NetApp OnCommand Review

The system manager helps us to manage our NetApp server with a user-friendly GUI instead of a CLI. It needs improvements with storage provisioning and disk aggregate management.

Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is the system manager itself. The system manager helps us to manage our NetApp server with a user-friendly GUI instead of a CLI, but sometimes we also need to use the CLI, because some features are not available in the GUI. Most often, we use it to create aggregates, storage virtual machines, volumes, shares (like CIFS and NFS), and also to present disks (from NetApp) on some other physical or virtual machine to perform several tests.

On the other hand, the GUI gives us fast (simple) configurations, simplified management, extensive administrative capabilities, unlocking the power of clustered Data ONTAP and also clustered scale-out storage.

Room for Improvement:

There are always areas for improvement, but they need - 

  • Intuitive browser-based GUI;
  • Wizard-driven configuration to get up and running quickly;
  • Automated non-disruptive (Data ONTAP) upgrade;
  • Storage provisioning and disk aggregate management;
  • CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, FC, and FCoE configuration;
  • Snapshot and SnapMirror management;
  • SnapVault support;
  • Storage virtual machine management;
  • Monitoring of HA pairs;
  • Support for SVMs with Infinite Volume;
  • User interface enhancements;
  • Support for storage Quality of Service (QoS);
  • Support for all NetApp FAS systems and FlexArray software;
  • Support for NetApp All Flash FAS; and
  • Built-in reports and dashboard summarizing data around inventory, capacity, and efficiency at the enterprise level.

It would be great if the GUI can perform the same configurations as the CLI can, but we know this is difficult to implement. For example, it would be nice if there could be an option (after ONTAP installation/configuration) to manually deal with root aggregates (of course with needed restrictions). In some cases, you need to modify its size if your storage is full or something, and of course if root aggregate has some free space (in our test cases we always had). 

Also, we are missing more graphical diagrams, maybe warnings or some help that can be useful to manage with NetApp more easily (in cases when you are not really sure if something could go wrong).

Deployment Issues:

We haven't had issues with deployment.

Stability Issues:

We haven't had issues with stability.

Scalability Issues:

We haven't had issues with scalability.

Other Solutions Considered:

We currently don't have flash arrays at our company, but we are very interested in how can flash arrays deal with our challenges to get the best results. With a purpose-built flash architecture, we can fundamentally change the way we approach storage. The nature of flash storage allows for much faster data transfer rates as compared to traditional spinning disks.

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