NetApp ONTAP Review

Scales well with good performance and good technical support

What is our primary use case?

We basically use NetApp Storage as mass storage within our offering. We also use it for backup storage, storage for emails, and sometimes for archiving. Mostly it is actually general-purpose file storage. 

What is most valuable?

The solution has very good Snapshot features. Everybody goes to NetApp for Snapshot. Their Snapshots are very good. We use it for local backups. We also have a DR set up. We use Snapshot or SnapMirror for the DR applications. We also use Snapshot for backup purposes as well. Snapshot is the one thing I would say is actually the most useful feature for us.

NetApp is very stable.

They have all the latest features. 

Their support is good. 

The performance of the hardware is good. 

What needs improvement?

We're actually looking at a software-defined version of NetApp. They already have a software-defined product called ONTAP Select. NetApp's ONTAP version for the cloud is called the Cloud Volumes ONTAP. We are looking for the Cloud Volumes ONTAP, an on-premises option. Right now, the only option we have is the cloud and that's only available with AWS and Google. We already had some discussions with NetApp about it. It usually takes two or three months and a lot of money on a software-defined solution. If we gain access to it, we can run it on a virtual machine and it will still give all the features without having to buy their hardware.

The pricing could be lower.

The setup can be a bit complex, depending on the environment.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the product for a long time. I would say we've used it in total for 10 or so years, however, in different offerings. The names have changed and the company also changed quite a bit.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've been working with the solution for ten years, and I've rarely had any issues. I consider the product to be extremely stable. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale very, very easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. I don't have any issues with them. Most of my interactions are very, very good except for maybe one or two cases over the course of ten or so years. Mostly I find it very useful. They are very responsive and knowledgeable. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup up is a bit complex within our environment. We actually tweak it to our requirements. The integration for backup purposes, for example, we use NetBackup. However, then the solution that we have is a bit complex for backups, especially if we want to actually do a Snapshot version only. We actually take full backups every day. Our solution is actually a bit tweaked for our real requirement. I would say it is actually not very complex. That said, it is not very easy either. It is somewhere in between. There is some level of complexity in our solution.

To apply and maintain the product you need a team, definitely. To deploy it, it depends on how you set up your environment. In our environment, one person can deploy it because we have most of the tasks automated. For us, it is not very difficult to deploy. however, then you also need the dependency. For example, to build a network, you are required to connect the device to the network, and then to set up the backup. You need a team as it requires some integration with the network, with the backup, and whatnot. There are many, many things to do.

In our environment, we only need two people. That is due to the level of automation we have. To operate it, you also need a team. How big the team is depending on the service level. You may have to have people in shifts. In our team, we have many people. It's a global offering at this stage. So we have a presence everywhere. That requires a huge team. There are maybe 10 plus members supporting it around the clock.

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

The cost is quite high. They need to work on making it a bit more affordable. We buy the equipment as a one-time purchase and then also purchase five years of support. It's a CapEx model.

What other advice do I have?

We are service providers. We are offering something called a virtual private cloud. Our offering mainly the virtual private cloud. It is a cloud offering by DXC.

The product is basically a multi-tenant cloud. The cloud is hosted on our premises. We have data centers across the globe. Around 24 data centers in different regions. It's a global offering. We automated it and we have it set up for provisioning or portal enabled. It is not as good as Amazon or AWS, however, it is still a lot of cloud.

You can request a portal, however, then you cannot scale to that scale that Amazon currently is. That said, there are some customization possibilities. It is slightly cheaper than the hyperscaler cloud and that is why most customers prefer it. They find it really useful and cheaper than a public cloud offering, and it still has the same performance level.

I would recommend the product. I don't see any reason why you would have to look for a different vendor. The one thing that they can improve is the cost. That's pretty high. That is the only concern. Otherwise, they are very, very good in all other areas. Their hardware, software, their support, etc., are all good.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten. We've been very happy with the product overall.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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