Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage Arrays
October 2022
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MohanReddy - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Technology Architect at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
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.
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.
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.
Francisco Gimo - PeerSpot reviewer
Management Information System Officer at a mining and metals company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Beneficial data duplication, high availability, and proactive support
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of Dell Unity XT is data duplication. Additionally, the management interface is simple, and is not a hassle using it. You don't need too much to learn or to be familiarized with it."
  • "Dell Unity XT could add a unit-to-unit replication. We haven't seen that because we don't have an additional one to test. However, it is not an improvement, but something that we would like to have visibility on how it's done or how it works."

What is our primary use case?

Dell Unity XT is used for data storage at a data center.

How has it helped my organization?

Dell Unity XT has improved our organization's performance. We have seen reduced management times.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of Dell Unity XT is data duplication. Additionally, the management interface is simple, and is not a hassle using it. You don't need too much to learn or to be familiarized with it.

What needs improvement?

Dell Unity XT could add a unit-to-unit replication. We haven't seen that because we don't have an additional one to test. However, it is not an improvement, but something that we would like to have visibility on how it's done or how it works.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Dell Unity XT for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Dell Unity XT is a very stable and reliable solution. We can leave the solution alone for a month without needing to check on how the unit is operating, or if there are problems. We realized the benefit of using the solution in approximately one year of use.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of Dell Unity XT is good because during the period of one year we noticed we had the need to add more and more systems, and more components to it and we were able to do it with no hassle. We do not plan to increase our usage.

We have approximately 500 endpoints using this solution.

How are customer service and support?

The support from Dell Unity XT is good. They actively monitor the units. They have called us up when they have lost connection to one of the units to then take action. We have not had any issues to have needed to contact the support directly.

I rate the support of Dell Unity XT a nine out of ten.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

I was previously using HP High-Performance Unit Storages. There was a need to purchase a new unit because we were struggling with the resources, performance, support, and other aspects. The best solution that was on offer that came to us was Dell Unity XT. The company decided to move to it and buy the full flash version to support all the applications that we have on-site.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of Dell Unity XT was straightforward because we had Dell representatives involved with our team. 

We had to do a migration because we wanted to ensure that there was no downtime during the migration process from the old solution to the Dell Unity XT.  To complete everything live without the business noticing that something is going on in the background. 

You cannot have two groups of equipment that are deployed at the same time. For example, the host, storage, and switches. We had to ensure that everything is deployed, updated, and then do the connections between the two solutions and start with the migrations.

What about the implementation team?

We use Dell representatives for the implementation of the solution. We ended up doing the configurations ourselves without needing the support. 80 percent of the deployment we did ourselves. We had two people involved in the deployment and the solution has not required any maintenance so far.

We deployed not only the one Dell Unity XT but a bunch of them. It took us approximately one week for everything to be finished. Additionally, we deployed some hosts, switches, and other systems.

What was our ROI?

We have received a return on investment using Dell Unity XT.

We were able to solve the performance issues we were having. Our core communications and infrastructure is dependent on these units. The fact that all of the systems that we have improved significantly in terms of performance. The organization has benefited or is happy with the investment they've done at this point.

We have received a full return on investment from using the solution for three to four years.

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

The price of Dell Unity XT is reasonable. However, if you are buying a custom solution, it can come at a considerable price. 

If you want to scale or add additional components, this is where the price starts to spike or become very complicated and expensive. If you purchase the components separately they can cost a lot.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions before choosing Dell Unity XT.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others would be for them to purchase the solution urgently if they need a backup solution.

I rate Dell Unity XT 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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Costin  Barcanescu - PeerSpot reviewer
Sales Manager at HTSS
Real User
Good performance and cloud utilization, that is easy to install
Pros and Cons
  • "We are most interested in cloud utilization."
  • "If you go to Pure or you go to NetApp, they deliver in one month. If you go to Dell or HP, they will take up to six months for delivery. This is not a business model for today."

What is most valuable?

We are most interested in cloud utilization.

What needs improvement?

We would like to improve the delivery model. They don't have the delivery terms today. If they improve this area, everybody would be happy.

For the Romanian and Eastern European markets, we have long delivery times, and even if we have a solution, we don't have the products, and we don't know what to install. For the time being, manufacturers must enhance the delivery of all items while they have them.

If you go to Pure or you go to NetApp, they deliver in one month. If you go to Dell or HP, they will take up to six months for delivery. This is not a business model for today.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Dell PowerMax NVMe for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Dell PowerMax NVMe is a stable solution. The performance is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Dell PowerMax NVMe is a scalable solution.

It is suitable for enterprise customers.

How are customer service and support?

They are now experiencing problems with Dell's specifications. They have a typical reporting period of five days and nine hours each day till Friday. 

Right now, on the enterprise side, they want 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is not available in Romania, which is why you need to retain inventories or have some replacement components on hand to accomplish this type of integration with other vendors.

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

I am also working with HPE 3PAR. I am just looking for a place to get some 3PAR components. But nobody has it right now.

We are the HP Platinum partner in Romania, and we are now looking for a place to purchase documents from Europe.

Previously, we worked with Cisco, Lenovo, and Pure. The advantage was their delivery.

We don't an advantage. 

The consumer requests something that they do not have with the brand today. 

If it is storage, a server, or power, and we have it, they will purchase it. 

They do not wait for Dell, HP, or Cisco. It is the same for both. If you have Dell on hand, we will purchase it. If it's HP, they'll buy it. It. They don't care about the brand anymore.

How was the initial setup?

The installation of Dell PowerMax NVMe was easy.

Deployment time depends on the customer's request since if you have a solution with a cluster or include VMware or a solution or disaster recovery, we can provide it in two days. But, in any case, it depends on the project and your relationship with the customer.

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

The price is on the market. It's not inexpensive, but it's available on the market.

The cost is determined by the solution. It's not the greatest option.

You built the solution and rely on the customer's requirements, on the budget since they know the price of the product, they know the service to the client and it's the same if it's HP, Dell, or Cisco. It is how the solution is created and implemented. 

Today, the client is asking for SLA and uptime for the critical months rather than the important months themselves. This is the most crucial. They don't care if it's from Dell, HP, or Cisco; they just care about this one.

What other advice do I have?

I don't have any requirements. I am now really unhappy with the delivery, therefore I don't have any arguments or recommendations to make. 

If we receive the goods, everything will be okay. When we are working, we have something. We are now dissatisfied with our needs. Simply provide the delivery. It is more important now.

We are partners with Dell.

I would rate Dell PowerMax NVMe an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage Arrays
October 2022
Get our free report covering Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other competitors of HPE 3PAR StoreServ. Updated: October 2022.
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