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All-Flash Storage Arrays
July 2022
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MohanReddy - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Technology Architect at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Its data management software has helped us run operations very quickly, saving us a lot of time
Pros and Cons
  • "Regarding features, SnapMirror is one we depend on right now. It helps us provide snapshots to the customers on request. There are many scenarios in which we might take snapshots in various daily use cases. We trigger the snapshots, which gives us a sense of security because we know we have this technology in place if something happens."
  • "NetApp should offer more training so everyone can learn about the products. Other vendors have a lot of training options. It would be great if NetApp would highlight how to use the features more so that every admin or person can gain more knowledge about this technology."

What is our primary use case?

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

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

How has it helped my organization?

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

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

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

What is most valuable?

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

What needs improvement?

NetApp should offer more training so everyone can learn about the products. Other vendors have a lot of training options. It would be great if NetApp would highlight how to use the features more so that every admin or person can gain more knowledge about this technology. 

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

For how long have I used the solution?

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

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

How are customer service and support?

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

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

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

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

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

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

What was our ROI?

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

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

In addition to simplifying the management across a mix of solutions, AFF simplifies the cost. That was one of the main reasons we purchased AFF.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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

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

What other advice do I have?

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

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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SAN Consultant at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
Robust and easy to use with a simple setup
Pros and Cons
  • "The product stands on its own in heavy enterprise environments."
  • "HP has several integration elements that work with other vendor storage products. I'd like to see a greater expansion on that so that a customer can do a more seamless migration from other vendor products."

What is our primary use case?

Generally, clients use the solution as primary storage or data storage for corporations. They also use it for data replication where they replicate to another site or even on the same site. They're typically replicating the data for a backup situation.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has greatly assisted data performance as far as a VM-ware environment goes. My data performance is much faster.

What is most valuable?

One of the features that I like the most is the data replication element. The reason I like it is due to the fact that it's pretty clean on replicating data over to a second site. 

The product stands on its own in heavy enterprise environments. 

It's easy to make changes without affecting the environment.

The solution is very easy to use.

The product is very robust and offers very good performance.

What needs improvement?

HP has several integration elements that work with other vendor storage products. I'd like to see a greater expansion on that so that a customer can do a more seamless migration from other vendor products. The migration of data to their platform could be better.

Primarily they don't have a lot. They have several EMC elements that they can migrate data from, however, there are many more controllers out there and it'd be good to see a more seamless integration so that that could occur.

I'd like to see 3PAR have some integration with Cloud services.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for several years. It's been probably around seven years or so. It has definitely been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is pretty decent. The only thing you have to worry about is that you don't overtax the controller. In other words, you don't do that combination of deduping and compression as well as data replication and then also heavily use the controllers where your IO starts, the IO performance. With IOPS and Truepoint, it's important that users do not over-utilize the environment. Then you have performance issues. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You have to be careful about exactly what your usage is. You really need to understand what you want to do with the controller. You need to understand what your total IOP performances will be, before you do any sizing so that you can size appropriately, otherwise, as with any storage, you could have an underutilized controller. That would then cause you frustration and business units would suffer as you would have slower performance than what you expected.

A lot of times customers get themselves in trouble due to the fact that they make a purchase or size a controller and then later on they undersized it. Sometimes the under-sizing can occur due to the fact that a company starts putting more demand on the new stores where they want to put one more device on the storage product or connect to it, and that wasn't what it was sized for at the time. If you didn't plan on the growth of the utilization of the controllers the product doesn't look like it's performing properly, however, indeed it is. It's just, not big enough to handle the new user profile that you have put on it.

Microsoft Exchange, VMware, SQL, and Oracle - those are the types of software or devices that are applications that were used within our environment. We have several different departments or groups that get access to that storage.

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

There were some older 3PARs that we wanted to replace and there were some Clariion EMC products that we wanted to replace. The reason why was due to the fact that the 3PARs, were four years old and we needed a technology revamp, so to speak. 

The other reason we switched was that EMC was just too slow. It was getting overwhelmed and we had to go to a stronger or newer technology controller. Therefore we decided to go with the 3PAR as it was a lot easier to use. We also liked the virtualization of the product and we appreciated the ease of being able to make changes without having an overall effect in the environment.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's not too complex. If you have any SAN experiences pretty easy, as you have to understand some of the terminologies so that you can pre-prep the architectural design that you're looking for. Overall, however, it's pretty easy from a GUI perspective. You can do everything from a GUI. You don't need to play at the CLI level. Of course, if you'd like to do that, you can do that as well.

What about the implementation team?

I typically handle implementations for my clients.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a consultant and an HPE partner and I have my hands on several different things in terms of products I use.

Normally I work with all the versions as far as software versions. I've worked with all the different hardware, 3PAR versions as well, and I do a lot of installations.

The big thing and with 3PAR and with any other storage - and this goes for any kind of storage as you're sizing - is to make sure that you are getting the right size environment for what you currently have and what you expect for future growth. Otherwise, you may run into performance issues.

On a scale from one to ten, I would rate it at a nine. We've been quite happy with the solution so far. It's robust and offers very good performance.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Alfadel Alharthy - PeerSpot reviewer
Infrastructure Services Manager at NAMA
Real User
Top 20
Effective provisioning, helpful support, and reliable
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features of Pure Storage FlashArray are the management view of the solutions, ease of provision, and deprovision, it is fantastic."
  • "I would like a feature to integrate with external or cloud solutions. For example, if I want to use this storage for a backup from the cloud, I want to have integration with the cloud vendors, such as Microsoft, Oracles, or Amazon. It could be available as an API to allow seamless integration. Additionally, the solution could improve by having native integration with a cloud provider, such as VMware or Microsoft, this would reduce the need to use third-party solutions to complete the task."

What is our primary use case?

We use Pure Storage FlashArray because of the increased demand for high IOPs for some of our internal applications that were required to read and write in faster sway. 

How has it helped my organization?

This solution helped our organization a lot to increase the performance of reading and writing in the storage itself.

Our business is in the utility functionality where we are creating and maintaining IT service for our utility sector. We are an electricity and water company where we are consuming a large number of bandwidth regarding the bill cyclings, read and write from the meters in the fields. All of this data is stored in the same storage. Pure Storage FlashArray has helped us to improve the reporting and the billing cycle.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of Pure Storage FlashArray are the management view of the solutions, ease of provision, and deprovision, it is fantastic.

What needs improvement?

I would like a feature to integrate with external or cloud solutions. For example, if I want to use this storage for a backup from the cloud, I want to have integration with the cloud vendors, such as Microsoft, Oracles, or Amazon. It could be available as an API to allow seamless integration. Additionally, the solution could improve by having native integration with a cloud provider, such as VMware or Microsoft, this would reduce the need to use third-party solutions to complete the task.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Pure Storage FlashArray for approximately three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have found Pure Storage FlashArray to be stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Pure Storage FlashArray is scalable. However, I think we are reaching the maximum for the current version of the storage. We are looking for the advanced version, which is the X2 model.

We are a large company and the total number of end-users that are using the solution is approximately 3,000.

We are using Pure Storage FlashArray extensively in our organization. We use it for everything, such as binaries and databases. We plan to increase usage in the future.

How are customer service and support?

When we set up the solution we did not require a lot of support from the teams. The good thing about the support is they can access and upgrade the framework and all other aspects. However, the account managers from Pure Storage are not communicating very well with us. We want to talk to them about what features should be used, use cases, best practices, and other technical discussions. Additionally, we would like to know about the new features, the introduction of new technology in the storage itself. 

It would be nice if they could communicate this information to us.

The support is very good. They always call us for technical upgrades and firmware. If we have any issues they log in and we open a session for them, and they help us. The only issue is the time zone difference between our time zone and their time zone.

I would rate the support from Pure Storage FlashArray a five out of five.

How was the initial setup?

Pure Storage FlashArray was straightforward and easy to set up. The full process took approximately two weeks.

I rate the initial setup of Pure Storage FlashArray a four out of five.

What about the implementation team?

We used a combination of implementation assistance. There was a remote team from Pure Storage and a local team from a general local partner that helped us.

There were three people who did the handling of the deployment. The management of the solution is completed by only one of our teams, only they can handle everything in the installation. There are engineers and architects that are part of the team.

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

The price of the solution can be a bit expensive. There is an additional fee for support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking for a FlashArray solution, and at that time we compared the other products in the market. I found that Pure Storage, is a company that focuses only on storage and they are very specialized in this area. I tested the solution, we did a BOC for six months. After we did all the tests for all the scenarios for six months, we were very happy to move to the Pure Storage FlashArray.

We evaluated HP, EMC, and Oracle solutions.

The feature that impressed us with Pure Storage FlashArray was its ease of use and simplicity.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others. It is very simple to use. Many people are looking for a solution from an engineering perspective, they want something very easy to use and that everybody can use it. They want a solution that does not require an expert engineer to operate it. A normal engineer can manage and handle it with ease. Reporting is very good in the storage it gives you an overview of everything, and it is very easy to provision, deprovision, especially when you have a cloud environment. It is easy to provision and deprovision when you have customers.

I rate Pure Storage FlashArray a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Regional Sales Manager at New horizon
Real User
Top 20
Highly expandable, plenty of features, and good support
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features are the five chips architecture and the purpose-built NVMe hard disk drive. Additionally, the IOPS feature is good."
  • "The data compression and deduplication ratio of Huawei OceanStor Dorado is not as good as other solutions, such as EMC and Pure Storage. It is important when looking at capacity effectiveness."

What is our primary use case?

Huawei OceanStor Dorado is used for system backups.

What is most valuable?

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

What needs improvement?

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

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

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

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

For how long have I used the solution?

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

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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

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

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

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

How are customer service and support?

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

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

How was the initial setup?

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

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

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

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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

What other advice do I have?

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

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

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

I rate Huawei OceanStor Dorado a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Storage Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable, the software offerings are solid, and the active-active option works well
Pros and Cons
  • "The active-active option seemed to be working well and overall, it was a solid product."
  • "It seemed like every time we turned around it was a statement of work and we'd have to pay for something that our previous vendors would not have billed us for."

What is our primary use case?

This product was used to store all of our production block requirements. We are now migrating to an all-flash storage system.

What is most valuable?

The active-active option seemed to be working well and overall, it was a solid product.

It performed well and the software offerings were solid.

What needs improvement?

We had issues with support, rather than the product itself. It seemed like every time we turned around it was a statement of work and we'd have to pay for something that our previous vendors would not have billed us for. I don't think that they would have even raised an eyebrow. By contrast, these guys were looking for money every time we asked for any little thing. We didn't like that.

For how long have I used the solution?

We had been working with the G series for about six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great. It's right up there with anything else that we had seen, so no issues. It was a solid product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not try to scale because our models were bought at full capability on day one.

How are customer service and technical support?

We had a lot of issues with support and I would rate them a five out of ten in that aspect.

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

We have experience and history with several Dell EMC products including the BNX line, BMX,  and PowerMax. However, we are moving away from this to the HP all-flash solution.

The only reason we changed from the Hitachi Platform G is that it was getting long in the tooth, and we wanted to get into the flash environment. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and we didn't have any issues.

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

The costs were primarily in line with every other vendor at the time. Year six and year seven maintenance took a drastic jump, which didn't sit well with us. However, at the time, it seemed to be what most of the vendors were doing. But by the end, Hitachi had sort of balanced it out, so it wasn't a huge jump in years six and seven. It was certainly an issue for us in the beginning.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We went through an RFP-type process to select a flash vendor, and we're just in the process of implementing that storage today. It was this same sort of process six years ago when we replaced our existing Dell EMC solution with the Hitachi product. Hitachi had a better offering.

What other advice do I have?

I can't say anything about the product itself that was in need of improvement. The areas where we had issues were more along the lines with support and HDS management. For anybody who is interested in this solution, I would say that from a product standpoint, it is fine. The only problem is the support. Anytime we needed support, it was delayed. I'm not sure of the reason for this, but it just seemed like it took a long time to get things resolved.

At the time we did our RFP, HDS did not have an all-flash offering. They do now, but I haven't had the opportunity to look at their all-flash products. Hopefully, it is not just all-flash thrown into a G 1500 Series because you want to build flash from the ground up.

What we found during our recent RFP was that the pricing is pretty close between all-flash and HDD, so while not everybody needs the performance, if you're getting it for the same price then why wouldn't you take advantage of it?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage Arrays
July 2022
Get our free report covering , and other competitors of VNX [EOL]. Updated: July 2022.
622,645 professionals have used our research since 2012.