NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Review

A reliable solution with the ability to Snapshot and SnapMirror between locations

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is storage of medical records.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution’s unified file and block-storage access across our infrastructure is invaluable. Without it, we can't do what we do.

The consistency of storage management across clouds affects our storage operations by making everybody go to object-based storage, which is not a bad thing. I don't care what cloud provider that you use, they all are based upon what AWS comes out with, which is their S3 object-based storage. NetApp is doing that with with StorageGRID, and that's why we have one and a half petabytes of StorageGRID now, because we have developers and they all want to use object-based storage. Everybody likes puts and gets, but I still prefer traditional NFS.

What is most valuable?

The ability to Snapshot and SnapMirror between locations is the most valuable. The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery works very effectively. If you want to automate it, use SnapCenter 2.0. Otherwise, do it manually. It's not that hard to do.

What needs improvement?

I suspect ONTAP will just end up being a portion that runs on StorageGRID. Ultimately, everything will be object-based, then you'll just have a little dock of ONTAP that will do your NFS and CIFS.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using NetApp's products for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The on-premise NetApp is very stable. I can't speak to the cloud side.

It just works. I don't have problems with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. I even insisted when we ordered the latest ones that we get the interconnect switches. So, if we want to expand, we already have those in place.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support. As long as they don't call me at four o'clock in the morning to tell me that a drive failed and they are sending me another one, I like it. They have a tendency to do that. 

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

We previously used Commvault.

I have used NetApp before at two previous companies. 

Compellent is what they already had when we acquired this other company. It would just crash constantly. It is not worth it.

How was the initial setup?

It is pretty easy. It is sort of wizard based.

I have done it numerous times.

What about the implementation team?

We did the last deployment ourselves.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It is reliable, and Commvault is not reliable.

Dell EMC sucks. They are not innovative. They haven't done anything in years.

NetApp is the best solution out there.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it as a 10 out of 10. I've been using the solution for a number of years. I have watched it increasingly get better, not worse.

The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones has affected our application development speed by speeding it up. However, we do so much through Ansible that this is really irrelevant. Theoretically, you should never care about your virtual machines. Your data should always be on NFS or CIFS exports so if a virtual machine gets messed up, you just blow it away and redeploy it. I can redeploy it faster than you can log into it and troubleshoot it, but the data's always here.

With dedupe compression, it does reduce our organizational footprint. Unfortunately, we have to hold on to everything for 20 years.

We are getting ready to use the solution’s inline encryption using SnapMirror.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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