NetApp FAS Series Review

The most valuable features are the snapshots, the flash pool that we’re using, and cluster mode.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the snapshots, the flash pool that we’re using, and cluster mode. When we are doing an upgrade, there is less of an impact on the customer when you use cluster mode. It still has some with CIFS, but at least it has less impact.

How has it helped my organization?

Compared to the previous solution, I would not say that it has really improved anything. We were with the HPE EVA before the NetApp. It takes more of my time to manage them, as opposed to HPE EVA, with which I created LUNs and it's done. I have a lot more tasks to do. At least now with NetApp, we can provide NAS services, which HPE EVA did not have.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see antivirus that works, and generally a working solution. They just provided Vserver DR, which is good.

Now we need to have a way to do some tests only because to do testing we really need to failover to the second site, destroy everything, rebuild it, and failback. I really need a test mode that is not as destructive, at least. There is no test mode. Maybe there is with ONTAP 9. I’m not sure. That’s probably a feature that doesn’t figure into the short-term roadmap.

For more detail:

With Data Ontap 7 if something was wrong there was a real passthru that was protecting us against a loss of service if something was wrong with McAfee.

Now with Cluster Data Ontap they introduce the AV connector and the passthru is not working correctly. We have delayed our migration to the c-dot environment for over 2 years now with open call at netapp. It tooks them over 8 months to admit there was a problem until a second customer get hit with the same problem we had. This has cause us service impact with our external customer, so we are running with the antivirus disable in our c-dot cifs shares since (at least they are used mostly by applications, not direct users).

We have 2 specific cases that happen:

* A McAfee agent upgrade that cause the Virus Scan Enterprise for Storage (VSES) to stop working
* A bad config in EPO pushing an invalid user to start the VSES preventing it to be able to read the file on the netapp

In September, a new version (1.0.3) of the AV connector that was supposed to fix these issues was available but it didn’t help the file access are still being denied. The test we did was for the second problem which is easy to reproduce. Just after that I was being interviewed during the Netapp Insight which has given that review.

Since we have worked with Netapp and McAfee, I have seen no real intent to have a functioning passthru. They instead finger point McAfee for not replying. We have tried an hotfix from McAfee but it is still not working.

For vserver DR this is a new functionality which is really good and very helpful for our DR solutions. The improvement that should be done to it is a better way to fallback, there is none currently so we need to delete all the setup, on the secondary : reconfigure it, copy everything to primary and then fail it back to primary. Then to reconfigure it properly, we need to delete, reconfigure and copy to the secondary.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very unstable. We have a lot of issues with antivirus programs interrupting us from providing services to our customer. As soon as something happens with McAfee, the customer had problems with our services.

With the 7 mode, we were okay. There was a real pass-through working correctly, so if something happened with the NT file server, the files were still being served to the customer. With cDOT, it's completely the opposite. It's completely out of service. We have a lot of service impact.

We have been delaying the CIFS transition a lot because of this.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have been using technical support for over two years regarding services been down. Support was not efficient in that case. They are available. They tried. I was supposed to have a solution with the latest version. That was last week. I did the test, but it’s still not working.

Before the admin, there was an issue, it took close to a year until a second customer had the same issue. Then, they finally admitted that I wasn't the problem. It was an issue with the software. That's certainly why I rate them poorly.

Which solutions did we use previously?

When we moved from HPE EVA to FAS, it was to have NAS services. For NAS, NetApp was probably the best one at that time.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. I had no problem with that.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also considered EMC at that time and HPE. For what we needed, NetApp was the best one.

The most important criteria we look for in a vendor is good service and quality of the product.

What other advice do I have?

Properly define what you need first. After that, talk with people who know NetApp well, know how to set it up, and properly define the design architecture before doing it.

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

Cool review!

28 February 17
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