NetApp SnapCenter Review

Cloning capabilities accelerate development, while integration with NetApp storage provides better problem reporting

What is our primary use case?

We use SnapCenter for our VMware, SQL, and Oracle environments providing application-consistent and centralized backup and recovery from disasters, and cloning. It maximizes NetApp Snapshot, SnapMirror, SnapVault and cloning technology.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a centralized, easy-to-use solution empowering RBAC management, monitoring, notifications, extensive logging, and backup schedules for standalone as well as groups of the same types of environments. The cloning capabilities accelerate development.

We previously had the NetApp SnapManager Suite which made the transition to SnapCenter smoother. SnapCenter is better integrated into our new NetApp storage as well as ONTAP Cloud, providing tighter, relevant problem reporting. This has helped in troubleshooting any problems that arise.

What is most valuable?

Here are just some of the valuable features:

  1. Quick cloning of DB environments when development or testing is critical. I love the new clone split feature and the clone update without re-cloning. 
  2. Centralized management of backup plug-ins without having to manage them at the host. You can perform host/agent download and push of updates. 
  3. Tight integration with NetApp storage, both on-premise and cloud. 
  4. Detailed backup reporting and suggested troubleshooting. 
  5. PowerShell commands can be run without having to access via the GUI.

What needs improvement?

  1. The Dashboard view needs to be more compressed with better ease of access and drill-down features. 
  2. DB plug-in cloning should have similar SnapManager features which allow reuse of specific cloning parameter features.
  3. Reinstate Linux filesystem backups of storage volumes (which existed in the prior version).
  4. Add integration into OCUM and Active IQ.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In a short period of time, we have seen the product scale quickly in feature enhancements and adjustments to the product, thanks to their quick development.

How is customer service and technical support?

Because of our prior experience with SnapManager, we had a smooth transition to SnapCenter.  When we had a need to reach out to technical support we would work directly with level-2 or global support engineers who are knowledgeable about the product.

Which solutions did we use previously?

SnapManager Suite for VMware, SQL, and Oracle.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, using online reference documents.

What about the implementation team?

We did an in-house implementation, with additional assistance from our NetApp Enterprise Solution Architect.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Veeam, Rubrik, Symantec, and Commvault.

What other advice do I have?

  • Evaluate in-depth features you require
  • Validate interoperability (very critical)
  • Thoroughly inventory every existing component of the business that will use it or be impacted
  • Evaluate the installation, configuration, and ease of use with an eval or vendor
  • Do a price comparison, once all components needed are identified
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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