NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Review

Provides unified storage no matter what kind of data we have

What is our primary use case?

We use Cloud Volumes ONTAP to back up ONTAP Select instances from our plants and distribution centers to Cloud Volumes ONTAP and Azure. We store a backup solution for all or most sites.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of how this solution has improved my organization, we use a third-party backup solution, like Spectrum Protect from IBM to backup finances. That's not the best way to do it. Our choice was to move from that technology straight to using the same technology for backup, which is essentially NetApp. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is NetApp. It's the same technology which is where the efficiency really is. It's much more efficient than using a third-party solution.

It provides unified storage no matter what kind of data we have. Right now, it's just backing up Volumes but NetApp is a unified solution. In our case, it's really for file storage, NFS or CIFS.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP allows us to keep more backup. We can keep more backup because of the cost of storage in Azure versus what we have in our data center. This is also completely off-site from our data centers. We have two data centers close to each other, but this actually keeps us as an offsite copy too because it's far enough away. It does keep control of our storage costs from a previous backup technology because it's kept in Azure and it's cloud-based storage. It's not our on-premise storage, it's kind of a hybrid cloud solution.

We're saving around 20% on storage. 

What is most valuable?

It is the same technology that we run on our sites. All of the backup functions and recovery are similar. It's the exact same process. From a learning experience, it's the same. If you learn ONTAP itself, then you can do Cloud Volumes ONTAP without an issue.

The main feature of it is what we call "native backup technology." We're not using somebody else's technology backup, we're using NetApp. 

The other important part to us is the Cloud Manager. It gives us a single pane of glass to look at the environment. Everything is remote right now but we will be backing up some on-premise very shortly.

Lastly, the API and web services are fairly good. That is an important feature too. We write some code to do different things. We have code that runs to make sure that everything is being backed up as we say it is and we try to also detect places where we may have missed a backup.

What needs improvement?

I'm very happy with the solution, the only thing that needs improvement is the web services API. It could be a little bit more straightforward. That's my only issue with it. It can get pretty complex. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, we haven't had any downtime. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well. We can add to the license. We have a 100 terabyte license right now, but we can add to it very quickly.

There is very low maintenance because once you deploy it, you run your scripts and you can see what failed and not many things fail. So, it's pretty quick.

How are customer service and technical support?

We did contact their support initially during the initial install. It was our cloud technical support. We had a resource from them. They were excellent. 

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

We switched to CVO because of the efficiency and architectural consistency because it uses the same technology. NetApp to NetApp is not trying to go to somebody else.

We were backing up Spectrum Protect and we were using SimpliVity backup at one time on the license, but essentially those weren't solutions and we moved totally away from that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. You log onto their marketplace and deploy the Cloud Manager. Then it will deploy the actual CVO itself. It's pretty much a point and click. You have to set up some things ahead of time, like your Azure connections if you don't have them. Those can be more complex, but the actual solution itself was fairly straightforward.

There are prerequisites that have to be done like networking to Azure to your cloud and making sure that you have firewall rules in place. Those are more site-specific, like customer-specific issues. It's not really related to CVO directly.

It took about three months to deploy all the sites which are just for North America. This is also deployed within our company and in Asia. We have about 24 sites and we have a 100% adoption rate. 

What about the implementation team?

We did the deployment ourselves. 

What was our ROI?

We never really got down to the TCO. We just know that it was at least 20% better. The only reason we would pick it and change everything is that it was cheaper and consistent with our architecture. 

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

We don't think it's that expensive when compared to what we were paying for the previous vendor. This is less expensive. Pricing is good. 

What other advice do I have?

My main advice is to get your cloud technical support online. Make sure you have all the prerequisites properly done and you understand how to deploy the Cloud Manager. That's really the main thing.

Anytime we want to deploy new sites, we have to get the network people involved for firewalls because in our case, we're coming from Azure, which is where the CVO is, back into our company's network. The security protection is the most important lesson that you've got to get right. The security of your connections is important. 

I would rate NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP a ten out of ten. 

**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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