NetApp ONTAP Review

The cluster version is flexible and easy to use

What is our primary use case?

ONTAP is the OS for NetApp storage controllers. We use it to provision storage or line volumes for our internal customers requesting storage either for databases, the storing of flat files, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

ONTAP 7-mode is a bit archaic, but with the clustered mode, it is straightforward. Also, if you add OnCommand Unified Manager, it is awesome.

We have a lot of mission critical systems, so we normally use ONTAP for all of them along with our databases and applications, e.g., Oracle Databases, like the BI and the CRM. We also have a VMS, which takes care of our virtual management systems.

It's easy to use. So, we don't have much stress. 

What is most valuable?

  • SnapMirror
  • Snapshot
  • FlexClone volume: Cloning of volumes, volume move, and volume create.

What needs improvement?

I would like it to be more user-friendly. When you open the main dashboard, anyone should be able to know exactly what is going on, even without a tech background. Minimal training should be required.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability and performance have been great.

Sometimes it takes a while for us to upgrade. We need to ensure the applications running are compatible with the upgrades that we will be running. So, it takes us a little time to upgrade. However, all the upgrades, including the latest one (ONTAP 9.4), have been awesome.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm here at NetApp Insight because I needed to talk to a few of the NetApp customer representatives about cost. In Africa, especially in West Africa, NetApp doesn't chat with their customers. Therefore, we always have to go through the local partners or vendors. 

I just spoke to a woman on the technology team. She's promised to be in touch and have somebody come to Ghana to speak to the high-end customers, like Vodafone, MTN, etc.

ONTAP's technical support is awesome and always ready to help.

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

We did not have a solution before NetApp, and NetApp was the first, but now we have Huawei as well.

We first used the NetApp 7-Mode version. Now, we use the cluster version. The cluster version is more flexible and easier to use.

How was the initial setup?

Because most of us were new to the product, the initial setup was a bit cumbersome. Once we were trained, it was fine. 

What about the implementation team?

We used a local vendor for the deployment with professional support from Nigeria. Our experience with them was good.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI.

It doesn't help reduce the overall cost of storage.

We have been able to save about 3TB to 5TB of storage. We still need to do more on the compression bit, then provisioning, to save more going forward.

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

The product costs an arm and leg; it's expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at NetApp, Dell EMC, HPE, and Huawei.

We chose NetApp because of efficiency and performance. Its product is up-to-date.

What other advice do I have?

Fabric is good. I have yet to experience NVMe.

Sometime in the future, we will look at AI and machine learning.

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