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NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is #4 ranked solution in best All-Flash Storage Arrays. PeerSpot users give NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) an average rating of 9.0 out of 10. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is most commonly compared to Lenovo ThinkSystem DM Series: NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) vs Lenovo ThinkSystem DM Series. NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 63% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 25% of all views.
NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Buyer's Guide

Download the NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)?

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.”

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) was previously known as NetApp All Flash FAS, NetApp AFF, NetApp Flash FAS.

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Customers

Acibadem Healthcare Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Citrix Systems, DWD, Mantra Group

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Video

NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) pricing:
  • "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."
  • "I looked at other vendors for other potential projects and thought NetApp's pricing was very competitive."
  • "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."
  • NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Reviews

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    Daniel Rúnar  Friðþjófsson - PeerSpot reviewer
    Storage Administrator at Sensa ehf.
    Real User
    Top 20
    Provides us with quick options when restoring things for customers
    Pros and Cons
    • "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 don't like the newest GUI. It needs more options. Some features have been removed. Oversight is not as good in the new GUI compared to the previous version. Though, it might be something that we just need to get used to."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it as the backbone for all our VM and Hyper-V infrastructure. We also use it as file servers for external users, so we have a couple of users who are connected to it for file server purposes. We have everything connected to it, e.g., we have a repository from Rubrik down to AFF.

    We have our own customers for whom we have deployed the solution. For our hosting options, we use NetApp as well. Since we are selling hosted services and have customers connecting into our environment, the solution has definitely helped a lot from that standpoint.

    How has it helped my organization?

    When it comes to backups, it has given us quick options when restoring things for customers, using the ability to mirror Snapshots onto another cluster, having managed status, and using previous versions in Microsoft. It gives the customer the possibility to restore their items too. Backup size, in general, gets much smaller since it is based on mirroring a Snapshot rather than being repetitive.

    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.

    AFF has helped to simplify our infrastructure, while still getting very high performance for our business-critical applications. Having all these things working well on one solution is really good. We run this as the backbone for both Hyper-V and VMware as well as an archive location for Rubrik. So, it is great having one solution that can do it all.

    It does what it is supposed to do for SAP and Oracle. Because of the ease of it all, you have a highly tunable, high performance storage system that alleviates a lot of problems. With its ease of management, you can quickly get your work done and go onto the next thing on your list.

    We mostly use AFF to support when we mirror data onto a FAS solution to immediately spin-off a new environment, e.g., if something happened to the prior data.

    What is most valuable?

    NetApp Snapshots are one of its best features. 

    Its multi-tenant purpose: You can have one method for many customers with no interaction to one another. 

    The simplicity of making it work correctly is the most loved feature of it all.

    AFF definitely helps simplify data management with unified data services across NAS environments.

    The ONTAP system, when you know how it works, is really simple and intuitive. 

    What needs improvement?

    I don't like the newest GUI. It needs more options. Some features have been removed. Oversight is not as good in the new GUI compared to the previous version. Though, it might be something that we just need to get used to.

    Buyer's Guide
    NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    As a company, we have been using AFF for around six to seven years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is as stable as it can be. I would give the solution A+ for stability.

    Throughout my career, I have only once had to deal with an instability issue, but it has nothing to do with NetApp as a solution or system.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is great and super easy. We are able to just connect, go through the UI, and select to expand the cluster. It is super easy even if you want to scale it out by having a Mirror setup, not a cluster, or pairing them together. By being able to do this with just a couple of clicks of a mouse button, it is superb.

    We have thousands of customers, but there is not much to do for daily operations because it just runs. We have alerts setup in it, but we seldom have to do anything.

    How are customer service and support?

    The technical support has just been great. They have been fast and think out-of-the-box. They have helped us with issues that affect NetApp, but where NetApp is not the root cause of the problem.

    I would rate NetApp's technical support between nine and nine and a half (out of 10). I have worked with other companies, and in comparison, I would easily give these other tech supports a rating of four or below (out of 10).

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I have worked with IBM Storwize. In no way are these solutions similar. Most people who are buying and operating with AFF are buying a fully functional storage system. You are getting way more than just allowing someone a terabyte here or there, such as performance metrics, quotes, and service options. Because of this, I would not say that I have not worked with a competing product.

    How was the initial setup?

    One of the biggest impacts that this solution has had is on time to deployment. It takes a lot less time to set up a new infrastructure for a company. Our hosting setup went from being a couple of days to a couple of hours.

    The initial setup depends on the goggles that you have on. If you are an experienced technician, then it is relatively simple. However, for a customer who just bought it and wants to set it up themselves, then it might be a little bit hard to figure out.

    My implementation strategy is always that when we sell systems that we do the implementation ourselves. This is so the customer gets a fresh, good experience with a fully updated system rather than a controller that has older systems. We rely highly on the customer's satisfaction, e.g., they see the project for what it is instead of what it could be.

    On average, the deployment takes roughly one day, and that is running through everything. It takes one day to get it up and running, setting up the first SVMs, ensuring all the connectivity, etc. In most cases, the greatest hindrance in the entire setup is the network setup, which does not have anything to do with NetApp.

    What about the implementation team?

    We go through it with the customer. We first figure out why the customer wants it and what they will get out of it, rather than out of their previous existing system. From there, we set it up with the customer. We address all the issues that they have been working on so they see profit for the solution rather than it just being a storage system that might alleviate the problems that they have had.

    Normally, we only have two people who deploy it. Every time we are about to deploy, we always have someone for the NetApp setup and a network engineer working with us to set up the network. 

    What was our ROI?

    I need to spend very little time monitoring it, and that helps with employee costs. 

    It is easy to take Snapshots, making them easily available for our customers and staff to be able to restore. As there are costs associated with helping the customer, because it's included in a contract, this brings in return on the investment because you can have it as an extra fee within a contract, even if you don't have to help out that much with it.

    It really speeds up delivery time.

    AFF has helped to reduce support issues, such as performance tuning and troubleshooting. When you have access to more tools, like Cloud Insights and OCI, that is definitely a factor. You are able to get an overview with OnCommand Insight (OCI) when you have an infrastructure with many customers, e.g., in our case, we have somewhere around 1000 customers ranging from small to big businesses. It connects items together, which helps with troubleshooting latency and unexpected performance issues. You can get them fixed significantly faster than you can in many other cases. For example, if you are running into problems with solutions that are made for running a simple VM against a machine that has a way to store space running across many disks, then it can take way longer time to figure out performance issues than with NetApp, where you are getting way more oversight of who is doing what.

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

    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.

    If you need more options, then there will be more costs involved with the license, but that is not irregular.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I have worked with Nutanix as well. I would recommend either solution for a client based on what fits them rather than trying to make a solution stretch across.

    What other advice do I have?

    Get yourself acquainted with the product and see what it can do. Many people may run into the issue of thinking that it can do way less than it can actually do.

    We do not use their cloud backup services at the moment, because there hasn't been a strong enough business case. I would not call it priority, but we are definitely highly aware of the cloud backup services if an opportunity or business case arrives.

    We don't work that much with SAN. Basically, we mostly use the solution for its NAS functionality. We do not have that many SAN cases. 

    Since our StorageGRID is really new, we haven't gotten the full effect of it yet. The native integration, where we can seamlessly move onto another media, is great. It is very intuitive and easy to work with.

    Biggest lesson learnt: Keep it simple.

    I would easily rate it as 10 out of 10, because it works like a charm. When you have a problem, it does exactly what it is supposed to do, with little to no effort.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    PeerSpot user
    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.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Senior Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    Top 20
    Straightforward to set up, good performance for database applications, and supports volume encryption
    Pros and Cons
    • "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."
    • "We would like to have a feature that automatically moves volumes between aggregates, based on the performance. We normally need to do this manually."

    What is our primary use case?

    The main purpose of the AFF is to work with applications that require high-intensity I/O operations. For example, we run some open-source DBs, as well as Oracle, that require high-intensity I/O. We also have a high-performance computing setup.

    We have two locations. In the first location, we have an AFF cluster. In the second location, we have an AFF cluster that works in combination with ASAs.

    Our environment is primarily made up of open-source applications. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    We are not using the NetApp cloud backup services. Instead, we have a storage solution on the back end and AFF on the front end. In this setup, we have high I/O with a low storage expenditure.

    Our company is mainly concerned with software development and we have VMs as part of our infrastructure. We have a large number of VMs and they require a large data capacity, although we don't know which ones require high-intensity input and output. The reason for this is that some scenarios demand a high level of I/O, whereas, with others, the demand is low. We have AFFs set up at the front end, and at the backend, we have ECD boxes, which are the storage grid.

    We treat the system as a fabric pool setup. When a high level of I/O is required, the data will be stored on NetApp AFF at the front end. We created a policy so that pooled data will move automatically to the lower-end capacity units, which are configured from the storage unit.

    NetApp helps to accelerate some of the demanding enterprise applications that we have, in particular, our database applications. 

    NetApp AFF has helped to simplify our infrastructure while still getting a very high performance. Prior to setting up AFFs, we had latency issues. Now, things are more balanced, including the volumes that are on SAS or SATA.

    Using NetApp AFF has helped to reduce support issues, including performance-tuning. About a year and a half ago, we were experiencing some performance issues. Lately, this has not been the case, although occasionally, we still have problems. We are exploring whether it is the server hardware or an issue with VMware and drivers.

    The ONTAP operating system has made things somewhat simpler, although we don't use it very much. I normally work on the CLI so for me, it is not a big difference. That said, as features are released with the latest versions, I review them to stay updated.

    We also use NetApp's StorageGRID and the combination of it with AFF has reduced our overall cost while increasing performance. We see benefits on both sides. 

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is its ability to handle high-intensity read and write operations. It works very well in terms of this.

    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.

    SnapMirror is another feature that we use, but we don't have MetroCluster set up. SnapMirror is used for replication across multiple geographical data centers. In these locations, we have products and we are exploring how to minimize the bandwidth while improving DR capabilities. With respect to the DR, we don't use the AFF in secondary nodes.

    What needs improvement?

    In some situations, we would like to have an additional storage shelf but do not want to use an SSD. Unfortunately, AFF won't work in conjunction with SATA. Having these together might give some benefit in terms of capacity.

    We would like to have a feature that automatically moves volumes between aggregates, based on the performance. We normally need to do this manually.

    In some cases, we would like to have the ability to expand our units to handle two additional target ports. As of now, we are using four or eight target ports, which come with the A300 model. There are situations where we need to extend this but we have limited slots available. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using NetApp AFF for the past six years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of this solution is fine.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is seamless. Without any downtime, we can upgrade and scale-up.

    As of now, we have a 40TB SSD front-end fabric pool capacity. At the back end, we have a two-petabyte storage grid. We are not experiencing any performance-related issues, although we have encountered a few time sync-related problems.

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

    I have also worked on an IBM DS8000 series and some similar products from EMC.

    IBM had released the 8700 with the AFF configuration. However, I was with another company at the time. The majority of my experience is with NetApp using the CLI, but with the IBM product, I was using the GUI. I prefer the CLI in both systems.

    With respect to the pros and cons between the vendors, it is difficult for me to judge. Each filesystem has benefits with respect to the vendor and the technology that they use.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is straightforward. It is not a big, complex job.

    We are in the process of setting up and transitioning to a Hybrid cloud environment, but it takes some time. We are currently exploring it. We have thousands of servers in AWS and Google cloud, and we have an internal VMware cloud as well.

    What about the implementation team?

    The NetApp team helped us with the deployment and also helps with the patches.

    What was our ROI?

    We invested a lot of money in our NetApp AFF set up but we have a huge capacity. We balance it that way.

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

    NetApp AFF is an expensive product, although not compared to other vendors.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We chose the A300 model based on recommendations from existing users. There are lower-end versions, such as the A250 and A260, but we didn't explore them.

    What other advice do I have?

    Based on my experience, whether I would recommend this product depends on what the budget is. We have to determine whether we are achieving the right cost for the right product because the budget is the primary objective. Some cases may not require the capacity. Perhaps, for example, software-defined storage can manage it. To decide, we need to see what the application is, how much demand it needs, and what kind of performance it requires. All of these things need to be reviewed before we decide which products suit which situation.

    Overall, NetApp AFF is a good product.

    I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Director, IT Infrastructure Services at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Snapshots allow us to restore data that has accidentally been overwritten, modified, or deleted
    Pros and Cons
    • "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."
    • "The newest version of ONTAP has a bit of a learning curve because you need to learn where things are to find them. It is not impossible, but when you are accustomed to the older version of ONTAP, it just takes a bit getting used to it, but it is about the same as before."

      What is our primary use case?

      We host data for our users via CIFS and NFS protocols.

      This is a physical appliance.

      What is most valuable?

      We found its Snapshots to be quite valuable. They allow us to restore data, in a timely fashion, that has accidentally been overwritten, modified, or deleted. That is the biggest feature. 

      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.

      What needs improvement?

      The newest version of ONTAP has a bit of a learning curve because you need to learn where things are to find them. It is not impossible, but when you are accustomed to the older version of ONTAP, it just takes a bit getting used to it, but it is about the same as before.

      The front-end of ONTAP and its web UI could be improved. It has been a little while since I interacted with the interface, but my recollection is that because of the learning curve and things moving around, it is less intuitive than the previous version. 

      For how long have I used the solution?

      We purchased it over a year ago. However, we really started using it several months ago. We had originally set it up in our old data center, then we decided to move it to our new data center before using it in production. It has been up and running for six or seven months.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      So far, stability has been good. We haven't seen any problems. It has been just a few months, but even going back to the previous model of the NetApp NAS that we've had, I can't fault the stability. It has been extremely stable.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      Because of the small footprint, the device allows for easier scalability in terms of rack space. Our previous solution used up almost an entire cabinet in our data center, which makes scaling a bit challenging because you need to find another cabinet, then cable across cabinets. This device is a lot easier because of its small footprint.

      We have about four rack units in total. At this point, I don't anticipate any physical expansion. If we are going to expand, it will probably be to the cloud for a variety of reasons.

      How are customer service and support?

      Our experience with NetApp's support has been superb. They are very proactive. I have nothing but good things to say about NetApp as well as our reseller that we work through, Indocurrent. The combination of Indocurrent and NetApp has led to a fantastic experience for us over the past year. I hope that doesn't change, and it hasn't changed since we went live with AFF.

      I would rate NetApp's support as 10 out of 10.

      How would you rate customer service and support?

      Positive

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

      We have seen performance improvements between AFF and our older NetApp, which was several years old.

      We moved to the AFF model for performance, going from just spinning hard desks to all-flash. Also, its deduplication rate is another positive that we have seen. We have been able to extend it further than its physical capacity by utilizing the deduplication that the platform offers.

      We don't have a SAN environment. We are just using it as a NAS. It is not any more or less complicated than our environment was before. We are still utilizing the same things, like export policies, quotas, qtrees, etc. that we were using with our older platform. It is about the same as it was before. 

      How was the initial setup?

      The deployment was done over the course of a couple of months. This was mostly scheduling time on our end to work with the integrator. We then had to schedule time to go prep it to be moved from Manhattan to New Jersey, before moving it, setting it up, and getting things back online. So, it took a couple of months to get set up.

      For customers who had it moved or shipped directly to the device's final destination, it shouldn't take that long to set it up if you have either a quality integrator or a substantial amount of experience with NetApp. 

      What about the implementation team?

      Because I worked with our reseller, Indocurrent, we had someone who had a substantial amount of experience with NetApp. I wasn't as hands-on in terms of deploying it, but I was there with him as he deployed it. I watched him, observed him, and learned from him. Learning from that person was actually helpful. 

      It was very straightforward working with the reseller. They have always been responsive to us. I have nothing but good things to say about our reseller/integrator. I would recommend Indocurrent as a reseller.

      What was our ROI?

      The amount of time that our IT support spends on it is minimal. Therefore, any cost savings would be negligible.

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

      I looked at other vendors for other potential projects and thought NetApp's pricing was very competitive.

      We are in the process of procuring the necessary license to do SnapMirror and back that data up to the cloud via AWS. Hopefully, we will be using that shortly.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We have had such a good experience with NetApp that our next logical step up from our previous device was just another NetApp.

      NetApp has been reliable for us. Their technologies have been rock-solid. That is why we felt comfortable going from their older model to their newer model, AFF, rather than looking for a new vendor.

      What other advice do I have?

      It is a good platform. If you don't have a lot of in-house experience setting things up physically, I recommend working with a good reseller. Find a good reseller whom you trust that has experienced staff and work hand-in-hand with them. You learn as you go, then once the device has been deployed, you can manage it for yourself.

      Take advantage of NetApp's knowledge base and support site. It has a lot of very good documentation and how-to guides that explain how to accomplish what you want to accomplish. 

      Get comfortable with the ONTAP command line because it is a very powerful tool that would allow you a lot of flexibility in terms of accomplishing many tasks. Where you might need multiple clicks and screens in the ONTAP web version, the command line allows you to do things with a relatively simple command.

      I would rate this solution as 10 out of 10.

      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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      PeerSpot user
      AWS Solutions Architect at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
      Real User
      Top 20
      Hosts primary workloads and helps to unify them
      Pros and Cons
      • "This solution helps accelerate demanding enterprise applications. VMware workloads, the database, and Oracle Solaris are hosted on AFF, which means that our primary priority workloads are on AFF and that the secondary ones are on FAS. That includes the SAN national cloud."
      • "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."

      What is our primary use case?

      We host NSS as a part of a cluster. We use AFF to support data analytics, machine learning, cloud integration, and SAP workloads as well.

      How has it helped my organization?

      ONTAP data management software has simplified our operations. Earlier, we had ONTAP clustering. We had multiple name spaces, but with the cluster, we were able to build a single name space, and we were able to host NFS sets and iSCSI in a single cluster. In this way, it has unified our workloads.

      What is most valuable?

      I have found the following features of NetApp AFF most valuable: Snapshot, snap clone, deduplication, and compaction. 

      These features help with data protection. We host an exchange, so protecting our data and workloads is of prime importance.

      This solution helps accelerate demanding enterprise applications. VMware workloads, the database, and Oracle Solaris are hosted on AFF, which means that our primary priority workloads are on AFF and that the secondary ones are on FAS. That includes the SAN national cloud.

      Initiating Snapshot is not time consuming, and it is not tedious. That's the reason why FlexClone and FlexCache help us with our protection care strategy.

      What needs improvement?

      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.

      With regard to Fibre Channel and iSCSI, the block protocol is still not up to the mark. NetApp has not been a leader in file and block services.

      SnapCenter is still not mature enough and has a grid at scale. It is still not up to the mark and is not delivering as promised when we initially invested in StorageGRID.

      In terms of Oracle workloads, NFS workloads specific to databases, Snapshots, data production strategies, and SnapMirror, significant room for improvement is needed from NetApp.

      Compatibility with multiple vendors has been a pain and continues to be so.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      We have been using NetApp AFF for the last five years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Initially, stability was a pain with ONTAP. Now it is much better. ONTAP crashes have reduced significantly to probably one or two in the last year.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      The scalability of NetApp AFF is pretty straightforward. We can expand clusters and that's not a pain point. I'm happy with the scalability.

      How are customer service and support?

      With regard to technical support, NetApp defines the severity of a ticket. However, even when there is a P1 level ticket that should be turned around in half an hour, there were cases where we would not receive resources for two hours. Sometimes, even after two hours, we wouldn't get the right resource. This is still a pain point and is ongoing.

      NetApp's attitude toward support needs to improve quite significantly. If I were to rate NetApp's technical support on a scale from one to ten, I would give them a seven.

      How was the initial setup?

      As for the initial setup, we were on FAS initially, and the migration was not smooth because the 7-MTT tool was not that mature. After the initial hiccups, however, the experience has been okay, and we are pleased with this product.

      Building a cluster was not complicated, but ONTAP was not stable. I remember one upgrade that lasted for more than 24 hours. It took the same amount of time with FabricPool, and FlexCache still has loopholes. It is not efficient. There is still quite a lot of room for NetApp to strengthen its ONTAP core.

      We were migrating data from 7mode to Cdot, and it was a new build. Also, ONTAP testing was new, so we didn't have many benchmarks to work through. The migration and ONTAP testing were not smooth. We had quite a number of problems, and we were forced to do a lot of upgrades. The issues related to compatibility had to be escalated to the highest level of the NetApp engineering team and the product build team as well. We worked closely with them.

      As for deployment, we had some issues with switching at the cluster backbone when building a cluster. Other than that, it took us less than a month or so because we had professional services as well. We were able to build the solution in 90 days.

      What was our ROI?

      As a customer, the ROI is still not that great. I don't see a unique selling point for NetApp. The number of USPs has to go up for me to say that I can't live without NetApp. Right now, if our company wants to run our business with another vendor, we would happily do so.

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

      The upgrade costs were huge.

      What other advice do I have?


      We've gone through a rough patch on our journey with NetApp AFF, but now, it is more stable. For the most part, you won't have too many unforeseen experiences, and there is an 80 to 90% chance that you will get what NetApp promises.

      One of the workloads that you may need to worry about is symlink-based applications. For example, eRoom won't work well. Symlink-based applications won't deliver the workloads.

      We always have issues with a few Oracle workloads, even with the latest levels. You may need to be cautious regarding these areas and block, but other than these, you will get what NetApp promises. The deployment would also be straightforward.

      I come from an EMC background and tend to compare this solution to it. The one thing that I love about NetApp is their SMB. That is, their NAS protocol is their strength. Block is their weakness. There were days when we would say that we would only buy NetApp for file and that we would never buy it for block. Even now, I think that seems to be the case, even though they have improved to an extent.

      With regard to block storage, its compatibility to other applications, and the allied monitoring tools they supply, especially for block or file, NetApp is better than most. I have worked with EMC, HP, IBM. In terms of block, I would not want to invest in NetApp.

      Unless NetApp is very concerned that the migration tool is not working as promised, I recommend investing in NetApp and getting a third party tool that can help seamlessly migrate the data.

      If I were to rate NetApp AFF overall on a scale from one to ten, I would rate it at nine.

      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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      PeerSpot user
      Pedro Paz - PeerSpot reviewer
      System Engineer at Eni Energies et Services
      Real User
      Single pane of glass helps us to analyze the system, facilitate troubleshooting, and reduce support issues
      Pros and Cons
      • "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."
      • "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."

      What is our primary use case?

      The main service of those devices is for use at our offshore platforms and that's where they'll be heading. We have a lot of data offshore, seismic data, and it needs to be stored in a reliable system. The main use case is to store the core business data from the platform at our offshore site, so that it is safe.

      How has it helped my organization?

      In general, NetApp AFF helps simplify data management across SAN environments. We have several solutions within our company and we are converging all the data from those solutions into NetApp by mounting volumes and LUNs in our SAN environment. It allows us to concentrate all the data reliably in one platform. It also gives us a single pane of glass so that we can manage all the data properly. We can visualize and get a holistic view of what we have and how secure the data is. We have the bigger picture. It gives us a lot of flexibility when it comes to better management and using it has been an awesome experience.

      Because it gives us a single pane of glass, it helps us to analyze the system itself and gives us a realistic view of what's going on: the issues, the warnings, and the errors. As a result, we can easily prevent a lot of problems, and that is something that we couldn't do previously. It also facilitates the troubleshooting process due to the high volume of information that it gives us. It definitely helps reduce support issues. But in terms of reducing IT support costs, it's still a little too early to talk about that. We know it is going to affect things in a good way, but we don't have enough data about that yet.

      The file system in NetApp makes it easy to read and write data. It actually speeds up a lot of the operations that we are performing on a daily basis. With several of our virtual machines, we have noticed that the performance has increased quite a bit. In terms of writing, reading, and storing the data, the performance of the VMs has increased significantly. We are pretty happy with that so far.

      ONTAP has also simplified our operations and that means we don't need a lot of people to manage the infra. NetApp makes it so easy. We can allocate people to other projects and those people can gain new skills in other platforms, rather than just working in NetApp itself.

      What is most valuable?

      We wanted the replication and SnapMirror and those types of features in case an event occurs. That way, we have a proper system so that we can recover the data properly. 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.

      What needs improvement?

      The deployment itself, compared to other platforms, should be a lot easier. We don't find it all that complicated because we have been doing it for such a long time, but it should be a bit easier. They can improve that.

      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. I know that SAN, itself, is quite complicated. It's not the same approach as the hyper-converged solutions, but there are always ways to improve. NetApp's engineers should try to tackle that so that integration between devices, including the cabling at the back, is simplified.

      Another thing that could be simplified is the Service Processor setup. That is something that requires you to perform a lot of tasks before it is completed.

      Also, joining clusters should be a lot easier. With one or two commands you should be able to complete that.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have been using NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) for the last year. 

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It is a very robust solution. It doesn't break easily, even when we have power failures, which is something we have in this country. NetApp gives us the resilience we need. We know we can trust NetApp.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      The scalability is very good.

      How are customer service and support?

      The documentation is crystal clear and easy to follow.

      How would you rate customer service and support?

      Positive

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

      The systems we have offshore needed to be upgraded. That's why we decided to upgrade them to NetApp. It is a solution that we have used previously in some of our other companies and we know the solution is very reliable.

      For file services, we used to have Synology, but that was for small projects. It's pretty tough to compare because the magnitude of what they were serving is completely different.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup is complex. It should be easier.

      The initial deployment took three days, and that was working on it two or three hours a day. We got two appliances, 2750s, at the end of last year and we completed the setup about three weeks ago. We set up the volumes and the v-servers. We are currently configuring the system and, in the next month or so, the appliance will be done and it will be transferred to the new site offshore.

      Our deployment included initializing all the disks, doing the network configuration setup, including the IPs, the mask, the gateways, the DNS, et cetera. Then we had to apply the licenses for all the services. Next, we had to create the volume structure. Then we could start mounting them on other devices so that we can integrate the storage itself with the rest of our system.

      We have five people working on the solution.

      What about the implementation team?

      We started doing it by ourselves and then we had to call for help from a consultant. We were completely satisfied with our experience with that consultant.

      What other advice do I have?

      Get it, because it's reliable, stable, robust, and it serves the purpose.

      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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      PeerSpot user
      Swann Adjemian - PeerSpot reviewer
      Director of the Projects Department at ALPIX
      Real User
      Significantly increases performance for our customers, and simplifies storage management
      Pros and Cons
      • "The most valuable features are the performance and the storage efficiency, due to the compression and deduplication... The efficiency is very important because we can buy fewer disks for more data."
      • "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."

      What is our primary use case?

      It's used for SAN environments and a lot of VMware utilization.

      How has it helped my organization?

      For our customers, the main benefit is the performance they get with NetApp AFF. We have a lot of feedback from customers about how their applications work faster and that they are very happy with it.

      We deploy it a lot for VMware environments and, with VMware, we have nearly all the client's applications. We can have 500 or 1,000 virtual machines on the AFF. Sometimes they tell us that a compute application that, with earlier generations of storage solutions, took hours or days, takes much less time with AFF. For some customers, it takes three or four or five times less, with the new AFF.

      Using NetApp AFF has also helped to reduce support issues. It's very stable and we don't have a lot of issues with it. I can talk a lot about this aspect because sometimes we provide support for NetApp. We have certification for level-one and level-two NetApp support. We only escalate the L3 support to NetApp. It's a very good technology with very few bugs.

      In addition, the ONTAP data management software has simplified our clients' operations. NetApp is simple to manage. You can grow and reduce the capacity, and you can create a backup copy through replication with SnapMirror and SnapVault. There are a lot of features in NetApp and they are simple to implement.

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable features are 

      • performance
      • storage efficiency, due to the compression and deduplication.

      We use StorageGrid in two ways. The first usage is stand-alone to provide S3 object storage. And the second use case is to use FabricPool, the NetApp technology that moves a snapshot from the AFF to AWS. It's a very good solution because AFF is SSD technology, meaning the storage is expensive. It's very helpful to have the ability to move cold data, like a snapshot, out of the SSD.

      What needs improvement?

      We have an S3 protocol with the AFF, but there are a lot of limitations. The new ONTAP version has S3, but we can only do a very small volume.

      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.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have been using NetApp AFF since the beginning. I have worked with NetApp for more than 10 years.

      We are a distributor, so we install a lot of storage for many customers. I have worked with all the models, including the AFF C190 and C220, the FAS8020 and 8040, the AFF A300, the AFF 700, and the biggest was an AFF A900.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The stability is very nice. I've worked with NetApp for a long time and the stability has been excellent.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We can very easily add volume with new disks and we can add more compute with more controllers. And we can refresh and upgrade hardware very easily. We do that very often and customers are very happy with this aspect.

      How are customer service and support?

      NetApp support is very good if you have a very serious disaster, such as a service interruption. You can ask for help from L1, L2, or L3 and get someone connected with you. But when you have a less important issue, such as a bug or a feature not working as you want, but you don't have a service interruption, the support is very slow.

      How would you rate customer service and support?

      Positive

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial deployment of NetApp AFF is easy. We can deploy it in a very small amount of time. The NetApp is pre-configured so you just have to run the setup, with some workloads that are already ready. In a few hours you can have production running on it. And for customers, it's very easy to learn how to use it.

      The implementation strategy for each environment is always a little different, but the main architecture is very similar. We always do a workshop with the customer, at the start of a project, and we design it for their specific requirements, but overall, the architecture is always similar.

      We have a specific service for the maintenance of NetApp, and that team has six people, but they maintain all our NetApp installations, not only AFF.

      What was our ROI?

      Our clients see return on their investment in AFF, due to the stability and efficiency. The efficiency is very important because we can buy fewer disks for more data.

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

      The list price of AFF is too expensive. But we have a good connection with NetApp and we can get a very big rebate and that makes the price similar to the competitors' pricing. But I would tell NetApp that they need to be careful with the pricing of the new NVMe disks. They are way too expensive.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We use AFF a lot in MetroCluster architecture, with synchronous replication between two data centers. In this scenario NetApp has some very hard requirements, like a specific switch that is mandatory. Its competitors don't have all these requirements. So sometimes it's very difficult to win projects as a result.

      But on the positive side, NetApp is very performant, very stable, and easy to manage. And when it comes to support for both file services and block services, NetApp is definitely better. We tried some of the competitors' solutions and with them it's not so easy. The NAS protocol is very good in NetApp.

      What other advice do I have?

      Try it. It's a good solution. In a MetroCluster environment, I think it's the best solution on the market today, with flash technology. You can have flash and synchronous write between two data centers.

      A lot of customers use NetApp with NAS and SAN. It's not a key point, but it's a good feature.

      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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor
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      PeerSpot user
      AIX and Storage Specialist at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      When you have multiple systems with almost the same data, the deduplication helps save on capacity
      Pros and Cons
      • "NetApp AFF has helped to simplify our clients' infrastructure while still getting very high performance for their business-critical applications. One of our customers uses the vSAN environment in the release, then they use NFS for their VMware VCF environment and TKG environment. In this case, when they move to NetApp for the TKG and the VM infrastructures, they use AFF for block, CIFS, and NFS. It provides a single storage with NFS, block, and CIFS with deduplication, team provisioning, and compression. Everything is in there, which makes it very good to use."
      • "It used to give us the volume where LANs should be placed when we created a LAN in the older version. However, in the newer version of ONTAP, it does not give where to place the LAN in the volume. So, that liberty has been taken away. If that was there again, it would be very good."

      What is our primary use case?

      The first use case is having normal CIFS and NFS shares use Active Directory integration with antivirus integration. Another use case is for VMware VCF in a TKG environment using NFS and a SAN protocol.

      I am implementing the NetApp product for customers. I deploy CIFS and NFS shares for file access purposes and block access for VMware infrastructures.

      How has it helped my organization?

      NetApp AFF has helped to simplify our clients' infrastructure while still getting very high performance for their business-critical applications. One of our customers uses the vSAN environment in the release, then they use NFS for their VMware VCF environment and TKG environment. In this case, when they move to NetApp for the TKG and the VM infrastructures, they use AFF for block, CIFS, and NFS. It provides a single storage with NFS, block, and CIFS with deduplication, team provisioning, and compression. Everything is in there, which makes it very good to use.

      What is most valuable?

      The deduplication is the most valuable feature. When you have multiple systems with almost the same data, the deduplication helps save on capacity. It is why the box can be overprovisioned. This is very useful in the case where immediate space is required for an application or teams. It also provides good efficiency when provisioning deduplication compression. These efficiencies are very useful compared to other products.

      AFF has helped simplify data management with unified data infrastructure (UDI) across SAN and NAS environments. This is very important. Nowadays, UDI is gaining market share for NetApp. 

      Its virtualization knowledge is very useful. Also, the Active IQ technology of NetApp is very useful, which uses AI to give suggestions to customers.

      The ONTAP data management software has simplified our clients' operations to an extent. The auto support feature gives unique notifications, which simplifies the management. Plus, there have been enhancements in the GUI compared to previous versions, which has simplified things. 

      We use synchronous replication with SnapMirror. We can failover and failback very easily. We can failover the site to another, which is good.

      What needs improvement?

      It used to give us the volume where LANs should be placed when we created a LAN in the older version. However, in the newer version of ONTAP, it does not give where to place the LAN in the volume. So, that liberty has been taken away. If that was there again, it would be very good.

      When we create a LAN, it has taken away the feature. For example, in older code, we used to be able to select the LAN volume for LANs to be placed in. In the newer code, it does not allow the volume to be selected. It creates a volume automatically based on a round-robin. 

      For how long have I used the solution?

      I have been using this solution for almost two years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It is a stable product. I have not faced many problems with the box. Wherever I installed or implemented the solution, it is running very smoothly without any issues. I have not received any complaints.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      It is scalable. I can grow my data. When it comes to NVMe, it is also scalable in terms of capacity and scaling horizontally. For example, we can add multiple nodes in a cluster as well as multiple expansions. I feel the box is very capable in terms of scalability.

      How are customer service and support?

      I implement it, then there is a separate team who works with NetApp support. From an implementation perspective, I have not gotten involved much with the support.

      The documentation of NetApp is very good. When there are some issues, they can search the documentation and knowledge base. Therefore, you can get very good support before going to NetApp support.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup is straightforward for the customer. We require more in-depth disk management and understand how the disk will be distributed. Otherwise, it is simple.

      The implementation of NetApp with CIFS and NFS is quite quick to deploy. When they came out with the latest models, they provided us with three protocols. Going forward, this will be very useful.

      It takes one to two days to deploy NetApp AFF. Apart from the basic configuration, there are many things that need to be done for the integration part, like antivirus integration, LAN configuration, and NDMP configuration. Those all take time. So it can be done in two days, but it might take more time depending on what needs to be done.

      What about the implementation team?

      We need to do planning for the IP address, cluster names, and all the stuff that NetApp provides for the cluster planning workbook. Once it is deployed, we do IP address assignment to the nodes, local tier configuration, and protocol configuration, then a company can start using the box.

      What was our ROI?

      Many customers are purchasing this NetApp solution, which is good.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Normally, I work on IBM storage. Compared to those, this solution's efficiency is good. The IBM solution is an all SAN-based solution. 

      Whenever we require block or file services, we only go with NetApp. As of now, I have not implemented any IBM Boxes for file services. Previously, there was the V7000 Unified, but it is not there now. Lately, we have migrated from IBM Box to the NetApp ONTAP Select system, which was serving IBM file services. We needed to move to NetApp because there currently is no system for file services when it comes to IBM.

      Oracle ESSWebservice and Cloud Object Storage have huge tasks, making it difficult to implement them. 

      What other advice do I have?

      I would suggest customers use the box so they get a taste of NetApp. Then, they can compare the product and start using it. If NetApp supports them in their environment, that is very good.

      I would rate NetApp AFF as nine out of 10.

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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      Updated: July 2022
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      Buyer's Guide
      Download our free NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.