NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Review

Enables high availability as well as standalone systems if that's what we want within our specific workloads


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for ONTAP is both on-premise and in the cloud. For on-premise, we utilize it for hosting our virtual infrastructure environment through VMware, as well as hosting personal and shared drives. Then, in the cloud, we also host personal and shared drives within AWS and Azure.

How has it helped my organization?

An example of how ONTAP is improving our organization is through back-up and restore, as well as offsite replication capability. We utilize SnapMirror very heavily on our sites and then also to replicate it offsite to other sites in our organization to make sure that we have very fast local restores if necessary. As well as offsite replication for disaster recovery capabilities as we have certain events that impact our facilities from that perspective.

We use ONTAP for a number of mission-critical applications. Some that specifically run some of our facilities. I'm in the energy industry and we had a certain scenario earlier this year that one of our systems went down and after a few hours I had to start having the conversation with some of the other supervisors if we couldn't get the system back online. However, NetApp support was able to get the system back online with us without having to do an RMA for another device. Support really helped bail us out in that situation of getting the system back online and not having to shut our facility down.

ONTAP has allowed us to keep cost down in the storage environment based upon the deduplication and how we're utilizing it to replicate from a number of different sites and centralize some of our offsite replication capabilities.

What is most valuable?

Some of the most valuable features of ONTAP for us are the reliability and availability. We have a lot of built-in functionality within ONTAP to provide back-ups and restore at the volume level. Also, individually if we need to restore specific files within a volume. It's been very helpful us to have that.

Within ONTAP, some of the new features that we've been utilizing recently are the FabricPools which we think is great. One of the new services is the cloud volume service that's available within AWS and Azure that we're really liking.

We use ONTAP in the public cloud for Linux NFS mounts, as well as Windows CIFS volume shares. A lot of times multiple applications or systems will need to share that data and NetApp ONTAP in the cloud really allows for all those applications to utilize shared data in their application communication.

NetApp ONTAP, easily, in our environment, allows for a 3:1 compression ratio on average. That's really helped, whether it be on-premise or in the cloud, to help drive down cost utilization in our systems. There's a number of systems that we have that run pretty high utilization. That data reduction helps us prevent from having to continue to expand those systems.

What needs improvement?

The key feature, that we'd like to see in that is the ability to sync between regions within the AWS and Azure regions. We could use the cloud sync service, but we'd really like that native functionality within the cloud volume service.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

ONTAP has been very stable for us, specifically in the cloud environment. It allows us to have high availability as well as standalone systems if that's what we want within our specific workloads. Also, on-premise has been a very stable environment. We have very few outages and when we do, we work with support to get systems back online in a timely manner.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate ONTAP as an eight. It has a lot of great features, some features that we didn't even know we needed until we talked with our account team and they walked us through some of the reasons for some of those features and then we look at implementing them. The stability of the environment really helps us have that as a key solution for our organization.

In terms of advice I would give a fellow colleague or friend about implementing ONTAP, it would be to just continue to work with your account team to make sure that you're finding the right solution to fit your workload need. We have a very generic workload in terms of virtual machines infrastructure. NetApp really provides a great solution there for us in that environment.

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