NetApp Flash Cache, 512GB - cache accelerator

Mfg. Part: X1971A-EN-R6-C | CDW Part: 2884986 | UNSPSC: 43201407
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  • Cache accelerator
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Product Overview
Main Features
  • Cache accelerator
Flash Cache speeds access to data through intelligent caching of recently read user data and NetApp metadata in the storage controller. No setup or ongoing administration is needed, although you have the option to tune the operation of Flash Cache.

Technical Specifications
Specifications are provided by the manufacturer. Refer to the manufacturer for an explanation of the print speed and other ratings.
Category of Accessory: Storage accessories

Brand: NetApp
Compatibility: PC
Manufacturer: NetApp *Advertised*
Model: Flash Cache, 512GB
Packaged Quantity: 1
Product Line: NetApp

Compliant Standards: RoHS 6/6
Product Type: Cache accelerator

Product Reviews
NetApp Flash Cache, 512GB - cache accelerator is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 27.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It's easier to provision applications for VMware, VDI, Oracle, and SQL. Supports multiple protocols. Valuable Features:* CIFS (stable solution)* Ability to support multiple protocolsImprovements to My Organization:* SVM application provisioning: makes it easier to provision applications for VMware, VDI, Oracle, and SQL.* All flash: low latency and higher IOPS since it’s all flash.Room for Improvement:Firmware upgrades consistently continue to be the weak spot in all NetApp products.Use of Solution:For 8 months now.Stability Issues:I have not yet had any stability issues.Scalability Issues:I have not had any issues with scalability.Customer Service:On a scale of 1-5, I would rate them 3.5.Technical Support:On a scale of 1-5, I would rate them 3.5.Initial Setup:Initial setup was complex. In spite of the new CDOT 9, NetApp setup is still complex. It requires configuration of all the network interfaces, SVMs, which can become a little overwhelming.Cost and Licensing Advice:NetApp is trying to stay in competition and are offering competitive prices to existing/new consumers. The key is being aggressive.Other Solutions Considered:We looked at Pure Storage and Nimble.Other Advice:Be prepared for a lot of configuration hiccups before being operational.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Performance is the most important feature. We use it for SQL, Oracle and SAP. Valuable Features:The most valuable features are the performance, speed, and that it is easy to manage. The most important one is performance. We use it for SQL, Oracle and SAP.Improvements to My Organization:It makes the applications faster for production. There are no complaints from users about slowness. Performance is the main benefit of the All-Flash FAS.It has made us more efficient, because we are an oil and gas company. Most of our applications depend on Oracle, SAP, or SQL, where it needs good performance. We have 24/7 operation. We cannot stop for any reason, because we need to produce oil, always.Room for Improvement:There is room for improvement with the price. I’d like the price to go down.At a recent NetApp conference, I attended a lab for Data ONTAP 9. I don't know everything about it. I need to spend some time to go through it; to see what they can improve.Other than that, I don't have anything in mind.Stability Issues:It's very stable; no issues. We have had it installed for the last 12 months, and there have been no issues up until now.We have already decided to buy more of them. I think, by end of this year or the beginning of next year, we will release the order for this.Scalability Issues:About 90% of our data center is sitting on NetApp, either All Flash, 8080 or something else. VMware is also sitting on NetApp. That’s also good; no scalability issues.Technical Support:Technical support is very good. But we are also very good; we have solid knowledge of NetApp. I have been using NetApp for the last 12 years.Previous Solutions:We previously used HPE, but that was a long time ago. Since we moved to NetApp, we’ve only been working with FAS.Initial Setup:Initial setup was straightforward. Installation is easy, but we spent a long time proving it's good; convincing our users, which are application developers or DBAs, to move to this one. But the initial setup is piece of cake.Other Advice:As a storage admin, I just need to install my storage. I don't want someone to call me back and say, “Oh, there is an issue.” Right now, we don't have complaints from users. That means less stress, which is fantastic.The interface is pretty good. It’s really easy to use.The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are stability; how much they improve the technology; service; and support. All of these together are very important.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I can rely on the IOPS being there. Latency is predictable and low, and snapshots do not affect it. Valuable Features:The most valuable features are the speed and the predictable performance. Compared to the spinning disk, I don't have to worry about IOPS anymore. I can rely on the IOPS being there. I can worry about CPU now. It's one less thing I have to worry about as far as performance.Improvements to My Organization:The latency is very predictable and lower. It's very sustained, we know what it's going to be, and it doesn't get impacted by snapshots and so forth.Room for Improvement:The AFF, which is what turns on the bit so that you can have an all-flash array compared to the hybrid array; I'm having troubles in my environment buying systems for smaller sites because I want the all flash array and I want the speed. I can go hybrid and still do SSD but it's making choices hard for me when I'm doing a lot of SnapMirrors and SnapVaults between sites.I want the all-flash but I know I can't because I have to have SATA for the low-cost SnapMirror and SnapVault. It'd be nice if they would turn the switch on per aggregate, or maybe even per node, so that I could use it on some nodes. That way I wouldn't have to choose. Right now, I'm having a hard time choosing between hybrid or flash. I want the flash but I can't get it if I have to go hybrid.I’m also looking forward to more CPU and power that's coming out in the AFF 700 and so on.Other than that, so far, I'm pretty happy.Stability Issues:We had a stability issue. We got bit by a bug that was a compression problem, and we had to do a WAFL check. It was the first time we've ever had to do that only on the all-flash array.The bug had already been identified, but nobody had hit it. We were the first one to hit it. The QA lab had found it. They should have notified all AFF customers before we hit it, because then we could have turned off compression and not hit it until the bug fix was released.Technical Support:Technical support needs improvement. We need access to the backend people without having to go through two layers to get to them, because we're always above the two layers. It's a waste of our time to have to work through them.Previous Solutions:We previously used a different solution, which was coming to the end of its lifecycle.Initial Setup:Initial setup was good. It's quicker, now that they've started sending out the pre-configured systems, or optimized systems.Other Solutions Considered:There weren’t any other vendors on our shortlist. We were already in a four-year cycle with NetApp, so we just stuck with the same vendor.In general, when I look at a vendor, the most important criteria is that they have our interests at heart and want to partner with us. Since we're a non-profit organization, we need them to understand what we're doing because we don't have a lot of money to throw around. They have to invest in our belief of what we're trying to do. Cost is part of it, but we still try to pick the technology over the cost, first.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from We use the speed for all of our database. It takes less time to get to the database and to get data back to applications. Valuable Features:The best feature is just for databases; the speed that we can use for all of our database, Oracle and SQL. For example, testing with our programmers, testing the systems; as far as the speed of getting to the database, getting their data back to their applications.Improvements to My Organization:The speed itself means it takes less time trying to run queries.NetApp for me has been great. We went from about 30 physical servers and some blades, and now we're over 70 virtual servers and everything's on NetApp. Basically, our utility is about 95% NetApp for storage. There's maybe 5% that are actually outside of that. NetApp has been great.Room for Improvement:We're using it with VMware; being able to do some mirroring to our DR site. The biggest thing I'd like to see would be the ability to break the mirror and stand up the DR site as a production site; see if there's a way to do that almost seamlessly. That would be a big thing to be able to do: if you lose your main site, stand up your secondary site and the customer has no idea.Stability Issues:We've had zero stability issues. We've had a disk go bad and the customer doesn't even know it. That's the best part about it.Scalability Issues:I don’t think we’ve had any scalability issues with it. I think it's great because every time they want more storage or a bigger size, it's easy enough to give them. Growing disk space is great with flash.Technical Support:We haven’t needed to use technical support.Previous Solutions:We were not using a different solution beforehand. We had been using physical servers for all of our SQL and Oracle.Testing with some of our programmers, there were some issues with speed compared to physical servers, physical disks. When we did the testing, the older physical servers were actually faster than some of our virtual. We had to do some testing with that and we determined that by going to the flash, we’d get rid of that latency, that issue of slowness.Initial Setup:Initial setup is a little bit complex, but we use a guy who pretty much builds all of our NetApp for us.Other Solutions Considered:Before choosing AFF, we looked around a little bit, thought about some Cisco gear, but decided we just wanted to go with NetApp from talking with a couple of other utilities that we know, that work with us. They were using NetApp, so we just gravitated towards it.In general, when I choose a vendor, the criteria that are important to me are stability, for one; longevity in the business already; and then, of course, word of mouth from other customers. How they treat their customers, how good are they at getting back to you. There’s nothing like having a fire and wanting your vendor to be there on the spot to fix it. Other than that, that's probably the biggest thing.Other Advice:Start with planning and whatever you think you need, double it. That's the word of mouth; that’s what most everybody says. We bought 20 TBs of flash to start, thinking that's all we would need, and in less than a year, we already reached 14 TBs.Once you go to it, you don't go back. Once everybody gets their speed, they don't ever want to lose that. The nice thing about flash is that it protects the poorly written code. That's our favorite thing to tell the programmers.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A flexible solution for a variety of workloads. Valuable Features:Snapshot, de-duplication and the efficiency; the storage part and the efficiency.Room for Improvement:The part of flexibility that I can add more… of growth, to enhance the solution.To add more nodes, to put in additional new clusters, and to integrate everything in a set environment with many types of workloads.Use of Solution:For three years.Stability Issues:It’s very stable and there is great flexibility to work with this solution.Scalability Issues:Today, we have two pairs of controllers which form a cluster where I can have various types of workloads between the two devices. And, it has great flexibility in order to alter a client that is using a slow disk to a faster disk.Previous Solutions:We used another solution from NetApp with 7-Mode and we are progressing to this new solution.Initial Setup:It is very simple, let’s say, any person who has never even worked with storage can perform a load to the server very easily.Other Advice:Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: The ease of putting a number of technologies, for example, a backup, in a single solution. I don’t have to worry about other solutions in order to integrate, to format a new product and deliver it to my client.Yes, I recommend the solution, and I even introduce myself by calling the clients to try the All-Flash, and after the client tries it, he/she does not go back to another player or another solution.Anyone who gives All-Flash a try won’t go back to what he or she had before.I would give it a nine because there is a lot of flexibility in this solution. We are service providers and our clients have diverse demands, within this solution I can assist a greater number of clients in a variety of workloads.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We spread it out across multiple environments using multiple protocols. Valuable Features:One of the biggest features, that we've been able to use the most, is spreading out across multiple environments using multiple protocols. Getting all flash in place for us has been really helpful in consolidating a lot of those environments down to a single network structure, as opposed to spreading way out, across fiber and copper. That's probably been the biggest thing.Improvements to My Organization:Our organization is very VMware heavy. Going from old spinning media up to all flash has been a night-and-day difference.Room for Improvement:I was at an executive briefing meeting recently. One of the things that I brought up, that I will continuously bring up whenever asked, is that it seems easy enough to upgrade the OS straight from the OnCommand management software, but one thing that seems difficult is updating disk firmware and qual packages. They almost require you to have a TFTP HTTP server in order to download those files. The easiest thing for me would be to have something on the GUI to just grab that package, drop it in and update it. That's what I want to see. I hope they add that; additional ways to update not just the OS but disk and shelf and qual packages and all that other firmware. If there was a central page to just upgrade all of that other stuff in ONTAP, that would be fantastic.Stability Issues:Stability has been fantastic. We've previously had other vendors for storage, and there have been issues. Ever since we've had the all flash in, we’ve never had a problem.Scalability Issues:Scalability seems to be something that is a non-issue anymore. If we need space, we can throw in a shelf. If we need more compute, we can add more nodes to it. That was part of going into the purchase of our all flashes, knowing that we can scale both down and up. We haven't had to yet, but we know that it's there.Technical Support:We occasionally use technical support; not too often. I did get certified right before we bought it, so I've been able to do a lot of my own. We have a good relationship with our SE and I've been able to reach out to him. We have several resources available to our company. We've used them, but not a lot.When we have used technical support, it's been top-notch.Previous Solutions:I was not that involved in the decision to invest in the All Flash FAS. I do know that, because I did have experience with it, I probably influenced some of the purchasers within my company. They knew that they had somebody on the team that was able to work with it.Initial Setup:In our particular scenario, we had a failing. We had another vendor storage array that was failing. It was a Hitachi that was all spinning medium. When that went down, we reached out to NetApp. They were able to help us out with CDW to get us loaner equipment while we were purchasing the all flash.There was a little bit of complexity there. However, once we got the all flash in, we were able to cluster it together with the loaner equipment and move everything over on the back end. There was no impact to VMware, and everything else was as smooth as could be.Other Solutions Considered:At the time, I don't think we were considering any other vendors, only because we were moving towards becoming an all-NetApp shop. This was the go-to thing. We did have a relationship with NetApp before. We had previous spinning FAS arrays. We do have some E-Series and so on. We do have a good relationship with our NetApp reps, so that probably went into a lot of it.Other Advice:Offering advice is pretty difficult for me, because there's a lot of good to it. It depends on the application; that is a big thing. Smaller environments can probably benefit more from the E-Series. We're multi-client, so having the ability to break it out into SVMs is really helpful. The biggest thing is, if you've got multiple clients and you need to deliver performance to them, the AFF is hard to beat.The two biggest criteria for me when selecting a vendor are knowledgeability and accessibility; being able to reach the people that support us, and having them know exactly what to do. I'm not expecting the first person I call to know it all, but them being able to say, "I know this one person that can help you out." That's good.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The user experience sets it above several competitors. Despite great geographic distances, it can present data in one location. Valuable Features:With any new technology, it comes down to the user experience. Once the system is up and running, I feel that the user experience itself sets it above several of the other competitors.Improvements to My Organization:For us, it's mainly about being able to transition data from one location to another rapidly, and even do incremental updates. So, that aspect of ONTAP allows us, as well as our customers, to be able to leverage great geographic distances in order to seamlessly still present their data in one location.Room for Improvement:The one thing that could promote NetApp's ONTAP product line to the next level would be a single pane of glass to manage all of the storage and networking resources involved. That's the big one. That would absolutely be a life-changer.Stability Issues:Stability has not been a concern once the system is up and running. However, before the system is up and running and during the installation, we've had some instances, but those aren't necessarily all a NetApp caveat. Those could be different hardware that's being installed in, different steps need to be taken. Getting through those sometimes is cumbersome.Scalability Issues:We've put in several requests for some different scalable options because we provide one type of hardware. I would say that scalability went in the wrong direction when we went to NetApp Select. We had a meeting set up with the CTO at a recent conference and we were hoping to discuss different options going forward.They actually decreased the ability to scale with the new Select platform.Previous Solutions:The pain point specifically is with our customers. They're needing to be able to take big data with them. Most people have that data center mentality and believe that I can always reach back into the data center. However, in some of the environments we work in, it's a DIL environment, which is Disconnected, Intermittent or Limited bandwidth. In those environments, taking some of that big data with you and being able to sync at a later time is paramount. NetApp ONTAP gives us that functionality.Initial Setup:For me, it was the actual installation onto our company's hardware. There are several instances that came down to the unknown. The NetApp engineers, as well as my engineers, could not necessarily predict the installation difficulties. Once we overcame those, and started creating application notes for both our company, as well as NetApp's company, I believe it will help others down the road. It could help the software engineers to program different options into the installation.Other Solutions Considered:We have pretty much considered everybody, from a Nutanix perspective to a Cisco perspective to a VMware solution and a couple other smaller mom-and-pop stores that are trying to get into the big data realm.We decided to go with NetApp over the competitors because for a lot of the customers, their experience with NetApp, is what has driven us to use NetApp in a lot of our solutions; because of their experience in terms of support and in terms of usability; because we're not having to retrain on a new platform. That's a big one for them because that's more dollars they're having to invest.The customer support is obviously a huge win for NetApp, even the pre- and post- sales staff. Then, the actual customer service representatives themselves do help. I would say that's probably one of the big ones. Once it's operational, as I’ve mentioned, it's very intuitive and very easy to use. Some of the setup steps, you get past those and it's easy to use and operate, and that's what they like.The most important criteria when I’m selecting a vendor are ease of use and management. And the reason why is because, as we take more technology and compress it into a smaller space, the knowledge base required for one engineer to be able to manage and operate that environment becomes very large. So, the ease of use and ease of management would be the one key thing I would focus on.Other Advice:Given NetApp's strength, size and customer base, they bring a wide array of knowledge to any solution. It's just trying to find the right solution within the NetApp portfolio that will meet the customer's needs. Instead of overselling the solution, find the one that meets their requirements the best and pursue that. The NetApp sales team, as well as their support, has done a good job at helping us to realize where those little niches are, to fit in the problems.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from We moved from an old 7-mode cluster using old SAS drives to a new all-flash pool, mostly for performance purposes. Valuable Features:When I’m looking at a vendor to work with, I'll be blunt: I don't want to worry about it. I don't have to deal with it. I don't want to work with it a whole lot. I'd like it to be, "I have a use for it and I want it to do that". I don't want to have to do a lot of configuration, tweaking or perpetual updates and patches. NetApp, specifically, was very, very good about one-time patches, no-downtime patches. They work well from a it-just-works standpoint. I can't always say that about all my vendors.Room for Improvement:There is room for improvement in the migration step. The no-copy copy has a lot of caveats. We felt like they weren't brought up early in the process. They were gotchas as we moved through the process. None of them were earth shattering or show stopping, but they often resulted in another night of work, another evening worth of work, or we had to shut down this over the weekend to make this happen, that we weren’t really planning on. That would be the change, but that's just at this point.These setup hangups are why I’m not giving it a perfect rating. It’s close to being perfect, but I am going to have to round down in this situation.Stability Issues:So far, it is a stable solution. We haven’t had it that particularly long. We haven't had many issues with it.Scalability Issues:It’s met our scaling needs.Data is growing everywhere, so we’ll work with the data we’ve picked up and it will help us for the next calendar year. I fully expect we'll need to add more more shelves within a year.Technical Support:Technical support is excellent. They are very responsive to our questions. As I’ve mentioned, we did a 7-mode cluster transition; there was a lot of learning on our side and they have been very patient with keeping us informed, getting us up to date on what we need to do on the storage side end.Previous Solutions:We're still in the VMware environment but we moved from an old 7-mode cluster using old SAS drives to a new all-flash pool, mostly for performance purposes. We had some expectations and we're blown away. They all paid off, to the point the users actually saw big changes as well. We knew we'd see things on the back end, but we weren’t sure they would trickle down to the end user.Initial Setup:Initial setup was both straightforward and complex. We used their tool that provides a no-file-copy copy. The goal was to switch all of our existing shelves to our totally new heads. It was sold as being fairly painless, no-change process. In practice, there were a fair number of changes, a fair number of tweaks, but that's from a purely time perspective. The amount of time it would have taken us to actually copy the data was nothing compared to the hour of downtime that we actually had to do the head shelf. From that perspective, from a user’s perspective, everything paid off quite well. From the admin side, there was a little bit more work than just turning off a switch and flipping a switch.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-11-10
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