NetApp OnCommand Insight Review

Ties all the information together in one place so that we can get to the root of problems more quickly


What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of OCI is the ability to correlate a lot of different data sources together. It's very difficult to get a picture from just looking at the storage view. The fact that it allows you pull in your VMware information and the like, and see it all together, helps when you have an incident. You can correlate all that data together, and that's very valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

It's improved the organization in that, when people complained about an issue in the past, we had to go to all these different systems to look at the performance data; going into vSphere, going into SolarWinds. This ties it all together in one place so that we can get to the root of the problem more quickly. That makes the business happy because then we're not churning on trying to figure out what caused their performance problem.

What needs improvement?

I think there's still a piece of it that's external, the Java interface. I think that's all starting to get integrated into the whole HTML5, and once it's all integrated together, I think that's probably going to be better. I'm looking forward to that.

I think one of the weaknesses is pulling in systems outside of virtual environments, of physical hosts, and the like. I think it's something they're working on from what I've heard. But being able to look at some other things outside of what we typically monitor - we have some physical AIX environments. They can look into it a little bit but there's more that I can see being done in some of those outside-systems for virtualization. For virtualization and NetApp it's great, but for pulling in other sources where we're using NetApp storage, we're looking to get a little bit more data out of it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think in the most current versions it's been improved considerably. We did have some hiccups in some of the earlier versions with data collection getting missed sometimes, but I think it's definitely been improving over time and getting better and better.

With the latest version of OCI which we just installed, we haven't been seeing any of that anymore, we're not seeing any data collection issues, so it's been much, much better. The experience is better, the UI is getting better, it's all slowly getting better.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know if I can say too much about that. We have a very specific size, we're medium size. I can't see us scaling up very fast, but from what I've seen, it seems like it should be able to.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't personally used tech support for OCI but I have colleagues who have. I don't think they have any complaints about it.

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

We had used some solutions in the past, SolarWinds, just looking at vSphere monitoring, and we didn't have any one solution that pulled it all together. While SolarWinds is pretty good, the polling intervals are quite long, so if you want to get to a real fine-grained time period, where you want to look at a problem and have all these different systems, we really need something that would have like BI capabilities to get more data into it.

How was the initial setup?

I think it was pretty straightforward. I think it was very quick to pull in data sources from all the different things that we monitor. I don't remember having any hiccups or trouble getting all the data in and getting it set up.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at - I believe it's now Brocade - but it was Riverbed that had a solution, and that had some dynamic performance monitoring. But I think OCI probably just made sense because we're using NetApp and vSphere most heavily, and it seemed to tie into it the best, of everything that we looked at.

What other advice do I have?

When we select a vendor, we look for somebody who is innovating in whatever their marketplace is, and that has a good forward thinking strategy. Somebody who is leveraging good interface technologies, because interface is super important when you're just trying to get in and get something quick; somebody who is using HTML5 and that has fast response time, that's really important to us.

I gave it an eight out of 10 for some of the reasons I said before. The interface isn't fully tied together, there's still some pieces that are outside of the web interface. But, with all the other improvements, I can't complain too much about the actual functionality, setting up dashboards and looking at the performance data.

I would just day be aware of everything that you're looking to monitor, to see if it makes sense to use it. If you have a lot of systems that don't fit into the OCI infrastructure, then you might want to look around a little bit more. But if you're using NetApp specifically, and you're looking at a lot of the technologies that integrate closely with OCI, I think it's a good fit. But really, the best thing to do is to look at something that fits the technology that you have.

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