NetApp ONTAP Review

NVMe works flawlessly and allows us the ability to manage our environment in a more rapid fashion


What is our primary use case?

My primary purpose for NetApp ONTAP is for the MetroCluster. We have two data centers and we have it housed there for high availability and fault tolerance.

How has it helped my organization?

Over the last five years of implementing a MetroCluster ONTAP, we've been able to improve and keep a high availability for our organization. In many cases, we reduced and minimized any downtime that happens given us a power or hardware failure we've been able to still keep our environment up and resilient.

For our ONTAP mission critical we use about 85%. We also have Epic. Epic runs all on NetApp, and so we also have some critical clinical applications that run on NetApp. Those are highly available which allows the doctors to gain access to some very critical clinical applications that reside on our NetApp storage.

If our data centers suddenly go down, we have two data centers, and we can fail over between either data center that is interrupted because of any scenario.

For real-time analytics, we use our NetApp E-series. That houses and manages all of the analytics within our environment.

From a space consumption perspective, because of all of the deduplication and the Snapshots that we're allowed to manage our infrastructure from a storage perspective, it's been really solid. I know we're about 50 to 60 percent deduplication on most of our storage, and it has allowed for storage continues to grow. As many times as I've looked at trying to reduce storage, we continue to consume our storage growth. The deduplication that NetApp provides has allowed that growth to be maintained and managed.

What is most valuable?

One of the biggest values that ONTAP provides is the ability to fail over between two data centers. Since we are a hospital, it gives us high availability and allows for us not only to failover in situations of a power outage, but also allows for us to do testing to ensure that the product is functioning properly.

My impression of NVME is that it works flawlessly and it allows for us to be able to manage our environment in a more rapid fashion. For NVMe we've only partially just began to really start playing with it and test it. We're working on implementing on MetroCluster over IP. We haven't involved ourselves very heavily on it at this point in time.

Because of the deduplication ONTAP reduces the footprint and makes the footprint much smaller.

What needs improvement?

There is a lot a lot of functional integration that we look forward to for improvements. I'm learning where they're going and I'm very interested to see those improvements and how they can help us.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is very strong. We had an issue and after FlexPod looked at the solution, FlexPod was running well. What is important is the partnership that we have with NetApp. While we were trying to identify a problem, even though the problem had nothing to do with NetApp storage, NetApp came in and helped us resolve that solution. They had a team come in, evaluate, identify where the problem actually was and gave us a fix for it. That was very critical given the situation of the outage that were occurring at the time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has been very, very good. We've had this product not only for Epic but also for our infrastructure for the last five years. The scaleup has been fantastic. One of the solutions that we're looking at to go to the MetroCluster IP is because over the last five years we have finally grown to the point where we're at our max. Either we have to build another cluster solution or revamp, modify, move forward, and so we're looking at the Metro IP Cluster to allow us to do that.

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

We had a storage solution and during an investigation and a review of the solution, we analyzed the standards for what we were looking for. The fact was that we had virtualization VMWare, and the integration of NetApp gave us a FlexPod clone and the integration in the communication and having a one shop place for all of our troubleshooting and management, and coordination of those three different solutions made the best sense to go with NetApp.

What about the implementation team?

Initially, we had a reseller that we partnered with. They were instrumental in helping us build up the infrastructure. We also had a partner that also came in and helped us implement and build out the Epic environment as well.

There is a lot of reporting which we work with NetApp on OCI and SnapManager. At this point, I'm just trying to really get a feel for what's our next event. I see where NetApp is headed when it comes to the reporting and integration  I'm looking forward to seeing what solutions they will present to us.

What was our ROI?

ROI is in line with many of the storage industries. We get a great reduction from our cost perspective in partnership. I would say that ROI is suffice.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at 3PAR, Dell EMC, and IBM to see which would be the best fit for us. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a ten because of what NetApp provides us from a quality layout. The partnership that they provide us and their assistance is very important and the work that they communicate with us on a regular basis is outstanding.

I would tell someone considering this solution that there are many similar technologies. What I would recommend is to make sure that you have a great partnership with whomever you select. In my case, I recommend that you understand your business and make sure whoever you're going to select understands your needs and is willing to digest, make a sale but invest their organization and commitment to your organization. I selected NetApp because they have a true partnership with us.

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