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NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is #1 ranked solution in top Cloud Migration tools, #1 ranked solution in top Cloud Storage tools, #1 ranked solution in top Public Cloud Storage Services, #1 ranked solution in top Cloud Software Defined Storage tools, and #4 ranked solution in top Cloud Backup tools. IT Central Station users give NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP an average rating of 8 out of 10. NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is most commonly compared to Azure NetApp Files:NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP vs Azure NetApp Files. NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 70% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 28% of all views.
What is NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP?

The leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services and supports up to a capacity of 368TB. Software service supports various use cases, such as: File shares and block-level storage serving NAS (NFS, SMB / CIFS) and SAN (iSCSI) Disaster Recovery, Backup, and Archive DevOps Databases (SQL, Oracle, NoSQL) Cloud Volumes ONTAP is offered in a standard single-node configuration or in a High Availability (HA) configuration.

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP was previously known as ONTAP Cloud, CVO, NetApp CVO.

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Buyer's Guide

Download the NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Customers

Rohit, AdvacnedMD, D2L, Trinity Mirror, Eidos Media, WireStorm, Cordant Group, JFK Medical Center, ALD Automotive, Healthix, City of Baton Rouge, ON Semiconductor

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Video

Archived NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Reviews (more than two years old)

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OJ
Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Helped reduce our data footprint in the cloud and is easy to scale

Pros and Cons

  • "We are definitely in the process of reducing our footprint on our secondary data center and all those snapshots technically reduce tape backup. That's from the protection perspective, but as far as files, it's much easier to use and manage and it's faster, too."
  • "I think the challenge now is more in terms of keeping an air gap. The notion that it is in the cloud, easy to break, etc. The challenge now is mostly about the air gap and how we can protect that in the cloud."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution on premises for files and in AWS for the target.

How has it helped my organization?

We are definitely in the process of reducing our footprint on our secondary data center and all those snapshots technically reduce tape backup. That's from the protection perspective, but as far as files, it's much easier to use and manage and it's faster, too.

The solution has definitely helped reduce our organization's data footprint in the cloud. The data-tiering helps a lot. I would say improving data tiering to S3 reduces our footprint by about 90-95%, which is huge. That is instead of just sitting on EBS, which is expensive storage.

What is most valuable?

The solution's Snapshot copies and thin clones is a really fast and easy method for recovery.

What needs improvement?

I think the challenge now is more in terms of keeping an air gap. The notion that it is in the cloud, easy to break, etc. The challenge now is mostly about the air gap and how we can protect that in the cloud.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, it has been very stable. We haven't had any downtime or other stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is very easy to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of the time they're very timely. Sometimes you just need to wait, which is okay because those times are not critical issues. When we do have to wait, the response time is usually a day or two, but that's fine with that level of criticality.

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

I've used NetApp for many years. It's something that I know is very stable and reliable. Recommending it to the current company was an easy pass. When I joined the company we were using a different vendor. It was an EMC solution for file, but we moved to NetApp. NetApp has more storage efficiency, the Snapshot feature, and better performance when you have multiple snapshots.

How was the initial setup?

It's very straightforward to set up. It was very easy and fast.

We used NetApp Cloud Manager to get up and running with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. It was very easy and there was almost nothing to do. It's just a click of a button.

What about the implementation team?

We used NetApp Build Engineer to deploy. We had a good experience with them.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely check out this file solution. We are using that and the cloud solution. It's something you need to see in your environment if you are not using it yet.

NetApp is nine out of ten. If we address the air gap concern, it would be a 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.
PrakashKanniayan
Sr Systems Engineer at Ucare
Real User
Simple to get up and running, and our data is readily available when we need it

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature of this solution is that it makes our data readily available and we don't have to go through a lot of trouble to access it."
  • "We would like to have support for high availability in multi-regions."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is data replication to the cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

Using Snapshot copies and thin clones for operational recovery is convenient. This technology makes things very easy.

The unified file and block-storage access across clouds and on-premises infrastructure have made things easier for us. It means that we do not face significant roadblocks.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is that it makes our data readily available and we don't have to go through a lot of trouble to access it.

What needs improvement?

We would like to have support for high availability in multi-regions.

There is no support for Microsoft Azure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very impressive and we have had no issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not an issue because it is really expandable. If you don't know the structure of the business you can scale up, scale down, and do everything graphically.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not used NetApp technical support directly. We have been speaking with partners who are in our region.

How was the initial setup?

We used the NetApp Cloud Manager to get up and running, and we found it very simple. It was very easy, and you don't have to be an engineer to get it working.

What about the implementation team?

Partners from our region assisted us with the deployment. CW did a good job starting from scratch and getting everything up and running. When I would give a requirement, they would come up with all of the options that were available.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have tried Pure Storage and EMC RecoverPoint, but ONTAP is easier to use.

What other advice do I have?

I love this solution. They have a lot of features and they explore the market really well, whereas other vendors fail to do those things. ONTAP keeps evolving with the needs of the market and follows the trends.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,529 professionals have used our research since 2012.
GeorgeLavrov
Consultant at I.T. Blueprint
Consultant
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.
AS
Storage Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Reduced our recovery time and reduced our cloud costs

Pros and Cons

  • "Multiprotocol is the most valuable because Amazon was not able to provide us with access to the same data from Linux and from Windows clients. That was our value proposition for CVO, Cloud Volumes ONTAP."
  • "Not a perfect ten because it's not very efficient with upgrades and management."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for multiprotocol access.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps us with our snapshots with our backups. We do a lot of SnapVault backups to our secondary data center and that is very efficient for us. It reduced our recovery time.

ONTAP has reduced our company's footprint on the cloud and has reduced our cloud costs.

What is most valuable?

Multiprotocol is the most valuable feature because Amazon was not able to provide us with access to the same data from Linux and from Windows clients. That was our value proposition for CVO, Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

The operational recovery of snapshot copies and thin clones is very fast and efficient. We do a lot of database refreshes, and the dual clones and copies have reduced a lot of operational time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is highly stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is amazing. 

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

We are old NetApp customers and we chose this solution because we wanted to adopt newer technologies. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It's easy to deploy. We have faster deployments. We used Cloud Manager to get up and running. Its configuration wizard and ability to automate the process was amazing. It's easy to use, simple, and it does everything.

What about the implementation team?

We used a partner for the deployment called EBT. Our experience with them was smooth. They know what they're doing. 

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI.

What other advice do I have?

We are a big NFS shop, so ONTAP is a great fit for us. If you are an NFS shop then I would recommend getting ONTAP.

I would rate ONTAP a nine out of ten. Not a perfect ten because it's not very efficient with upgrades and management. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AB
Storage Admin at a comms service provider with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Snapshot copies and thin clones have made our recovery time a lot faster

Pros and Cons

  • "ONTAP's snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery are pretty useful in recovering your data from a time in a snapshot. That's pretty useful for when you have an event where a disaster struck and then you need to recover all your data. It's pretty helpful and pretty fast in those terms."
  • "In terms of improvement, I would like to see the Azure NetApp Files have the capability of doing SnapMirrors. Azure NetApp Files is, as we know, is an AFF system and it's not used in any of the Microsoft resources. It's basically NetApp hardware, so the best performance you can achieve, but the only reason we can't use that right now is because of the region that it's available in. The second was the SnapMirror capability that we didn't have that we heavily rely on right now."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for ONTAP is for DR. 

How has it helped my organization?

ONTAP has improved my organization because we no longer need to purchase all that hardware and have that all come up as a big expense. It worked out better for our budgeting purposes.

We use it to move data between hyperscales on our on-premises environment. We're able to do that with SnapMirror and it's pretty simple to set up and move data around. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is DR backups. 

ONTAP's snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery are pretty useful in recovering your data from a time in a snapshot. That's pretty useful for when you have an event where a disaster struck and then you need to recover all your data. It's pretty helpful and pretty fast in those terms.

We use SnapMirror inline encryption for security in the cloud. A lot of people, especially legal, want their data to be protected. That's what we use it for.

Snapshot copies and thin clones have made our recovery time a lot faster. Doing a restore from a snapshot is a lot better than trying to do a restore from a backup.

In terms of time management and managing our infrastructure, we are a lot better because of the consistency of storage management across clouds.

I wouldn't say it has reduced our data footprint in the cloud because whatever we were using was basically a lift and shift as of right now. We are hoping as we go we'll be able to take advantage of all the storage efficiencies like compression and all that. Hopefully, that'll save us quite a lot of space and time.

What needs improvement?

In terms of improvement, I would like to see the Azure NetApp Files have the capability of doing SnapMirrors. Azure NetApp Files is an AFF system and it's not used in any of the Microsoft resources. It's basically NetApp hardware, so the best performance you can achieve, but the only reason we can't use that right now is because of the region that it's available in. The second was the SnapMirror capability that we didn't have that we heavily rely on right now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had issues with stability so far. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability comes down to what service or what NetApp Cloud solution you're using. There are different solutions for what you're trying to achieve. Based on your requirements, you just need to pick the right solution that works for you.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had any issues, so technical support is pretty good.

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

We knew we needed to invest in this solution because we were told we were closing the data centers so we had to migrate to the cloud. The management told us we are closing data centers and migrating everything into the cloud. That's what kicked us off.

How was the initial setup?

We used NetApp Cloud Manager to get up and running with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. It could be a little challenging if you don't know how the network security groups and how the roles in Azure work. That's where we had the challenges with deploying because we had cloud managers in different regions, one in Azure West and one in Azure East and we were trying to do replications between the two clouds. The Cloud Central Cloud Manager wasn't able to make a connection and that was because of some of the roles that we had to provide. Even the documentation on that was kind of scattered across. It wasn't just one page and it had all the information. So that was kind of challenging and it took me a lot of time to figure that out. I think it should be in one single pane of a page. Not as scattered around different pages.

Once I reached out to the support they helped me out, but I was trying to figure it out on my own reading documentation and it didn't do anything.

The first one I deployed in Azure was very simple. The second one that we deployed and I was trying to make the connection between, that was complex because of how the roles worked.

What about the implementation team?

We used consultants for the implementation. We had a pretty good experience with them.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. All of our SLASs via some of our SQL databases,  have SLAs of around five minutes. SnapMirror works great for that. We don't have that and if we have a disaster, then we could be in big trouble if we have SLA breaches and stuff like that.

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

It has not reduced our cloud cost. We're still pretty new and we're still trying to figure things out like how the cost modeling works and which is the best performance and best cost for our workloads. Based on that, it's a lot of tuning. Once you get there, you just need to monitor your workloads and see how it is and just go from there.

For NetApp it's about $20,000 for a single node and $30,000 for the HA.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For the DR we are using NetApp but for the production, a lot of the cloud architects in our company want to go native to Azure or native to AWS. Since we are a NetApp Cloud shop for a while and even our RND on-prem is mostly just all on NetApps. We want to keep that going, going into the cloud because it's a lot simpler to manage our infrastructure, our storage and take advantage of all the efficiencies that NetApp provides. Whereas if you don't use that, all of those savings, and if you have a lot of data as we do, petabytes of data, and Microsoft and AWS, take advantage of all those efficiencies and we don't because we don't have that capability. With the NetApp integration, we can take advantage of all those efficiencies and other performance.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a nine out of ten because of the simplicity of the DR is amazing. You just set it up. If there are any issues bringing it back, bringing it online in a DR site just takes a few minutes and then you're back up online again.

The advice that I would give to anybody considering ONTAP is to give it a try. That's how I learned. I didn't know anything about the cloud. Then our company just started telling us that we were moving everything to the cloud and we had to learn about it. That's how we learned and moved everything to the cloud.

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: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AbnerCordova
Storage Specialist at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
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.
RazvanOprea
Sr Storage Engineer at Ripe NCc
Real User
Enables us to move from hardware to cloud for more flexibility

Pros and Cons

  • "For us, the value comes from the solution's flexibility, speed, and hopefully cost savings in the long term."
  • "I would like this solution to be brought to all the three major players. Right now it's supported only on AWS and Azure. They should bring it to Google as well, because we would like to have flexibility in choosing the underlying cloud storage provider."

What is our primary use case?

We're trying to see whether it's a good fit to move our secondary storage to the cloud, which would then be in competition with ONTAP Cloud Volumes. However, ONTAP gives us a bit more flexibility. If it's cost-effective, good enough performance, and has all the tools we need, we will continue with it. So far it looks great.

How has it helped my organization?

ONTAP made us less reliant on in-house hardware. It has already changed the way we're looking at our investments, purchasing plans, and budgeting for the next three to five years. We are shifting more into the cloud OpEx rather than keeping our expenses on the hardware side. That is already a good outlook.

We're just using AWS for now, but the consistency of storage management between our own program and the cloud seems to be great.

The solution has definitely helped reduce our company's data footprint in the cloud. I don't have the numbers in my head. By using compression in the cloud and deduplication, it's something that definitely reduces all the data, probably by more than 20%. That is in comparison to using native cloud source storage solutions.

In terms of our company's cloud costs, we're still seeing about the same amount of money spent. However, it's shifting towards the OpEx part and that gives us the flexibility to scale up and down versus the investment that you have to do upfront in the beginning. It's the shift that we're interested in rather than the total amount at the moment. In the future, we might expect that the cost of the cloud solution will drop. Therefore in the future, we may also see the total costs go down.

What is most valuable?

For us, the value comes from the solution's flexibility, speed, and hopefully cost savings in the long term.

What needs improvement?

I would like this solution to be brought to all the three major players. Right now it's supported only on AWS and Azure. They should bring it to Google as well because we would like to have flexibility in choosing the underlying cloud storage provider.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is perfect. We have had no problems. On-premises was also good, so I'm not worried about this.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is definitely scalable on the cloud. On the cloud, you can scale almost infinitely. You don't have to worry about reaching any limits, so that's definitely very good. Also in performance levels, you can have underlying storage in the cloud allowing you to change the IOPS, or performance at latency on the fly. That is something you cannot do very easily on-premises.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is great. We're using a partner in the Netherlands for support and we have a great relationship with them.

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

I first encountered NetApp at Insight 2018 Barcelona. I was there and talked to NetApp.

How was the initial setup?

I found the initial setup straightforward. Cloud Manager is point and click, which makes deployment pretty easy.

What about the implementation team?

We involved NetApp a little bit but it was to look at the product. It's so simple to use that we were able to do it mostly ourselves without a lot of help.

What other advice do I have?

Take a look at it, try it yourself. It's one month for free, with no licensing costs from NetApp. Try it out. It doesn't cost anything but some of your time. It's pretty simple to run and see how it works.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten. It's not a ten because the multi-cloud has to be in three layers.

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.
TzvikaKlinger
CTO at Poria
Real User
Reliable, easy to manage, and has an easy setup

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup was straightforward. We started with a small pilot and we then moved to production with no downtime at all."
  • "In the next release, I would like to see more options on the dashboard."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case of ONTAP is for all of my data.

How has it helped my organization?

We have DR and we once had a problem with electricity and the data moved to the other side of the DR and the user and I didn't know about it. ONTAP has avoided this from occurring in the future.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it's easy to manage and it's reliable. 

I haven't had to restore the Snapshot copies and thin clones. Every time I check, it's working.

I don't use the inline encryption.

What needs improvement?

In the next release, I would like to see more options on the dashboard. 

Local support needs improvement. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is easy.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is very good. 

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

We previously used HPE 3PAR and we switched because of the complexity we had with HPE. It was easier with NetApp.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We started with a small pilot and we then moved to production with no downtime at all.

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator for the setup. They were good. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We chose NetApp because after we did the pilot, we saw the difference between both of the companies.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a nine out of a ten. I give it this rating because of my experience with it and the ease of implementation. To make it a ten it wouldn't cost money.

My advice to someone considering this solution would be to go for it. 

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.
JC
Pre-sales SE at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
A good DR solution that saved money over replacing an end-of-life on-premises deployment

Pros and Cons

  • "The stability has been really good."
  • "NetApp CVO needs to have more exposure and mature further before it will have greater acceptance."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for our customer is disaster recovery. They had an array that was reaching end-of-life, and they were trying to decide whether to go with a refreshed new array on-premises or go with CVO in a cloud. The chose the latter.

How has it helped my organization?

Our customer is a large organization that has just merged with several other organizations, so they have a lot going on. It was important for them that the time to market was very short, so they needed to deploy fast and get it set up with minimal impact to the business and their IT staff.

Our customer does not use the inline encryption using SnapMirror.

This business is only using file access and no block access. NetApp provides much of their file access across their infrastructure, so this being a DR solution allowed them to have the tertiary copy.

They use Snapshots and I believe they use clones, as well, but I do not have any specific data.

Currently, they are only using AWS, but they certainly are looking at alternatives to save money.

The data footprint in the cloud has expanded since the implementation.

Using NetApp CVO has definitely reduced our customer's overall spend. However, I think that their cloud costs have probably gone up a little bit.

They do not make use of the functionality to move data between hyperscalers and their on-premises environment.

What is most valuable?

Our customer finds SnapMirror to be valuable.

What needs improvement?

NetApp CVO needs to have more exposure and mature further before it will have greater acceptance.

For how long have I used the solution?

This solution has been deployed at our customer's site for about three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been really good. It has only been deployed for about three months, but they have had no issue so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. If they need to expand then that is one of the features of this solution, easy expansion. We haven't seen any issues there. They haven't expanded it yet, but certainly, the functionality exists.

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

Our customer was previously a NetApp shop, and they were already familiar with SnapMirror, so upgrading to the current solution was a no-brainer. They saved money and have the same functionality.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and easy, with no learning curve involved.

What about the implementation team?

The NetApp Cloud Manager works well, and the customers are happy with it.

What was our ROI?

Our customer has not specifically seen ROI. However, they did a calculation that showed they saved money by not buying another on-premises solution. So, there is some return on investment there, I would say, or a TCO saving at least.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The customer was happy with NetApp and did not look at any alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is researching this type of solution is to definitely take a look at NetApp for all of the cloud-specific products that are out there now. I think that NetApp is definitely a leader when it comes to the cloud approach, especially compared to other storage vendors like Pure. Pure is definitely playing catch-up to NetApp.

I would rate this solution an eight 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: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
JG
Solution Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Secure data replication between on-premises servers and public cloud

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features of this solution are SnapShot, FlexClone, and deduplication."
  • "Only AWS and Azure public clouds are currently available from China, and I would like to see support for Aliyun (Alibaba Cloud)."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for this solution is disaster recovery. We protect our data by replicating using SnapMirror and storing it in a public cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

We use this solution's Snapshot copies as part of our data management and data protection strategy. We store these on serial volumes in a public cloud.

The inline encryption using SnapMirror has helped us to address concerns over data security in the cloud. Our enterprise data is private and is protected, but it is still available for our business.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are SnapShot, FlexClone, and deduplication.

What needs improvement?

Only AWS and Azure public clouds are currently available from China, and I would like to see support for Aliyun (Alibaba Cloud).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good for us because it is required for our operations. We have had no problems with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

ONTAP makes it easy to scale our infrastructure. It is important for us because our business has increased rapidly.

How was the initial setup?

I used cloud central to set up our Cloud Volumes.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
TL
Cloud Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
MSP
Easy-to-use GUI and improves our speed to market, but better Active IQ integration would be an improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution has helped us because it is easy to use."
  • "I would like to see better integration with Active IQ."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to manage all of our NetApp storage.

We have been having good luck with this solution's snapshot copies and thin clones, in terms of operational recovery. We are looking forward to encryption for the snapshots.

Our version does not support inline encryption using SnapMirror, so we're not at that point yet.

With respect to this solution's unified file and block storage access, we only use block-storage and it fits the needs of our customers. We serve internal customer bases, which feed the customers on the outside. For us, it is the right fit.

We don't have anything in the Hyperscaler environment right now. Everything is internal to us.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped us because it is easy to use. The ability to find things in the GUI and being able to restore things has been really simple for us.

The Snapshot copies have helped increase our application development speed, especially in testing because we can blow things up and restore it really quickly. Speed to market is where it really helps.

In terms of the consistency of storage management across clouds, this is something that is critical to us because we have several locations. Each of those locations has the infrastructure in place, including some that are overseas. It has become more and more critical for us to manage those things centrally.

In our case, using this solution has not helped to reduce our data footprint in the cloud. If anything, it's growing.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better integration with Active IQ. I know they're making strides for that, and some of the tools are being mimicked in Active IQ now so that I can look at the same information. If the footprint looks right and the GUI looks the same to us, it'll be more effective for us down the road in the long-term.

Encryption is very important for us going forward because we sometimes store data out of the country, and sometimes overseas. We are looking forward to more in terms of encryption, including the inline encryption for SnapMirror and things of that nature.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no problems with the code levels, or anything else. We get the occasional bugs as everybody does, but the code, overall, has been really good for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't hit the upper boundaries of the solution, so I don't think that scalability is going to be a problem for us in the near future.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been pretty good. Whenever we open a ticket or a case, they've been really responsive.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and subsequent upgrades have not been difficult for us.

The documentation and the reference architecture on the NetApp portals are very well defined.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed the solution ourselves.

We did not use the NetApp Cloud Manager during our initial setup.

What other advice do I have?

The speed to market with the encryption has really been a nagging thing for a lot of folks in our industry, so I'm glad to see that they're finally getting around to encrypting things, including the traffic in between SnapMirrors.

NetApp has been around for a long time. They're an established company and there's a lot of big companies using NetApp, so I think that the new stands for itself. When you're comparing it to other companies in the industry, NetApp is one of the leaders.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
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
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.
Ed Alexander
Senior Systems Administrator at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
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.
DJ
Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A reliable solution with the ability to Snapshot and SnapMirror between locations

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution’s unified file and block-storage access across our infrastructure is invaluable. Without it, we can't do what we do."
  • "We have used technical support. As long as they don't call me at four o'clock in the morning to tell me that a drive failed and they are sending me another one, I like it. They have a tendency to do that."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is storage of medical records.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution’s unified file and block-storage access across our infrastructure is invaluable. Without it, we can't do what we do.

The consistency of storage management across clouds affects our storage operations by making everybody go to object-based storage, which is not a bad thing. I don't care what cloud provider that you use, they all are based upon what AWS comes out with, which is their S3 object-based storage. NetApp is doing that with with StorageGRID, and that's why we have one and a half petabytes of StorageGRID now, because we have developers and they all want to use object-based storage. Everybody likes puts and gets, but I still prefer traditional NFS.

What is most valuable?

The ability to Snapshot and SnapMirror between locations is the most valuable. The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery works very effectively. If you want to automate it, use SnapCenter 2.0. Otherwise, do it manually. It's not that hard to do.

What needs improvement?

I suspect ONTAP will just end up being a portion that runs on StorageGRID. Ultimately, everything will be object-based, then you'll just have a little dock of ONTAP that will do your NFS and CIFS.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using NetApp's products for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The on-premise NetApp is very stable. I can't speak to the cloud side.

It just works. I don't have problems with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. I even insisted when we ordered the latest ones that we get the interconnect switches. So, if we want to expand, we already have those in place.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support. As long as they don't call me at four o'clock in the morning to tell me that a drive failed and they are sending me another one, I like it. They have a tendency to do that. 

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

We previously used Commvault.

I have used NetApp before at two previous companies. 

Compellent is what they already had when we acquired this other company. It would just crash constantly. It is not worth it.

How was the initial setup?

It is pretty easy. It is sort of wizard based.

I have done it numerous times.

What about the implementation team?

We did the last deployment ourselves.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It is reliable, and Commvault is not reliable.

Dell EMC sucks. They are not innovative. They haven't done anything in years.

NetApp is the best solution out there.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it as a 10 out of 10. I've been using the solution for a number of years. I have watched it increasingly get better, not worse.

The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones has affected our application development speed by speeding it up. However, we do so much through Ansible that this is really irrelevant. Theoretically, you should never care about your virtual machines. Your data should always be on NFS or CIFS exports so if a virtual machine gets messed up, you just blow it away and redeploy it. I can redeploy it faster than you can log into it and troubleshoot it, but the data's always here.

With dedupe compression, it does reduce our organizational footprint. Unfortunately, we have to hold on to everything for 20 years.

We are getting ready to use the solution’s inline encryption using SnapMirror.

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.
CA
Sr Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The native filer capabilities are baked right there on the system

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery are the best thing since sliced bread. Rollback is super easy. It's just simple, and it works. It's very efficient."

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use is virtualization as well as filer storage, pretty much all the features of the ONTAP suite.

    We don't have any cloud footprint for contractual obligations. So, it's all pretty much on-prem, but it's in a co-location.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We use it to replicate between data centers. It is for our DR site as well. We use it to create redundancy.

    We do on-prem S3 for StorageGRID. The on-prem infrastructure is cheap. It works just the same. It's S3, so it works very well as far as integration and things that use S3 in our environment.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features are the native filer capabilities because a lot of SAN providers don't do that. When they do it, they do it with an appliance or a secondary. With this, it is just baked in right there on the system that you require. You don't have to have anything extra.

    The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery are the best thing since sliced bread. Rollback is super easy. It's just simple, and it works. It's very efficient.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is good. I've been with NetApps for a long time, so I've seen them fall and come back. However, with cDOT and all this new stuff, it is great. It just works.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We're not that big, storage footprint-wise. However, it's simple. You just add nodes. So, it works.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have not really used the technical support.

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

    We had previous experiences with deploying ONTAP at other companies successfully.

    ONTAP makes our storage solutions more flexible. Traditionally, that's hard to do. ONTAP gives you those features which you typically have to build yourself.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's straightforward. But you do have to know what you're doing. Things do what you expect them to do. There is quite a bit of initial setup, but with things like Ansible and all this new stuff that they're doing, it makes it much easier and automated. So, it's simple.

    What about the implementation team?

    I did the deployment myself with a little help from our vendor's professional services.

    What was our ROI?

    We have had less downtime.

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

    Cost is a big factor, because a lot of companies can't afford enterprise grade equipment all the time. They skimp where they can. I would recommend that they improve the cost.

    What other advice do I have?

    This company that I work for now is just acquiring quite a bit of NetApp equipment. We will be doing SnapMirror. I have done it in the past at another company.

    It does exactly what it does, and it does it well. It works, and that's what really matters at the end the day: uptime, functionality, and scalability.

    I would rate it a nine out of 10. There is always room for improvement. No one is ever going to be a 10.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Hybrid Cloud
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PR
    Storage Architect at NIH
    Real User
    Top 10
    Critical data is snapshotted more frequently making it easier to restore

    Pros and Cons

    • "The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery are good. Snapshot copies are pretty much the write-in time data backups. Obviously, critical data is snapshotted a lot more frequently, and even clients and end users find it easier to restore whatever they need if it's file-based, statical, etc."
    • "How it handles erasure coding. I feel it the improvement should be there. Basically, it should be seamless. You don't want to have an underlying hardware issue or something, then suddenly there's no reads or writes. Luckily, it's at a replication site, so our main production site is still working and writing to it. But, the replication site has stopped right now while we try to bring that node back. Since we implemented in bare-metal, not in appliance, we had to go back to the original vendor. They didn't send it in time, and we had a hardware memory issue. Then, we had a hard disk issue, which brought the node down physically."

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is to move age old data to the cloud.

    It is deployed on the cloud.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The tool saves us time and money. Now, it's easy to retrieve data back, where you can go back and look at the statistics to study them. Because my company is focused on healthcare, there's no time limit on the retention of information. It's infinite. So, instead of having all our data on tapes and things, which takes many hours to try to retrieve information back. This is a good solution.

    What is most valuable?

    The migration is seamless. Basically, we shouldn't be spending a whole lot budget-wise. We would like to have something reasonable. What's happening right now is when we try to develop a cloud solution, we don't see the fine print. Then, at the end of the day, we are getting a long bill that says, "Okay, this is that, that is what." So, we don't want those unanticipated costs.

    We use the solution’s inline encryption using SnapMirror. We did get Geoaudits and things like that. In other words, everything put together is a security. It's not like just storage talking to the cloud, it's everything else too: network, PCs, clients, etc. It's a cumulative effort to secure. That's where we are trying to make sure there are no vulnerabilities. Any vulnerabilities are addressed right away and fixed.

    The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones in terms of operational recovery are good. Snapshot copies are pretty much the write-in time data backups. Obviously, critical data is snapshotted more frequently, and even clients and end users find it easier to restore whatever they need if it's file-based, statical, etc. 

    The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones have affected our application development speed positively. They have affected us in a very positive way. From Snapshots, copies, clones, and things, they were able to develop applications, doing pretty much in-house development. They were able to roll it out first in the test environment of the R&D department. The R&D department uses it a lot. It's easy for them because they can simulate production issues while they are still in production. So, they love it. We create and clone for them all the time.

    The solution helped reduced our company's data footprint in the cloud. They're reducing it by two petabytes of data in the cloud. All of the tape data, they are now writing to the cloud. It's like we have almost reached the capacity that we bought even before we knew we were going to reach it. So it's good. It reduces labor, because with less tapes, you don't have to go around buying tapes and maintaining those tapes, then sending them offsite, etc. All that has been eliminated.

    What needs improvement?

    Right now, we're using StorageGRID. Obviously, it is a challenge. Anything that you're writing to the cloud or when you get things from the cloud, it is a challenge. When we implemented StorageGRID, like nodes and things like that, we implemented it on our bare-metal. So the issue is that they're trying to implement features, like erasure coding and things like that, and it is a huge challenge. It's still a challenge because we have a fine node bare-metal Docker implementation, so if you lose a node for some reason, then it's like it stops to read from it or write to it. This is because of limitations within the infrastructure and within ONTAP.

    How it handles erasure coding. I feel it the improvement should be there. Basically, it should be seamless. You don't want to have an underlying hardware issue or something, then suddenly there's no reads or writes. Luckily, it's at a replication site, so our main production site is still working and writing to it. But, the replication site has stopped right now while we try to bring that node back. Since we implemented in bare-metal, not in appliance, we had to go back to the original vendor. They didn't send it in time, and we had a hardware memory issue. Then, we had a hard disk issue, which brought the node down physically. 

    It needs better reporting. Right now, we had to put everything one to the other just to figure out what could be the issue. We get a random error saying, "This is an error," and we have to literally dig into it, look to people, lock files, look through our loads, and look through the Docker lock files, then verify, "Okay, this is the issue." We just want it to be better in alerting and error handling reports. Once you get an error, you don't want to sit trying to figure out what that error means in the first two hours. It should be fixable right away. Then, right away you are trying to work on it, trying to get it done. That's where we see the drawbacks. Overall, the product is good and serves a purpose, but as an administrator and architect, nothing is perfect.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    There's always room for improvement. Overall, it's still stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    60 percent of our tape data is sitting in the cloud now.

    There's a limitation to scalability. Right now, when you want to expand the initial architecture, we have to add additional loads just so it can handle the data without hurting the performance. Then, we have to go back and request for more licensing. It adds to our licensing, thus adding to the cost. In regards to scalability, unless you have a five to six year plan ahead, we can't say, "Great, we have run out of space. Okay, let's try to increase space." It's not like increasing volume.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Unless a much more experienced person comes, I think the print and tech guy is only reading what he sees on the website. He pulls up their code or whatever, because what we see when we open a case is already there is an automatic case that's opened. We see typical questionnaires, but nothing pertaining to the case. For example, you run out of space or high nodes, the technical support is sitting there asking us something else. Nothing to do with high nodes and the volume being down or offline. It's not relevant. It is a generalized thing. You have to sit down and explain to them, "This has nothing to do with the questions you're asking. It's out of context, so you might want to look again and get back with the proper input." That's a pain.

    However, the minute we say, "It's very critical," we see a good, solid SME on the line who is helping us.

    I'm not experienced as many of my colleagues. They're really frustrated. We did convey this concern to our account person and have seen a lot of change.

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

    The company has always been a NetApp shop even before I entered the company. We continue to use it because of the good products. We do market research, obviously. We do see good products, and every year there is improvement. When we want to do hardware upgrades, it's still very good. The way we are trying to develop, it's very seamless for us and not a pain. 

    We have never felt, "We are done with NetApp. Let's move onto something else." I love to introduce other vendors into the mix, just so it's not a monopoly. We still love NetApp as our primary.

    How was the initial setup?

    It is a little complex. It's completely different from the regular standard ONTAP, and how you manage and the learning code. Half the time you get confused and try to compare it with a standard cloud. You start to say, "Oh, this feature was here. How come it's not there? That was very good there. How come it's not here?"

    We used NetApp Cloud Manager to get up and running with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. The configuration wizards and its ability to automate the process was good. We liked it. It's all in one place, so you don't have to go around trying to use multiple tools just to get things worked out. You see what you have on the other side plus what do you have on your end, and you're able to access it.

    What about the implementation team?

    Mostly, we did it ourselves. When we went to MetroCluster, we used their Professional Services. For the rest of ONTAP, we deployed it ourselves. It is pretty much self-explanatory and has good training.

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

    Cloud is cloud. It's still expensive. Any good solution comes with a price tag. That's where we are looking to see how well we can manage our data in the cloud by trying to optimize the costs.

    I do know our licensing cost to some extent, but not fully. E.g., I don't know overall how much we have gone over the budget or where did we put costs down just to maintain licensing on it. That part of it, I don't know. 

    I know the licensing is a bit on the high-end. That's when we had to downsize our MetroCluster disks and just migrate to disks that were half used. We migrated into those just to reduce maintenance costs.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We use Caringo. It's object storage migration for age old data. It is a cheap solution for us, so that's why we use that. When we compared prices, Caringo was much cheaper.

    Once we migrated everything to Caringo, there were challenges because it's another vendor, and then you're working with two different vendors. We started having issues, so now we use StorageGRID.

    We chose NetApp because we already had the infrastructure. Adding additional resources and features into the mix is much easier because it's one vendor, and they understand the product. If we needed to add something and improve on the solution, it's much easier.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend NetApp any day, at any time, because there's so much hard work in it. It's more open and transparent. Nobody is coming from NetApp, saying, "We're going to sell this gimmick." Then, you view all the good stuff but begin to realize, "This is not what they promised." For this reason, I would recommend NetApp.

    They make sure the solution fits our needs. It's not, "Okay, we'll go to the customer site and tell what we feel like regarding their products." Even if it fits or not, it doesn't affect that they've gone through the door. A lot of people do that. NetApp makes an assessment, then they make sure, "Okay, it does fit in."

    The product: I would give it an eight (out of 10). The company: It's a six (out of 10).

    We have not yet implemented the solution to move data between hyperscalers and our on-premises environment. It's just from our NetApps to the cloud, not from the hybrid. The RVM team is planning on that. So, they can have the whole untouched thing put on the cloud rather than being hosted on our data stores.

    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.
    YM
    Senior Manager, IT CloudX at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Cloud Manager enables us to automate scheduling of data synchronization

    Pros and Cons

    • "We're using snapshots as well and it's a pretty useful feature. That is one of the main NetApp benefits. Knowing how to use snapshots in the on-prem environment, using snapshots on the cloud solution was natural for us."
    • "The DR has room for improvement. For example, we now have NetApp in Western Europe and we would like to back up the information to another region. It's impossible. We need to bring up an additional NetApp in that other region and create a Cloud Manager automation to copy the data... I would prefer it to be a more integrated solution like it was in the NetApp solution about a year ago. I would like to see something like AltaVault but in the cloud."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are using it for storing files, to get high-performance access to files. We are also using NetApp for DR. We copy the information to the same system in other regions.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The solution's high-availability features are cost-effective for us because we are able to use the cloud benefits to reduce the cost of DR. For example, if we have it in one region, we can copy the data to another region. They keep it powered off and then they power it on for a few minutes, copy the data, send the data again, and shut it down again. That reduces the costs by approximately 80 percent.

    Similarly, the data protection provided by the solution's disaster recovery technology is cost-effective and simple.

    We're using Cloud Manager to automate some of the management. We use it for bringing the DR environment up and down as well as for scheduling data synchronization between different regions, worldwide. It's almost impossible to do that manually. Compared to an engineer doing it manually, it's about 90 percent faster. That's specifically for this kind of operation. In reality, the automation is enabling such capabilities. It's not actually reducing the time taken. If it didn't exist, we would never do it. That's even better than saving time.

    Overall, NetApp has standardized and certified file services, both on-prem and in the cloud, corporate-wide. In addition, by using the automation, it has provided us cost-effective DR and management. In the cloud it has enabled us to provide tailor-made storage solutions for each of our cloud customers. The storage efficiency has reduced our storage footprint because we are offloading all the data to the storage account. So it has reduced the cost of corporate storage. And the data-tiering has also saved us money.

    What is most valuable?

    What is most valuable is that the system is the same as what we use on-prem. So the guys who are responsible here for managing NetApp feel comfortable with it& and that they have enough knowledge to manage the system in the cloud. We are able to& keep the same standards that we have on-prem in the cloud.

    The usability is& great. We don't have any issues with it.

    We're using snapshots as well and it's a pretty useful feature. That is one of the main NetApp benefits. Knowing how to use snapshots in the on-prem environment, using snapshots on the cloud solution was natural for us.

    What needs improvement?

    The DR has room for improvement. For example, we now have NetApp in Western Europe and we would like to back up the information to another region. It's impossible. We need to bring up an additional NetApp in that other region and create a Cloud Manager automation to copy the data. So we do that once, at night, to another region and then shut down the destination. It's good because it's using Cloud Manager and its automation, but I would prefer it to be a more integrated solution like it was in the NetApp solution about a year ago. I would like to see something like AltaVault but in the cloud.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using it for about half a year in production; longer when we include the PoC.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability has been great. We haven't had any issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We still haven't needed to scale up, but I think the scalability is good.

    We are using it for a system which stores files and parts of databases, but the system is used by hundreds of customers. NetApp is not used directly by them, rather through the system. We may plan to increase NetApp according to the usage of the system but we still have no specific plans.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We are using NetApp engineers and they are great.

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

    Before NetApp we used a home-grown server in the cloud, a Linux server with a big disk. It was less simple to manage.

    We're also using Avere, a storage solution that was purchased by Microsoft a month or two ago. It's mainly responsible for real-time data synchronization between on-prem and the cloud environment. It's different than NetApp which doesn't provide the kind of synchronization solution that Avere does. It's two-way, real-time data synchronization between the Oracle storage solutions which we have on-prem and the Avere solution that we have in Azure. NetApp does not help with such requirements.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very simple. It was quite easy to set up the environment in just one day. We started with a small implementation and then added more and more parts of the solution. We started with just one desktop and then added additional ones and then added tiering.

    It required a small number of staff members. That's all we needed because it was pretty simple. We did a few sessions online and one or two onsite, for the entire solution. For our specific case it requires almost no maintenance. It only requires management to expand the disk capacity or perform the management operations, per-request. Generally we wouldn't require an increase to our storage team to manage the solution.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a NetApp engineer to help us.

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

    In addition to the standard licensing fees, there are fees for Azure, the VMs themselves and for data transfer. The DR environment is billed by the hour and paid to Azure directly and NetApp is paid on a yearly license.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We checked Dell EMC and HPE but we chose NetApp. The Storage team made the decision. One of the main reasons they chose NetApp was the existence of NetApp on-prem and the knowledge of it the team had. We are familiar with NetApp and the products are good, so we decided to extend the success to the cloud as well.

    What other advice do I have?

    Implement it. Do not think about it. It's very simple and very useful.

    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.
    John Hegyi
    Lead Storage Engineer at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Enables us to manage multiple petabytes of storage with a small team, including single node and HA instances

    Pros and Cons

    • "Unified Manager, System Manager, and Cloud Manager are all GUI-based. It's easy for somebody who has not been exposed to this for years to pick it up and work with it."
    • "We use the mirroring to mirror our volumes to our DR location. We also create snapshots for backups. Snapshots will create a specified snapshot to be able to do a DR test without disrupting our standard mirrors. That means we can create a point-in-time snapshot, then use the ability of FlexClones to make a writeable volume to test with, and then blow it away after the DR test."
    • "Some of the licensing is a little kludgy. We just created an HA environment in Azure and their licensing for SVMs per node is a little kludgy. They're working on it right now."

    What is our primary use case?

    For the most part, we're using it to move data off-prem. We have the ability to do mirrors from on-prem to Cloud Volumes ONTAP and we also have both single-node instances and HA instances. We are running it in both AWS and Azure.

    We're using all of the management tools that go along with it. We're using both OnCommand Cloud Manager and OnCommand Unified Manager, which means we can launch System Manager as well.

    Unified Manager is what monitors the environment. OnCommand Cloud Manager allows you to deploy and it does have some monitoring capabilities, but it's not like Unified Manager. And from OnCommand Cloud Manager you can launch System Manager, which gives you the lower-level details of the environment.

    Cloud Manager will allow you to create volumes, do CIFS shares, NFS mounts, and create aggregates. But the rest of the networking components and other work for the SVMs and doing other configurations are normally done at that lower level. System Manager is where you would do that, whereas Unified Manager allows you to monitor the entire environment.

    Say I have 30 instances running out there. Unified Manager allows me to monitor all 30 instances for things like volume-full alerts, near volume-full alerts, I-nodes, full network components being offline, paths, back-end storage paths, aggregate fulls. All those items that you would want to monitor for a healthy environment are handled through Unified Manager.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We're sitting at multiple petabytes of storage on our NetApp infrastructure. We're talking hundreds of thousands of shares across thousands of volumes. Even with that size of infrastructure, it's being supported by three people. And it's not like we're working 24/7. It gives us the ability to do a lot, to do more with less. Those three people manage our entire NAS environment. I've got two intermediate and one senior storage engineer in our environment who handle things. They're handling those multiple petabytes of on-prem and I'm just starting to get them involved in the cloud version, Cloud Volumes ONTAP. So, for the most part, it's just me on the Cloud Volume side.

    In terms of the storage efficiency reducing our storage footprint, the answer I'd like to say is "yes." The problem I have is that nobody ever wants to delete anything. We have terabytes of data on-prem in multiple locations, in both primary and DR backed-up. And now, we're migrating it to the cloud. But eventually, the answer will be yes.

    What is most valuable?

    I'm very familiar with working from the command line, but Unified Manager, System Manager, and Cloud Manager are all GUI-based. It's easy for somebody who has not been exposed to this for years to pick it up and work with it. Personally, for the most part, I like to get in with my secure CRT and do everything from the command line.

    We do a lot of DR testing of our environment, so we're using a couple of components. We use Unified Manager to link with WFA, Workflow Automation, and we do scripted cut-overs to build out. We use the mirroring to mirror our volumes to our DR location. We also create snapshots for backups. Snapshots will create a specified snapshot to be able to do a DR test without disrupting our standard mirrors. That means we can create a point-in-time snapshot, then use the ability of FlexClones to make a writeable volume to test with, and then blow it away after the DR test.

    We could also do that in an actual disaster. All we would do is quiesce and break our mirrors, our volumes would become writeable, and then we would deploy our CIFS shares and our NFS mounts. We would have a full working environment in a different geographic location. Whether you're doing it on-prem or in the cloud, those capabilities are there. But that's all done at a lower level.

    The data protection provided by the Snapshot feature is a crucial part of being able to maintain our environment. We stopped doing tape-based backups to our NAS systems. We do 35 days of snapshots. We keep four "hourlies," two dailies, and 35 nightly snapshots. This gives us the ability to recover any data that's been accidentally deleted or corrupted, from an application perspective, and to pull it out as a snapshot. And then there are the point-in-time snapshots, being able to create one at a given point in time. If I want to use a FlexCone to get at data, which are just pointers to the back-end data, right now, and use that as a writeable volume without interrupting my backup and DR capabilities, those point-in-time snapshots are crucial.

    The user can go and recover the file himself so we don't have to have a huge number of people working on recovering things. The user has the ability to get to that snapshot location to recover the file and go however many days back. Being that it's a read-only a file to the user community, users can get at that data, as long as they have proper rights to that file. Somebody else could not get to a file for which they don't have rights. There's no security breach or vulnerability. It just provides the ability for a user who owns that data to get to a backup copy of that data, to recover it, in case they've deleted or had a file corruption.

    We also use their File Services Solutions in the cloud, CIFS and NFS. It works just as well as on-prem. The way we configure an environment, we have the ability to talk back to our domain controllers, and then it uses the standard AD credentials and DNS from our on-prem environments.

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP in the cloud, versus Data ONTAP on-prem, are the exact same products. If you have systems on-prem that you're migrating to the cloud, you won't have to retrain your workforce because they'll be used to everything that they'll be doing in the cloud as a result of what they've been doing on-prem. In that sense, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is the exact same product, unless you're using a really old version of Data ONTAP on-prem. Then there's the standard change between Data ONTAP versions.

    What needs improvement?

    Some of the licensing is a little kludgy. We just created an HA environment in Azure and their licensing for SVMs per node is a little kludgy. They're working on it right now. We're working with them on straightening it out.

    We're moving a grid environment to Azure and the way it was set up is that we have eight SVMs, which are virtual environments. Each of those has its own CIFS servers, all their CIFS and NFS mounts. The reason they're independent of one another is that different groups of business got pulled together, so they had specific CIFS share names and you can't have the same name in the same server more than once on the network. You can't have CIFS share called "Data" in the same SVM. We have eight SVMs because of the way the data was labeled in the paths. God forbid you change a path because that breaks everything in every application all down the line. It gives you the ability to port existing applications from on-prem into cloud and/or from on-prem into fibre infrastructure.

    But that ability wasn't there in Cloud Volumes ONTAP because they assume that it was going to be a new market and they licensed it for a single SVM per instance built out in the cloud. They were figuring: New market and new people coming to this, not people porting these massive old-volume infrastructures. In our DR infrastructure we have 60 SVMs. That's not how they build out the new environments. 

    We're working with them to improve that and they're making strides. The licensing is the only thing that I can see they can improve on and they're working on it, so I wouldn't even knock them on that.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using it since its inception. Prior to it being called Cloud Volumes ONTAP, it was named a couple of different things as it went along. I've been working with the on-prem Data ONTAP for about 16 years now. When they first offered the Cloud Volumes ONTAP, I started testing that out in a Beta program. It's been a few years now with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. I'm our lead storage engineer, but I'm also on a couple of our cloud teams and I'm a cloud administrator for our organization. We started looking at it when AWS ( /products/amazon-aws-reviews ) first started coming on the scene, at what we could do in the cloud. And as a company direction, we're implementing cloud-first, where available.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We've had no issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In an HA environment, it will scale up to 358 terabytes. That's not bad per-system. We've had no difficulties.

    We will be moving more stuff off-prem into the cloud. Right now it's at about 15 percent of our entire environment, and we plan on at least 10 percent, or more, per quarter, over the next few years.

    We'll be doing the tiering and using the Cloud Sync as well. We're a financial and insurance company, so some things have to remain on-prem, and some things, from a PCI perspective, have a lot of different requirements around them. And because we're across multiple countries worldwide, there are all sorts of HIPAA and other types of legal and financial ramifications from a security perspective. In the UK and in Europe there are the privacy components. There are different things in Hong Kong and Singapore, in Spain, etc. Each country unit requires different types of policies to be adhered to. Everything we have is encrypted at rest, as well as encrypted in-flight.

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP will also support doing data encryption at a volume level, a software encryption. But from a PCI perspective, we use the NSE drives, which give us hardware encryption. So they're double encrypted. They are hardware encrypted. We're having to use a management appliance to keep and maintain the encryption keys, and we do quarterly encryption-key replacement. But there are also the volumes that are encrypted as well. We also use TLS for transporting the data, doing encryption in-flight. There are all sorts of things that it supports which allow you to be compliant.

    Another feature it has is disk sanitize, a destruction component which allows you to do a DoD wipe of the data. Once you've decommissioned an environment, it is completely wiped so nobody can get access to the data that was there previously. That's all built into Data ONTAP, including Cloud Volumes.

    NSE drives are a little different because you are not getting physical drives in the cloud environment, so you couldn't do that. But you can do the volume encryption, from Cloud Volumes. In terms of a DoD wipe, you wouldn't be doing that on Azure's or AWS's environments because it's a virtual disk.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I've rarely used tech support. I've got so much experience deploying these environments that it's like breathing. It's second nature. And when they first came out with OnCommand Cloud Manager, I was doing beta testing and debugging with the group out of Israel to build the product.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward. If you use an OnCommand Cloud Manager to deploy it into AWS or Azure, it's point-and-click stupid-simple. It takes less than 15 minutes, depending upon your connectivity and bandwidth. That 15 minutes is to build out a brand-new filer and create CIFS shares on it. It automatically deploys it for you: the back-end storage, the EC2 instances, if you're in an AWS. In Azure, it creates the Blob space. It creates the VMs. 

    It's all done for you with just a couple of screens. You tell it what you want to call it, you tell it what account or subscription you're using, depending upon whether it's AWS or Azure. You tell it how big you want the device to be, how much storage you want it to have, and what volumes you want it to create; CIFS shares, etc. You click next, next, next. As long as you have the ability to provision what you've gone into, whether it's AWS or Azure, and turned on programmatic deployment, it gives you the access. The only thing you have to do outside Cloud Volumes ONTAP under OnCommand Cloud Manager is turn it on to allow it to run. It picks up everything else. It'll pick up what VPC you have, what subnet you have. You just tell it what security group you want it to use. It's fairly simple.

    If somebody hasn't utilized or isn't familiar with how to deploy anything in either AWS or Azure, it might be a tad more complicated because they'd need to get that information to begin with. You have to have at least moderate experience with your infrastructure to know which VPC and subnet and security group to specify.

    What was our ROI?

    In my opinion, we're getting a good return on investment.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I always try new products. I've used the SoftNAS product, and a couple of other generic NAS products. They don't even compare. They're not on the same page. They're not even in the same universe. I might be a little biased but they're not even close. 

    I have looked at Azure NetApp Files, which is another product that NetApp is putting out. Instead of Cloud Volumes it's cloud files. You don't have to deploy an entire NetApp infrastructure. It gives you the ability to do CIFS at file level without having to manage any of the overhead. That's pre-managed for you.

    What other advice do I have?

    For somebody who's never used it before, the biggest thing is ease of use. In terms of advice, as long as you design your implementation correctly, it should be fine. I would do the due diligence on the front-end to determine how you want to utilize it before you deploy.

    We have over 3,000 users of the solution who have access to snapshots, etc. but only to their own data. We have multiple SVMs per business unit and a locked-down security on that. Only individuals who own data have access to it. We are officially like a utility. We give them storage space. We give them the ability to use it and then they maintain their data. From an IT perspective, we can't really discern what is business-critical and what isn't to a specific business unit. We're global, we're not just U.S., we're all over the world.

    We've gone into doing HA. It's the same as what's on-prem, and HA on-prem is something we've always done. When we would buy a filer for on-premise, we'd always buy a two-node HA filer with a switch back-end to be able to maintain the environment. The other nice thing, from an on-prem perspective with a switched environment, is that we can inject and eject nodes. We can do a zero-downtime lifecycle. We can inject new nodes and mirror the data to the new nodes. Once everything's on those new nodes, eject the old nodes and we will have effectively lifecycled the environment, without having to take any downtime. Data ONTAP works really well for that. The only thing to be aware of is that to inject new nodes into an existing cluster, they have to be at the same version of Data ONTAP.

    In terms of provisioning, we keep that locked down because we don't want them running us out of space. We have a ticketing system where users request storage allocation and the NAS team, which supports the NetApp infrastructure, will allocate the space with the shares, to start out. After that, our second-level support teams, our DSC (distributed service center) will maintain the volumes from a size perspective. If something starts to get near-full, they will automatically allocate additional space. The reason we have that in place is that if it tries to grow rapidly, like if there's an application that's out of control and just keeps spinning up and eating more and more of the utilization, it gives us the ability to stop that and get with the user before they go from using a couple a hundred gigs to multiple terabytes, which would cost them X amount. There is the ability to auto-grow. We just don't use it in our environment.

    In terms of the data protection provided by the solution's disaster recovery technology, we use that a lot. Prior to clustered ONTAP - this is going back to 7-Mode - there was the ability to auto-DR with a single command. That gave us the ability to do a cut-over to another environment and automatically fail. We're currently using WFA to do that because, when they first came out with cluster mode, they didn't have the ability to auto-DR. I have not looked into whether they've made auto-DR a feature in these later versions of Data ONTAP.

    OnCommand Cloud Manager doesn't allow you to do DR-type stuff. There are other things within the suite of the cloud environment that you can do: There's Cloud Sync which allows you to create a data broker and sync between CIFS shares or NFS mounts into an S3 bucket back-end. There's a lot of stuff that you can do there, but that's getting into the other product lines.

    As for using it to deploy Kubernetes, we are working through that right now. That process is going well. We've really just started getting through it and it hasn't been overly complicated. Cloud Volumes ONTAP's capabilities for deploying Kubernetes means it's been fairly easy.

    In terms of the cloud, one thing that has made things a little easier is that previously, within the AWS environment, we used to have to create a virtual filer in each of our subscriptions or accounts because we really wanted the filer to be close to the database instances or the servers within that same account, without traversing VPCs. Now, since they have given us the ability to do VPC peering, we can create an overarching primary account and then have it talk to all the instances within that storage account, or subscription in Azure, without having to have one spun up in every single subscription or account. We have a lot of accounts so it has allowed us to reel that back by creating larger HA components in a single account and then give access through VPCs to the other accounts. All that traffic stays within Azure or AWS. That saves money because we don't have to pay them for multiple subscriptions of Cloud Volumes ONTAP and/or additional virtual filers.

    For my use, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is 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.
    Christian Gruetzner
    Service Architecture at All for One Group AG
    Real User
    Top 5
    High availability enables us to run two instances so there is no downtime when we do maintenance

    Pros and Cons

    • "NetApp's Cloud Manager automation capabilities are very good because it's REST-API-driven, so we can completely automate everything. It has a good overview if you want to just have a look into your environment as well."
    • "Another feature which gets a lot of attention in our environment is the File Services Solutions in the cloud, because it's a completely, fully-managed service. We don't have to take care of any updates, upgrades, or configurations."
    • "Scale-up and scale-out could be improved. It would be interesting to have multiple HA pairs on one cluster, for example, or to increase the single instances more, from a performance perspective. It would be good to get more performance out of a single HA pair."
    • "One difficulty is that it has no SAP HANA certification. The asset performance restrictions create challenges with the infrastructure underneath: The disks and stuff like that often have lower latencies than SAP HANA itself has to have."

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is for SAP production environments. We are running the shared file systems for our SAP systems on it.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's helped us to dive into the cloud very fast. We didn't have to change any automations which we already had. We didn't have to change any processes we already had. We were able to adopt it very fast. It was a huge benefit for us to use the same concepts in the cloud as we do on-premise. We're running our environment very efficiently, and it was very helpful that our staff, our operators, didn't have to learn new systems. They have the same processes, all the same knowledge they had before. It was very easy and fast.

    We did a comparison, of course, and it was cheaper to have Cloud Volumes ONTAP running with the deduplication and compression, compared to storing everything, for example, on HA disks and have a server running all the time as well. And that was not even for the biggest environment.

    The data tiering saves us money because it offloads all the code data to the Blob Storage. However, we use the HA version and data tiering just came to HA with version 9.6 and we are not on 9.6 in our production environment. It's still on RC, the pre-release, and not on GA release. In our testing we have seen that it saves a lot of money, but our production systems are not there yet.

    What is most valuable?

    The high availability of the service is a valuable feature. We use the HA version to run two instances. That way there is no downtime for our services when we do any maintenance on the system itself.

    For normal upgrades or updates of the system - updates for security fixes, for example - it helps that the systems and that the service itself stay online. For one of our customers, we have 20 systems attached and if we had to ride that customer all the time and say, "Oh, sorry, we have to take your 20 systems down just because we have to do maintenance on your shared file systems," he would not be amused. So that's really a huge benefit.

    And there are the usual NetApp benefits we have had over the last ten years or so, like snapshotting, cloning, and deduplication and compression which make it space-efficient on the cloud as well. We've been taking advantage of the data protection provided by the snapshot feature for many years in our on-prem storage systems. We find it very good. And we offload those snapshots as well to other instances, or to other storage systems.

    The provisioning capability was challenging the first time we used it. You have to find the right way to deploy but, after the first and second try, it was very easy to automate for us. We are highly automated in our environment so we use the REST API for deployment. We completely deploy the Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance itself automatically, when we have a new customer. Similarly, deployment on the Cloud Volumes ONTAP for the Volumes and access to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance are automated as well.

    But for that, we still use our on-premise automations with WFA (Workflow Automation). NetApp has a tool which simplifies the automation of NetApp storage systems. We use the same automation for the Cloud Volumes ONTAP instances as we do for our on-premise storage systems. There's no difference, at the end of the day, from the operating system standpoint.

    In addition, NetApp's Cloud Manager automation capabilities are very good because, again, it's REST-API-driven, so we can completely automate everything. It has a good overview if you want to just have a look into your environment as well. It's pretty good.

    Another feature which gets a lot of attention in our environment is the File Services Solutions in the cloud, because it's a completely, fully-managed service. We don't have to take care of any updates, upgrades, or configurations. We're just using it, deploying volumes and using them. We see that, in some way, as being the future of storage services, for us at least: completely managed.

    What needs improvement?

    Scale-up and scale-out could be improved. It would be interesting to have multiple HA pairs on one cluster, for example, or to increase the single instances more, from a performance perspective. It would be good to get more performance out of a single HA pair. My guess is that those will be the next challenges they have to face.

    One difficulty is that it has no SAP HANA certification. The asset performance restrictions create challenges with the infrastructure underneath: The disks and stuff like that often have lower latencies than SAP HANA itself has to have. That was something of a challenge for us: where to use HA disks and where to use Cloud Volumes ONTAP in that environment, instead of just using Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using Cloud Volumes for over a year now.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is very good. We haven't had any outages.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Right now, the scalability is sufficient in what it provides for us, but we can see that our customer environments are growing. We can see that it will reach its performance end in around a year or so. They will have to evolve or create some performance improvements or build some scale-up/scale-out capabilities into it.

    In terms of increasing our usage, the tiering will be definitely used in production as soon as its GA for Azur. They're already playing with the Ultra SSDs, for performance improvements on the storage system itself. As soon as they become generally available by Microsoft, that will probably a feature we'll go to.

    As for end-users, for us they are our customers. But the customers have several hundred or 1,000 users on the system. I don't really know how many end-users are ultimately using it, but we have about ten customers.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been very good. The technical people who are responsible for us at NetApp are very good. If we contact them we get direct feedback. We often have direct contact, in our case at least, to the engineers as well. We have direct contacts with NetApp in Tel Aviv.

    It's worth mentioning that when we started with Cloud Volumes ONTAP in the past, we did an architecture workshop with them in Tel Aviv, to tell them what our deployments look like in our on-premise environment, and to figure out what possibilities Cloud Volumes ONTAP could provide to us as a service provider. What else could we do on it, other than just running several services? For example: disaster recovery or doing our backups. We did that at a very early stage in the process.

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

    We only used native Azure services. We went with Cloud Volumes ONTAP because it was a natural extension of our NetApp products. We have a huge on-premise storage environment from NetApp and we have been familiar with all the benefits from these storage systems for several years. We wanted to have all the benefits in the cloud, the same as we have on-premise. That's why we evaluated it, and we're in a very early stage with it.

    How was the initial setup?

    To say the initial setup was complex is too strong. We had to look into it and find the right way to do it. It wasn't that complex, it was just a matter of understanding what was supported and what was not from the SAP side. But as soon as we figured that out, it was very straightforward to figure out how to build our environment.

    We had an implementation strategy: Determining what SAP systems and what services we would like to deploy in the cloud. Our strategy was that if Cloud Volumes ONTAP made sense in any use case, we would want to use it because it's, again, highly automated and we could use it with our scripting already. Then we had to look at what is supported by SAP itself. We mixed that together in the end and that gave us our concept.

    Our initial deployment took one to two weeks, maximum. It required two people, in total, but it was a mixture of SAP and storage colleagues. In terms of maintenance, it doesn't take any additional people than we already have for our on-premise environment. There was no additional headcount for the cloud environment. It's the same operating team and the same people managing Cloud Volumes ONTAP as well as our on-premise storage systems. It requires almost no maintenance. It just runs and we don't have to take care of updating it every two months or so for security reasons.

    What about the implementation team?

    We didn't use a third-party.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen return on investment but I don't have the numbers. 

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

    The standard pricing is online. Pricing depends. If you're using the PayGo model, then it's just the normal costs on the Microsoft page. If you're using Bring Your Own License, which is what we're doing, then you get with your sales contact at NetApp and start figuring out what price is the best, in the end, for your company. We have an Enterprise Agreement or something similar to that. So we get a different price for it.

    In terms of additional costs beyond the standard licensing fees, you have to run instances in Azure, virtual machines and disks. You still have to pay for the Azure disks, and Blob Storage if you're using tiering. What's also important is to know is the network bandwidth. That was the most complicated part in our project, to figure out how much data would be streamed out of our data center into the cloud and how much data would have to be sent back into our data center. It's more challenging than if you have a customer who is running only in Azure. It can be expensive if you don't have an eye on it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We have a single-vendor strategy.

    What other advice do I have?

    Don't be afraid of granting permissions because that's one of the most complex parts, but that's Azure. As soon as you've done that, it's easy and straightforward. When you do it the first time you'll think, "Oh, why is it so complicated?" That's native Azure.

    The biggest lesson I've learned from using Cloud Volumes ONTAP is that from an optimization standpoint, our on-premise instance was a lot more complex than it had to be. That's was a big lesson because Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a very easy, light, wide service. You just use it and it doesn't require that much configuring. You can just use the standards which come from NetApp and that was something we didn't do with our on-premise environment.

    In terms of disaster recovery, we have not used Cloud Volumes ONTAP in production yet. We've tested it to see if we could adopt Cloud Volumes ONTAP for that scenario, to migrate all our offloads or all our storage footprint we have on-premise to Cloud Volumes ONTAP. We're still evaluating it. We've done a lot of cost-comparison, which looks pretty good. But we are still facing a little technical problem because we're a CSP (cloud service provider). We're on the way to having Microsoft fix that. It's a Microsoft issue, not a NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP issue.

    I would rate the solution at eight out of ten. There are improvements they need to make for scale-up and scale-out.

    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.
    Eyal Shimony
    Sr. Manager at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Snapshots, performance, and availability are all key features for our SaaS environment

    Pros and Cons

    • "The FlexClones make all the management easier for us."
    • "NetApp's XCP Migration Tool... was pretty awesome. It replicated the data faster than any other tool that I've seen. That was a big help."
    • "The only issue we had lately was that outside our VPC we could not reach the virtual IP, the floating IP. I heard that they have fixed that..."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary usage is as a repository for the application servers. It's mostly for NFS, with very good replication options and backup features. There are also tools that we need to put there and replicate between our on-prem and AWS locations.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We tried to use EFS, for example, but one of the cons of EFS was that the performance was degraded once we had a lot of files and very large storage. It took it a while to handle everything. Also, backing up was harder and we needed a third-party. With NetApp it's much easier. Performance is very good and there was no need to change our environments, our speeds, or our automation because we have NetApps on-prem as well. When you have 100,000 files on smaller volumes, or you have bigger volumes with millions of files, it's almost impossible to work with EFS. With NetApp we didn't even feel it. It's all flowing really well.

    What is most valuable?

    The snapshot ability we're using is very good, SnapMirror. For example, we have a vault account and we can SnapMirror our volumes to that vault account. It has a NetApp that sits on it as three buckets and acts as our offset backups.

    The FlexClones make all the management easier for us.

    What needs improvement?

    They're making the right improvements right now. The only issue we had lately was that outside our VPC we could not reach the virtual IP, the floating IP. I heard that they have fixed that as well. That's a good advantage.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using it for two years already.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability has been very good. The only time that it was down was because someone took the machine down. That was in the beginning and then we fixed the permissions. But it wasn't an issue on NetApp's end that caused the system to go down.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Both performance and scalability are really good. We started with a small system but have grown really fast. We needed to change the type of system and the license. We were able to do that online with no issues. Doing so, and going with the bigger type of system, also gives us better performance. 

    So if you need more performance, you can always change the type of system. Working with NetApp, they provide us with a consultant, if needed, to determine what the best type of system is for our use case, based on the performance that we need. They're flexible.

    We're growing all the time. We have several sites already and we're adding more sites when needed. We are keeping the on-prem as well because it doesn't always make sense to move to the cloud. It depends on budget, the CapEx and OpEx. But we are growing.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The support has been great. Every time we've had a question or something that we didn't know how to do, a setup issue, they have helped us. There was one time that we set up a new one on a new version and there was a small bug that was fixed really fast. It wasn't within how the system functions, it was a bug in the deployment part. They helped us really quickly and we were able to manage that as well.

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

    There was a lot of downtime with our previous solution. Also, the performance wasn't what it should be. Any update that we did required downtime, and there were quite a lot of updates because there were a lot of bugs. That's where Cloud Volumes ONTAP is very good because they're using the same software as in their devices. There are no special needs or special bugs. They're using a very mature a solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial one we set up was more complex until we understood the parts. There is a manager that is doing everything for you, but you need to know which IP, what are the prerequisites, etc. It took a while to understand that. But once we did the first one, it became very easy to deploy. My team can now do it in one or two hours, with all the integration that we need.

    In terms of an implementation strategy, we get the requirements from the business. Whenever we need a new environment, for example, my team sets it up really fast. We can set all the configuration like any other systems we have: with our monitoring tools, the backup, snapshots; everything the same way. It's easy to manage and replicate things to look the same.

    Migration was pretty easy. We could use SnapMirror or we could use NetApp's XCP Migration Tool. That was pretty awesome. It replicated the data faster than any other tool that I've seen. That was a big help.

    For deployment, there are two guys from my team who work together. Of course, we have a network guy setting up all the network stuff, and there's the cloud team that is doing that part of the configuration. Once we have all the prerequisites, they can set it up really fast.

    For maintenance, it requires less than one person. We have a small group, about eight people for 150 systems, which manages systems worldwide, not just on the cloud but also on-prem. It's part of managed systems and it's being managed with the management tools. We don't see that as something where we need to add more people if we add another system.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used a third-party, mostly for the cloud itself, for the VPC configuration, the environment-related stuff that my company uses. But we did not use one for NetApp itself.

    What was our ROI?

    Since we're a SaaS business, we need to have stable environments for our customers. We can't have downtime every week or so. Stability is very important for us, as well as a guarantee that data is being backed up. If someone, even by mistake, deletes something, there is a way to recover it. Stability, availability, performance, all these kinds of things, mean we're eventually getting more customers and more satisfied customers.

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

    We've been working with NetApp on pricing. They allow a special price if you are working closely with them. Since we have a lot of NetApp systems, we got some kind of discount. That's something they do for other customers, not just for us. The price was fair.

    In addition to the licensing fees, you're paying Amazon for your usage, the instances, the storage. It's using EBS drives or S3 buckets. So there are all the Amazon fees that you usually have. But overall, we compared the price we have with NetApp and the price for going with DFS and there was a difference, but it was worth the performance, stability, and to have the capabilities NetApp has for doing backups. All these features are covered.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's NetApp. It's what we know. Our NetApp on-prem has been really good, so we continue to maintain that.

    There is a 30-day trial that you can use to get a feel for it. You can work with NetApp in case you have questions in deploying it. They're helpful with that. If you're planning big, to deploy in several sites or a few systems, and you have plans for the future, you can always talk with NetApp and work on getting the right price for you and what makes sense. It depends on your growth and how big your footprint is. They will help you, of course. 

    I would rate it between nine and ten out of ten. I don't have any complaints. Maybe it could be cheaper but as for how it functions, it's really doing what it needs to do.

    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.
    LUCAS GIANPAOLO
    Project Development Coordinator at ALIMENTOS ITALIA
    Real User
    One of the features of this tool is the ease of use

    What is our primary use case?

    The tool integrates very well the contents that are deployed there. Each aspect is well structured and responsibly what allows it to advance and achieve success. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    This tool allows working with clean and safe servers. We made a complement and therefore we made progress in optimizing each launch platform in a matter of days.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the features of this tool is the ease of use, in addition to the control access and the dynamics with which it is structured.

    What needs improvement?

    It does not have tutorials in languages such as French, German, Spanish. Adding these options would improve the support service of NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one…

    What is our primary use case?

    The tool integrates very well the contents that are deployed there. Each aspect is well structured and responsibly what allows it to advance and achieve success. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    This tool allows working with clean and safe servers. We made a complement and therefore we made progress in optimizing each launch platform in a matter of days.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the features of this tool is the ease of use, in addition to the control access and the dynamics with which it is structured.

    What needs improvement?

    It does not have tutorials in languages such as French, German, Spanish. Adding these options would improve the support service of NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one year.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Asim Masood
    Director of Applications at Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
    Real User
    It allows us to manage our portfolio across two domains

    Pros and Cons

    • "SnapMirror helps mirror metadata and data volumes between endpoints in a data fabric."
    • "The navigation on some of the configuration parameters is a bit cumbersome, making the learning curve on functions somewhat steep."

    What is our primary use case?

    It provides flexibility for our VM environments. We use it to transport data between on-premise systems and the cloud.

    AWS is the biggest and most common use case for integration with ONTAP.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have a number of systems that we run on-premise and have not been moved to AWS for various reasons. ONTAP allows us to manage our portfolio across two domains. 

    What is most valuable?

    It manages our environments with a single purview of data management, especially as each variant of ONTAP uses identical metadata and file system formats. Then, data can be universally managed and manipulated throughout the data fabric.

    SnapMirror helps mirror metadata and data volumes between endpoints in a data fabric.

    What needs improvement?

    The navigation on some of the configuration parameters is a bit cumbersome, making the learning curve on functions somewhat steep.

    I would like them to make upgrading simpler. I would like it if they could offer a simpler upgrade guide which you can generate through their website, because their current version is full of dozens of complicated CLI commands. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is very stable and versatile, but you need to have an advanced degree to administer or monitor it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Since it has seamless integration with AWS, scalability is not an issue.

    How was the initial setup?

    NetApp ONTAP and AWS work really well together. ONTAP was designed to run within Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances. Once Cloud Volumes ONTAP is installed, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes are assigned to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP EC2 compute instance to create the equivalent of a Data ONTAP storage array.

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

    Purchasing this solution through the AWS Marketplace was simple, which was why our organization chose to go through it. The AWS consumer-based pricing model makes it easy for developers to use their credit cards to spin up virtual servers immediately.

    Compared to other storage vendors, NetApp, is not always able to compete with their pricing. Yet, we acknowledge the ease of use ONTAP brings with the AWS integration.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are making good use of the product. It has a lot of features and is an efficient/stable product. The recovery using Snapshots is a big plus, alongside the flexibility in volume creation for Unix, as well as Windows environments. Its challenges are on the learning curve, as well as its pricing could be improved.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Fran Maita
    Analyst at 1980
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Works very well with external data loaded in the cloud from other platforms

    Pros and Cons

    • "Its functionality and technical support are adequate to help prevent failure due to errors."
    • "I would like to see them improve the perspective of start and search in the panels. This would allow for better visualization of the contents that are captured in the tool."

    What is our primary use case?

    Lo usamos para la seguridad en la navegación y la administración de fuentes de datos alternativas con el fin de mantener activos todos los procesos.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Nos permite sincronizar los métodos de sincronización, basados ​​en la plataforma B2B, para agregarlos correctamente a las listas de correo electrónico del cliente. Nos proporciona calidad y seguridad al mismo tiempo, utilizando estrategias tecnológicas avanzadas. Los resultados son sorprendentes en términos de funcionalidad y defensa contra terceros. 

    What is most valuable?

    La característica más valiosa se define por la seguridad en la que se muestran los datos y las acciones recíprocas para establecer los criterios de búsqueda. Su funcionalidad y soporte técnico son adecuados para ayudar a prevenir fallas debido a errores.

    Funciona muy bien con datos externos cargados en la nube desde otras plataformas. La integración ha sido exitosa y segura. 

    What needs improvement?

    El producto mantiene un enfoque arraigado en los procesos no alternativos. Esto logra dificultad en la conexión de la vulnerabilidad en los procesos. Me gustaría verlos mejorar la perspectiva de inicio y búsqueda en los paneles. Esto permitiría una mejor visualización de los contenidos que se capturan en la herramienta. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Actualmente, no tenemos ningún problema al enfatizar la herramienta. Confiamos plenamente en la estructura de seguridad que gestiona esta plataforma multifuncional.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Lo usamos en toda la empresa.

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

    El trato con el vendedor era aceptable; El precio es razonable. Los recursos adquiridos con esta herramienta valen el costo.

    What other advice do I have?

    Es una herramienta que nos permite mantener una perspectiva sobre el estado de la información.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    KR
    Systems Programmer at a university with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Dedupe and compression save us significant space; it's so cost-effective we're considering reducing what we charge

    Pros and Cons

    • "The ability for our users to restore data from the Snapshots is very valuable."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for file services, both CIFS and NFS.

      How has it helped my organization?

      The university didn't have a centralized file service before we moved to NetApp. Now, departments can share information across 24,000 students, across 10,000 faculty and staff. They can share data without doing it through email, which was the old way.

      It has definitely helped reduce the overall costs of storage. We actually started out with the IBM M-Series seven years back. We switched to NetApp. The same hardware from NetApp is a better price than it was through IBM, and the support is better. So it has reduced our expenses through that path. And since it's so easily supported, we don't need a lot of people to support it, so our support costs are lower.

      We've had a lot of centralization going on. We have 13 schools, each of which had its own IT department. All those IT departments are now out of business because their work has been centralized into our department. Part of that was due to the economy changing and the school changing its business models, but that put our NetApp storage heavily into use. So it's hard to distinguish cause and effect.

      I can't specify the amount of space saved, but the deduplication and compression in ONTAP are very effective. We're probably getting 35 - 40 percent savings because of dedupe and compression. And because every volume we put out is a quoted Qtree on a volume, we don't have wasted whitespace. I'm billing for 800 terabytes every single month, that's running on one petabyte of rotating disk. So, it's very good at saving me space. I'm running with about 20 percent available disk, above and beyond what I'm billing. So it's pretty good at that.

      We're charging four cents per gigabyte per month and, unfortunately, I'm making money at that rate. We're not allowed to make a profit. I've been looking at reducing what we're charging our customers because it is so cost-effective.

      What is most valuable?

      The ability for our users to restore data from the Snapshots is very valuable.

      What needs improvement?

      I would like to see more cloud integration. NetApp had nothing for cloud integration about three or four years back and then, all of a sudden, they got it going and got it going quickly, catching up with the competition. They've done a very good job. NetApp's website has seen phenomenal changes, so I greatly appreciate that.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It's very stable. We've only had two outages with NetApp in seven years. One was a planned outage to fix a problem - that one was seven minutes long. The other was an unplanned failure, which caused us to be down for about five hours. Overall, we're still within our five- and six-nines of availability, so we're happy.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      It's completely scalable, as long as you're willing to buy the hardware. That's why we're looking at cloud for the future, so we can stop buying hardware and maybe use the cloud instead.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      It's excellent. The technical support has been very good.

      One thing I find very annoying is the new web interface, where it takes you through a little AI assistant, a little robot thing, to try to answer your question first. That thing is infuriating because we've already done the research, we know we need support. Fortunately, there's a link so you can get past that quickly.

      What I like about NetApp Support is that, generally, the person who takes your case is the one who works it to the end. There aren't a lot of handoffs or a lot of callbacks.

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

      We had always done block storage and we had a large IBM infrastructure, a large ESX infrastructure, physical servers. We knew that we needed a file service, so we set that up. It was really a first for our university. We switched from IBM to NetApp because we thought we'd get better support from NetApp, and we really have. IBM did a good job, but it was obvious that IBM and NetApp didn't always play well together. IBM was slower to put out patches and fixes compared to NetApp. When IBM was telling us to go to the NetApp site to find support, we figured we'd just switch to NetApp.

      How was the initial setup?

      The initial setup was quite straightforward because we knew what we were going to do with it and we hired Sirius on for a limited part of the job. We did most of it on our own.

      What was our ROI?

      I know we're providing our service very cost-effectively, and it's selling faster than we expected. Money is coming in faster than we expected and, therefore, I need to drop what I'm charging per gigabyte per month so I don't make a profit, because we're not allowed to. So it's obviously successful.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Our shortlist was really only NetApp. We looked at about a dozen other products, Hitachi and everything else, but NetApp really had the best product.

      What other advice do I have?

      Talk to any peer you can find about what products they looked at. We spoke to a dozen peer institutions - universities, colleges - about what they were doing for file services. We found a lot that were failing and a lot that were successful. The successful ones were mostly on NetApp.

      It's a very solid product. I've been using if for about seven years, and it's been mostly bulletproof. They have very good support and a very good quality hard drive.

      We use it for mission-critical applications but less than we used to. A lot of our mission-critical stuff is now going out to cloud. That's why I'm here at NetApp Insight 2018, to see how we can tie this into the cloud. Absolutely, all of the university's "crown jewels" used to be on NetApp storage. Now, some have gone out to AWS and we're integrating into AWS more and more. For example, Blackboard is no longer running off out NetApp storage. It's now running out of the cloud. The same is true for all the financial stuff, all the Workday and the like. They've moved off of NetApp and out to the cloud.

      In terms of machine-learning, AI, real-time analytics, and those kinds of ground-breaking apps for storage, that's more the research support side. We're not doing that. We're doing more of the general file systems support, for general-purpose use.

      I don't have any opinion about NVME over Fabrics, I haven't researched it yet.

      We bought our equipment through Sirius Computer Solutions, and we're very pleased with that. They care. We've had a couple different senior salespeople with them over the years and they've both been excellent. They're very committed to their customers.

      I rate NetApp ONTAP Cloud at eight out of then. I won't give a ten. There's always something that's better out there, but you're going to be paying double or triple for it. For the price, the quality of the hardware, the quality of the support, the features it offers, I'm thrilled with NetApp.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      JK
      Principal Architect at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Limited scalability. Provides fast, persistent storage in the cloud.

      How has it helped my organization?

      It just gives us the capability to get cloud resources.

      The primary use case for ONTAP Cloud is getting data into the cloud.

      We are using the product for our future planning in the following:

      • Disaster recovery in the cloud
      • Backup in the cloud
      • Development in the cloud.

      What is most valuable?

      • SnapMirror
      • SnapVault
      • Fast, persistent storage in the cloud

      What needs improvement?

      Just more scale out. It can only do two nodes. One SVM, which would be okay as long as I can scale easily.

      It needs to be matured with more capabilities.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      So far, so good.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      It's limited. We're trying to figure out better methods as we need to scale out more.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      We have built-in support. It is good. They are an onsite resource.

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

      We needed persistent storage in the cloud for platforms, and there's really not options right now in AWS or Azure.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We also use Avere Gateways. That's pretty much it.

      I was the one who evaluated and approved the use of ONTAP Cloud.

      What other advice do I have?

      It functions and I think in the future it will be a reasonable method of getting NFS and the cloud.

      The most important factor that lead us to use OTC versus a native cloud storage solution was having enough fast capabilities and social capabilities. It is extremely important that our storage enable us to render and integrate on-premise systems with cloud services. Cloud integration is also very important for us in our selection of a future on-premise storage system.

      We use AWS cloud service.

      Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: We are 95% on NetApp on-premise. We wanted compatibility with their on-premise solutions.

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
      Matt Ebert
      Storage Supervisor at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
      Video Review
      Real User
      Enables high availability as well as standalone systems if that's what we want within our specific workloads

      Pros and Cons

      • "ONTAP has been very stable for us, specifically in the cloud environment. It allows us to have high availability as well as standalone systems if that's what we want within our specific workloads. Also, on-premise has been a very stable environment. We have very few outages and when we do, we work with support to get systems back online in a timely manner."
      • "The key feature, that we'd like to see in that is the ability to sync between regions within the AWS and Azure regions. We could use the cloud sync service, but we'd really like that native functionality within the cloud volume service."

      What is our primary use case?

      The primary use case for ONTAP is both on-premise and in the cloud. For on-premise, we utilize it for hosting our virtual infrastructure environment through VMware, as well as hosting personal and shared drives. Then, in the cloud, we also host personal and shared drives within AWS and Azure.

      How has it helped my organization?

      An example of how ONTAP is improving our organization is through back-up and restore, as well as offsite replication capability. We utilize SnapMirror very heavily on our sites and then also to replicate it offsite to other sites in our organization to make sure that we have very fast local restores if necessary. As well as offsite replication for disaster recovery capabilities as we have certain events that impact our facilities from that perspective.

      We use ONTAP for a number of mission-critical applications. Some that specifically run some of our facilities. I'm in the energy industry and we had a certain scenario earlier this year that one of our systems went down and after a few hours I had to start having the conversation with some of the other supervisors if we couldn't get the system back online. However, NetApp support was able to get the system back online with us without having to do an RMA for another device. Support really helped bail us out in that situation of getting the system back online and not having to shut our facility down.

      ONTAP has allowed us to keep cost down in the storage environment based upon the deduplication and how we're utilizing it to replicate from a number of different sites and centralize some of our offsite replication capabilities.

      What is most valuable?

      Some of the most valuable features of ONTAP for us are the reliability and availability. We have a lot of built-in functionality within ONTAP to provide back-ups and restore at the volume level. Also, individually if we need to restore specific files within a volume. It's been very helpful us to have that.

      Within ONTAP, some of the new features that we've been utilizing recently are the FabricPools which we think is great. One of the new services is the cloud volume service that's available within AWS and Azure that we're really liking.

      We use ONTAP in the public cloud for Linux NFS mounts, as well as Windows CIFS volume shares. A lot of times multiple applications or systems will need to share that data and NetApp ONTAP in the cloud really allows for all those applications to utilize shared data in their application communication.

      NetApp ONTAP, easily, in our environment, allows for a 3:1 compression ratio on average. That's really helped, whether it be on-premise or in the cloud, to help drive down cost utilization in our systems. There's a number of systems that we have that run pretty high utilization. That data reduction helps us prevent from having to continue to expand those systems.

      What needs improvement?

      The key feature, that we'd like to see in that is the ability to sync between regions within the AWS and Azure regions. We could use the cloud sync service, but we'd really like that native functionality within the cloud volume service.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      One to three years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      ONTAP has been very stable for us, specifically in the cloud environment. It allows us to have high availability as well as standalone systems if that's what we want within our specific workloads. Also, on-premise has been a very stable environment. We have very few outages and when we do, we work with support to get systems back online in a timely manner.

      What other advice do I have?

      I would rate ONTAP as an eight. It has a lot of great features, some features that we didn't even know we needed until we talked with our account team and they walked us through some of the reasons for some of those features and then we look at implementing them. The stability of the environment really helps us have that as a key solution for our organization.

      In terms of advice I would give a fellow colleague or friend about implementing ONTAP, it would be to just continue to work with your account team to make sure that you're finding the right solution to fit your workload need. We have a very generic workload in terms of virtual machines infrastructure. NetApp really provides a great solution there for us in that environment.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      PP
      Senior System Engineer at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Their technical support responds to issues in a timely fashion

      Pros and Cons

      • "If anything happens, their technical support will come onsite and fix it."
      • "I would like to have more management tools. They are difficult to work with, so I would like them to be a bit more user-friendly."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for the data that we are using, etc.

      We have a dedicated team of 10 people who manage the storage.

      How has it helped my organization?

      For the daily activities, we needed the faster storage, faster throughpt, etc. That is why we started using SSDs in certain areas which made the application faster.

      What is most valuable?

      The support is its most valuable feature. They provide on-call support and responds to issues in a timely fashion It also offers disaster recovery.

      What needs improvement?

      AWS has come into the picture, so we want to move into AWS. Therefore, we don't want to do anything more on on-premise anymore. NetApp has to come up with a cloud version.

      I would like to have more management tools. They are difficult to work with, so I would like them to be a bit more user-friendly.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      On a scale of one to ten, I would rate the stability a ten.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      The scalability is very good. Our environment is about 20TB.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      I would rate the support as a nine out of ten. NetApp is native here in Bay Area. We are also in the Bay Area. If anything happens, they will come onsite and fix it.

      How was the initial setup?

      There are some limitations with the integration and configuration. Though, Cluster Mode is more relatable than 7-Mode.

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

      We purchased the product directly from NetApp.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We evaluated Hitachi and IBM, but still we are using NetApp because of its marketing.

      What other advice do I have?

      We have not started using the cloud version. We are using the on-premise version with FlexPod.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      MA
      AWS Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
      Real User
      It is a stable product that is easy to use

      Pros and Cons

      • "The most valuable feature is the ease of file storage."
      • "The data tiering needs improvement. E.g., moving hard data to faster disks."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it for file storage.

      It is mainly being used with our Windows environment.

      What is most valuable?

      • Ease of file storage.
      • Ease of use.

      What needs improvement?

      The data tiering needs improvement. E.g., moving hard data to faster disks.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      One to three years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      It is pretty stable. We do not put too much stress on it (about 45 percent).

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      The scalability is very good. Our environment is 25TBs.

      How is customer service and technical support?

      I have not used NetApp's technical support.

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

      Purchasing through the AWS Marketplace was good, but it was a test system, not a real purchase. 

      We went through the AWS Marketplace because we were testing the product and have not evaluated the pricing yet.

      What other advice do I have?

      I would recommend NetApp because it is a stable product.

      The AWS and on-premise versions of the product are about the same. 

      It is currently not being used in the AWS environment. It is just being tested. The integration and configuration seemed okay.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      RT
      Lead Storage Operations at Autodesk, Inc.
      Real User
      It has a fair amount of visibility into what is happening

      Pros and Cons

      • "If you have a fair amount of experience with NetApp, you can work on it very easily."
      • "When it comes to support provided by NetApp, they have room for improvement. Every time we go through their support, we end up answering the same routine questions."

      What is our primary use case?

      The primary use case of NetApp in our company is providing NAS services. This includes both CIFS and NFS.

      I have been working with ONTAP for five years. So, I started with NetApp ONTAP 7-Mode, and now, I'm working on NetApp ONTAP C-mode. My familiarity and skill with this product is quite good.

      Autodesk has been using this product for more than five years. 

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable feature of Data ONTAP is it's very user-friendly, It gives the administrator or engineer a lot of scope to look into the locks. It has a fair amount of visibility into what is happening. We do not have to depend on the support all the time. 

      If you have a fair amount of experience with NetApp, you can work on it very easily.

      What needs improvement?

      NetApp could certainly improve on the support side. They do not need to improve so much on the product side for now, because we have procured a high end system.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      Stability is quite good. However, when it comes to bugs, this is where we are taking a hit. We have ended up in situation where new releases of the ONTAP create an issue in our current infrastructure. We either need to go back or find a solution to fix the bug created by the bug. This is the issue that we face now.

      We are not putting a lot of stress on our environment, about a five out of ten.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      The scalability of NetApp is good. In NetApp, we have close to three petabytes of data.

      We cannot compare the scalability of the on-premise solution with the cloud solution because cloud works in a different way from the on-premise version. 

      When it comes to the logical partitions, the scalability is fine. Though, after a set time limit, you need to procure physical boxes to increase your storage capacity.

      How is customer service and technical support?

      I would rate the technical support as a five out of ten.

      When it comes to support provided by NetApp, they have room for improvement. Every time we go through their support, we end up answering the same routine questions. We don't reach out to support without doing our initial troubleshooting. After, our initial troubleshooting, we find something, then we reach out for support. Once we reach out to support, support takes us back to the same basic level of troubleshooting, which takes away some time in urgent cases. This is where NetApp support should create an improvement plan.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We did not consider anyone else for NAS.

      What other advice do I have?

      NetApp is a user-friendly solution. I would recommend it to colleagues, because of its user-friendliness for implementation and running your operations.

      I use the on-premise version of this product.

      Our company is in the transition to the cloud. We are focused on cloud solutions going forward.

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