Pure Storage FlashArray vs VMware vSAN comparison

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Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Pure Storage FlashArray and VMware vSAN based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out what your peers are saying about Dell Technologies, Pure Storage, NetApp and others in All-Flash Storage.
To learn more, read our detailed All-Flash Storage Report (Updated: January 2023).
670,400 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"We have had issues before on our infrastructure where 20 to 30 percent of the people would come to us pointing the finger at the storage technology or storage back-end. That is now virtually zero.""The Snapshots and just the overall flexibility of the product have been great.""We are a large-scale company, and our growth has been pretty significant over the last five or six years. We like the scale, and the way NetApp grows, so that's why we use it. It's mostly for block storage.""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.""One of the main features that we love about the system is the ability to create snapshots. NetApp makes a lot of snapshots in a short space of time. Also, the speed of data recovery with NetApp, at the time we need it, is an important feature that we love.""It simplifies data management for NAS environments with its ease of management, ease of share creation, and Active IQ feature. These features are good overall. It helps us manage data quickly and sufficiently. Also, compression features, like dedupe, give us a good ratio.""The speed is great. That's probably number one in terms of features we appreciate.""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 →

"The most valuable feature of Pure Storage FlashArray is the complete set of functions it provides.""Pure Storage is extremely reliable — it's never failed.""One of the features that my customers are really interested in is immutable snapshots. There are immutable snapshots to which your applications can be reverted back if you are hit by some kind of ransomware threat or malicious attack. That's kind of a key deal, and it is one of the selling points I use to point out to my customers the value and the features that Pure Storage brings to the table.""The product cheaper compared to other solutions concerning the technology that they are using.""The mobile app is very helpful.""It's very fast and very easy to use. It performs well and is both flexible and compatible. We like it because it's easy to use.""The speed is one of the most valuable features of Pure Storage FlashArray.""Access speed and power consumption are most valuable."

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"Being able to deploy multiple applications with virtual servers is the most valuable for us. The capacity of the system is quite constant so it's got some of the good features.""Technical support is good.""It is easy to work with, easy to handle, and easy to manage.""The implementation is simple, it was very straightforward. It took us approximately three weeks because it was installed in four locations.""The solution is stable.""It easily integrates with all types of storage.""The ease of use is great.""High availability is a valuable aspect of this solution."

More VMware vSAN Pros →

Cons
"There is room for improvement in terms of support. I have noticed that if I sometimes call their customer care for a particular issue, they will give me another number and ask me to call that other team. It would be better if they could do a warm transfer. That would save customers time from calling all the numbers again and speaking to another team.""The initial setup has a lot more steps in it than are probably necessary for a base deployment, unlike other vendors where it's more straightforward. It could be a little bit more streamlined.""When it comes to the cloud, they might need to improve in terms of making it clear why someone would use a NetApp solution over cloud-made storage.""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.""The NetApp support could be better.""During the initial setup, you need to know what you are doing.""The size of NetApp could be better. They're always about 40 pounds without the hard drives in them, so it would be great if there's a way to make them smaller yet keep the functionality. That would reduce the physical footprint.""Another issue is that for smaller customers, NetApp doesn't have enough disk sizes. You begin with a 980-gigabyte disk and the next size is 3.8 terabytes. There aren't any disk sizes in between. Competitors have more choices in disk sizes."

More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Cons →

"Beyond a certain amount of petabytes, you have to have a separate system. Basically, it's not infinitely scalable.""There are many features which need to be added, particularly on the replication side.""I feel like there is too much automation; the user doesn't have any manual input.""I like what they're doing, but some of my customers complain that they do not have all the bells and whistles and knobs to fine-tune workloads that some of the competitors have. In my opinion, that's good. All customers don't have dedicated storage gurus, and they can get themselves into trouble if they fine-tune too many of those high-performance knobs, but they do get knocked down. Pure Storage takes a hit in the minds and opinions of some of the customers because they cannot customize things as much as compared to a legacy storage provider's appliance such as NetApp, Dell EMC, or even HPE. I personally think 95% of my customers are better off letting the system fine-tune itself. That was something that you needed to do 12 or 15 years ago, but now with all-flash, the technology can handle what it needs to handle. Customers just end up shooting themselves in the foot if they are tweaking too many default settings.""It was not proactive communication.""I think replication is one area that still needs improvement. Earlier, Pure Storage FlashArray only had IP-based replication. There was no API-based replication, but they have enhanced the feature now. However, they need to work on API replication for C-type of arrays.""We would like to be able to connect to data tape for backup, specifically to the LTO backups.""We need to add more storage in Pure Storage FlashArray with the cluster mode activated for us to have better performance."

More Pure Storage FlashArray Cons →

"It would be ideal if the solution offered some intelligent monitoring.""There is a lot that VMware could improve from a marketing perspective. The cloud is still new for many people, so extending storage should be effortless. It shouldn't be so complicated to extend the storage so workloads can access it no matter where they go.""When designing the implementation for vSAN, I have noticed that it requires a minimum of six nodes, and this creates a problem when it comes to maintenance. If, out of the six nodes, I put one node in maintenance mode, then vSAN does not create other VM components.""I would like for the next release to be a bit cheaper.""The only negative point relates to the licensing. If you want multiple, different servers, it costs money, but you have all the capacity for vSAN. You do not reach the data, but the processor arrays and the current architecture.""The architecture of vSAN is not good. vSAN works with objects, such as disks, and it causes problems with availability.""It could have some automation. We haven't involved ourselves in a lot of automation around the vSAN environment capabilities. We're still running it using a very traditional setup. So, there could be some plugins to automate it using third-party environments, such as Jenkins.""Hardware load balancing is available on the enterprise version of the solution, however, it's extremely expensive and therefore out of our budget."

More VMware vSAN Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "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."
  • "There is room for improvement when it comes to the cost. The cost is very high compared to other devices."
  • More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Its price is almost double than any other flash storage solution."
  • "The price, in general, is around $100,000, however, I know it costs more."
  • "They have a standardized fee; it's been the same price for 10 years straight. I am happy with the price — I think it's good."
  • "We do not incur additional costs beyond the licensing fee."
  • "My organization has a yearly license, but I believe that Pure Storage FlashArray has capacity-based licenses as well. I'm definitely happy with the pricing."
  • "There is an annual or perpetual license required for this solution."
  • "Pure is typically more expensive than everyone else. You get what you pay for, but I have lost deals to similar solutions because of pricing. They include everything, and that's another positive about Pure Storage. They aren't trying to nickel and dime their customers for different features. It is all included in one price. The license is by capacity, and the price depends on the capacity and the discount we're getting from the vendor. You get the SKU of the physical appliance, support, and maintenance, and that's it. You're licensed for whatever feature they offer. It is all rolled up into the price of the appliance."
  • "The pricing is reasonable."
  • More Pure Storage FlashArray Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of vSAN could be lower."
  • "It is too expensive."
  • "It is expensive, but you get what you pay for."
  • "The price is okay."
  • "vSAN has many versions with standard and advanced including Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. Regarding the Enterprise and the Advanced, it could be lower."
  • "The solution requires a license. The payment is on a yearly basis and It is not overly expensive."
  • "Every product is licensed with full support for a certain number of years. The licensing could be cheaper."
  • "It is expensive. It should be cheaper. It has a perpetual license as well as a subscription-based license, but they are moving towards subscription-based licenses."
  • More VMware vSAN Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    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… more »
    Top Answer:This question is very dependent on your requirements. Both are among the best in the field. Of course, the intended cost… 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 »
    Top Answer:Both are great platforms, but if you are considering all flash solutions, I would recommend you to consider Pure… more »
    Top Answer:We find the ease of usability and setup valuable.
    Top Answer:The licensing cost is close to zero. Every new function or functionality is included when paying the annual maintenance… more »
    Top Answer:While both run on the vSAN technology from VMware, vSAN needs to be deployed on vSAN ready nodes while VxRail is an… more »
    Top Answer:We found the reduced power consumption with Nutanix Acropolis AOS a very attractive feature. We also like the interface… more »
    Top Answer:HPE SimpliVity is a hyper-converged infrastructure solution that is primarily geared to mid-sized companies. We… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    NetApp All Flash FAS, NetApp AFF, NetApp Flash FAS
    vSAN
    Learn More
    Overview

    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.”

    Pure Storage FlashArray is the world’s first enterprise-class storage array that runs exclusively on the nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) protocol for memory access and storage. It represents a totally state-of-the-art type of storage technology. It offers users shared accelerated storage that delivers cutting-edge features in the realms of performance, simplicity, and consolidation. Pure Storage is fresh and modern today and will be for the next decade. Without forklift upgrades or planned downtime, Pure Storage takes the work out of storage ownership and delivers unprecedented customer satisfaction.

    Pure Storage FlashArray is built with simplicity and reliability in mind. The solution can be implemented and optimized in hours, as opposed to other similar solutions that can take days. It has no moving parts, which removes areas where it could potentially be vulnerable to suffering errors. It is highly stable and gives users the ability to manage system shutdowns in a way that  prevents data loss.

    Benefits of Pure Storage FlashArray

    Some of the benefits of using Pure Storage FlashArray include:

    • A much higher level of speed than similar pieces of technology. Pure Storage FlashArray maximizes the speed at which data can be transferred while at the same time minimizing system latencies that might slow the transfer down. Additionally, it offers users quick memory read and data access speeds.

    • A higher bang for your buck in terms of the storage capabilities you get for the money you pay. They are smaller in size than more standard storage technologies, but they offer flash memory, which enables users to store larger amounts of data than the current standard.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Pure Storage FlashArray is a highly effective piece of storage technology which stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its overall robustness and the value that it offers by way of its reliability and ease of use. It provides users with many valuable features that allow them to maximize what they can do with this solution. Pure Storage FlashArray’s reliability and ease of use make it a highly valuable solution. 

    PeerSpot user Prabakaran K., a technical consultant at Injazat Data Systems, notes the robustness of this solution when he writes, "FlashArray has many valuable features. It's very user-friendly and it has high availability, so there is comparatively less downtime. During maintenance, there is no shutdown procedure, so you can directly power off the Array and manage the shutdown process without any data loss, which is a unique feature. Managing replication and data migration is also very easy."

    PeerSpot user Jason D., a cloud solutions architect at a tech services company, notes three features that make this solution valuable when he writes, "We've had different types of storage, and three things of this solution are valuable. The first one is its outstanding performance. The second one is its stability. In the about three years that we've had it, we've had component failures, but we never had a service interruption or any data loss. The third one, which is really critical, is that it is super easy to use in terms of provisioning, storage, and managing the arrays. I'm able to maintain a multi-site environment with a couple of dozen arrays with a single mid-level storage admin."

    VMware vSAN is a software-defined storage product that is used in collaboration with VMware ESXi hypervisor and that provisions and manages storage based on policies, regardless of the underlying hardware. The solution enables you to prime your business for growth through its seamless evolution (it is integrated with vSphere and requires no new tools), its flexibility, and its multi-cloud capabilities. As an industry-leading software, VMware vSAN provides high levels of performance with minimal impact on CPU and memory.

    VMware vSAN Features

    VMware vSAN has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Storage policy-based management (SPBM): VMware vSAN supports storage policy-based management for automated management of storage profiles.
    • Software-defined data-at-rest encryption: With this VMware vSAN feature, you can prevent unauthorized access of data at rest.
    • Multiple nodes: VMware vSAN provides clusters that can include as few as 2 nodes or as many as 64 nodes.
    • High security and availability: VMware vSAN offers stretched clusters, allowing more than one virtualization host server to be used in the same setup, promoting higher security as well as availability.
    • Deduplication: VMware vSAN’s deduplication compresses data to ensure efficient storage management and security.
    • HCI mesh updates: VMware vSAN clusters can share storage capacity with non-HCI Sphere clusters and can adopt HCI without having to scale computing resources and storage or replace existing servers.
    • Simplified file services: With VMware vSAN’s file services, backup of file shares is simplified. You can use APIs that allow backup and recovery software vendors to integrate with your VMware vSAN file services, which enables backup software to track new data and add scalability enhancements to files.

    VMware vSAN Benefits

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

    • Reduced total cost of ownership (TCO): VMware vSAN helps you reduce upfront costs for businesses because it can be easily deployed on inexpensive x86 servers. In addition, its highly scalable infrastructure and quick deployment also save organizations time and money, making it an efficient storage solution. 
    • Good manageability: VMWare vSAN is easy to set up, manage, and provision, without sacrificing performance. 
    • Scalability: VMware vSAN is agile and allows administrators to scale storage on demand, quickly, and efficiently via policies and rules.
    • Simplicity: VMWare vSAN is simple to configure since it is embedded in the vSphere hypervisor. Installing it using the vSphere Web Client can be done quickly. 
    • Reduced risk: VMWare vSAN reduces the risk associated with digital transformations by utilizing existing tools, skill sets, and solutions.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by PeerSpot users currently using the VMware vSAN solution.

    PeerSpot user Yves S., CEO, Cloud Evangelist at Comdivision Consulting GmbH, says, “vSAN gives us a lot of advantages when we need to expand resources. We have an overall larger host infrastructure, and we split that up for specific customer test and use cases. In that specific scenario, we can easily add more hosts or reduce the number of hosts in the environment.”

    A reviewer who works in Infrastructure Security explains, “The ease of use is great. The initial setup and upgrade process was pretty straightforward. And, technical support is great.”

    Laurent N., Director at Softlogic, comments, "The feature that I have found most valuable is that it is easy to deploy. It is easy to create and delete virtual servers. It is easy to create the load balancing and the clustering."

    Offer
    Learn more about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)
    Learn more about Pure Storage FlashArray
    Learn more about VMware vSAN
    Sample Customers
    Acibadem Healthcare Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Citrix Systems, DWD, Mantra Group
    Nielsen, Lamar Advertising, LinkedIn, Betfair, UT-Dallas
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    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Healthcare Company16%
    Financial Services Firm12%
    Energy/Utilities Company9%
    Computer Software Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company23%
    Comms Service Provider17%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Government7%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm20%
    Healthcare Company13%
    Manufacturing Company9%
    University7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider12%
    Computer Software Company12%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Healthcare Company10%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Government9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business12%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise75%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise61%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise57%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise62%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business32%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise46%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise61%
    Buyer's Guide
    All-Flash Storage
    January 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about Dell Technologies, Pure Storage, NetApp and others in All-Flash Storage. Updated: January 2023.
    670,400 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Pure Storage FlashArray is ranked 2nd in All-Flash Storage with 45 reviews while VMware vSAN is ranked 3rd in HCI with 78 reviews. Pure Storage FlashArray is rated 9.0, while VMware vSAN is rated 8.2. The top reviewer of Pure Storage FlashArray writes "Provides protection against ransomware threats with immutable snapshots, and it is well known for its scalability, ease of use, and non-disruptive upgrades". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSAN writes "Gives us a lot of advantages when we need to expand resources". Pure Storage FlashArray is most compared with Dell PowerStore, IBM FlashSystem, HPE Nimble Storage, Dell Unity XT and Pure Storage FlashBlade, whereas VMware vSAN is most compared with VxRail, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI), HPE SimpliVity and StarWind Virtual SAN.

    We monitor all All-Flash Storage 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.