NetApp ONTAP Review

Queries are being completed in less time, but the initial setup is too complex


What is our primary use case?

We use this storage device for databases, storing databases, and VMware. When it comes to databases ,we have Oracle, SQL, and mission-critical applications. Therefore, we need very good response times, and we get very good response times from NetApp All Flash systems.

How has it helped my organization?

Queries are being completed in less time. For example, we have seen a three times improvement when it comes to running a query. If query used to take an hour, now it takes 10 to 20 minutes.

What is most valuable?

  • It does both file and block storage.
  • The compression works well. We get a 3:1 ratio.

What needs improvement?

  • We would like to be able to provide feedback immediately after receiving technical support.
  • Make it a simpler. Our entire industry is moving towards simplicity or automation, we spend a lot of time doing storage allocation. It's too complex.
  • Have integration with other storage providers. 
  • I would like cloud integration where we can send data to the cloud. Engineers should be able to click on one button (integrated with their phones), and move the data from NetApp to cloud.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable product. So far, we have not seen any issues. It has worked as expected, meeting our expectations.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales up, so I don't see any issues with scaling the system.

How are customer service and technical support?

When it comes to support, we usually go into NetApp chat and request help. Most of the time, our interaction with their support is nice and they are willing to help.

Sometimes, you have a team of people, where 10 or 15 people are working, and you are not going to get the same result from everyone. It happens when we call support sometimes that we do not get what we need, then we work with the manager.

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

ONTAP has helped us reduce the cost of storage by a lot. We were using IBM XIVs (hybrid system) and were paying high costs, except for the maintenance. Now, we are on all-flash and we pay less than what we used to pay.

ONTAP is an operating system, but we also wanted to invest in all-flash. We evaluated multiple products and we liked ONTAP's performance and its cost.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is too complex. It should be one click. Anyone with basic knowledge of storage should be able to set it up. Instead, there are too many moving pieces. You have to do plaster configuration, north configuration, and port configuration, and these things should be fully automated. Customers should be answering a few questions and system should be ready for application on user portals.

What about the implementation team?

The overall implementation was done by a reseller, IS. 

What was our ROI?

We see ROI, but I was expecting more. Right now, what happens is I have a team of 10 or 12 people, and the investment is going into managing them instead of doing something new.

Moving to all-flash from hybrid, we brought the response time down from 10 milliseconds to some milliseconds.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage and NetApp. Cost was a value factor in selecting NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

We are in a testing phase at this moment for machine learning, AI, and real-time analytics . We have a team who is testing Docker on this.

In future, we will be using NVMe over Fabric. At the moment, we are still immature.

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