Dell Unity XT vs NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) comparison

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Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Dell Unity XT and NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two All-Flash Storage Arrays solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Dell Unity XT vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Report (Updated: November 2022).
656,862 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: What is the Biggest Difference Between Dell EMC Unity and NetApp AFF?
Answer: Well, Is one thing NetApp Storage has vs other brand is the mix of protocol CIFS with NFS booth working together in the same volume that features is difficult to find in other Storage but the flexibility that gives is a lot. Other is speed with SSDs because the latency is minimal and very helpful for higer concurrency in my case we have many concurrent connections and the metrics are very impressed with the behavior of NetApp AFF 300.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"Using this solution has meant that I do not need to look for different partners to provide me with solutions like a backup service. Dell provides end to end solutions.""The Unity XT box is very strong. It doesn't break. The MTBF time is very large so you don't have to worry about faults or outages in your operations.""This solution is easy to work with and easy to maintain.""The most valuable aspects of this solution are its stability, performance, and ease of updating.""Dell EMC Unity XT has good integration with VMware.""We are happy with the way we have Dell EMC Unity XT configured.""The most valuable features of Dell Unity XT are the data compression for all of our VMs up to four times and the performance is good.""Stable data storage platform which promotes ease of management through its multi-cloud support. Remote support provided to users to address issues is very good."

More Dell Unity XT Pros →

"I like some basic features like Snapshot, FlexClone, and advanced features such as SnapMirror, and SnapVault. They also recently enhanced the market with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. I think that NetApp is a very good product.""It impacts customer retention because of its overall ease. When you are running a business, where time is a factor, that is the biggest selling point. Things happen really rapidly, when they happen, and being able to say, "Yeah, we can get this up and running in a day, if you want," or even less time in some cases. Sometimes, that can be what makes or breaks our case.""I actually did major projects where we used NetApp storage for some government agencies, and we were able to keep the storage where the government or the customer is able to own the storage while using AWS as their computing. That part was helpful to the customer.""I like the ability to snapshot, and the cloning features are valuable to us as well. I like that I can quickly and efficiently snapshot the data and move it to wherever I need to locally or in the cloud. Also, I know that when I take the snapshot that all of the data will be there and that it will be usable when I need to use it.""In terms of the footprint, it is far more efficient. It has smaller, higher-capacity drives than our older unit. In terms of space, power, and cooling, it has simplified things.""I like how easy it is to discover an issue and either resolve that issue or fine-tune that app to premium support to find that resolution.""The NVMe flash cache is the most useful feature. It lowers transactional speed even more.""The benefits of being on AFF are the phenomenal speed at which we're able to ingest data and index it, and the IOPS."

More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Pros →

Cons
"Our request to Dell EMC for improvement was in the reporting and monitoring areas. Dell EMC built up a cloud ID so that we could see the overall storage numbers. We needed to have the proper KPIs to be able to see and manage things.""There is no de-duplication. Unity used to be Bionics, which had de-duplication; however, in Dell Unity XT, the de-duplication was deprecated and is no longer available.""The solution should include a free process in the HPE portal that uses serial numbers to verify that hardware is genuine.""It could be a little easier to attach it to a network file system.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say the deduplication part, because for large deduplications, you need an extra appliance to do it in order to avoid having problems in performance. I think that could be improved, because everything should be included in the product, not with an appliance from the outside.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say its capacity and its connection.""The solution can use improvement with the patch cluster like the Synchron and Active replication.""The price of this product can be more cost-effective."

More Dell Unity XT Cons →

"NetApp should offer more training so everyone can learn about the products. Other vendors have a lot of training options. It would be great if NetApp would highlight how to use the features more so that every admin or person can gain more knowledge about this technology.""In the past, NetApp designed it so that you have a 70% threshold. You would never fill up past 70% since you need to have that room available. Whereas with Pure, I can fill it up to 110% of what they listed and it's still going at full speed. NetApp can't do that.""For ONTAP, in general, the deduplication ratio and Snapshot limitation are areas that need improvement. There is a global limitation on the number of Snapshots or clones that can be spun off of a particular Snapshot. If those limitations are increased, it might be helpful.""We would like to have a feature that automatically moves volumes between aggregates, based on the performance. We normally need to do this manually.""We have been seeing some challenges around the application layer implementation. We are having some teething problems now with the cooperation between the application layer and backups to things, like SnapCenter. This may be a question of product maturity.""When it comes to the connectivity on the back end, where the hardware is concerned—the cabling and the like—it could also be simplified to ease the communication between the nodes and between the other components of the infrastructure. I still find that a little bit complicated.""There is room for improvement with the user interface. There are a few things that cannot be done in the GUI. We do a lot of things through the CLI, but that's grown out of a lack of ability to do them in the GUI. An example is QTrees. You can manage them within the GUI, but the GUI is missing a few options.""After the three-year prepay, the extended warranty is a little expensive."

More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The price of Dell EMC Unity XT is higher compared to other solutions. The price should be less expensive."
  • "Pricing for this product is manageable, though slightly higher than comparable products."
  • "The solution is very expensive."
  • "The solution is very expensive."
  • "This solution is a good price for what you get."
  • "Here is our major complaint with pricing. Dell EMC comes to us and gives us a price. We are like, "Well, this doesn't even compare to what we got on the last project." We say, "No, you should bring it down to this level." Then, they come back again and we are sort of in the middle again. I am like, You already sold us other stuff at a better price. We are not going to just say, 'Yes,' because we are out of time.""
  • "I liked the price point when we purchased it."
  • "We looked at HPE Nimble but the price of the Unity XT was very good compared to the competition."
  • More Dell Unity XT Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of NetApp is very expensive, but we don't know how much Pure is, so we can't compare."
  • "We benefited from implementing all-flash by reducing our data center footprint. We took it from 30 racks to just over five. This is one of the biggest savings for us."
  • "The licensing and pricing are fine. As a reseller for the product, we need to make the differentiation in the minds of the customer. They are not just buying some tool that does only one thing, e.g., showing a LAN for a customer. The pricing is fair for what it is."
  • "In addition to simplifying the management across a mix of solutions, AFF simplifies the cost. That was one of the main reasons we purchased AFF."
  • "NetApp AFF is an expensive product, although not compared to other vendors."
  • "The pricing is pretty reasonable for what we get. But if you have to buy any more disk space, it can be quite expensive."
  • "The list price of AFF is too expensive... they need to be careful with the pricing of the new NVMe disks. They are way too expensive."
  • "I looked at other vendors for other potential projects and thought NetApp's pricing was very competitive."
  • More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Asiri Dissanayake
    ValereFEUGWANG - PeerSpot reviewerValereFEUGWANG
    Real User

    I saw that you have doubts about what you chose. I have a lot of experience with the constructor, honestly I can recommend Dell EMC Unity XT All-flash which can guarantee you a ratio of 3:1 signed by Dell and you have to deploy all types of workload from block to file. You can also rely on the native cash and fast cache functionality for increasing application performance

    Payman Maher - PeerSpot reviewerPayman Maher
    Real User

    This question is very dependent on your requirements. Both are among the best in the field. Of course, the intended cost is decisively based on the Gartner magic quadrant storage 2020 Net app company and Dell EMC are leaders. But we can say NetApp is First in Queue.


    One of the superiority NetApp working on NVMeOF

    Huseyin Yildirim - PeerSpot reviewerHuseyin Yildirim
    Real User

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

    Frank R - PeerSpot reviewerFrank R
    Real User

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

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

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

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

    You win.

    CornelCristea - PeerSpot reviewerCornelCristea
    Real User

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

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

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

    1b. Cost of adding capacity (+Unity)

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Product lifecycle

    6. Inline compression / deduplication, performance,

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

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

    Mohamed Y Ahmed - PeerSpot reviewerMohamed Y Ahmed
    Real User

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

    Maro Gav - PeerSpot reviewerMaro Gav
    User

    EMC definitely.

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:I saw that you have doubts about what you chose. I have a lot of experience with the constructor, honestly I can recommend Dell EMC Unity XT All-flash which can guarantee you a ratio of 3:1 signed by… more »
    Top Answer:They’re both great solutions and I’ve used both. EMC is being VERY aggressive on pricing which may be the undoing of NetApp. Differences are in the user interface mostly, they both do what they… more »
    Top Answer:First of all the decision should be taken looking at similar products in terms of capacity and performance. I will show a few aspects helping the decision, comparing Unity Xt480f and AFF220 (both… more »
    Top Answer:Well, Is one thing NetApp Storage has vs other brand is the mix of protocol CIFS with NFS booth working together in the same volume that features is difficult to find in other Storage but the… more »
    Top Answer:This question is very dependent on your requirements. Both are among the best in the field. Of course, the intended cost is decisively based on the Gartner magic quadrant storage 2020 Net app company… more »
    Top Answer:The answer depends on your needs and budget. If you want high performance (who doesn't) or let's say the latency matters more than IOPS for your needs, Netapp AFF is the right choice. You can approach… more »
    Ranking
    3rd
    Views
    24,085
    Comparisons
    18,594
    Reviews
    31
    Average Words per Review
    477
    Rating
    8.5
    4th
    Views
    18,726
    Comparisons
    14,083
    Reviews
    18
    Average Words per Review
    869
    Rating
    9.1
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    EMC Unity, Dell EMC Unity
    NetApp All Flash FAS, NetApp AFF, NetApp Flash FAS
    Learn More
    Overview

    Dell EMC Unity XT is one of the best all-flash storage arrays on the market today. Dell EMC Unity XT arrays are designed for performance, optimized for efficiency, and built for a multi-cloud world. In addition, they support digital transformation, enabling businesses to reach the full potential of their data capital quickly and easily. Dell EMC Unity’s All-Flash and Hybrid Flash storage platforms provide the performance, efficiency, enterprise-class software, and virtualization integrations required for running a wide range of virtualized applications.

    Dell EMC Unity XT Features

    Dell EMC Unity XT has many valuable key features, including:

    • Unified storage flexibility: With Dell EMC Unity XT you can consolidate separate storage platforms into a single Unity XT unified storage system via a simple and intuitive (HTML5) management GUI that also connects you to CloudIQ.

    • All-inclusive data protection: Dell EMC Unity XT offers a reliable way to protect application data with all-inclusive data protection services, including snapshots, data-at-rest drive encryption, replication, thin clones, and dynamic pools.

    • Software-defined solutions: Dell EMC Unity XT provides software-defined storage and HA for on-prem and in the cloud solutions.

    • Multi-cloud alignment: With Dell EMC Unity XT you have the ability to build and manage an effective data-first multi-cloud strategy. It allows you to consolidate public and private cloud resources that align with your business goals.

    • Metro node: This feature enables automated business continuity with zero RPO and RTO. It also provides greater flexibility through multi-platform support and replication to any array and has zero performance impact on the storage array.

    • Scalable file system: Dell EMC Unity XT is built with a robust 256TBu file system. The UFS64 file system includes up to 256 independent VMDK clones, 16 thin clones, space efficient snapshots with a simple space reclaim and low IO impact, file system shrink that can reclaim free blocks, simplified Quotas for User, and much more.

    • DevOps integrations: Dell EMC Unity XT supports the Container Storage Interface (CSI) plugin to run Kubernetes workloads.

    Dell EMC Unity XT Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using Dell EMC Unity XT include:

    • High-speed data access
    • Low latency
    • Dual-active controller architecture
    • Multi-cloud
    • Intuitive user interface
    • Cost efficient
    • Solid performance

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Dell EMC Unity XT users.

    A Systems Engineering Manager at a manufacturing company says, "It is definitely one of the most robust, solid, well-performing products that I have dealt with. It is set it and forget it, which is pretty amazing." He also mentions, “We can do both block and file storage on one unit without purchasing a separate device.”

    Peter S., Senior Technical Specialist at a healthcare company, states, “The most valuable feature is reliability. At the end of the day, it just runs. This solution is easy to work with and easy to maintain.”

    PeerSpot user Melvin T., Senior Systems Engineer at Prosperity Bank, explains that the solution is “easy to use and we can add LUNs or space without interruption to end-users. We're able to access it from just about anywhere, as long as we have access to a browser. That feature is really neat because sometimes we will go to a different data center or a different site, and if we need to access it to see a LUN or to see any type of storage, we can do that. That's one of the big takeaways with Unity."

    NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) is a storage infrastructure that contains only flash memory drives instead of spinning-disk drives. NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) addresses enterprise storage requirements with best-in-class data management, higher performance, and flexibility. All Flash FAS systems accelerate your operations without sacrificing the effectiveness, dependability, or adaptability of your IT infrastructure, since they are built on ONTAP data management software. As an enterprise-grade all-flash array, the NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) manages and safeguards your critical data, making your datacenter’s transition to flash simple and painless.

    NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) is a robust, scale-out platform designed for virtualized environments and can be deployed as an independent system or a high-performance tier in a NetApp ONTAP configuration.

    NetApp All Flash FAS Features

    NetApp AFF has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Cloning and Snapshot copies combined with native space efficiency can lower storage expenses.
    • Near-zero performance impact for snapshot copy creation, cloning, and replication.
    • Application-consistent Snapshot copies simplify app management.
    • Synchronous replication using NetApp MetroCluster software, a feature that is only available from NetApp in the all-flash array market and provides zero RPO and close to zero RTO for workloads that are mission-critical.
    • Support for at-rest data encryption and an onboard key manager to help secure your data through easier key management.
    • NetApp SnapMirror replication software reduces overall system costs by replicating to any type of FAS/AFF system, whether it is all-flash, hybrid, or HDD, on premises or in the cloud.

    NetApp All Flash FAS Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing NetApp AFF. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Change the economics of your data center with flash - you'll consume 11 times less electricity, require 11 times less rack space, and spend 67 percent less on support compared to a data center using HDDs.
    • Manage data with a single piece of software for SAN and NAS settings, including flash, disk, and the cloud.
    • Within 10 minutes, you can provision storage and serve data.
    • Inline data reduction technology can reduce SSD storage by 5 to 10 times on average.
    • Protect your data using the system's best-in-class integrated data protection suite.
    • Scale out to 24 nodes, 367PB of effective capacity, and 4 million IOPS without causing disruption.
    • Accelerate applications with up to 12 times more IOPS and 20 times faster response thanks to NetApp ONTAP FlashEssentials.

    Reviews from Real Users

    NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its handling of read and write operations and its high-capacity drives. PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features in their reviews:

    Harish M., Senior Consultant at a tech services company, writes of the solution, “The most valuable feature is its ability to handle high-intensity read and write operations. It works very well in terms of this.” He adds, “We recently started using the volume encryption feature, which is helpful because there are some federal projects that require data at rest to be encrypted.”

    Another PeerSpot reviewer, a director at an IT Infrastructure Services department at a university, notes, “In terms of the footprint, it is far more efficient. It has smaller, higher-capacity drives than our older unit. In terms of space, power, and cooling, it has simplified things.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Dell Unity XT
    Learn more about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)
    Sample Customers
    Draper, Rio Grande Pacific, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
    Acibadem Healthcare Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Citrix Systems, DWD, Mantra Group
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm19%
    Healthcare Company17%
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Energy/Utilities Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company22%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Government8%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    REVIEWERS
    Healthcare Company16%
    Financial Services Firm12%
    Energy/Utilities Company9%
    Computer Software Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company23%
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Manufacturing Company9%
    Government6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise49%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise60%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business12%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise75%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise61%
    Buyer's Guide
    Dell Unity XT vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Dell Unity XT vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    656,862 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Dell Unity XT is ranked 3rd in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 34 reviews while NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is ranked 4th in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 27 reviews. Dell Unity XT is rated 8.4, while NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is rated 9.2. The top reviewer of Dell Unity XT writes "We can do both block and file storage on one unit without purchasing a separate device". On the other hand, the top reviewer of NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) writes "Provides us with quick options when restoring things for customers". Dell Unity XT is most compared with Dell PowerStore, HPE Nimble Storage, Pure Storage FlashArray, HPE 3PAR StoreServ and IBM FlashSystem, whereas NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is most compared with Lenovo ThinkSystem DM Series, Pure Storage FlashArray, Dell PowerStore, HPE Nimble Storage and HPE Primera. See our Dell Unity XT vs. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) report.

    See our list of best All-Flash Storage Arrays vendors.

    We monitor all All-Flash Storage Arrays reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.