NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Review

It allows us to manage our portfolio across two domains

What is our primary use case?

It provides flexibility for our VM environments. We use it to transport data between on-premise systems and the cloud.

AWS is the biggest and most common use case for integration with ONTAP.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a number of systems that we run on-premise and have not been moved to AWS for various reasons. ONTAP allows us to manage our portfolio across two domains. 

What is most valuable?

It manages our environments with a single purview of data management, especially as each variant of ONTAP uses identical metadata and file system formats. Then, data can be universally managed and manipulated throughout the data fabric.

SnapMirror helps mirror metadata and data volumes between endpoints in a data fabric.

What needs improvement?

The navigation on some of the configuration parameters is a bit cumbersome, making the learning curve on functions somewhat steep.

I would like them to make upgrading simpler. I would like it if they could offer a simpler upgrade guide which you can generate through their website, because their current version is full of dozens of complicated CLI commands. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable and versatile, but you need to have an advanced degree to administer or monitor it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since it has seamless integration with AWS, scalability is not an issue.

How was the initial setup?

NetApp ONTAP and AWS work really well together. ONTAP was designed to run within Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances. Once Cloud Volumes ONTAP is installed, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes are assigned to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP EC2 compute instance to create the equivalent of a Data ONTAP storage array.

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

Purchasing this solution through the AWS Marketplace was simple, which was why our organization chose to go through it. The AWS consumer-based pricing model makes it easy for developers to use their credit cards to spin up virtual servers immediately.

Compared to other storage vendors, NetApp, is not always able to compete with their pricing. Yet, we acknowledge the ease of use ONTAP brings with the AWS integration.

What other advice do I have?

We are making good use of the product. It has a lot of features and is an efficient/stable product. The recovery using Snapshots is a big plus, alongside the flexibility in volume creation for Unix, as well as Windows environments. Its challenges are on the learning curve, as well as its pricing could be improved.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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