NetApp ONTAP Review

The technical support is the best that I have ever encountered

What is our primary use case?

ONTAP runs our Tier 1 data center. We use it for running all our virtualization, backups, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

Where the DBA is doing all the migrations and testing within our database, we have Tier 1 and Tier 2 data centers and do a lot of testing across them. The ability to create a FlexClone and immediately test everything which needs to be done then revert back within minutes, if needed, is phenomenal for testing.

What is most valuable?

FlexClone has been great for R&D. We've been doing a lot of testing, implementing Oracle DBAs and getting them into the thick of things.

What needs improvement?

I would like more diagnostic generation. Right now, it's a pain to go into the controller and do a full diagnostic and export. If that could be streamlined in any way and not be so tedious, because it's a pain to go through all the different steps and have the command memorized or have to look it up. If there was some way NetApp could incorporate it into the native ONTAP command center, that would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've never had an issue with it. Same with the upgrades, we have had no issues from 8.2 to 8.3 to 8.4. The stability has been great for four years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are in the process of doing a huge data center refresh. We will find that out very shortly about its scalability.

How is customer service and technical support?

The technical support is great. It's the best I've ever encountered. I can email and have everything resolved at three in the morning within half an hour. I have had some late night calls to their guys techs, and it's been phenomenal.

I probably leverage NetApp's engineers too much, but we have a good working relationship with their contacts. They usually handle everything within a few messages, so it has been great.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward for me. I am a storage engineer, so I'm familiar with it. Even our network engineers that have to set it up using NetApp diagrams had no issues with it.

What about the implementation team?

We have used CDW in the past. However, we are now going with NetApp directly.

CDW was great. We didn't have too many issues. However, for our work particularly, there wasn't a enough value-add to stick with a third-party. Therefore, we are now doing everything directly with NetApp.

What was our ROI?

I have seen ROI. NetApp is streamlined, reducing costs. ONTAP is the best.

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

If you start narrowing down NetApp versus price point, then comparing it to the feature set and take away all the bloat that other companies will try to add on, there is no other option. It comes down to just NetApp.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have some strict requirements because we are a defense contractor. It came down to NetApp and one other big company (Dell EMC). ONTAP's ease of use and our familiarity with it along with the reps, who are great about keeping us informed about training, etc. It made it a no-brainer for us to go with the solution.

We chose NetApp because of price and it's a no hassle solution. We're doing a trade study, so we asked all vendors for quotes, etc. We asked our NetApp reps, and they gave us what we needed within a timely fashion. 

Dell EMC sent us eight people, who insisted on a two hour meeting. They keep trying to oversell us crap that we don't need. It felt very forced. Whereas our NetApp guys, they would rather undersell us than have us buy stuff that we don't need. I appreciate their upfront and honest attitude.

You can't switch out a hard drive without an EMC rep coming out, where NetApp is streamlined.

What other advice do I have?

There is nothing it can't do. It satisfies all my needs. It is straight to the point and has great updates.

We are doing a trade study right on all the things that we would like to have and everything we have hard requirements for, and NetApp meets both.

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