NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Review

Simplifies our tasks, provides good storage savings, and offers a standard storage interface

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution both on-premises and in the cloud.

Our primary use case for our on-premises implementation is production data and DR. In our cloud implementation, we use this solution for DR.

Moving to the cloud version was something that was different for us, but it was a fairly easy transition. Once we got comfortable with it, now it's second nature. There are many new features and I find that it is more valuable.

In terms of operational recovery, the solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones are easy to do. It greatly simplifies DR testing or application testing because we can very quickly clone a volume provided to the application team. They can use it, and if they want to keep it then we'll split it off and they have their own volume. Or, if they don't want to use it then we just throw it away.

With respect to using inline encryption using SnapMirror, this is something that we are interested in but our version does not support it. Once we upgrade to a supporting version, we plan to deploy it.

The solution's unified file and block storage access give us a standard common interface and a set of tools that we use regardless of whether we're dealing with the cloud or on-premises.

The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones have greatly improved our application development speed. The DBAs can create clones on their own and do whatever they want with them. They can keep them, destroy them, split them, etc. It takes a load off of the storage administrators and puts it where it really should be.

The consistency of storage management across clouds has made our storage operations a lot simpler. We didn't have to learn new interfaces and new command sets. Everything that we're used to using on-premises works for us in the cloud.

With respect to our data footprint in the cloud, we are seeing all of the storage benefits being extended from what we have on-premises. We're just getting into the cloud now, and we're probably seeing between a 30 and 50 percent reduction in our data footprint using compression, compaction, and deduplication.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has made everything easier to do. The most basic operations are very simple and we've been using NetApp tools, plus some of our in-house tools, to automate a lot of the processes. It saves us a lot of time and effort.

What is most valuable?

ONTAP is extremely reliable.

What needs improvement?

The inclusion of onboard key management in CBL would simplify the way we have to do our security.

Multipathing for iSCSI LUNs is difficult to deal with from the client-side and I'd love to see a single entry point that can be moved around within the cluster to simplify the client configuration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for eighteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, this is a rock-solid solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great. You don't have to add controllers to add storage space and you can scale out if you need to add more horsepower to your cluster.

How are customer service and technical support?

NetApp's technical support is outstanding.

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

We have not moved off of another solution. Rather, we are expanding to implement a new solution for a problem that hasn't been addressed yet. Specifically, we are looking to use CBO for replication that up to this point, had not been done yet.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is very simple. I don't remember there being any problems that we looked at and had to research an answer for. It just worked.

What about the implementation team?

We use Tego Data to assist us with this solution. They've been working with us for years on NetApp, and they're just great. They work with us hand in glove on any projects that we reach out to them for, and they know our environment just about as well as we do.

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

Our licensing costs are folded into the hardware purchases and I have never differentiated between the two.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've looked at other storage solutions and we just keep coming back to NetApp because they provide us with everything we need. They have great support and the hardware has drastically improved in horsepower and capacity, so we're happy to stay with them.

What other advice do I have?

I have no problems with this solution at all.

My advice for anybody who is researching this type of solution is to take a serious look at NetApp. They have products that are very flexible, extremely reliable, they're cost-competitive with other storage solutions, and their support is outstanding.

There is always room for enhancement, but what it does, it does very well.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

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?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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