NetApp ONTAP Review

ONTAP OS is super easy to use; failover works well


What is most valuable?

Definitely ONTAP. The command line. It's super easy to use.

How has it helped my organization?

The ONTAP is so easy to use. I can do my tasks pretty easily on there. If someone needs something quickly I can give them what they need pretty quickly.

What needs improvement?

The one thing I would really like to see - I don't know if they offer this or not. I know EMC has got really good: their SRDF replication is really good for keeping consistency with your backups, or the other side.

NetApp is crash consistent. I don't know the quality of the EMC one but that one seems to work really well. EMC is primarily block storage anyway so that is what it is build for.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty stable. There have been some random crashes we have had though, from a couple weird things.

There always seems to be some random bug in the code. If there is a random bug in the code, it seems like we have so many of these storage arrays that one of them is going to experience a crash from it. We have had a couple like that, zombie deletes, causing the controller to panic. We have had a couple weird things like that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Never really implemented one but it seemed to be pretty easy to scale out. If you have the money to buy one, to scale it out is nothing crazy.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an in-house resource and usually, if there is something going wrong, he is the one that will handle it and give it direction. If we ever call it in we always get the front-line people and typically we don't need the front-line people. When we need support we need someone specialized, like a certain protocol or a certain aspect. Usually, that's kind of annoying, when we call in it's getting front-line people and it is an extra 30 minutes just to get to where we need to go, really.

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

No, ever since I have been here at Centene, we have been using NetApp.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I know NetApp and EMC are at the top, but other than that we don't really have any. I haven't seen much for any other vendor, like Nimble or like a couple of others, we don't really deal with those.

What other advice do I have?

We use it for datastores, and do a little bit of SAN on it too. We use it for both, block and file storage.

My impression of NetApp as avendor of high performance SAN storage is that it's not as good as EMC. I don't have any complaints, really. I primarily use NetApp. I only use the EMCs a little bit.

I am more likely to consider NetApp for mission critical storage systems based on my experience with AFF. The failover seems to work pretty well, they seem to be pretty reliable. If you have a lot of clusters, a cluster that's broke out, it works pretty well. If it fails or crashes, you still have to fix it but it still works.

Performance is pretty good. It's a little hard to compare because I'm not really on the OS side. I don't really delegate storage provision so I hardly ever get to see the other side of the systems.

When selecting a vendor the most important criteria include is: can the vendor supply a solution that we need? If we need block storage, can they do block storage very well? If we need good replication, can they provide that? It just depends on what we need it for and if they can provide that solution the best. Our company doesn't have any really money constraint problems. It's more just about the solution than about the cost.

If someone was looking to buy one I would say: I love the ONTAP operating system. The support is pretty good. I would say the block side of NetApp is probably the weak point. It still does it well, but if you are doing file shares and datastores, you could use it for that. That is primarily what we use it for.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarNana Esigyan (Vodafone)
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I personally love using the ONTAP application, it gives me an overview of my dashboard. I have most of my mission Critical systems running on the NetApp. It works so well and its user friendly as compared to other Storage OS.
We just procured the AFF and I can wait to explore and dissect its contents and performance. Looking forward to great stuff.