This is my advice for customers who want to get started with storage efficiency:
• Consider SATA drives instead of Fiber Channel
• Enable Dedupe
• (Use Flash Cache as insurance against bad performance)
NetApp has other efficiency features too (thin provisioning, cloning, compression, and so on), but I’ve found that customers often start with SATA and dedupe. SATA because it saves so much money, and dedupe because it’s so easy to turn on and comes free with ONTAP.
When I talk with customers who are using SATA and dedupe, they are usually happy with NetApp, and pleased with their storage costs. When customers are haggling over price but haven’t at least considered these features, I wonder what they are thinking.
SATA with Flash Cache doesn’t always match the performance of Fiber Channel, but when it does, it can cut your costs in half. It’s definitely worth considering! We have many happy customers using it for production data. Home directories are a good place to start. Email, especially with the most recent versions of Exchange. Some customers use it for database, depending on the workload.