NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Review

Helps us to save on the costs of backup products

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to have multitenant deployment of shared storage, specifically network-attached storage (NAS). This file share is used by applications that are very heavy with a very high throughput. Also, an application needs to be able to sustain the read/write throughput and persistent volume. Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps us to get the required performance from our applications.

We just got done with our PoC. We are now engaging with NetApp CVO to get this solution rolled out (deployment) and do hosting for our customers on top of that.

How has it helped my organization?

Using this solution, the more data that we store, the more money we can save.

What is most valuable?

  • CIFS volume.
  • The overall performance that we are getting from CVO.
  • The features around things like Snapshots. 
  • The performance and capacity monitoring of the storage.

These features help us to have a backup of our volumes using the native technology of NetApp ONTAP. That way, we don't have to invest in other solutions for our backup requirement. Also, it helps us to replicate the data to another geographic location so that helps us to save on the costs of backup products.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP gives us flexible storage.

What needs improvement?

There are a few bugs in the system that they need to improve on the UI part. Specifically, its integration of NetApp Cloud Manager with CVO, which is something they are already working on. They will probably provide a SaaS offering for Cloud Manager. 

We want to be able to add more than six disks in aggregate, but there is a limit of the number of disks in aggregate. In GCP, they provide less by limiting the sixth disk in aggregate. In Azure, the same solution provides 12 disks in an aggregate versus GCP where it is just half that amount. They should bump up the disk in aggregate requirement so we don't have to migrate the aggregate from one to another when the capacities are full. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I cannot comment on stability right now because we have not been using it in production as of now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We still have CVO running on a single VM instance. As an improvement area, if CVO can come up with a scale out that will help so we will not be limited by the number of VMs in GCP. Behind one instance, we are adding a number of GCP disks. In some cases, we would like to have the option to scale out by adding more nodes in a cluster environment, like Dell EMC Isilon.

How are customer service and technical support?

Get NetApp involved from day one if you are thinking of deploying Cloud Volumes ONTAP. They have a very good support team who is very helpful. They will help you with every aspect of getting the deployment done.

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

We previously used OpenZFS Cloud Storage. We switched because we were not getting the performance from them. The performance tuning is a headache. There were a lot of issues, such as, the stability and updates of the OpenZFS. We had it because it was a free, open source solution. 

We switched to NetApp because I trust their performance tool and file system.

How was the initial setup?

We did the PoC. Now, we are going to set up a production environment. 

The initial setup was a bit challenging for someone who has no idea about NetApp. Since I have some background with it, I found the setup straightforward. For a few folks, it was challenging. It is best to get NetApp support involved for novices, as they can give the best option for setting to select during deployment.

The automated deployment was a bit complex using the public APIs. When we had to deploy Cloud Volumes ONTAP on a regular basis using automation, It could be a bit of a challenge.

What about the implementation team?

My team of engineers works on deploying this solution. There are five people on my team.

What was our ROI?

We have not realized any money or savings yet because we are still in our deployment process.

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

They give us a good price for CVO licenses. It is one of the reasons that we went with the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did consider several options. 

In GCP, we also considered NetApp's Cloud Volumes services as well, but it did not have good performance. 

Another solution that we tried was Qumulo, which was a good solution, but not that good. From a scaling out perspective, it can scale out a file system, whereas NetApp is not like that. NetApp still works with a single VM. That is the difference.  

We also evaluated the native GCP file offering. However, it did not give us the performance for the application that we wanted.

We do use the cloud performance monitoring, but not with a NetApp product. We use Stackdriver. NetApp provides a separate thing for the monitoring of NetApp CVO, which is NetApp Cloud Manager.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

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

**Disclosure: IT Central Station 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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