NetApp ONTAP Review

Clustered ONTAP makes it very easy for one person to manage petabytes of data


What is our primary use case?

We use it for VMware.

How has it helped my organization?

Clustered ONTAP makes it very easy to manage large amounts of data, measured in petabytes. One person can manage all that. In the old days, you could never do that.

What is most valuable?

We're using it as a virtualization platform, so not only are we buying NetApp SSD, we're also able to utilize our existing Dell EMC storage that still is under support.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see volume efficiency come closer to what Dell EMC can do with, for instance, their XtremIO platform.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Today, the stability is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is poor. The first line people that pick up the phone are, quite honestly, awful. Once you get to an escalation engineer they're extremely talented, but you have to pull teeth to get there.

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

My management was all about Dell EMC. With my experience with NetApp I just kept my mouth shut and asked technical questions and Dell EMC basically fell flat. They actually proposed a mid-tier solution that was, as they put it, a number of storage silos. And I said, "This is 2018. We have storage silos?"

So I was able to work with CDW and prove that the FlexArray would front-end the existing Unity's and 3PARs we have. CDW ended up coming to the table and they won the deal. They came in late but they won the deal. The NetApp people have never come to our office yet.

How was the initial setup?

We did purchase Basic Install, so it was straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Dell EMC and Pure were on our shortlist. Dell EMC couldn't come with a reasonable solution. Pure is all-flash and we needed hybrid.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise colleagues who are researching this type of solution to look at NetApp. We bought it for a couple reasons. One, it took advantage of our existing storage because we could front-end that storage. It also allowed us, through native replication, to set up a DR site, which we're working towards. And three, that DR site, in 2020, is going to the cloud. NetApp has a nice solution for that. And our production in 2022 may actually go to the cloud. So all that is already in place, no additional tools. You can use the same SnapMirror and SnapVault technology to get there. To me, it makes sense.

We bought our solution through CDW. They're excellent.

I would rate this solution at eight out of ten. I think it's time for a hardware refresh. We ended up buying 8200s and they've been out on the market for quite a while. There is newer hardware that we were hoping to take advantage of but we needed the storage now.

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