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Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage Arrays
June 2022
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MohanReddy - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Technology Architect at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Its data management software has helped us run operations very quickly, saving us a lot of time
Pros and Cons
  • "Regarding features, SnapMirror is one we depend on right now. It helps us provide snapshots to the customers on request. There are many scenarios in which we might take snapshots in various daily use cases. We trigger the snapshots, which gives us a sense of security because we know we have this technology in place if something happens."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We are using AFF for a few clients. It's a specific type of data we use for these arrays, not like a block kind of thing or regular data. A few clients have particular requirements about where we put all the data. We are primarily using FAS, and we have around four or five AFF boxes. We don't deal with AFF regularly. 

We're not currently using NetApp Cloud Backup, but we're planning on implementing it. I'm not sure because my architect is the one who manages the end-to-end services for NetApp. He makes all the decisions on the NetApp side whether we use AFF or FAS. AFF is a unified storage box, so we route certain data to AFF. 

How has it helped my organization?

AFF has simplified data management across SAN and NAS environments. As admins, we're always trying to reduce the complications on the technology end. We're looking at the product from a single perspective. It's more about how the team engages with it. If one person on a 10-person team isn't comfortable with the features, then that's where we have to improve our understanding and where the vendor can help us. With AFF, we haven't had this issue. The whole team is thrilled to work on the product.

NetApp's ONTAP data management software has also made tasks simpler for us. There's no question about that. It has helped us run operations very quickly, saving us a lot of time. Before ONTAP, we used to spend a long time doing regular operations, but with the latest version of the tool, our day-to-day operations are much quicker and easier.

If you asked me to rate AFF's effect on the flexibility of SAP and Oracle workloads, I would give it a seven out of 10. AFF is what we are using right now, but the team isn't fully utilizing it because our architect team is managing everything. We haven't had enough time to look into that. We were interested in that. It is easier to understand and manage. There isn't a need to dig into that. However, I'm on the backend side of things, and we are still looking for some relevant documents that can help us understand this aspect better.

What is most valuable?

AFF is user-friendly. A person who has no experience with NetApp can handle it comfortably. Regarding features, SnapMirror is one we depend on right now. It helps us provide snapshots to the customers on request. There are many scenarios in which we might take snapshots in various daily use cases. We trigger the snapshots, which gives us a sense of security because we know we have this technology in place if something happens.

What needs improvement?

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. 

For example, my team is unaware of any product unless my architect tells us about it. Then the team starts digging. It would be helpful if they made all the documentation and training readily accessible to everyone on their portal.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using NetApp since I joined the company six years back.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise, AFF is fantastic. We haven't seen many complications, and before there is a possible outage, NetApp reaches out to us and lets us know what's going on. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

NetApp products in general are highly scalable. For scalability, I would rate AFF nine out of 10.

How are customer service and support?

NetApp provides excellent support. We get valid and crucial advice from NetApp every time we interact with them weekly or monthly. I would rate their support nine out of 10 because I work with various products from multiple vendors. Compared to other vendors, I feel more comfortable reaching out to the NetApp team. 

For example, I tried to reach the NetApp support team for one of the issues over the weekend. My call got disconnected due to a network glitch, and immediately I got an email in my inbox as well as a call back from NetApp on my given number. That's how NetApp reaches its customers.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

I do remote support, so I'm not working on the data center side. We have an on-site team that could better describe the installation and deployment. However, my impression is that deploying AFF is straightforward. 

The architect is the main person working with the NetApp products, and he does a deep dive before touching any product. Our team has minimal exposure to NetApp because our work involves a mix of vendors. We have people working on the NetApp side but not regularly. The architect spends a lot of time on NetApp in his day-to-day activities, and he makes the changes. He takes and gives recommendations about which product to use, whereas we provide remote support from a different region altogether. The implementation, changes, configuration, and decision-making are all done from the headquarters.

And once it is implemented, the remote team logs in and does the navigation part. We check the array and identify any problems. If we find anything, we immediately reach out to the architect. He's the one who engages with NetApp and relays information to the remote team. That's how we learn as an organization. We spend time on the products to gain knowledge and experience with vendors.

What was our ROI?

It's hard for me to speak to return on investment. We have a different team responsible for that. I support the technical side. A separate team procures new arrays. 

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

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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are using two other vendor products as well. One is from Dell EMC, and the other is HP. I say the best competitor would be EMC. We get the same level of support from EMC as NetApp. But it's hard to compare the two. Each vendor has its own way of providing the service. AFF doesn't work the same way the other vendor's product does. They both are unique and work based on their own design. However, the navigation makes a lot of difference for the end-users, like admins.

It depends on if you prefer working with the CLI or the GUI. I'm more comfortable on the CLI in admin roles, but I like the GUI over the CLI if I compare the same thing with the other product. Each product meets the needs of the use case in its own way, but the navigation style is different. Depending on your preference, you might feel more comfortable with NetApp or other products.

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate NetApp AFF nine out of 10. To customers who are considering AFF, I would say they can go for it without hesitation. If it's a choice between AFF, FAS, or something else, customers can choose NetApp AFF without a second thought. We are happy with NetApp. Out of all the solutions we've looked at, AFF is the best fit for our business requirements so far.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: PeerSpot 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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SajithEruvangai - PeerSpot reviewer
IT System Specialist - Operations & Infrastructure at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
User-friendly, fast performance, good data compression and deduplication capabilities
Pros and Cons
  • "The management features are well organized and they have a very good dashboard."
  • "Data reduction is an area that needs improvement. There is a garbage collection service that runs but during that time, system utilization increases."

What is our primary use case?

We are in the health industry and use this product for block storage. We have VMware hosted on our Pure FlashArrays and we have a Citrix environment. We also have Oracle running as our SQL database. Our VMs run from Pure.

We have also done a couple of PoCs with the Blade solution for using the file share system.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the requirements from our developers and test and development team is that from time to time, they want to clone the production environment. We are able to accomplish this within seconds, using a script. This is one of the best parts that I have seen. This feature is not available with other storage solutions.

What is most valuable?

Performance-wise, it is giving us a very good result.

We are happy with the data compression and deduplication capabilities.

The interface is user-friendly and very easy to use.

Taking a snapshot and cloning data is very easy to do. We can create a script and it will clone the environment. Similarly, we can replicate the environment from one site to another site, and we can restore the environment where we choose.

The management features are well organized and they have a very good dashboard. For example, I can see all of the utilization and it has port monitoring capabilities. With other storage vendors, multiple tools are required for this, and there is an additional charge.

What needs improvement?

Data reduction is an area that needs improvement. There is a garbage collection service that runs but during that time, system utilization increases.

Integration with VMware tools can be improved.

The reporting can be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Pure Storage FlashArray for between five and six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable product and we haven't had any downtime. We use this product extensively and I have seen that we have a 90% I/O load in our environment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a flexible system that is easy to scale.

We initially purchased two FlashArray systems. One of them was small or midsized, and the other was high-end. Then, later, we started upgrading. As per the Everygreen contract, we get free upgrades. Every three years, we get a new controller upgrade, free of cost.

We have also upgraded our capacity and now everything is on the X series. We have four FlashArrays in total and all of our database users are connected to them. The infrastructure and database teams are directly involved with it.

How are customer service and support?

The response from the technical support team is very good. We have not found any difficulties with their ability or engagement.

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

We have worked with solutions from HPE, IBM, and Hitachi. We don't work with any of these vendors now. We switched because Pure storage is much easier to manage. It is also more stable and it is very easy to work with.

For example, there is no shutdown procedure. If you want to power down the environment then you just unplug the power and that's it. Once you reconnect the power, it is up. With legacy storage, there is a shutdown procedure. You have to shut down the host, then the SAN switch, then the storage.

With legacy storage, there is also a procedure to bring it up. You have to power up the enclosures, then the controller, then the SAN environment, and then the server. We had to follow a long set of steps with more dependencies.

After a power outage, the storage devices from the other vendors did not always come back online. For example, we implemented a PoC with the IBM FlashSystem and a power outage occurred. The management tool crashed and did not come back up. We had to wait for IBM engineers to come and fix the issue. Whereas, with Pure, when the power came back on, the system came back online immediately.

The other storage systems were not as user-friendly. For example, I had a Hitachi G600 and I wanted to extend the block capacity. I had to spend between 30 minutes and one hour to complete it. It's quite complex. With Pure, that would be taken care of in seconds by going to the console, selecting the volume, and performing the reset.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and very easy.

The day that we received the box, we unpacked it, racked it, and configured it. The next day, we were able to utilize it for production.

Upgrading the hardware, such as performing a controller upgrade, is a seamless process. We are planning to do a major upgrade and it will be done on the fly.

What about the implementation team?

We engaged Pure to assist us with our implementation, and our experience with them was very good. The technical team came onsite for the deployment. If we have any problems then they will return to our site to help.

Only one person is required for deployment and maintenance.

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

You can pay extra for Evergreen support, which gives you free upgrades when new features are introduced.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We completed a PoC with most of the leading brands.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering this product is that I can recommend Pure. We were the first customer for Pure Storage in the UAE. It's stable, reliable, and you can trust it.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using Pure FlashArray is that it's user-friendly, easy to manage, and very flexible. You can scale out and it's easy to upgrade. The upgrade process is not complex and it can be done on the fly, without any disruption.

My main complaint is that the garbage collection mechanism draws heavily on the resources. They have integration with VMware tools, although they can improve it slightly, and I would also like to see some improvements in the reporting.

We have been using it heavily and all of our people are happy with it. This includes the DBA team. Whenever we have a requirement of it, it's very easy and it can be done within seconds. With our previous storage solutions, we had to spend more time looking into problems and they were not user-friendly.

I would rate this solution a ten 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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Regional Sales Manager at New horizon
Real User
Top 20
Highly expandable, plenty of features, and good support
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features are the five chips architecture and the purpose-built NVMe hard disk drive. Additionally, the IOPS feature is good."
  • "The data compression and deduplication ratio of Huawei OceanStor Dorado is not as good as other solutions, such as EMC and Pure Storage. It is important when looking at capacity effectiveness."

What is our primary use case?

Huawei OceanStor Dorado is used for system backups.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the five chips architecture and the purpose-built NVMe hard disk drive. Additionally, the IOPS feature is good.

What needs improvement?

The data compression and deduplication ratio of Huawei OceanStor Dorado is not as good as other solutions, such as EMC and Pure Storage. It is important when looking at capacity effectiveness.

The solution should be properly sized because if it is not there could be flexibility issues. The system should be sized properly and once it is delivered to the customer, they should ensure everything was done correctly.

When the US and China political issues come into play they have issues in qualifying the US applications with their new storage models. Many issues can arise. For example, customers might want to use Oracle hardware with their Huawei hardware to solve some of their use cases but the companies will not coordinate with each other. The political situation makes Huawei OceanStor Dorado not integrate well.

In an upcoming release, it would be a benefit to have better algorithms on data reduction, data compression, and data deduplication.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Huawei OceanStor Dorado for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Huawei claims if you choose their enterprise controller, such as the 8000, when you have a cluster of eight controllers, up to seven controllers can be down, and you can still be in operation. However, with their feature Metro Cluster that can be achieved by having 70 kilometers across two-site, you can have seven, nine.

The solution is stable enough as long as you do not do mistakes during implementation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Huawei OceanStor Dorado has amazing scalability. As long as the specifications are correct in relation to the datasheets, there are no other storages that can provide a high level of scalability for scale-up and scale-out. 

It has the capacity of adding up to 16 or even 32 controllers. Both the EMC and IBM cannot add expansion boxes with their controllers but Huawei OceanStor Dorado has it in their architecture. You can have hard drives without adding the controllers.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support is good. They have has shifted the support to their Dubai region. They now have proper infrastructure. They're Egypt's support and all the support agents are good in communication. Previously Huawei was having communication issues. The engineers were in China and they were having issues, but they have become much more professionals and they are ready to do RCA without any additional cost.

IBM does root cause analysis and I have seen Huawei support do root cause analysis which is a plus point.

How was the initial setup?

In our implementation there are complications. I am not a technician but I have heard it requires eight hard drives to set up. For example, if customers are looking for NAS and SAN and want to have a small cluster of hard disk drives to enable both of these features. You can't do it because you need eight hard disk drives for a separate pool. For NAS, you will again need eight hard disk drives. You will need a total of 16 hard drives to make it a NAS and SAN storage system functional.

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

Huawei has very good pricing. They have some promotions that can be taken advantage of at certain times of the year, such as the end of December. They are providing aggressive pricing. In the Pakistan market, they are ready to beat any vendor in Pakistan because they want to grab the market.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated products from many vendors, such as IBM, HPE, EMC, and Pure Storage.

What other advice do I have?

I'm not sure exactly what features, attract customers, but Huawei is very popular in Pakistan. Huawei is taking share away from EMC and IBM and their hard disk drive, the NVMe, is not just a hard drive, but they have engineered it for the solution.

Some customers who don't like Huawei, say they're not coming up with Intel processors but only coming out with Kunpeng. This is not a negative point but some competition tries to create negativity for Huawei products.

All these storage solutions are only commodity hardware. Everybody is focusing on the cost per terabyte. A CTO should look at the capacity, cost per terabyte, SLA offered, and type of IT equipment offered. The performance key milestones, such as IOPS, the bandwidth of the storage, and which product is providing minimal latency. If these are the milestones a CTO wants to achieve. I think Huawei is one of the best products that can achieve all of these aspects other than pricing. I would recommend organizations to consider Huawei OceanStor Dorado.

I rate Huawei OceanStor Dorado a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Principal Consultant at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Easy to deploy, performs well, and the cost-per-capacity is good
Pros and Cons
  • "One of the most valuable features is the ease of deployment."
  • "On the hardware side, you should have the ability to expand capacity to larger numbers."

What is our primary use case?

This product is used for all of the backend, core storage infrastructure. We migrated from spinning-disk, so it has the same type of workloads. It is 80% virtual machines, and then file services, and database workloads.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the ease of deployment.

Integration with the compute capacity is good, as this is just the storage component.

Orchestration and management are good.

The performance and capacity-based costs are also good.

Another advantage is that HPE sells everything. This includes all of the capabilities of the hardware, like replication, snapshot, and other specific features. They are all included from the get-go, as opposed to everything being separate and in another budget. When you buy it, you can do whatever you have to be able to do with it out of the box.

What needs improvement?

On the software side, in terms of integration, everything gets aligned with the software-defined data center concept, which means that everything needs to be done programmatically. There is room for improvement in this regard.

On the hardware side, you should have the ability to expand capacity to larger numbers.

I would like to have the ability to do direct file services. This is a block-based solution, so if you need to do file services with it, you need to put servers around it.

From the controller side, if we could have NAS capabilities then that would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

Between Primara and it's predecessor, 3PAR, I have used this product for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a rock-solid product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is the product that is running the data centers for the shop, so everybody in the organization will be affected one way or another by what is there. Currently, we have 6,000 people.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very well organized. There is a feature called Home, where the hardware calls to their NOC and reports and alerts or events. Then they have a pretty standard protocol to call back. They're quite insistent; they'll send you emails and if you don't acknowledge then they start calling.

The mechanics of the support is very well put in place. 

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

We use the HPE 3PAR in addition to Primera.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

Professional Services installation is embedded in the cost. The setup can be done by the customer but it's a pretty sophisticated solution, so we use the vendor Professional Services. It was not a third-party on top of the cost. Rather, it was included in the options that we chose.

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

The price to capacity ratio is good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had a selection process with all the major vendors, and we ended up with this solution in part because of stability. One of the primary reasons we selected it is because we can buy storage and compute from the same vendor and everything gets optimized. Obviously, everything is designed to work with one another.

What other advice do I have?

I will definitely recommend this product. I'd say that anybody looking to implement it should do their cost analysis very carefully. There's a multitude of solutions, but some of them are more software-oriented. The math can become fuzzy, but once they figure out the financial aspect of it, I think from a purely technical perspective, I highly recommend it.

In terms of quality for block storage, it is one of the best on the planet, if not the best, in my view. If they had block storage, NAS, and iSCSI out of the box then I could rate it as perfect.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Abdullah Mahmood - PeerSpot reviewer
Network and System Administrator at TWD Technologies Ltd.
Real User
Top 10
User-friendly with good documentation and the capability to scale
Pros and Cons
  • "We've found the solution to be very stable so far."
  • "The design is a little old-fashioned and could be updated. The rack is very primitive and designed in an older style."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is primarily a file infrastructure. It contains all the virtual machines for our company.

What is most valuable?

The solution is still new to us and needs to be explored more.

The documentation is excellent so far. 

The solution uses all flash. The connection to the server is a fiber connection. It's very fast. 

The possibility of expanding is very good. It offers very good flexibility.

The price point is pretty decent. 

The product is user-friendly. The setup process is easy.

We've found the solution to be very stable so far.

What needs improvement?

We need to spend more time with the solution in order to detect any shortcomings. So far, we haven't really seen any.

The design is a little old-fashioned and could be updated. The rack is very primitive and designed in an older style. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've only been using the solution for two months. It hasn't been that long just yet. It could be maybe less than that, as we just recently installed it and we decided to go for it about three months back. About one and a half months ago the implementation was completed and we started using it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. We haven't detected any bugs or glitches. it doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution has the potential to scale quite well. If a company needs to expand it, it can.

However, it is a hardware, and you do need to take scaling into account early on. We can grow with the hardware we have and put on new drives, et cetera.

We have approximately 200 employees, and anyone that's connected to the network, those files are stored on this particular solution. Therefore, even if they aren't aware they are using the product, they, in fact, are.

How are customer service and technical support?

Personally, I haven't directly dealt with technical support. That said, apparently, it looks like it is quite good. The support is proactive. My system is already connected to IBM tech centers. They can highlight predictive failures, for example. My assumption is that they are quite good, although I can't yet peak from personal experience.

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

We previously used Dell EqualLogic. We switched, as we had used it for close to six years and it needed to be replaced. Initially, we thought to replace it with another Dell EqualLogic product, however, after comparing different brands, we landed on this.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is definitely not complex. It's not difficult. They make it straightforward and user-friendly. A company should have no problems implementing it.

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

The price is quite good. We find it to be rather reasonable overall. When you compare it to other brands especially, the price is quite good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at other solutions, including and updated Dell EqualLogic and HPE.

What other advice do I have?

We are just a customer and an end-user.

We are using the latest version of the solution at this point.

I'd recommend the solution. Everything is fiber from start to finish. I don't need to use a fiber switch. It's an expensive component. However, IBM says I don't need it and I can do I direct line from my own source. It's a supported solution. It's very good.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten so far.

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.
Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage Arrays
June 2022
Get our free report covering Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other competitors of HPE 3PAR StoreServ. Updated: June 2022.
609,272 professionals have used our research since 2012.