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GeorgeLavrov
Consultant at I.T. Blueprint
Consultant
Top 10
Easy to manage with good storage optimization but the cloud deployment needs to be improved

Pros and Cons

  • "The fast recovery time objective with the ability to bring the environment back to production in case something happens."
  • "The integration wizard requires a bit of streamlining. There are small things that misconfigure or repeat the deployment that will create errors, specifically in Azure."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for files, VMware storage, and the DR volume on the cloud. They also use this solution to move data between on-premises and the cloud volume ONTAP.

How has it helped my organization?

It's difficult to say if it has helped to reduce the company's data in the cloud right now without running it for a while. It's the same for the cloud costs.

We are going through testing right now, and can't tell if it will affect their operations until we validate it.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the ease of management, the deduplication, storage optimization, SnapMirror, it has flexible in testing for different scenarios, rapid deployment of the test environments, and rapid recovery.

The fast recovery time objective with the ability to bring the environment back to production in case something happens.

The ability to go back in time. It's easy to restore the data that we need and it has good stability with CIFS. When a client is using CIFS to access their files, it is pretty stable without knowing Microsoft issues.

The simplicity and ease of usage for VMware provisioning are also helpful.

What needs improvement?

Some of the area's that need improvement are:

  • Cloud sync
  • Cloud Volume ONTAP
  • Deployment for the cloud manager

These areas need to be streamlined. They are basic configuration error states to acquire late provisioning.

I would like to see the ability to present CIFS files that have been SnapMirrorroed to the Cloud Volume ONTAP and the ability to serve them similarly to OneDrive or Web interfaces.

We are talking about DR cases, customers who are trying to streamline their environments. In the case of DR, users can easily access that data. Today, without running it as file services fully and presenting it through some third party solution, there is no easy way for an end-user to access the appropriate data. This means that we have to build the whole infrastructure for the end-user to be able to open their work files.

The integration wizard requires a bit of streamlining. There are small things that misconfigure or repeat the deployment that will create errors, specifically in Azure.

As an example, you cannot reuse that administrator name, because that object is created in Azure, and it will not let you create it again. So, when the first deployment fails and we deploy for a second time, we have to use a new administration name. Additionally, it requires connectivity from NetApp to register the products and the customer is notified that Network access is not allowed, which creates a problem.

This issue occurs during the time of deployment, but it isn't clear why your environment is not deploying successfully. For this reason, more documentation is needed in explaining and clarification steps of how it needs to be done.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are just validating the cloud for a couple of our clients, so we haven't had it affect our client storage operations.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability remains to be seen. At this time the NetApp limits on the levels of premium, standard, and the basic one are unreasonably incorrect.

It is hard to go from ten terabytes to three hundred and sixty-eight terabytes and leave everyone in between there hanging. Nobody is interested in going with the limit of ten terabytes to test this solution.

I am talking specifically about Azure, Cloud Volume ONTAP and the differentiator between three levels of provisioning storage.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used technical support and it's mediocre.

They gave their best effort, however, at the point they couldn't figure out the problem, they simply said that we would have to deal with Professional Services. I was not impressed, but I understand that it is a new product.

How was the initial setup?

It can be straightforward if everything is perfect, but if there are any glitches on the customer's side then potentially it could require long-term troubleshooting without knowing where to look for the problem.

We have deployed on-premises, but currently, we are testing it on cloud volumes.

For the initial deployment, I used the NetApp file manager to get it up and running.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When it comes to choosing the right solution for our clients, they trust our judgment in recommending something that they know is going to work for them. 

Most of our clients are looking for availability in disaster recovery data and centralizing it into one cloud location. In some cases, a customer doesn't want to go with multiple clients, they want to have it all in one place. They are also looking for simplification in management of the entire solution, provisioning, managing copywriting from a similar interface and a company that can be responsible for the support.

Our customers evaluate other vendors as well. They have looked at AWS, several from Veeam, and partners from ASR for different replication software.

Customers decide to go with NetApp because of our recommendations.

I have experience with other application services including Commvault, Veeam, and ASR.

What other advice do I have?

If Snapshot copies and FlexClones are licensed they work great. The challenge is that the client will not always get the FlexClone license, then it is more difficult to provide it in the future.

Some of our older clients do not have a license for FlexClone, so the recovery of snapshot data can be problematic.

In some cases, they use inline encryption using SnapMirror, but not often.

Inline encryption addresses concerns of data security, as well as using Snapshot. If it is encrypted and it's not near encrypted traffic, then it has less chance of being accessed by someone.

I don't work with application development, so I can't address whether or not snapshot copies and Flexcone affect their application, but for testing environments where we have to update with batches made for maintenance, yes, it allows you to provision, to test, and it validates the stability of the testing and updates releases.

The clients included me in the decision making.

Each has its pros and cons, but with NetApp, this is a NetApp to NetApp product. With Windows backup solutions, it can be from any storage platform to any cloud also. In different ways, they have different workflows with different approaches, but you know each of them is meeting with its business objective, giving you a good balance.

My advice would be to try it first, figure out all of the kinks that might come up, have the proper resources from NetApp lined up to provide you support, and don't give up because it works in the end.

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DF
Infrastructure Architect at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10Leaderboard
Provides unified storage no matter what kind of data we have

Pros and Cons

  • "Lastly, the API and web services are fairly good. That is an important feature too. We write some code to do different things. We have code that runs to make sure that everything is being backed up as we say it is and we try to also detect places where we may have missed a backup."
  • "I'm very happy with the solution, the only thing that needs improvement is the web services API. It could be a little bit more straightforward. That's my only issue with it. It can get pretty complex."

What is our primary use case?

We use Cloud Volumes ONTAP to back up ONTAP Select instances from our plants and distribution centers to Cloud Volumes ONTAP and Azure. We store a backup solution for all or most sites.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of how this solution has improved my organization, we use a third-party backup solution, like Spectrum Protect from IBM to backup finances. That's not the best way to do it. Our choice was to move from that technology straight to using the same technology for backup, which is essentially NetApp. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is NetApp. It's the same technology which is where the efficiency really is. It's much more efficient than using a third-party solution.

It provides unified storage no matter what kind of data we have. Right now, it's just backing up Volumes but NetApp is a unified solution. In our case, it's really for file storage, NFS or CIFS.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP allows us to keep more backup. We can keep more backup because of the cost of storage in Azure versus what we have in our data center. This is also completely off-site from our data centers. We have two data centers close to each other, but this actually keeps us as an offsite copy too because it's far enough away. It does keep control of our storage costs from a previous backup technology because it's kept in Azure and it's cloud-based storage. It's not our on-premise storage, it's kind of a hybrid cloud solution.

We're saving around 20% on storage. 

What is most valuable?

It is the same technology that we run on our sites. All of the backup functions and recovery are similar. It's the exact same process. From a learning experience, it's the same. If you learn ONTAP itself, then you can do Cloud Volumes ONTAP without an issue.

The main feature of it is what we call "native backup technology." We're not using somebody else's technology backup, we're using NetApp. 

The other important part to us is the Cloud Manager. It gives us a single pane of glass to look at the environment. Everything is remote right now but we will be backing up some on-premise very shortly.

Lastly, the API and web services are fairly good. That is an important feature too. We write some code to do different things. We have code that runs to make sure that everything is being backed up as we say it is and we try to also detect places where we may have missed a backup.

What needs improvement?

I'm very happy with the solution, the only thing that needs improvement is the web services API. It could be a little bit more straightforward. That's my only issue with it. It can get pretty complex. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cloud Volumes ONTAP for a year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, we haven't had any downtime. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well. We can add to the license. We have a 100 terabyte license right now, but we can add to it very quickly.

There is very low maintenance because once you deploy it, you run your scripts and you can see what failed and not many things fail. So, it's pretty quick.

How are customer service and technical support?

We did contact their support initially during the initial install. It was our cloud technical support. We had a resource from them. They were excellent. 

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

We switched to CVO because of the efficiency and architectural consistency because it uses the same technology. NetApp to NetApp is not trying to go to somebody else.

We were backing up Spectrum Protect and we were using SimpliVity backup at one time on the license, but essentially those weren't solutions and we moved totally away from that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. You log onto their marketplace and deploy the Cloud Manager. Then it will deploy the actual CVO itself. It's pretty much a point and click. You have to set up some things ahead of time, like your Azure connections if you don't have them. Those can be more complex, but the actual solution itself was fairly straightforward.

There are prerequisites that have to be done like networking to Azure to your cloud and making sure that you have firewall rules in place. Those are more site-specific, like customer-specific issues. It's not really related to CVO directly.

It took about three months to deploy all the sites which are just for North America. This is also deployed within our company and in Asia. We have about 24 sites and we have a 100% adoption rate. 

What about the implementation team?

We did the deployment ourselves. 

What was our ROI?

We never really got down to the TCO. We just know that it was at least 20% better. The only reason we would pick it and change everything is that it was cheaper and consistent with our architecture. 

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

We don't think it's that expensive when compared to what we were paying for the previous vendor. This is less expensive. Pricing is good. 

What other advice do I have?

My main advice is to get your cloud technical support online. Make sure you have all the prerequisites properly done and you understand how to deploy the Cloud Manager. That's really the main thing.

Anytime we want to deploy new sites, we have to get the network people involved for firewalls because in our case, we're coming from Azure, which is where the CVO is, back into our company's network. The security protection is the most important lesson that you've got to get right. The security of your connections is important. 

I would rate NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP a ten out of ten. 

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.
Learn what your peers think about NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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WH
Senior Systems Engineer at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
Cloud Manager is a nice tool for managing the environment, and we can easily pair on-prem with the cloud and the cloud backup feature

Pros and Cons

  • "I like how you can easily pair on-prem with the cloud and the cloud backup feature. I like the whole integration with on-prem and the cloud for SnapMirror relationships."
  • "They definitely need to stay more on top of security vulnerabilities. Our security team is constantly finding Java vulnerabilities and SQL vulnerabilities. Our security team always wants the latest security update, and it takes a while for NetApp to stay up to speed with that. That would be my biggest complaint."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in AWS. I believe we're using the latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to move our VDI environment into AWS. It has been a big performance boost. It has helped our customers all around the globe access virtual desktop.

Upgrades are much easier in terms of upgrading ONTAP. It is so much easier with CVO.

It provides unified storage and gives us better access to our data. We're able to manage it. I don't really see that any different than the on-prem solution, but it does give us the ability to manage access and permissions.

CVO enables us to manage our native cloud storage better than if we used management options provided by AWS. That's because we're more familiar with ONTAP. So, it is not like we had to change how we manage storage. That was the big thing, and it has an easier user interface. Managing AWS storage is also pretty easy, but to me, the easiest thing was the fact that we're familiar with ONTAP.

What is most valuable?

I do like the cloud manager. It is a nice way of managing our environment. It definitely is a nice tool to do basic ONTAP tasks such as setting up backups, creating volumes, and managing permissions.

I like how you can easily pair on-prem with the cloud and the cloud backup feature. I like the whole integration with on-prem and the cloud for SnapMirror relationships. 

I like the backup feature because it is all SaaS, and it is easy to set up. My data is encrypted in transit. 

The compliance feature is also good, but we haven't used it yet. From what I've seen in the demos, it is really a nice feature. I like the fact that we can analyze our data. We can do data analysis with artificial intelligence and categorize data. 

What needs improvement?

They definitely need to stay more on top of security vulnerabilities. Our security team is constantly finding Java vulnerabilities and SQL vulnerabilities. Our security team always wants the latest security update, and it takes a while for NetApp to stay up to speed with that. That would be my biggest complaint.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had a problem yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had a scalability issue, so it scales easily. We are using about 20 terabytes. We have about 200 people who are using it on a day-to-day basis. They are mostly from the finance team.

We have plans to increase its usage. We are investigating it. It is all based on the business.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've had many support cases. Sometimes, it takes a while for them to give me a solution that works. Sometimes, they give me a solution that works, but it depends on the problem. I would rate their support a seven out of 10.

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

We were using NetApp, so we were using NetApp arrays. The main reason for switching was that we wanted to move our VDI environment into AWS. So, the main reason was to use the NetApp in AWS. One of the reasons why we went with Cloud Volumes ONTAP was that it was easy to migrate our on-prem solution into AWS because of SnapMirror.

We worked with Amazon FSx for a little bit, but it wasn't really ready yet. It was just released, so we decided to stick with CVO.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward, but we were mandated to use Terraform. So, I had to create a Terraform code, but it was easy to set it up. It takes a couple of hours to just set it up if you know what you're doing, but planning, designing the application, and everything else took about three months.

We had an on-prem solution running on arrays, and we wanted to move our VDI infrastructure into AWS. In terms of the implementation strategy, first of all, we wanted to figure out the kind of array and what can we do in terms of ONTAP to make it work. We had to set up a PoC and get some test users and a VPC in place. We had to get security rules and security in place. So, there was a lot of stuff just besides ONTAP. Obviously, we needed to get the whole cloud infrastructure in place to support the VDI users, and CVO was just one part of this project.

What about the implementation team?

I did it myself.

What was our ROI?

Our users are happy, so I guess that's a good return on our investment.

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

It is expensive. There are no costs in addition to their standard licensing fees.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to go for it. It is a great product. It is a great piece of software. NetApp is cutting edge when it comes to software in the cloud. I don't really have any warnings.

I don't know if we're saving more money by putting in more data. It does have tiers, and I guess there is data reduction that does help us save more money. We're using cloud on CVO, and we take advantage of reduction capabilities that do help us. 

I would rate this solution a nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
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.
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RR
Lead Engineer Architecture & Engineering Services at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Provides a single point solution that is easy to maintain and provision

Pros and Cons

  • "If you have a larger amount of data than normal in cloud, it is easy to provision and maintain. Waiting for the delivery of the controller, the configuration of enclosures, etc., all this stuff is eliminated compared to using on-premise."
  • "I would like NetApp to come up with an easier setup for the solution."

What is our primary use case?

The main use case of ONTAP is for users to utilize SharePoint. From there, they need to access data where there are specific applications as well as an individual shared folder.

It is being used for application purposes as well as for individual user purposes.

We are using the latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

This isn't an isolated solution. We must have NetApp to support our faster access on a file protocol. We found the same solution on Azure is just as helpful when compared to the on-premise solution.

The solution provides us unified storage, no matter what kind of data we have. If we take a normal storage account in the public cloud, then it may not be active in terms of identity level. However, using NetApp, we can leverage the identity management control integrating with our AD. From there, we can gain the computer user's access and maintain the user side entity for who is accessing what.

What is most valuable?

On-premises, we are using the same NetApp. We find the solution in Azure to be more reliable and tailorable in NetApp with the same NetApp features because it gives us the most updated NetApp solution.

If you have a larger amount of data than normal in the cloud, it is easy to provision and maintain. Waiting for the delivery of the controller, the configuration of enclosures, etc., all this stuff is eliminated compared to using on-premise.

For how long have I used the solution?

Eight months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From my months' experience, I haven't seen a single point of failure within the ONTAP, except for Azure maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is a very good feature. If our data reaches 90 percent (or some threshold level), it automatically increases the storage within ONTAP without our intervention.

The solution helps us control storage costs. It is scalable. If we need more storage, then we can opt for a monthly or yearly option.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good.

Once you register with NetApp Cloud Central, people will get in touch with you who can assist you with deploying your solution.

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

This is the first time that we are using this type of a solution in the cloud.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward, but I would like NetApp to come up with an easier setup for the solution.

Deployment time depends on the client. On average, deploying the entire solution can take about a day (eight hours), if there are no issues.

For a standard storage implementation project, we need to have some shared storage for the client's application as well as the user groups and shared files that they have been using. To leverage this, we've been using this solution.

You need to go through the NetApp website and go through the documents regarding deploying ONTAP. If you experience any difficulties, there is a technical team to help you.

What about the implementation team?

Some of the sales managers and other team members helped me setup the environment. They explained to me how the pay as you go and BYOL models work. If you need to the BYOL model to work, they will use some temporary licenses for a 30-day evaluation. They are there for you from beginning to end if you need assistance.

What was our ROI?

Because we went with the BYOL instead of pay as you go, we haven't seen ROI.

Using this solution, the more data that we store, the more money we can save. If you use traditional cloud providers, then you cannot manage unified lists. For that, you would need to follow a set of rules and some other stuff. You also need to have more people managing the entire environment. Whereas, NetApp provides a single point solution. 

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

They have a very good price which keeps our customers happy. 

Once we deploy the pay as you go model, we cannot convert this product as a BYOL model. This is a concern that we have. We would like NetApp to come up with a solution for this. For example, a customer may think, "Let's use this solution." Later, he realizes that, "This is our solution and I have this budget for the year. If we can pay upfront for one year, then we can reduced the amount we pay." This is currently not possible if we select the pay as you go model.

Your OCCM should always be the same as your ONTAP, e.g., suppose you have deployed one ONTAP, then due to some reason, you deleted it and also OCCM. Then, the next time that you want to deploy another OCCM and ONTAP, that same license won't work because the license is based on the OCCM serial ID.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions. We only evaluated ONTAP.

NetApp is an industry leader as well as we have experienced with NetApp on-premise. That is the reason we chose NetApp as a reliable partner.

What other advice do I have?

We don't use the solution’s cloud resource performance monitoring.

I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
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: Partner.
Parag Veerkar
Infrastructure Architect (Hybrid Cloud Hosting) at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Helps us to save on the costs of backup products

Pros and Cons

  • "Its features help us to have a backup of our volumes using the native technology of NetApp ONTAP. That way, we don't have to invest in other solutions for our backup requirement. Also, it helps us to replicate the data to another geographic location so that helps us to save on the costs of backup products."
  • "They have very good support team who is very helpful. They will help you with every aspect of getting the deployment done."
  • "The automated deployment was a bit complex using the public APIs. When we had to deploy Cloud Volumes ONTAP on a regular basis using automation, It could be a bit of a challenge."
  • "We want to be able to add more than six disks in aggregate, but there is a limit of the number of disks in aggregate. In GCP, they provide less by limiting the sixth disk in aggregate. In Azure, the same solution provides 12 disks in an aggregate versus GCP where it is just half that amount. They should bump up the disk in aggregate requirement so we don't have to migrate the aggregate from one to another when the capacities are full."

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to have multitenant deployment of shared storage, specifically network-attached storage (NAS). This file share is used by applications that are very heavy with a very high throughput. Also, an application needs to be able to sustain the read/write throughput and persistent volume. Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps us to get the required performance from our applications.

We just got done with our PoC. We are now engaging with NetApp CVO to get this solution rolled out (deployment) and do hosting for our customers on top of that.

How has it helped my organization?

Using this solution, the more data that we store, the more money we can save.

What is most valuable?

  • CIFS volume.
  • The overall performance that we are getting from CVO.
  • The features around things like Snapshots. 
  • The performance and capacity monitoring of the storage.

These features help us to have a backup of our volumes using the native technology of NetApp ONTAP. That way, we don't have to invest in other solutions for our backup requirement. Also, it helps us to replicate the data to another geographic location so that helps us to save on the costs of backup products.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP gives us flexible storage.

What needs improvement?

There are a few bugs in the system that they need to improve on the UI part. Specifically, its integration of NetApp Cloud Manager with CVO, which is something they are already working on. They will probably provide a SaaS offering for Cloud Manager. 

We want to be able to add more than six disks in aggregate, but there is a limit of the number of disks in aggregate. In GCP, they provide less by limiting the sixth disk in aggregate. In Azure, the same solution provides 12 disks in an aggregate versus GCP where it is just half that amount. They should bump up the disk in aggregate requirement so we don't have to migrate the aggregate from one to another when the capacities are full. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I cannot comment on stability right now because we have not been using it in production as of now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We still have CVO running on a single VM instance. As an improvement area, if CVO can come up with a scale out that will help so we will not be limited by the number of VMs in GCP. Behind one instance, we are adding a number of GCP disks. In some cases, we would like to have the option to scale out by adding more nodes in a cluster environment, like Dell EMC Isilon.

How are customer service and technical support?

Get NetApp involved from day one if you are thinking of deploying Cloud Volumes ONTAP. They have a very good support team who is very helpful. They will help you with every aspect of getting the deployment done.

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

We previously used OpenZFS Cloud Storage. We switched because we were not getting the performance from them. The performance tuning is a headache. There were a lot of issues, such as, the stability and updates of the OpenZFS. We had it because it was a free, open source solution. 

We switched to NetApp because I trust their performance tool and file system.

How was the initial setup?

We did the PoC. Now, we are going to set up a production environment. 

The initial setup was a bit challenging for someone who has no idea about NetApp. Since I have some background with it, I found the setup straightforward. For a few folks, it was challenging. It is best to get NetApp support involved for novices, as they can give the best option for setting to select during deployment.

The automated deployment was a bit complex using the public APIs. When we had to deploy Cloud Volumes ONTAP on a regular basis using automation, It could be a bit of a challenge.

What about the implementation team?

My team of engineers works on deploying this solution. There are five people on my team.

What was our ROI?

We have not realized any money or savings yet because we are still in our deployment process.

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

They give us a good price for CVO licenses. It is one of the reasons that we went with the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did consider several options. 

In GCP, we also considered NetApp's Cloud Volumes services as well, but it did not have good performance. 

Another solution that we tried was Qumulo, which was a good solution, but not that good. From a scaling out perspective, it can scale out a file system, whereas NetApp is not like that. NetApp still works with a single VM. That is the difference.  

We also evaluated the native GCP file offering. However, it did not give us the performance for the application that we wanted.

We do use the cloud performance monitoring, but not with a NetApp product. We use Stackdriver. NetApp provides a separate thing for the monitoring of NetApp CVO, which is NetApp Cloud Manager.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Google
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.
Ed Alexander
Senior Systems Administrator at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Simplifies our tasks, provides good storage savings, and offers a standard storage interface

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution has made everything easier to do."
  • "Multipathing for iSCSI LUNs is difficult to deal with from the client-side and I'd love to see a single entry point that can be moved around within the cluster to simplify the client configuration."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution both on-premises and in the cloud.

Our primary use case for our on-premises implementation is production data and DR. In our cloud implementation, we use this solution for DR.

Moving to the cloud version was something that was different for us, but it was a fairly easy transition. Once we got comfortable with it, now it's second nature. There are many new features and I find that it is more valuable.

In terms of operational recovery, the solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones are easy to do. It greatly simplifies DR testing or application testing because we can very quickly clone a volume provided to the application team. They can use it, and if they want to keep it then we'll split it off and they have their own volume. Or, if they don't want to use it then we just throw it away.

With respect to using inline encryption using SnapMirror, this is something that we are interested in but our version does not support it. Once we upgrade to a supporting version, we plan to deploy it.

The solution's unified file and block storage access give us a standard common interface and a set of tools that we use regardless of whether we're dealing with the cloud or on-premises.

The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones have greatly improved our application development speed. The DBAs can create clones on their own and do whatever they want with them. They can keep them, destroy them, split them, etc. It takes a load off of the storage administrators and puts it where it really should be.

The consistency of storage management across clouds has made our storage operations a lot simpler. We didn't have to learn new interfaces and new command sets. Everything that we're used to using on-premises works for us in the cloud.

With respect to our data footprint in the cloud, we are seeing all of the storage benefits being extended from what we have on-premises. We're just getting into the cloud now, and we're probably seeing between a 30 and 50 percent reduction in our data footprint using compression, compaction, and deduplication.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has made everything easier to do. The most basic operations are very simple and we've been using NetApp tools, plus some of our in-house tools, to automate a lot of the processes. It saves us a lot of time and effort.

What is most valuable?

ONTAP is extremely reliable.

What needs improvement?

The inclusion of onboard key management in CBL would simplify the way we have to do our security.

Multipathing for iSCSI LUNs is difficult to deal with from the client-side and I'd love to see a single entry point that can be moved around within the cluster to simplify the client configuration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for eighteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, this is a rock-solid solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great. You don't have to add controllers to add storage space and you can scale out if you need to add more horsepower to your cluster.

How are customer service and technical support?

NetApp's technical support is outstanding.

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

We have not moved off of another solution. Rather, we are expanding to implement a new solution for a problem that hasn't been addressed yet. Specifically, we are looking to use CBO for replication that up to this point, had not been done yet.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is very simple. I don't remember there being any problems that we looked at and had to research an answer for. It just worked.

What about the implementation team?

We use Tego Data to assist us with this solution. They've been working with us for years on NetApp, and they're just great. They work with us hand in glove on any projects that we reach out to them for, and they know our environment just about as well as we do.

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

Our licensing costs are folded into the hardware purchases and I have never differentiated between the two.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've looked at other storage solutions and we just keep coming back to NetApp because they provide us with everything we need. They have great support and the hardware has drastically improved in horsepower and capacity, so we're happy to stay with them.

What other advice do I have?

I have no problems with this solution at all.

My advice for anybody who is researching this type of solution is to take a serious look at NetApp. They have products that are very flexible, extremely reliable, they're cost-competitive with other storage solutions, and their support is outstanding.

There is always room for enhancement, but what it does, it does very well.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BF
Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Provides deduplication, compression, and compaction that should result in cost savings

Pros and Cons

  • "It gives a solution for storage one place to go across everything. So, the customer is very familiar with NetApp on-prem. It allows them to gain access to the file piece. It helps them with the training aspect of it, so they don't have to relearn something new. They already know this product. They just have to learn some widgets or what it's like in the cloud to operate and deploy it in different ways."
  • "I would like some more performance matrices to know what it is doing. It has some matrices inherent to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP. But inside Cloud Manager, it would also be nice to see. You can have a little Snapshot, then drill down if you go a little deeper."

What is our primary use case?

Desktop-as-a-service is a PoC that I'm doing for our customers to allow them to use NetApp for their personal, departmental, and profile shares. This connects their desktop-as-a-service that we're building for them.

This is for training. The customer has classrooms that they have set up. They have about 150,000 users coming through. They want to have a way to do a secure, efficient solution that can be repeated after they finish this class, before the next class comes in, and use a NetApp CVO as well as some desktop services off of the AWS. 

It is hosted by AWS. Then, it hosted by CVO who sets out some filers, as well Cloud Volumes Manager as well. We were looking at it with Azure as well, because it doesn't matter. We want to do a multicloud with it.

How has it helped my organization?

We haven't put it into production yet. However, in the proof of concept, we show the use of it and the how you can take it in Snapshot daily coverage, because we're doing it for a training area. This allows them to return back to where they were. The bigger thing is if they need to reset up for a class, then we can have a goal copied or flip back where they need to be.

It gives a solution for storage one place to go across everything. So, the customer is very familiar with NetApp on-prem. It allows them to gain access to the file piece. It helps them with the training aspect of it, so they don't have to relearn something new. They already know this product. They just have to learn some widgets or what it's like in the cloud to operate and deploy it in different ways.

The customer knows the product. They don't have to train their administrators on how to do things. They are very familiar with that piece of it. Then, the deduplication, compression, and compaction are all things that you would get from moving to a CVO and the cloud itself. That is something that they really enjoy because now they're getting a lot of cost savings off of it. We anticipate cloud cost savings, but it is not in production yet. It should be about a 30 percent savings. If it is a 30 percent or better savings, then it is a big win for the customer and for us.

What is most valuable?

  • Dedupe
  • Compression
  • Compaction
  • Taking 30 gig of data and reducing it down to five to 10 gig on the AWS blocks.

What needs improvement?

I would some wizards or best practices following how to secure CVO, inherit to the Cloud Manager. I thought that was a good place to be able to put stuff like that in there. 

I would like some more performance matrices to know what it is doing. It has some matrices inherent to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP. But inside Cloud Manager, it would also be nice to see. You can have a little Snapshot, then drill down if you go a little deeper. 

This is where I would like to see changes, primarily around security and performance matrices.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are still in the proof of concept stage.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a good system. It is very stable as far as what I've been using with it. I find that support from it is really good as well. It is something that I would offer to all of my customers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale. It is inherent to the actual product. It will move to another cloud solution or it can be managed from another cloud solution. So, it's taken down barriers which are sometimes put out by vendors in different ways.

How was the initial setup?

We use NetApp Cloud Manager to get up and running with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Its configuration wizards and ability to automate the process are easy, simple, and straightforward. If you have any knowledge of storage, even to a very small amount, the wizards will click through and help to guide you through the right things. They make sure you put the right things in. They give some good examples to make sure you follow those examples, which makes it a bit more manageable in the long run.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

They use some native things that are inherent to the AWS. They have looked at those things. 

NetApp has been one of the first ones that they looked at, and it is the one that they are very happy with today.

What other advice do I have?

Work with your resources in different ways, as far as in NetApp in the partner community. But bigger than that, just ask questions. Everybody seems willing to help move the solution forward. The biggest advice is just ask when you don't know, because there is so much to know.

I would rate the solution as a nine (out of 10).

We're not using inline encryption right now.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
AbnerCordova
Storage Specialist at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Offers good replication to the cloud and good deduplication

Pros and Cons

  • "Replication to the cloud is the most valuable feature. Deduplication and compression are also very important to us. We are in the process of adopting to the cloud. We are going to AWS and we are trying to do a safety technician call out with integration to the cloud. NetApp allows us to move some of the volume to the cloud, at the same time that we continue providing the cloud services that we have on premises."
  • "I would like to see something from NetApp about backups. I know that NetApp offers some backup for Office 365, but I would like to see something from NetApp for more backup solutions."

What is our primary use case?

We use this primarily to consolidate our services and block services.

How has it helped my organization?

We are using Linux and eventually, we are going to use SnapMirror. So far, we have seen benefits from using this solution. When we started this process there were some very specific goals about log and files being stored in a single static device. This is achieved with a RAM solution. We are also able to integrate with the cloud, which is another goal we achieved. The solution has also saved us on costs, of course. We calculated that we are saving $1,000,000 across three years.

The consistency of storage management across clouds has effected our storage operations. Essentially, one of the benefits of open NetApp is that ONTAP is pretty much the operating system for any mirrored device, so it doesn't matter if it is in the cloud or on-premises, or whether you use other NetApp products, you pretty much have a safe interface with ONTAP. We like that.

One of our goals is to unify file our block file services into a single storage device. At the same time, we want to replicate on-site services to the cloud. That's also a benefit for us because that way we can move it to the cloud if we need to.

What is most valuable?

Replication to the cloud is the most valuable feature. Deduplication and compression are also very important to us. We are in the process of adopting the cloud. We are going to AWS and we are trying to do a safety technician call out with integration to the cloud. NetApp allows us to move some of the volumes to the cloud, at the same time that we continue providing the cloud services that we have on-premises.

We are in the process of doing various plans for all equipment in order to do acceptable recovery of products in the new environment.

What needs improvement?

Maybe I need more speed, but so far, I don't have any feedback for improvements.

I would like to see something from NetApp about backups. I know that NetApp offers some backup for Office 365, but I would like to see something from NetApp for more backup solutions.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great. We have been doing different scenarios about errors from controllers, to disks, and so far it is very stable. We have not had any issues. We upgraded our own version and did not have any issues there, either.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is another issue that we like from ONTAP. There are products for different scales. It is very easy to use.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we deployed everything, we opened a case with support for two minor issues we had with some servers. They're great. They were willing to help, easy to communicate with, and respond very quickly. They already found the issue and resolved it.

How was the initial setup?

We used NetApp Cloud Manager to get up and running with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. That is how we deployed it. Their configuration wizards and ability to automate the process were very easy. The wizard is very easy to follow. There are videos, so you don't really need a lot of skill. If you understand integrations and have a basic knowledge of the cloud, you can quickly connect your equipment. It's good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other solutions.  We evaluated the main players in this area, like EMC.

There are some features that we really liked from NetApp. One of them is the ability to consolidate files and blocks. Other vendors have some mirror solutions, but they are not in the maturity level that NetApp is. We also really like that NetApp has a product for the cloud that is really working and is proven and valuable. Other vendors do not have that, or if they have it, you need to deploy something in the middle. That is something that we like. We don't need to deploy anything. We can just run the backup directly from the OS and spin out the solution.

What other advice do I have?

Try not to focus only on the current issues, but also look into the innovation process of NetApp. It is very impressive how they have been able to develop and continue trying to develop products for the cloud. Try to gain a deeper understanding of established needs and requirements for files and blocks.

I would rate this solution as ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.