NetApp SnapCenter Review

Instant backups and recovery are key but it needs replication management


What is our primary use case?

It is used for VMware and Microsoft SQL databases. We use it for ordinary backups. Nothing special.

What is most valuable?

I like the instant backups and recovery feature that SnapCenter provides within NetApp storage systems. That's mostly why I'm using it.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see replication support between systems. Right now, it's kind of limited.
We manage them separately from the storage system interface, not from SnapCenter. It would be nice if it was integrated into SnapCenter.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate the stability at four out of five because it's a complicated product. In terms of integrating with systems and software, sometimes you need to watch your software versions and the changing environment. But that is its design, so there is nothing you can do about it.

It's stable. I haven't had any stability issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SnapCenter handles scaling very well. In my opinion, it's for small or medium businesses but not for enterprise. It has great value because it's cheap and everything is bundled with the NetApp system, so it's best for small customers. Big enterprises usually use complete backup systems. There's no way you can it can propose SnapCenter as the primary backup system in an enterprise, in my experience. There is nothing wrong with the software, it's just that big enterprises have serious backup systems.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We use different backup solutions for systems that SnapCenter doesn't support. We use Commvault. We started using SnapCenter this year. We had a few new NetApp systems and it was cheaper to use SnapCenter than Commvault because it's included and bundled with the system. It's better to use SnapCenter than to pay for Commvault. It's better value.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty easy. It's very good. The whole process of implementation is pretty easy and straightforward. There's nothing to improve here.

Usually, it takes less than one hour to deploy it and get it operational. Our implementation strategy is to check the whole compatibility matrix. That makes it go easily. Deployment generally requires one or two storage engineers, as well as a DB or VMware admin. Four people is enough.

It ordinarily works without any maintenance needed, but to monitor all the backup stuff might take half an FTE.

What was our ROI?

We see a financial value with SnapCenter because we don't have to license Commvault, which is pretty expensive.

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

NetApp has great licensing models. It has two bundles: You can buy Premium or SnapCenter, and that's a great thing. You have all the replications included but, as I mentioned before, there should be some improvements in the management the replication for SnapCenter.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not looked at other systems. We have a primary backup system and SnapCenter for particular systems, and that satisfies our requirements.

What other advice do I have?

Check the compatibility of all components before, although it's pretty common. After you check the compatibility, then deploy SnapCenter and the plug-ins. Don't try to implement and then troubleshoot. It makes things more complex.

Backup and recovery software solutions are very important for every company. SnapCenter is pretty cheap, and that's important as well. Sometimes, customers don't want to pay a lot for backup solutions. That is why SnapCenter is good.

We do implementations from time to time, where customers have no backup solutions at all. It's better to have something that is actually free rather than nothing. Case by case, if we have no backup system, we use SnapCenter, but I don't think the number of our installations will grow significantly.

I would rate SnapCenter at seven out of ten because of the lack of replication management, which is very important.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
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