shortlist. We were already in a four-year cycle with NetApp, so we just stuck with the same vendor.

              In general, when I look at a vendor, the most important criteria is that they have our interests at heart and want to partner with us. Since we're a non-profit organization, we need them to understand what we're doing because we don't have a lot of money to throw around. They have to invest in our belief of what we're trying to do. Cost is part of it, but we still try to pick the technology over the cost, first.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              CP
              Unix Engineer at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
              MSP
              It provides the simplicity of having a pool of storage and not worrying about issues such as IOPS, the number of disks, or carving up aggregates.

              What is most valuable?

              For me, the most valuable feature is the simplicity of being able to have a pool of storage and not worry about: How many IOPS do I need? How many disks? Or carving up aggregates. Everything can just share. I can just go with the simple features of the GUI to allocate storage quickly and not worry about anything.

              What needs improvement?

              The management tools with NetApp really need improvement, in general; just giving good, simple tools for evaluating performance and performance headrooms, and seeing where you're about to run into things. ONTAP 9 seems to be taking steps in that direction, from what I've seen of it. This is my first ONTAP 9 system. I think they're making progress there. Until I have some more problems with the system and see how the tools serve me, I can't really give better insight on that.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              I have been using it for about a month.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              So far, it has been very stable; no downtime. We had some random error messages but no downtime issues; just getting used to the new ONTAP 9.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              It looks like it will meet the company’s scaling needs moving forward. We don't have a high-performance need out there, so it's more about a simple solution than scalability, in this particular case. So far, it looks like it'll meet our needs.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              We found NetApp support to be a mixed bag. Sometimes, it's real good; sometimes, it's real bad. It can take a while to get things escalated to the people you need it escalated to. I'm not terribly different from most of the industry, I'm sure.

              We get our support through Datalink. We have to go through Datalink first and then get escalated to NetApp support. It adds another layer there, but costs a lot less.
              For this project, the support has been pretty good. So far, I’m happy with how it's going.

              How was the initial setup?

              It's a simple setup. What we spent our implementation time on was getting the fiber channel LUNs presented to the host; that went really well. The problem is, we need to configure it in Wisconsin and then we shipped it across an ocean and had some non-IT people install it into a rack and turn it on. That was the complexity. We all added it ourselves. With that said, because it was a simple, one-shelf system, they were able to get through it and get it done. There was one cable that wasn't connected right. Support helped me track that down, and then I had them go plug it in right. They turned the connector upside down and then it worked; what a shock...

              For this install overall, for NetApp's part, it was simple; we have the complexity.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We looked at Hewlett Packard, EMC, a Nutanix solution, and probably a couple more I can't remember. Nutanix had been way out there; just a totally different way of doing it.

              What other advice do I have?

              When selecting a vendor to work with, for whether or not we talk to them, I think we look at those things like reliability and reputation.

              As far as who we choose, once we've got that process started, it tends to be the vendors that are willing to work with us in the sales process and give us lots of answers; give us lots of demos. We like to get a feel that they actually understand what we need; that the tech teams and the local teams that we're working with are capable of understanding what is going on technically; and they're not just fly by night: "They've been working here for three months and now they're going to move on." We try to figure out whether they have capable folks in the field. Does the sales team care enough about us to make a deal versus just saying, "Here's a price. You can take it or leave it."?

              Unfortunately, we don't have budget, so a lot of our decisions do come down to dollars. We spend a lot of time looking for teams that can do both. Who's going to come in cheap, yet still give us all that personal attention and support, and feel like they're going to be partners with us in the process, rather than just a reseller that's going to kick us over to support? We want people who are invested in making us successful, and not everyone's willing to do that.

              We needed something that could do multiple protocols. We had a need out there for CIFS and NFS and fiber channel storage. NetApp was one of the few vendors who has a solution that's capable of handling all that and is easy to use.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527160
              Storage and Unix System Administrator at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
              Vendor
              It promises to deliver lower-latency throughput. We haven't put it through its paces yet.

              What is most valuable?

              It promises to deliver lower-latency throughput to our database servers. We're pretty confident that we can take advantage because we've built out a new, lower-latency network. To date, we've migrated one SQL server workload, a fairly large one, on to it. We haven't really put it through its paces yet, but we like what we see so far.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We expect more capacity so that we could move more of our workload on without having to make some of the tougher choices about what gets moved and what doesn't; what gets moved off of spinning disk.

              We're actually delving in to it, moving our large Oracle workloads on there. However, we don't want to necessarily move all of those components on. There are some that clearly might not benefit from All-Flash FAS. Being that there's a premium cost, a premium right now, and we only have one array, we need to be judicious in what we cut over. The smaller database environments are a given. Also, we'll be moving some of our VMware, more performance-sensitive workloads, onto that.

              What needs improvement?

              I’m not even educated enough. That's why I went to a NetApp Insight conference: to learn some of the details of flash. We're not so concerned about the value proposition of deduplication, compression. I know there are a lot of benefits of capacity. That's not our primary concern. However, as time goes on, that's going to be more and more of an issue.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability-wise, it's fine.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability has not come up yet. Obviously, we haven't been able to scale anywhere.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We have not yet needed to use technical support.

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

              We were previously using SAS and SATA. That said, with our Oracle environment, no one's been complaining. We've been getting quite satisfactory throughput. We just migrated from 7-mode, all on spinning disk, to Clustered ONTAP on newer hardware, smarter back-end aggregate design. We've really implemented more of the NetApp best practices. Actually, we're getting great performance out of our traditional arrays. For us, it's really a matter of education about how to deploy the All-Flash FAS units.

              How was the initial setup?

              Given the advanced disk partitioning and ONTAP 8.3, that was a small learning curve, but that's not unique to flash. Actually, it was pretty simple to set up. The fact that we have a heterogeneous disk type in the array made it simple. Our choice of aggregate type was very simple. Basically, we split the unit, an 8060. We split the capacity across both heads. It was pretty much a vanilla roll out.

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

              We were able to get good pricing; it was part of a larger acquisition. Other than that, if this were a standalone purchase, pricing would definitely be an issue. When we were pricing the AFF separately and comparing that to the other big company, a year ago, it really looked like the NetApp offering was very costly.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              The last purchasing cycle, two years ago, it came down to a bake-off between EMC and NetApp. We've been a NetApp customer for quite a while, so our skill set is heavily invested there. Also, we're about a 50% file-based shop as opposed to block, so NetApp is a pretty good fit. I like their file solutions more so than EMC, that it's all integrated. It's not a bolt-on appliance.

              In general, when I choose a vendor, I look for stability, supportability, and that the product has actually been adequately tested; that it's not beta.

              What other advice do I have?

              Give more attention to your VDI solution. We have already implemented a VDI solution that's not using flash. That's a perfect workload candidate to put on flash. For my organization, it might have made more sense to put the back end on our NetApp All-Flash FAS, because we have the skill set to administer the storage, as opposed to bringing in another topology that might have some issues.

              To be able to give it a higher rating, I would need to actually go and take that car out on some highways, where I could really open it up. I haven't given it a chance yet. That said, I would need to see it perform orders of magnitude better than the spinning disk, and that's what's advertised.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527151
              Director IT at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Consultant
              With SAP databases, there's significant performance improvement.

              What is most valuable?

              We decided to use the All-Flash because of speed. Most of the time, when we looked at the SAP database, what we found was, by using the All-Flash, we got almost 100% improvement on our jobs.

              How has it helped my organization?

              The best part about it is the density; otherwise, earlier, we used to use a lot of 300- or 600-GB disks. It saves space, saves power and makes us more efficient. The main thing is performance. If you can get the report done in half the time, it's good.

              What needs improvement?

              I would like to see the All-Flash FAS support virtualization better. I find that lacking in some areas; application and for disaster recovery. I know we have to do a lot of setup and we need to know exactly what needs to be done, but I would expect NetApp to make those best practices available automatically. Why do they say, “Do this, do this,” when they could say instead, “For DR, click this button”, which would automatically implement the best procedure, rather than having to figure it out yourself? That should be automated.

              There are several other improvements that can be done, especially with the clustering. I don't know why we had to make back-end decisions. With software-defined networking, most of the decisions can be made at the front end. Right now, how NetApp works is, you get the data to the head, take it to the back end to make a decision and then pump it back. I just want to eliminate the switch in the back to the cluster. Why not make those decisions? Maybe they need to do something on the software-defined networking; maybe have some module in the switch to make the decision at the front-end, distribute the workload for the clusters in the back. I really don't like having another switch in the back. You know your data comes from this network.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              So far, we have not had any major stability issues because I look for stability, then performance; the product has to be stable first, then comes the performance.

              My uptime is 99.99%. Other people say “All five nines,” but I say, “Hey, when the CFO or the CEO wants access and it's down, it doesn't matter what you're doing.”

              Stability is very, very important. The first thing is stability, then performance. Performance is important because performance is everyday work. Stability is like, you say nowadays, “IT infrastructure has to be like air. You don't look for air, right?” You can automatically breathe it like that. Storage has to exist all the time. That's the main criteria on stability.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              So far, I don't know the exact size that we have. I know we can add more storage. We just procured some more disk shelves to add. I don't know the limits. I probably need to go check out how large we can be.

              Also, we're trying to keep our environment separated. That way, there's no contamination. There are also regulations and other things we have to worry about. If we're putting everything in one box, putting all the eggs in one basket, we need to be really careful about stability, performance, and making changes.

              If we want to scale out in the future, I think the system is capable. We should not have problems; I hope that will happen.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We might have used technical support a little bit but most of the time, it is working, so I don't think we made any calls. I don't think we are using it. We're paying for it but we're not using it much.

              Our vendor was good, they did the initial setup; they helped through the setup. If you set it up right the first time, you probably don't have to mess with it a lot. If it is stable, there isn’t much else to do.

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

              We were previously using NetApp with spinning drives, and we were also using some of the EMC DMX.

              Now, we are using NetApp exclusively.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was pretty easy. I think it only took maybe half a day to do everything; put it in, power it, connect all the cables, configure it. I think we put it in production within like half a day; not difficult.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We did run the eval and our PoC through other vendors, other storage suppliers.

              There were two other flash players, and we finally ended up going with NetApp All-Flash. The reason being the migration would be much easier. We added our existing cluster to the same cluster, so that we could do the migration whenever we are able to do it. We didn’t need a big downtime to migrate it.

              Also, when we buy other technology, we have to have people to manage it. We need to decide whether, “OK, do I need to use the current talent pool to migrate to All-Flash, or bring in a new player where we have to support both?” It adds to the cost.

              When we are selecting a vendor to work with, we look at whether they want to work according to our interest or according to the vendor’s interest, because we need to make sure they can support us in the long run; that they are reliable; and that they have good people who know the product and have a good attitude working with customers. Most of the technical knowledge and other things, you can acquire, but attitude is important.

              What other advice do I have?

              If you are a NetApp customer and considering a new technology, you need to look at the additional cost of doing things or administrating another thing. If you are completely moving from NetApp to a new vendor altogether, can they do everything? Transitioning from one storage to another takes a long time. At the end of the day, your servers and other things, they don't have anything there, like transient, that you can replace any time. But when it comes to storage, your storage is important.

              If you give me the storage, I can do pretty much everything. If your data is available, you can figure out how to reroute it or do things with that, but if your data is not there, you have servers, everything is useless; network. Everything is useless. I still see people invest a lot of money on networking. I say, “Look, if the storage is not available, you don't need network; you don't need servers.” You need to look at your storage; it’s very critical. It has to be stable, perform well and you need to be able to protect it. If those things are there, you can take the storage anywhere and make it work. If you don't have compute, Amazon EC2 can give you compute, Azure can give you compute, but you need to protect your storage.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527199
              Mission Command Systems at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              I can quickly and efficiently bring the system up and shut it down, when necessary.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable feature is how user friendly it is. For somebody in my position, I have to be able to bring the system up quickly, efficiently, and also shut it down, if there's a power outage, quickly and efficiently, without having troubles. It also supports VMware. That's what we use, but we use the NetApp as our filer; it’s our only filer.

              How has it helped my organization?

              I attended a recent NetApp Insight conference to find out more about how we can benefit from it, to understand it more so, that way, I can employ it better during high-tension situations.

              I never see the financial side, so I don’t know if we have seen any financial benefits. In terms of the manpower to run it, it’s me; I can do it myself. As a former grunt, I've been able to manage the system easily, ever since we got it four years ago. As far as administration, it only takes one person.

              What needs improvement?

              The graceful shut down feature is no longer there, in the version that I have. I believe I'm using ONTAP 7.0.x. on the FAS2040 and we’re also using the FAS2020.
              I don't know where it needs improvement because I'm not that well-versed in it.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability is excellent. I've had no issues in the last six years that I've had NetApp flash storage. Just recently, on one system that's been out and had a lot of controversy in it, we had a filer fail on us. We were able to get a filer the following day. It was excellent.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability was another reason why I attended a recent NetApp Insight conference. That's what I wanted to find out: where we're moving ahead, from here.

              We have enough capacity for what we do. I can have up to close to 120,000 separate widgets running simultaneously and delivering data to other systems. Everything works; no problem.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is excellent.

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

              I didn't evaluate anybody; higher levels than me did that. I know that NetApp won the contract again, so they must be doing something right. My organization’s not going to give a contract to nobody, for a bad product.

              Right now, I'm concentrating our collapse-down strategy, where we're taking multiple systems and putting them all on one system. That's why I went to the NetApp conference. I'm curious to see how it's going to impact the filer; if the filer's going to need to expand. If we're going to be migrating to a new filer, etc.

              How was the initial setup?

              To get my certification to build it, I found it a little bit grueling. Everything is tailored to our specific organization, following the documentation. It's different documentation than what NetApp uses. I’m not familiar with the NetApp filer documentation.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527205
              Senior Systems Administrator at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
              Vendor
              We use it for some SQL databases and a VDI solution. Initial setup is simple; they code the cabling.

              What is most valuable?

              The input/output is the most valuable feature. When you have high-availability applications that need high IOPS, it's kind of a no-brainer to have an AFF. We're using it for some SQL databases now, and a VDI solution.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We did see some massive performance increases on all of the SQL databases when we moved over; that made the database administrators pretty happy.

              What needs improvement?

              It's worked very well. I know we'll see improvements in disk. You'll get better processors and things like that, which will make them faster, but overall, it's fantastic for our environment. Improvements in disk and better processors would be something I’d like to see in the future, but you're going to see that anyway.

              I always get surprised when I see a new feature. Usually when something comes out, I'll see something and say "Wow, I would have never thought they would've went there." I'm not that good at future-casting.

              I'm sure that people have issues. I haven't had anything, though. It's been great.
              Maybe if it had some sort of game-changing technology. They're all very similar; that's the thing I learned through the POC process.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We have not had any stability or scalability issues at all, actually. It fit right into our current cluster, and everything works great. We haven't had any issues at all. It’s been absolutely stable.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We have not needed to use technical support for anything particular on the AFF. We do have a support contract and we do have support issues from time to time, but nothing's come up with the All Flash, so far.

              In general, NetApp support is pretty good; overall, pretty good. I've had a couple of things that needed to be escalated but overall, the staff is pretty knowledgeable and they work pretty well.

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

              We drove the decision to invest in AFF a little more than our database administrators had. They were fine with the performance, but we were seeing some things on our side that made us think it was time to go with a flash solution. They were driving too much IO over SAS and SATA, and we wanted to make sure we had the right solution for them going forward. We also wanted to futureproof it a little bit.

              How was the initial setup?

              If you can set up any FAS, you can probably set up a AFF. Initial setup is pretty simple, if you know that technology.

              The thing that I love the most about it is, being a NetApp customer for a while, they code their cabling; you know where the square plugs in, and you have a triangle and a circle. That makes it so much easier; they idiot-proofed it, very much. Then, of course, when you go through the setup and configuration, it alerts you if there's any cabling issue, so you can go back; that was kind of nice, too.

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

              I don't handle pricing. I did a little bit of the negotiation. I thought it was fair for the value that we got, especially compared to certain competitors that we looked at as well.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We're a NetApp shop, and we've had a very good relationship with them over the years. Nonetheless, for certain purchases – obviously, for a big purchase such as moving into the flash arena – we wanted to be certain, so we did look at a few other options.

              I felt like the AFF pricing was better. The fact that we had existing NetApp solutions and a great relationship with our NetApp partners was basically what won it there. I don't know that it necessarily does anything different than a competitor, but we've been very happy with it.

              In general, when I’m considering vendors to work with, I like solid solutions. I like good support. You wind up trusting people after you get through a few solutions and through a few things with them. That's important to me.

              What other advice do I have?

              If you have experience with NetApp, you shouldn't have any trouble with it. If you don't, I would suggest the training. It's pretty straightforward, but that'll always help.

              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.
              it_user527295
              Sr. Storage Administrator at Mentor Graphics
              Vendor
              It's offloaded workload that was compromising other workloads because of performance degradation.

              What is most valuable?

              At this point, performance is the most valuable feature. We're just putting it into production, on a pretty heavy performance-intensive workload. So far, its performed exactly how we wanted it to. Performance is the key on that particular device.

              How has it helped my organization?

              It's offloaded workload that was compromising other workloads because of performance degradation. It's enabled us to take that and isolate it; give it the performance it needs, saving other applications’ performance as well.

              What needs improvement?

              We don't have it running ONTAP 9 yet. Upgrading the OS to ONTAP 9 will definitely give us some advantages. From what I saw at a recent NetApp Insight conference, about how ONTAP 9 looks and feels, there are things to look at and learn how to use that, in performance monitoring tools as well. We still had some learning to do about what's available. We're using rudimentary performance monitoring. As far as that goes, the old tools are giving us what we want, but we're looking forward to upgrading to be able to take advantage of better tools.

              We are especially looking for better performance monitoring. We want to be able to truly see what the load is doing at any given point in time, and especially if the user wants to know, “We're going to load this up. We want to see what effect it has on it.” We want to be able to give them real-time numbers.

              Right now, that’s not easy to do. We can't get to the detailed level that we want to. We believe that that's available going forward.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We've only had it in production a short time. We've had it a total of about six months.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              In the short time we’ve had it in production, six months, we haven’t had any stability issues.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We haven't had to scale it out.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We've had to call technical support only because the performance monitoring on it has given us some skewed numbers. Getting back to us on that was a little bit slow, to get us the answer that we really needed to see, but we got the answer that we needed. All is good now.

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

              I wasn’t involved in the decision process to invest in this particular All Flash FAS, but I've been in many, many discussions about going to that technology. I'm part of our team to say, "This is what we think we're going to need based on what we've seen. This could be the right tool for the job." In general, with decisions like this, there’s no one person making the decision.

              We were previously running on a different vendor platform. We had that device saturated, and there was nowhere to go with it. The scalability was non-existent. It was disk. This was a good opportunity for us to move into this flash environment with this particular workload because of the performance.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              At this point, there really wasn't another player that was going to offer us familiarity with NetApp, for one thing, and what we needed.

              The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are the ease of administration of an appliance; reliability of an appliance; and being able to adequately monitor what's going on with the appliance (which ties in with the administration of it). Support’s got to be on it, especially if it's in production. It's like, “We need help; we need it now.” The vendor has to be there.

              Those are probably the three most important criteria. Price comes in there, but you pay a premium for those particular things. If the price point is right and those things are all right, then you've got a great thing going on.

              What other advice do I have?

              Flash right now is just a hot ticket. If you've got performance-intensive workloads, and because the NetApp suite of tools that can come along with it, then, yes, I would recommend to colleagues that they take a look at it.

              It's still pretty new to us, but what we expect it to do, it's doing. As we get more familiar with it, and if we see that we can scale it out and add more to it, I think I would be able to rate it higher pretty easily.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527232
              Senior Consultant at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Real User
              We spread it out across multiple environments using multiple protocols.

              What is most valuable?

              One of the biggest features, that we've been able to use the most, is spreading out across multiple environments using multiple protocols. Getting all flash in place for us has been really helpful in consolidating a lot of those environments down to a single network structure, as opposed to spreading way out, across fiber and copper. That's probably been the biggest thing.

              How has it helped my organization?

              Our organization is very VMware heavy. Going from old spinning media up to all flash has been a night-and-day difference.

              What needs improvement?

              I was at an executive briefing meeting recently. One of the things that I brought up, that I will continuously bring up whenever asked, is that it seems easy enough to upgrade the OS straight from the OnCommand management software, but one thing that seems difficult is updating disk firmware and qual packages. They almost require you to have a TFTP HTTP server in order to download those files. The easiest thing for me would be to have something on the GUI to just grab that package, drop it in and update it. That's what I want to see. I hope they add that; additional ways to update not just the OS but disk and shelf and qual packages and all that other firmware. If there was a central page to just upgrade all of that other stuff in ONTAP, that would be fantastic.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability has been fantastic. We've previously had other vendors for storage, and there have been issues. Ever since we've had the all flash in, we’ve never had a problem.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability seems to be something that is a non-issue anymore. If we need space, we can throw in a shelf. If we need more compute, we can add more nodes to it. That was part of going into the purchase of our all flashes, knowing that we can scale both down and up. We haven't had to yet, but we know that it's there.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We occasionally use technical support; not too often. I did get certified right before we bought it, so I've been able to do a lot of my own. We have a good relationship with our SE and I've been able to reach out to him. We have several resources available to our company. We've used them, but not a lot.

              When we have used technical support, it's been top-notch.

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

              I was not that involved in the decision to invest in the All Flash FAS. I do know that, because I did have experience with it, I probably influenced some of the purchasers within my company. They knew that they had somebody on the team that was able to work with it.

              How was the initial setup?

              In our particular scenario, we had a failing. We had another vendor storage array that was failing. It was a Hitachi that was all spinning medium. When that went down, we reached out to NetApp. They were able to help us out with CDW to get us loaner equipment while we were purchasing the all flash.

              There was a little bit of complexity there. However, once we got the all flash in, we were able to cluster it together with the loaner equipment and move everything over on the back end. There was no impact to VMware, and everything else was as smooth as could be.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              At the time, I don't think we were considering any other vendors, only because we were moving towards becoming an all-NetApp shop. This was the go-to thing. We did have a relationship with NetApp before. We had previous spinning FAS arrays. We do have some E-Series and so on. We do have a good relationship with our NetApp reps, so that probably went into a lot of it.

              What other advice do I have?

              Offering advice is pretty difficult for me, because there's a lot of good to it. It depends on the application; that is a big thing. Smaller environments can probably benefit more from the E-Series. We're multi-client, so having the ability to break it out into SVMs is really helpful. The biggest thing is, if you've got multiple clients and you need to deliver performance to them, the AFF is hard to beat.

              The two biggest criteria for me when selecting a vendor are knowledgeability and accessibility; being able to reach the people that support us, and having them know exactly what to do. I'm not expecting the first person I call to know it all, but them being able to say, "I know this one person that can help you out." That's good.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527130
              Systems Analyst at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
              Vendor
              We use the speed for all of our database. It takes less time to get to the database and to get data back to applications.

              What is most valuable?

              The best feature is just for databases; the speed that we can use for all of our database, Oracle and SQL. For example, testing with our programmers, testing the systems; as far as the speed of getting to the database, getting their data back to their applications.

              How has it helped my organization?

              The speed itself means it takes less time trying to run queries.

              NetApp for me has been great. We went from about 30 physical servers and some blades, and now we're over 70 virtual servers and everything's on NetApp. Basically, our utility is about 95% NetApp for storage. There's maybe 5% that are actually outside of that. NetApp has been great.

              What needs improvement?

              We're using it with VMware; being able to do some mirroring to our DR site. The biggest thing I'd like to see would be the ability to break the mirror and stand up the DR site as a production site; see if there's a way to do that almost seamlessly. That would be a big thing to be able to do: if you lose your main site, stand up your secondary site and the customer has no idea.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We've had zero stability issues. We've had a disk go bad and the customer doesn't even know it. That's the best part about it.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              I don’t think we’ve had any scalability issues with it. I think it's great because every time they want more storage or a bigger size, it's easy enough to give them. Growing disk space is great with flash.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We haven’t needed to use technical support.

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

              We were not using a different solution beforehand. We had been using physical servers for all of our SQL and Oracle.

              Testing with some of our programmers, there were some issues with speed compared to physical servers, physical disks. When we did the testing, the older physical servers were actually faster than some of our virtual. We had to do some testing with that and we determined that by going to the flash, we’d get rid of that latency, that issue of slowness.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup is a little bit complex, but we use a guy who pretty much builds all of our NetApp for us.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Before choosing AFF, we looked around a little bit, thought about some Cisco gear, but decided we just wanted to go with NetApp from talking with a couple of other utilities that we know, that work with us. They were using NetApp, so we just gravitated towards it.

              In general, when I choose a vendor, the criteria that are important to me are stability, for one; longevity in the business already; and then, of course, word of mouth from other customers. How they treat their customers, how good are they at getting back to you. There’s nothing like having a fire and wanting your vendor to be there on the spot to fix it. Other than that, that's probably the biggest thing.

              What other advice do I have?

              Start with planning and whatever you think you need, double it. That's the word of mouth; that’s what most everybody says. We bought 20 TBs of flash to start, thinking that's all we would need, and in less than a year, we already reached 14 TBs.

              Once you go to it, you don't go back. Once everybody gets their speed, they don't ever want to lose that. The nice thing about flash is that it protects the poorly written code. That's our favorite thing to tell the programmers.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527103
              Storage Administrator at Desire 2 Learn Inc
              Consultant
              Performance is the number one feature. As far as scalability, we can extend to new nodes and move data around at will.

              What is most valuable?

              For the All Flash FAS, performance is the number one feature, above the reliability and scalability. First of all, the All Flash FAS is extremely fast. We're serving something in the neighborhood of a trillion transactions per month in SQL. We are getting great performance, submillisecond. As far as scalability, we can extend to new nodes and move data around at will. It's been a really good solution.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We are a customer-driven solution. We're running the environment and have some very demanding customers that require zero downtime, extremely good performance, and the solution has worked out extremely well for us.

              We have a software that is a learning environment for schools, higher education and corporate businesses. User software for learning environments. And they use our class as their learning environment.

              We need everything to be reliable and to work fast, and we have absolutely found that with NetApp.

              What needs improvement?

              I'd like to be able to move volumes between virtual machines, for one thing. That’s a little thing that has bothered me. I think I'm pretty happy with what the feature set is right now.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              We had some bumpy roads early on, but it has been very reliable. We're doing very well with it.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              With the ability to move data as soon as needed, we can expand and contract as we need to. It works out pretty nicely. We’ve had no issues in terms of scalability.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              NetApp’s technical support is second to none. I have worked with other vendors that have not been quite as reliable. But, getting support to come out is easy and reliable, and it's always top-grade help.

              I believe we have gone through EMC and Hitachi. I think that's it, actually. I personally worked with IBM. IBM’s support was pretty good, too.

              If I was selecting a new vendor today, support would probably be the most important criteria for me. That has been the big differentiator for us; always pushing P1s for us. It's very easy to get support and prioritize it as needed; they help us extremely well.

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

              I wasn't involved in that decision-making process, so I'm not sure what the driving force was. I was actually hired after the fact because I worked with NetApp in the past.

              How was the initial setup?

              I wasn’t involved in the initial setup, but I think the team found it fairly straightforward. We had good support from NetApp. We worked very closely with our account team. They walked us through very well and we had no issues getting going, as far as I know.

              What other advice do I have?

              I've been a NetApp advocate for many years, so I definitely say, look into it because of the performance, the stability, the scalability, the support.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user550308
              Storage Analyst at Ativas Data Center
              Video Review
              Consultant
              A flexible solution for a variety of workloads.

              What is most valuable?

              Snapshot, de-duplication and the efficiency; the storage part and the efficiency.

              What needs improvement?

              The part of flexibility that I can add more… of growth, to enhance the solution.

              To add more nodes, to put in additional new clusters, and to integrate everything in a set environment with many types of workloads.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              For three years.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It’s very stable and there is great flexibility to work with this solution.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Today, we have two pairs of controllers which form a cluster where I can have various types of workloads between the two devices. And, it has great flexibility in order to alter a client that is using a slow disk to a faster disk.

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

              We used another solution from NetApp with 7-Mode and we are progressing to this new solution.

              How was the initial setup?

              It is very simple, let’s say, any person who has never even worked with storage can perform a load to the server very easily.

              What other advice do I have?

              Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: The ease of putting a number of technologies, for example, a backup, in a single solution. I don’t have to worry about other solutions in order to integrate, to format a new product and deliver it to my client.

              Yes, I recommend the solution, and I even introduce myself by calling the clients to try the All-Flash, and after the client tries it, he/she does not go back to another player or another solution. 

              Anyone who gives All-Flash a try won’t go back to what he or she had before.

              I would give it a nine because there is a lot of flexibility in this solution. We are service providers and our clients have diverse demands, within this solution I can assist a greater number of clients in a variety of workloads.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527310
              Storage Architect at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
              Vendor
              Potential hardware issues have been removed from the equation.

              How has it helped my organization?

              It has improved my organization by being able to remove potential hardware issues from the equation; knowing that we're getting top throughput and performance from the system; and then being able to contain customer workloads within their subscribed tiers using QoS.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable feature is the low-latency, high-performance utilizations of the system; being able to deliver a high-tier storage performance for high-impacting customer applications.

              What needs improvement?

              There's nothing that I can think of that they haven't introduced with what they announced at a recent NetApp conference, with the built-in workflow automation, where you can basically deploy it in a matter of minutes for a dedicated workflow. They've built all that into the ONTAP 9. From my experience, that might be the only missing piece: If you have standard deployments to follow in those workflows, it's almost a push-button build, essentially.

              Across the entire FAS platform, or maybe even across the entire product line, I would like to see some sort of bare-metal deployment configuration standard. It would be nice if we could use DSC, Puppet or something like that to do bare-metal deployments within an environment for standard configurations, such as auto-support and so on. You can accomplish that now via PowerShell and scripting, but if you could have a server that constantly monitored that and kept everything within a standard configuration for that node; kind of like the rest of the industry is doing with platform standardization.

              You have a lot of flexibility to do that through scripting and other means, but there's nothing enforcing it. In other environments, for bare-metal hardware for compute, you can run Puppet or DSC (Desired State Config) through Microsoft. You can create configuration files for that physical hardware. If anyone goes in and makes a change, you could either alert or alert and automatically set it back to what it should be. Something to monitor, some way to do that at a bare-metal level, in the hardware-node configuration; that would be the only improvement I can think of.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability is the same as the whole FAS series line; very stable, huge up time, non-disruptive upgrades and capabilities. It falls in line with the rest of the family.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              It scales both horizontally and vertically with clustered Data ONTAP.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              I have not used support directly for the All Flash.

              For other issues, NetApp support is not as good as it used to be. They've restructured their support organization a couple times over the last couple of years. It seems difficult to get a high-priority ticket through for an experienced engineer. It takes a while to get a hold of somebody who can actually help you with your problem.

              Because we're a partner and we have certified engineers on our staff, when we call in, we don't need Tier 1 support. It's very hard to get escalation up to an escalation engineer who's going to be able to solve our problem. It didn't used to be that way. I've worked with NetApp for probably over nine years now.

              Learn about the benefits of NVMe, NVME-oF and SCM. Read New Frontiers in Solid-State Storage.

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

              We decided to invest in the All Flash FAS basically because of constant customer demand for a higher-tier, flash-based storage option. We didn't currently have anything with any other vendor available. It wasn't a storage offering that we had; not necessarily one that we thought we needed, because we use QoS and service levels within our environment, but customer demand mitigated purchasing an offering.

              Previously, it was all hybrid NetApp FAS. We run NetApp throughout our entire environment, but we didn't have anything dedicated flash SSD. We would run flash pools in hybrid aggregate configurations, and then we would use QoS and service levels to guarantee SLOs. Customers, not really knowing what they want, hear the word "flash" and think they want flash storage for their application. Then, when they ask for it, and you don't have it as an offering, you're now an incomplete solution. Out of industry necessity, I would say, we've added it to our portfolio.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was pretty straightforward, the same as any other FAS solution, except for when you get into the disk slicing and other features for setting up your root aggregates. It’s pretty standard configuration, pretty easy. That has been our experience.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We looked at a couple of other options, just to see. It was between the All Flash FAS, which, because we're primarily a NetApp shop, was our first choice; we looked at Nimble and Tintri as potential other options; and then we also talked to NetApp about SolidFire as well.

              We ended up going with the NetApp solution because there wasn't enough of a compelling reason to switch to a different architecture, to a different competitor, to take us outside of our current architecture, standards. There wasn't a good enough reason to not make that decision.

              The main criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are full feature sets within a product, multiple avenues for manageability, and tie-ins to other possible orchestration applications; something that fits very well into the modern architecture and the direction that the industry's going, with automation, cloud and service on demand; and the ability to tie in to all of those, seamlessly into all of those requirements.

              What other advice do I have?

              Make sure that you understand the entire storage portfolio, that you understand your requirements. Don't get into the situation that a lot of people get into – that we typically got into ourselves – and purchase something because you need it as an offering. The All Flash FAS solution is a great solution and it fits right into your current infrastructure if you're running clustered ONTAP and you're familiar with All Flash FAS, but understand your workload and make sure you're getting what you need.

              I don't know that I have that good of a reason for my rating. Based on what I saw at a recent NetApp conference, when it comes to solid-state requirements, the SolidFire solution is probably more in line with that type of workload because you can set the minimum requirements. SolidFire introduced the minimum requirements for a workload, which will guarantee that workload that SLA. Within the FAS solution, you can just guarantee the SLO. You can set ceilings on everyone, but you can't guarantee that someone's going to get that performance every time if they need it. I would say that's the only thing, and then SolidFire fills that need in the portfolio. I'd say that would be the only reason why the All Flash FAS doesn’t get a perfect rating.

              We are looking into purchasing SolidFire as well.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527337
              Datacenter, NOC & IT Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
              Consultant
              It definitely has some advantages for running database transactions. SnapMirrors will give us the opportunity to virtualize the database.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable feature is the speed. Quite frankly, we got a smoking deal on it. We like the integration with UCS. With the number of transactions we use, using NFS mounts has not proved successful in the past. AFF definitely has some advantages for running database transactions.

              SnapMirroring is also valuable. Previously, we’ve just had localized storage in the servers with RAID 5 and we’d just run backups. Having SnapMirrors is going to be awesome. It also gives us the opportunity to virtualize the database. We can just snapshot the things. When one dies, rather than try to do a restore, we can just pull out the latest snapshot and let replication catch up from there.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We've had it for about a year; possibly a little more. We've pretty much just done a proof of concept on it until right now. Right now, we are rolling our databases onto it.

              We're using UCS for front end, and because we need the speed, we're spinning up databases with all the data on AFF.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              I believe it will be a stable solution. I realize we're going to lose disks over time. That's the nature of SSDs. They’re are getting better, and I presume they are going to get better in the future. With our support for spinning disks in the past – we have very little monitoring – basically, the filer tells us, “Hey, you’ve got a bad disk,” and the next day the disk shows up. We have spares, so we just pop a new one in. We’ve had excellent support.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              As far as I know, it will scale with us. With our databases, we're not going to need that large of a footprint. However, we have some other projects that we're testing out at this time. I believe scalability will be an issue. As far as I know, we’ll just pop more shelves in and we’ll get the scalability.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is outstanding, period. They're fast. We know people there. As a matter of fact, our previous engineer is now an SC again. He came from NetApp, worked for us for about seven years and now he's back at NetApp. Our former CTO was at NetApp. I think my manager was at NetApp. If not, he was at a partner of ours. So, we have a very good relationship. When we call for support, they answer. You cannot say that about everybody.

              How was the initial setup?

              A lot of what we've been doing is migrating from 7-mode. We have run into some pain points. I don't know that it's necessarily NetApp's fault. A lot of it is just our inexperience. Some things we hadn't really thought of; moving the LIFs, that sort of thing. We've had some major network storms that we weren't expecting. Had we read deep enough into the documents, I think we would've found that before we tried it.

              What other advice do I have?

              Depending on what you're looking for, I recommend looking at FlexPod as well as AFF. Price it out with some of the other solutions that are out there. I am not that familiar with what EMC and some of the others have to say. Compare and contrast, and figure out what is it you're trying to do. I used to be in the sales role in a very large company that's not around anymore. Customers always appreciated it if when I told them, “Hey, you're overbuilding this. You're going to spend way more than you need to.” That’s my advice.

              When I select a vendor to work with, I look at a little bit of everything. With reputation, obviously, NetApp has the leg up there. We have a deep and longstanding relationship with them. When new vendors come along, we like transparency. We’ve had people come in and say, “Oh, we have this solution. It’ll butter your toast and fix all your problems, all at the same time,” and clearly that's not the case.

              We had a vendor come in one time that was going to do quite a bit with our databases until they saw the size of our database. They very politely said, “Well, we can’t scale to that.” We thanked them, and I appreciate that kind of honesty. Obviously, we didn't do business with them, but later on down the road, if they came in and said, “We have a solution now,” I am more inclined to listen to that.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527355
              Architect at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              The most valuable feature is the performance; the latency with our high-IO database systems.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable feature is the performance; the latency with our high-IO database systems.

              How has it helped my organization?

              It's made a huge difference. We've cut hours off our job times, simply by moving the storage and nothing else. We can finally meet our production deadlines for job times. We can shorten our work windows down because we can complete the jobs faster.

              What needs improvement?

              There are two area’s that I think NetApp needs to improve upon, pricing structure and support.

              From a pricing perspective it’s just too complicated. With many other vendors it’s very easy to understand what you are paying for. A shelf of disk should just be 1 line item and the support for that shelf should be another. Recently we purchased an all flash FAS with 2 controllers and 1 shelf of disk (3 physical items); that invoice was 18 line items long. This makes it very difficult to create charge back/show back models.

              The other area for improvement is support. When it comes to simple things like replacing failed drives, support is usually responsive. For everything else getting good support can be difficult. A particular pain point is responsiveness and regular communication. If the ticket isn’t opened as a p1, it can take several days before someone calls you back; and when they do we have to continually follow up with support on ticket’s status. If we open a ticket we obviously need help, so we expect at least a daily update on our ticket, even if that update is “no update.”

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We have been using it for six months.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              I haven't had a problem with stability. It's only been six months, but it's been pretty solid.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We haven't had to scale it yet, because we just put it in six months ago. Nonetheless, we did add it to an existing cluster and we’re able to move data over to it pretty seamlessly.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We haven’t had to use technical support yet.

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

              We previously used the FAS8040s, with a mix of SAS and SATA flash pools.

              We knew we needed to invest in the All Flash FAS or a similar solution by looking at our performance metrics and realizing that we were really struggling from an IO perspective. We just had more IO than our existing system could handle, and it was the next best option.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup was pretty straightforward. We went to a boot camp prior to doing the install. We had a pretty good understanding of how it all worked, so the implementation was pretty easy.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We only looked at NetApp for the all flash because we were already a NetApp customer. We weren't going to change vendors yet.

              What other advice do I have?

              It was really easy to install, it was seamless to move the data over to it, and it's performing as we expected it to perform.

              The vendor relationship is really important to us when selecting a vendor to work with. We're a good people company so for us being able to relate to our salesman and getting a good understanding of what our needs actually are was really important to us. From a technical level it all comes down to it's need to be reliable and we needed a solution that we didn't want to hire people just to manage it. It needs to be able to just setup and we need to be able to run and grow with it.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527313
              Solution Architect with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              The most valuable feature is not having to worry about whether I assign the right platform to a workload.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable feature is not having to worry about whether I assign the right platform to a workload. I can basically put it on there, knowing that I gave it all that it can get. If I gave it too much, I can move it off.

              How has it helped my organization?

              There are fewer customer call backs due to performance issues; fewer problems for myself and my staff. That kind of thing. Those are the biggies; just a sort of set-and-forget kind of platform.

              What needs improvement?

              Something I would like to see is coming out in ONTAP 9.1, which is volume encryption in place. When that gets released, we'll be taking advantage of that. That's something that we needed, and they're already going to be adding; it's on the road map.

              Basically, what it allows you to do is compartmentalize data by volumes, which we do already, but then you can encrypt the data to protect this particular group’s data from this particular group’s data, and know that it's not going to be compromised; this is classified, and that's classified, and they don't need to know. I'm looking forward to that.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability’s been great. We're sort of early into our environment with it, but we really haven't had any stability issues or anything like that. It's been great.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability is not determined at this point in time. We've installed what we bought; we're using it. We haven't tried scaling it beyond what it's done so far; haven't needed to.

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

              We are a long-time NetApp customer. We knew that we had some workloads that were exceeding what our existing platforms could provide. We ended up saying, "Hey, the All Flash FAS is the next logical step for us".

              We were using spinning disk. We actually also purchased a flash pool, which is a hybrid, this last go around; all NetApp. That'll be our first hybrid, but we knew that we also needed this all flash array to be able to step up to the plate with some of these other workloads.

              How was the initial setup?

              Initial setup is complex, in that you have to make sure that you're setting it up in compliance with the best practices. The best practices are well documented. There's not a lot of, "Oh my gosh, I didn't see that coming", kind of thing. You just have to make sure you set it up right; otherwise, you didn't get what you paid for.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              We're constantly looking at other vendors to see what they have, in terms of this purchasing cycle. We weren't seriously looking at other vendors. Unless NetApp had completely dropped the ball on the platform and/or given us a quote that was completely unreasonable, I don't think we would have necessarily gone with anyone else.

              The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is customer support, in the States, and then also an account team that allows us access to the back-end engineers. For example, at a recent NetApp conference, our account manager set up a meeting with us and some of the security back-end people from NetApp. We're able to have a 45-minute deep dive into what we need as a customer. These are the guys and gals who are actually implementing the technology, and supporting us. We were able to have that conversation, which was great.

              What other advice do I have?

              Really look at it from the standpoint of, what workloads you have today? What are the performance characteristics? Are you taking full advantage of what you have today? From a data mobility perspective, does that matter to you? It mattered to us, and that's something that NetApp brings to the table. Or, we can move it from the All Flash FAS to another platform, and then if it spikes up again, move it back, non-disruptively.

              It's really, really good for everything that we've used it for. At somewhere in the range of a quarter of a million dollars, it's a lot of money; you get what you pay for.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527106
              Systems Architect at Equifax
              Vendor
              Pricing is competitive, you can get it up and running quickly, and it's easy to use.

              What is most valuable?

              The most valuable features are cost, performance and usability. NetApp’s really good with usability; to get it up and running quickly and usable.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We've been using for our internal cloud environments, for internal cloud storage. Response time's very fast. Capacity's very good. Performance is very good; it's quick.

              What needs improvement?

              We've only had it in production for about three months, so we don't have a lot of time with it. For what we're using it for, it's been fine. I don't know of any issues or anything that we need to do, that I would request additional features right now, aside from the scalability improvements I’ve mentioned.

              I know we use external monitoring. There's some level of monitoring on the systems themselves, but we do use a lot of external monitoring, whether it's NetApp versus third party. I know with ONTAP 9, they're working on more monitoring capabilities and more features within the unit, but they don't have that yet. I would like to see more monitoring onboard, on the system, instead of having to throw another third-party system at it.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              I've been a NetApp customer for quite a while, at least 12 to 13 years. Stability's never been an issue for any of our systems that I've been associated with; it's been very good. We haven't had any issues with those units, knock on wood, so far; it's been good.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              Scalability has been OK. We've been scaling them vertically instead of more horizontally because you can only scale the FAS horizontally so far, so we've scaled out vertically.

              I would like to see them improve its ability to scale vertically. With flash, you can only drive so many IOPS, the controllers can only handle so many IOPS. There's a limit; there's physics, a mathematical limit that they can do.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              It's been a long time since I've actually called technical support with a case. I try not to call tech support. At my level, I usually need something like a third-level support. You call in, you have to say what your issue is, they can't help you and then they have to pass it to the next person and then usually it's third level. Usually, it's a third-level, advanced person that I would need to speak to.

              They've been fine. Once you get to that level, someone that's knowledgeable, support's fine.

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

              In this environment, we were using spinning disks. When we needed to expand capacity, that's when we decided to go with all flash, and NetApp made it very price competitive. They were trying to push those units, so it was worthwhile to get flash instead of more spinning disks.

              How was the initial setup?

              NetApp's initial setup is very straightforward. It's very easy to get up and running within a day, as long as you have the cabling in place and the power, but that's outside of NetApp's control. Once you have that infrastructure in place and they come on site, it's very easy to get up and running within a day.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              Before choosing the All Flash FAS, I also considered Hitachi. We chose NetApp because NetApp is in our internal cloud, and that's what we were expanding. We didn't see the need to switch vendors at that point. NetApp's easier than Hitachi HNAS to get up and running.

              For my manager, price is the most important criteria when selecting a vendor to work with. NetApp's been very competitive with pricing over the last 2-3 years.

              NetApp's features are easier, and the capabilities are a lot more advanced than Hitachi and other vendors that we look at. The software's much more mature than the other vendors. That's why I like NetApp. It's easy to use. It's easy to get down to what you want to do with it; the features and capabilities are there.

              What other advice do I have?

              Everybody pretty much can do the same. The issue is how complicated it is to get to what you're really trying to do. That's the one thing that I've seen. NetApp does a good job. They're much more mature, as I’ve mentioned. It's easy to drill down to get to the data, get it set up and get it configured, and it works.

              We've only been using it three months. We haven't hit any issues with it yet; I can't say that we won't, but I'm not expecting to.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527214
              Storage Administrator at College board
              Vendor
              I no longer worry about disk utilization problems.

              What is most valuable?

              For sure, the most valuable features are the compression and dedupe on there. We gain so much more back than we thought we were going to get; that was one of the biggest things. I don't have to worry about any kind of disk utilization problems because of the spindles or anything; that's what we've always experienced.

              How has it helped my organization?

              We shrunk our footprint and get a lot more power for the same thing; makes it simple.

              What needs improvement?

              I would like to see compaction, the new feature in ONTAP 9. We haven't gotten that yet. We just got everything to CDOT.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              Stability’s great. I have zero worries, unlike the 6080s; that thing was unstable as heck. This thing's great.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              I like the scalability, too, because the footprint is small. You just add shelves, add to it, swap it out.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              We've called technical support many times. It's good. We're very hands-on in our organization, so the first level usually isn't that helpful. We usually give them about five or 10 minutes to work on it, then we say, “OK, let's escalate this; let's not spend an hour here”, but they're always helpful. It's just a matter of the first level being the first level; they don't have the insight to do any more.

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

              We knew we needed to invest in the All Flash FAS because we were on 6200 series with 300 GB drives. We were very obsolete and we didn't want to go to a large platform, so we went to that. The price point was easy because they priced it so cheap.

              How was the initial setup?

              I was involved with the initial setup; did the whole thing. We build it, from the time they ship it. Once they get it to us, I take care of everything; networks, the whole nine yards. It’s straightforward. It's very easy, but of course we've been doing this for years, so it could be complex and we wouldn't care.

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

              The price keeps coming down and it's going to keep coming down.

              Which other solutions did I evaluate?

              I did not evaluate other options; that was it.

              What other advice do I have?

              It depends on their feature set. If they just need a niche product, they may want to go to a different platform; not that they need to, but they could consider that. If they're looking for something that covers everything, then the All Flash FAS will be enough.

              All of it's pretty simple. All the feature sets are very straightforward to me, coming from the FAS environment.

              I have given it a perfect rating because it's easy. Nothing's wrong with it. I don't have any problems. It's easy to set up. I'm good to go. I don't have any issues with it. It's very easy to use.

              The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is that they consider our needs instead of trying to shove something down our throat.

              Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
              it_user527115
              VP of Systems Integration at Klas Telecom Government, Inc.