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NetApp AFF A200 Review Discussion

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After all of these workloads and the many weeks of testing in our lab, one thing is patently clear; the migration to all-flash systems has been transformational for NetApp. Some of the improvement is the uplift flash offers, but a lot of it is thanks to ONTAP improvements. Wherever the credit lies, the end product is absolutely fantastic. The midmarket segment for storage is amazingly competitive; there are a smattering of startups, software-defined options and the rest of the usual suspects. If you're looking to spend under six figures on storage, you could be forgiven for not looking at NetApp past a casual glance in this segment. That would however, be a tragic mistake, as the A200 simply crushes. Delivering phenomenal performance under a millisecond is one thing, but here's the important part, NetApp is doing it with data reduction services turned on to get to that 4:1 capacity guarantee. This is not trivial; many other arrays either fall very flat with data reduction on, or simply don't offer it. Our entry-level A200 with the lowest capacity drives offered up 15.5TB across two 7.75TB pools, meaning we'd have a top end capacity of 62TB if we hit that 4:1 target and over a petabyte with the 15TB drives NetApp offers; pretty impressive reach for a 2U midmarket box. Performance, combined with deep and mature set of data services make the A200 an easy choice as only our second Editor's Choice winner of 2017.

 

NetApp AFF A200 Review

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As someone who works for an organization that just recently purchased (additional) storage for our Solidfire array; moving to an AFA has transformed our data center performance! In fact, our entire production environment is now running on flash. We are currently getting a 4.13:1 data reduction as well. Our previous array (FAS 2240-2) ran out of capacity and couldn't handle additional shelves, data reduction wasn't terribly great with ONTAP 8.x (7-mode). So we opted to scale-out rather than up. I'm curious where this price point is at compared to NetApp's Solidfire offerings. We love our Solidfire array, but did sacrifice useful ONTAP features to make the move, it has been very worth it, though. I was told by a NetApp rep that a 1-way SnapMirror is coming to Element OS very soon as a result of the partnership, which will be a great addition. Any chance you guys will be doing a Solidfire review and compare them to NetApp's traditional offerings? 

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I'm glad you asked ;)

 

We're talking right now about what's next and SolidFire is definitely on the list of reviews we're discussing. 

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21 hours ago, Brian said:

I'm glad you asked ;)

 

We're talking right now about what's next and SolidFire is definitely on the list of reviews we're discussing. 

We were fortunate enough to get a 30 day hardware trial before we decided to buy the Solidfire solution (this was just prior to NetApp's acquisition). Our main motivation for going to Solidfire at the time was driven by the attraction of QoS at the volume level. Our FAS array was always bottlenecked at the CPU as we added more and more drives. As a result we suffered heavily to "noisy neighbor" issues at the VM level no matter how much we tuned our VM environment. During our testing of the Solidfire array we simulated much of our production environment, being that we are primarily education, we ran several SCCM imaging cycles to test labs. When we got our results, we were stunned by how well the QoS worked. Eventually, we performed the same tests over and over, but this time we manually failed over node units, pulling drives out, ect. until we reached the arrays break point. It's incredibly resilient and simple to use. It took less than 45min (with zero training on the OS) to serve data once the nodes were booted up. It took longer to rack them up. It's a fantastic system!

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QoS was always the hook that people liked early on with SolidFire. Glad it's working out for you. I know there's a lot of early interest in the HCI version. We may end up starting there with them. We'll see...

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