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NetApp NVMe AFF A800 Competitors and Alternatives

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Read reviews of NetApp NVMe AFF A800 competitors and alternatives

CM
Storage Team Manager at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Allows us to do backups while users access data, without impact on performance

Pros and Cons

  • "The performance is very good. Our predominant workloads are all less than 5 milliseconds and it's most common to have a sub-1-millisecond response time for our applications. In terms of efficiency, we've turned on compression and we're able to get as high as two-to-one compression on our workloads, on average."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are the centralized IT department for a state government and we service every agency in the state. That includes anything from the state police down to DNR, parks, unemployment, and DHHS. There is a wide variety of use cases, but the big hitters on it are Oracle and SQL databases.

    It's on-prem. It's in two different data centers that are 60 miles apart and we're doing a synchronous replication between the data centers.

    How has it helped my organization?

    There are so many ways it has helped. It provides efficiencies through compression and it provides high availability through its solid-state drives. We literally turn it on and it does its thing.

    When it comes to storage provisioning, a lot of it has been automated. This was true even prior to PowerMax, back with the VMAX. The days of provisioning the mapping and masking, and doing all those things manually, are over. A lot of that is automated through their tools. Overall, that automation is saving us about four hours a week.

    What is most valuable?

    What is most valuable to us is the fact that it has multiple engines, and each of those engines works in conjunction in a grid environment. That's important to us because we have so many different use cases. One example might be that a state trooper pulls someone over at 2 o'clock on Sunday morning and wants to go into the LEIN system, which is the law enforcement information network. He wants to see who this person is that he has pulled over and gather as much information as he can on that person. We can't predict when he's going to pull someone over, nor can we predict when backups are actually going to be taken against the volume that he's going to for that information. The PowerMax allows us to do backups of that volume at the same time that he is looking up the data he needs, and there's no impact on performance at all.

    The performance is very good. Our predominant workloads are all less than 5 milliseconds and it's most common to have a sub-1-millisecond response time for our applications. In terms of efficiency, we've turned on compression and we're able to get as high as two-to-one compression on our workloads, on average. Some workloads can't compress and some can compress better, but on average, we're a little bit more than two-to-one.

    The solution’s built-in QoS capabilities for providing workload congestion protection work pretty well because we actually don't even turn on the service level options. We leave it to the default settings and allow it to decide the performance. We don't enforce the Platinum, Gold, or Silver QoS levels. We just let the array handle it all, and it does so.

    We also use VPLEX Metro, which is a separate service offering from Dell EMC. It does SRDF-like things, but it's really SRDF on steroids. Of course it copies data from one data center to the other, but with the VPLEX, not only does it copy it synchronously, but it also has coherent caching between both data centers. That means we are literally in an Active-Active mode. For instance, we can dynamically move a VMware host that is in one data center to another data center, and we're not just doing vMotion with the host. The data is already in there at the other data center as well. It's all seamless. We don't have to stop SRDF and remount it on another drive. It's already there.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe ever since it was brought to market, so it's been about three or four years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's rock-solid with 100 hundred percent uptime. We've never had a disruption on our PowerMax platform. It's high availability. And we can make changes, such as upgrading the code, while it's running. There's no such thing as going offline to do a service or maintenance procedure. It's all done online and the customers are working away at the same time.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is great. VPLEX is something like a federation for all our PowerMaxs. We will put a PowerMax in, give it all to VPLEX to manage, and we're good to go.

    We typically see a 10 to 20 percent growth rate, year to year. To keep up with that, in a multi-petabyte environment, 10 percent is quite a lot. We buy two a year, and that's a conservative estimate.

    The fact that PowerMax provides NVMe scale-out capabilities is important from the standpoint of its internal workings, but the customer data doesn't really go on the NVMe technology. At this point, we don't have any use cases for NVMe performance for any of our applications. But that will change in the future. Everything is going to go to in-memory. Compute and storage: everything's going to be on a chip.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their technical support is really good. We are using one of their monitoring tools and it phones home to the "mothership" in Massachusetts. That means they get real-time alerts or performance indicators. If a drive has exceeded a threshold five times in the last week, they will actually come out and preemptively replace that drive before it fails.

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

    We were a VMAX customer, so when they changed their service offering from VMAX to PowerMax, that's when we started adopting it. In a sense, PowerMax is the first of its kind for us. But we have been a long-time customer. We started with their DMX almost 20 years ago.

    How was the initial setup?

    For us, it's straightforward to set up. We've been doing this for a long time, so it's really easy for us to set up a new array in a data center. We had one that hit the dock about two weeks ago and it's already up and running and provisioning to customers. 

    NetApp will say, "Well, that's two weeks. We can come in and do it in one day." But we explain, "No, you can't because there are internal processes that we have to go through." Every piece of equipment we get, even the PowerMax, goes through its paces. We don't just turn it on and hope for the best. We check and double-check all our configuration settings. But overall, PowerMax is easy to set up. They configure it at the factory, deliver it, put it in the data center, and then we hook it to our Fibre Channel fabric and Ethernet fabrics and we're good to go. Competitors will say, "Well, it's so much easier to migrate from one array to another on our platform, versus the Dell EMCs." That's not necessarily true. We have to look at what they are actually measuring and whether we are comparing apples to apples.

    With VPLEX, we can do migrations on-the-fly, live. It's no longer a six-month to one-year effort to get off of one array and move to another. We just bring the other array in, present it to VPLEX, and VPLEX takes it from there.

    For a new deployment of one PowerMax, we need one FTE. On a day-to-day basis, to manage all of our PowerMaxs, we need three FTEs. But that is across two different data centers with a total of 10 PowerMax/VMAX units. It's a pretty big installation. Across our organization we have 55,000 employees. Since our HR is on this solution, and that's how people get paid, it's like we have 55,000 people using it, in a sense. Most access is through an application, but in another sense, it's used by pretty much everybody in the state.

    What was our ROI?

    On a typical purchase, the ROI is four years. That's when we get our money back. We charge for our service and we have a rate per GB. Our business model is set up to only recover our costs because we're government. We can't make a profit on it.

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

    One area for improvement, one that everybody always comes to, is price. Although we get a good discount through Dell EMC, it's still quite expensive to purchase these big arrays. I buy in volumes of petabytes at a time. It's not unusual for me to have a $6 million spend. While that is petabytes of data, it always raises eyebrows when you spend that kind of money. But what I ask those raised eyebrows is, "Okay, fine. Which of the agencies in the state do you not want to give more storage to? Everybody's using it."

    Many competitive vendors will come to us and say, "We have a study where we went into a company and we were able to reduce their costs by 600 percent." Of course, these are salespeople and they're speaking to two levels above me, and they buy into that and say, "Yeah, let's have them come in and talk to us." They come in and talk to us and when we get to the stage where we say, "Here's a typical configuration. Give us a quote for that type of configuration." When we compare it to the cost that we're getting from Dell EMC after the discount, it's plus or minus 5 percent. There really isn't that big of a delta compared to our pricing. This is a high-end device. For us, the pricing doesn't make Dell EMC uncompetitive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    NetApp and Pure Storage are the biggest ones we looked at for block storage. 

    For other storage, like file, print, and object , there are a dozen others that are always trying to differentiate themselves on price. They want to do a proof of concept and we do those with them. But what I'll tell them up front is, "I know your products are great. They're going to work great in our lab. You don't really have to send me a piece of equipment for me to test it. I know it's going to work. You guys wouldn't be in business if they didn't work. So let's get down to the cost of it." And when we get to the cost of it, it's just not compelling enough to make a switch.

    But as far as features go, I don't find there is a huge difference.

    What other advice do I have?

    The biggest lesson I've learned using PowerMax is to trust it. For example, with the QoS, don't try and overthink this. It's engineered to take on diverse and disparate workloads. Put it in, watch it for a little bit, and if you don't absolutely need to turn on all the QoS, don't. Let it do its thing.

    Don't be shocked by the price per GB. Look at your cost of transactions or IOPS. The days of looking at storage as so much per GB are over. It's how much workload you can pass through that storage device.

    Overall, PowerMax is ideal for storage for enterprise-level, mission-critical IT workloads. That is really its strength, as is its ability to handle disparate workloads. I wouldn't use anything else for these high-end, critical workloads.

    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.
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    JL
    IT Administrator at a construction company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    There have been multiple problems with stability, yet the performance makes our system faster

    Pros and Cons

    • "For access from virtual machines, iSCSI, and NFS, it is very good. It helps increase performance."
    • "The upgrades themselves are running fine, but after the upgrade is when we have a problem. With the update to 1.4, we had a head crash. They told us, 'This is a known issue. Please upgrade to 2.' We upgraded to 2 and, one week later they told us, 'Yeah, there are some issues in 2.0.0. You can lose data. Please upgrade to 2.0.1.' Overall, they need to make the system stable."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for machines from VMware vCenter which we keep separate from the PowerStore. It is only the storage. They are connected with iSCSI and NFS. We have no virtual machines directly on the PowerStore.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We are very impressed by the power of the system. We have gained performance for all our virtual machines and our system is running very fast.

    Another benefit, for us, is the dedupe rate.

    What is most valuable?

    For access from virtual machines, iSCSI, and NFS, it is very good. It helps increase performance.

    Also, the live dedupe application is very good.

    What needs improvement?

    In the first weeks, we had some problems with the dedupe. According to the warranty, we should have had a dedupe rate of at least two and we had not reached this value. We got an additional hard disk to match the planned capacity of the system and this helped a lot. We got to a dedupe rate of 1.9, and this was very good.

    What we are missing is the monitoring. We cannot implement the health check of the system in our monitoring system. We have to open the PowerStore GUI every day.

    Also, we have tried to install a separate virtual machine to integrate PowerStore to vCenter. VMware then provides a virtual machine with Photon OS. We have done this integration two times and it has run for some weeks. Then it stops working and I don't know why. We have not used it again. It has nice features and has saved a lot of time and creates a good integration, but it needs to be more stable.

    Overall, they need to make the system stable. Again and again, we have problems with upgrades. The upgrades themselves are running fine, but after the upgrade is when we have a problem. With the update to 1.4, we had a head crash. They told us, "This is a known issue. Please upgrade to 2." We upgraded to 2 and, one week later they told us, "Yeah, there are some issues in 2.0.0. You can lose data. Please upgrade to 2.0.1." Overall, they need to make the system stable.

    I try to avoid updates for such important, central systems. They require downtime for the whole company, as this is our only storage. It's not good to do so many upgrades. I have used other storage systems and, with them, it was never necessary to do so many upgrades in one year. Last year, I did four upgrades for the PowerStore but I have never done four upgrades over the lifetime of other storage systems. They have run four, five, or six years, sometimes more. I have never patched so often as I have with PowerStore.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Dell EMC PowerStore since December of last year, so almost a year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The problem is the stability. We have a single system and on three occasions we have had unplanned head reboots because of a software failure. The positive side is that there was no impact as a result because there are two heads. It's not good to reboot a head, and we have submitted tickets about it, but the performance and the failover have been good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We only have a single machine and we are currently using half of the hard disk slots. We have asked for an upgrade for the rest of the hard disks but, from my point of view, it costs too much. We have 12 to 15 hard disks inside and if we try to upgrade only the hard disks, it costs the same as the complete system. This is something I don't understand. It makes no sense. Buying 16 hard disks with storage costs about €40,000 and buying only 16 hard disks costs the same.

    How are customer service and support?

    Dell EMC's first-level technical support is very fast and they communicate well. Sometimes they explain things so I can understand why something is working the way it is. But currently, we have a ticket at the second level and for two weeks I have had no answer. 

    The issue is that each day we get a message from the storage, every three hours, telling us the network connectivity is lost. I don't know if this is true or not, and whether it is a failure. That is the ticket at level two but I have had no information about its status.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Neutral

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

    I have used NetApp as well as HPE in the past. In this company, they replaced NetApp with PowerStore because the NetApp system was slow. The dedupe needed much improvement. If they stopped the dedupe, then the system power would go down. And the backup procedure took a lot of time. With PowerStore we have reduced the time for the backup by half or more.

    In terms of the decision process to go with PowerStore, I was not working here at the time. After I started the company said, "Okay, in two weeks we are getting new storage. Please integrate it into our infrastructure." I know they needed a more powerful storage system and they wanted an upgrade option for the system.

    How was the initial setup?

    The integration of PowerStore into our existing environment was very straightforward. We had an external partner that helped us, but we had prepared the system in a test environment. We took that system and put it into the production system in about eight hours and the system was running. We then started to migrate the machines. It was a good implementation process and very fast.

    We have two administrators of the solution. They are working with the system full-time handling requests to change hard disks or volumes, and they create new volumes. Across the company we have about 300 users using virtual machines and virtual desktops that are stored on the PowerStore.

    What other advice do I have?

    The performance of PowerStore is good, but I don't feel the software is completely ready. We have upgraded the system and have had failures on the system. I have never seen as many head crashes on other systems as we have had on the PowerStore in the last year. The system is fast but not stable enough.

    I would not buy the system again. You should wait some years until the software is ready and doesn't have a new software release every two months.

    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.
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    RahulRukhaiyar
    Technical Consultant at Fidelity International
    Consultant
    Useful data protection group, effective compression, and stable

    Pros and Cons

    • "The most valuable feature of Dell EMC XtremIO is the data protection (DP) group, it is one of the most advanced features in these types of arrays. The dedupe and compression that this array provides both do a superb job."
    • "In the next release, the solution could have better integration and if we can host assets on the cloud, such as NetApp has the NetApp volumes, which we can host on the cloud directly called NetApp CVO (cloud volume ONTAP). Dell EMC should come up with something purely on the cloud rather than manage services."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Dell EMC XtremIO for block data and VDA profiles.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature of Dell EMC XtremIO is the data protection (DP) group, it is one of the most advanced features in these types of arrays. The dedupe and compression that this array provides both do a superb job.

    What needs improvement?

    The replication of Dell EMC XtremIO could improve. In the newer versions they have improved, however, the replication can be improved further where we can include concurrent or cascaded methodologies.

    In the next release, the solution could have better integration and if we can host assets on the cloud, such as NetApp has the NetApp volumes, which we can host on the cloud directly called NetApp CVO (cloud volume ONTAP). Dell EMC should come up with something purely on the cloud rather than manage services.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Dell EMC XtremIO for approximately seven years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is stable and has good performance, it guarantees millions of files. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Dell EMC XtremIO is scalable and it is easy to do. However, we cannot have more than four bricks.

    We have approximately 10 people in the storage team who use the solution and 5,000 use the services in my organization. 

    The solution is used on a daily basis. The media profiles are launched for each user and it communicates to the Dell EMC XtremIO daily.

    How are customer service and support?

    We contact technical support whenever there's a hardware failure. If there is a software glitch, such as the one we had where the connectivity status used to flicker. It had to show eight parts, but it flickered and showed five, six, seven, and eight, all the parts. The flickering in the database, which resides within the XtremIO management server actively tweaked a bit and we had a support engineering case open for it with the Dell support. However, it didn't materialize, this is something that should be fixed in the next update.

    Overall I would rate the support Dell EMC XtremIO a nine out of ten. We don't reach out to them. Nine only because the hardware could be more durable. All the SSD's could use a single-level cell rather than a multi-cell.

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

    I previously used SolidFire and NetApp. There is a third solution I have used called Violin Memory which is not used much, but it's a very good contender. 

    The advantages of Dell EMC XtremIO are the market share Dell has and dependability.

    All the other solutions are going more towards iSCSI connectivity while Dell is moving away from iSCSI and towards XtremIO's that offer both iSCSI and FC. There is not much development for iSCSI, this is a limiting factor.

    How was the initial setup?

    The installation was straightforward. If you have everything in place in the network, it would only take two days maximum.

    What about the implementation team?

    The implementation can be done by the customer, it is done by racking and stacking them.

    The solution has a redundant component, there are only disc replacements or battery backups replacement required.

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

    The price of the solution should be reduced. The price matches the price of a VMAX service but it does not have the capability of a VMAX service. However, the prices of Dell EMC XtremIO can be reduceable.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend this solution to others, it will make their life easier.

    I rate Dell EMC XtremIO an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    TG
    Senior Storage Specialist, Digital Systems at Shaw Communications
    Real User
    Top 20
    Beneficial management software, straightforward installation, and good support

    Pros and Cons

    • "The management software that runs in the cloud is called InfoSight and it is very good. It is similar to machine learning software that monitors your hardware."
    • "I would like to have more administrative rights, for example, root-level administrative rights to the underlying OS of the storage array. We want more access to the kind of underlying infrastructure of the storage array rather than relying on support. However, most companies are looking to have more managed solutions which is the opposite direction of what I want."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use HPE Nimble Storage for VMware VMDK object workloads.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The first installation we did was at a mine in South America, Chile, in a place called Ike where the elevation was very high that spinning disks were failing, the meantime for failure was low. The main reason we put our first all-flash array was that it was solid-state which has no moving parts. This solution allowed our organization to operate in that location.

    What is most valuable?

    The management software that runs in the cloud is called InfoSight and it is very good. It is similar to machine learning software that monitors your hardware.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to have more administrative rights, for example, root-level administrative rights to the underlying OS of the storage array. We want more access to the kind of underlying infrastructure of the storage array rather than relying on support. However, most companies are looking to have more managed solutions which is the opposite direction of what I want. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using HPE Nimble Storage for four years.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have approximately 5,000 virtual machines servers and over 100 storage arrays and they are placed all over our organization. We are using this solution extensively in our organization.

    How are customer service and support?

    The technical support has been good in our experience. I have worked with the support quite a lot and I have not had any issues with their support.

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

    We have used NetApp previously and our management preferred to use HPE Nimble Storage.

    How was the initial setup?

    The installation is straightforward. The whole implementation took use approximately one day.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did the implementation using an in-house team. The solution does not require a lot of maintenance. I have not updated the software in a year and when it is updated it is all done online with no downtime.

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

    There is a one-time price for hardware, and with the software support, everything is included, such as software upgrades. The licensing of the solution is included in the cost of the hardware and the support is an extra cost. We have purchased support on an annual basis, but you can purchase support up front for up to seven years. We usually buy five years and near the time of the expiry, we sometimes extend it. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I have evaluated Pure Storage and they are very similar to HPE Nimble Storage but are a lot more expensive. For ease of setup and cost perspective, HPE Nimble Storage is the better choice.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are transitioning a lot of our hardware to Azure and we partnered with Microsoft on their cloud services. For our on-premise setup, we are doing a switch from traditional storage arrays to more of a VMware Cloud Foundation type of structure where we are using VMware vSAN instead of storage arrays.

    I rate HPE Nimble Storage an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    LV
    ICT Director KA Infra at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Obsolete, stable, overall great support

    Pros and Cons

    • "The technical support is good."
    • "The performance of the solution is not good anymore and the software is different from all the other types and is not compatible. There are more negative things at this moment than positive. This is why we are removing them all from our organization this year."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have used HPE 3PAR Flash Storage in the past for all our IT data. For example, we have used it for claims, office management, business intelligence, business information. It can be used for a lot of purposes.

    What needs improvement?

    The performance of the solution is not good anymore and the software is different from all the other types and is not compatible. There are more negative things at this moment than positive. This is why we are removing them all from our organization this year.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using HPE 3PAR Flash Storage for approximately 10 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    HPE 3PAR Flash Storage was scalable in the past but in the current market, it is a four out of ten. You are not able to add more power to the solution, it is not stackable.

    We have approximately 6,000 users using this solution.

    How are customer service and support?

    The technical support is good.

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

    I have used Nimble and Primera.

    How was the initial setup?

    The installation is not that difficult nowadays. It takes approximately two days.

    What about the implementation team?

    When we need to do the implementation HPE comes with us and does it together with our maintenance department and an external company.

    We have three engineers that do the maintenance of the solution.

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

    The price of the license depends. Some people expect more from the hardware. Some expect more from the licensing, and that is because you can receive several licenses nowadays, such as the terabyte license. You buy the storage, and you pay extra for the terabyte license for the software. There is a one-time purchase for the license and you pay annually for the maintenance.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I have evaluated NetApp.

    What other advice do I have?

    HPE 3PAR Flash Storage is old and is obsolete and we are moving to newer versions of the system.

    HPE has several storage options, such as Nimble. HPE has a lot of operating systems for their storage, and they all have a different approach. They were all from different companies which HPE bought, for example, Nimble and Primera.

    I would not recommend this solution anymore. I would advise others to look for new types of storage solutions.

    I rate HPE 3PAR Flash Storage a four out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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