NetApp ONTAP Review

We use a lot of SnapVault and SnapMirror features for disaster recovery and daily backups to meet SLAs


What is our primary use case?

We use it for enterprise storage. We use data ONTAP to solution and enterprise storage for our core data centers. We use a lot of SnapVault and SnapMirror features for disaster recovery and daily backups to meet SLAs.

How has it helped my organization?

From a service level of perspective, we can restore it from a snapshot in a very short period of time. Whereas, traditional backups from some of our larger databases could take many hours to recover.

We use this solution for our mission critical applications, like SAP.

What is most valuable?

  • Snapshots
  • SnapCenter
  • The ability to take an instant point and time capture of an application's consistent backup.

What needs improvement?

The PowerShell scripting capabilities right now are all over the place as far as which rich operating systems are supported. They all support Windows, but the HCI product with the SolidFire integration also supports PowerShell on Mac and Linux. It would be nice if the rest of the NetApp APIs caught up with PowerShell on other operating systems besides Windows. Because we're deploying more non-Windows operating systems, it would be helpful if we would be able to use that utility.

We have not been able to save space by using this product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is a bit of a question. If we're only doing file-based storage, scalability is fantastic. If we are doing block-based storage through iSCSI or Fibre Channel, there are some significant limitations in the number of volumes and clients that you can put on a single data ONTAP cluster.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We knew that we need to invest in a new solution after we did a total data center architecture. This is the product that we sought afterwards. We chose NetApp because it was the best fit for its price performance.

How was the initial setup?

We started out in 7-Mode and evolved into cDOT. The initial 7-Mode deployment was very straightforward. Migrating 7-Mode to cDOT was much less straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with NetApp for deployment, and our experience was good.

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

The solution has helped us reduce the overall cost of storage by doing an OPEX agreement with NetApp, we are paying based on utilization. Instead of fronting 30 petabytes worth of storage, we are paying for what we're using.

What other advice do I have?

NVMe over Fabrics is a very interesting proposition. However, it's probably always going to be in a leap frog position with NVMe over traditional Fibre Channel infrastructure. Because if you look at a lot of the research data running NVMe over an Ethernet-based fabric, as the fabric gets congested, the total amount of footprint goes down significantly. Whereas the footprint is very consistent for the Fibre Channel fabric from start to finish, no matter how congested it becomes, and you're still capable of pushing it at reasonable speeds very close to the theoretical maximum.

With the Ethernet fabric, you also have to take into account that you only get the best speeds for NVMe over Fabrics if it's a dedicated storage Ethernet environment, and more than 90 percent of the people implementing it are going to share it with other things because they don't want to have a separate Ethernet infrastructure just for storage. If they were going to do that, they would have stuck with Fibre Channel. Theoretically, it has an off a lot of promise, but practically, not so much.

We do not use this solution for machine learning, AI, or real-time analytics at this time, but we are investigating them.

Make sure that you test it with your own data set. No one else's test will look remotely like what you will use it for.

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