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NetApp FAS Series OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp FAS Series is #3 ranked solution in top Deduplication Software, #3 ranked solution in top Modular SAN (Storage Area Network) tools, and #5 ranked solution in top NAS tools. IT Central Station users give NetApp FAS Series an average rating of 8 out of 10. NetApp FAS Series is most commonly compared to Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon):NetApp FAS Series vs Dell EMC PowerScale (Isilon). The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 27% of all views.
What is NetApp FAS Series?
NetApp FAS Series offers powerful, affordable, flexible data storage for midsized businesses and distributed enterprises. NetApp FAS Series, named a 'Champion' and 'Best in Overall Value' by Info-Tech Research Group, is affordable, and is a more powerful storage platform than other systems in its class.
Buyer's Guide

Download the Deduplication Software Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

NetApp FAS Series Customers
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NetApp FAS Series Video

Archived NetApp FAS Series Reviews (more than two years old)

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Aklilu Shiferaw
System Engineer at Symbol Technologies PLC
Real User
Top 20
Easy to manage as a unified storage for diverse workloads

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution as general unified SAN storage for different workloads.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution provides us with easy management and great vendor support.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that this acts as unified storage, both SAN and NAS, for all types of workloads.

What needs improvement?

Dedicated storage efficiency accelerators could improve the overall performance of the system.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution as general unified SAN storage for different workloads.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution provides us with easy management and great vendor support.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that this acts as unified storage, both SAN and NAS, for all types of workloads.

What needs improvement?

Dedicated storage efficiency accelerators could improve the overall performance of the system.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: System Integrator
SK
Chief Evangelist & CEO at Evantage IT Consulting Services Pvt Ltd
Consultant
Lesser resources needed for snapshot and recovery

What is our primary use case?

Used SnapMirror for replication and DR. It's a good case for a storage-based DR. Good results on RPO and RTO.

How has it helped my organization?

Efficient usage Good pricing Good solution architects and deployment guys are available Licensing is easy.

What is most valuable?

Lesser resources needed for snapshot and recovery Easy to manage Recovery process is easy Integration with other tools is available.

What needs improvement?

Integration with most of the third-party BR tools A clear roadmap for next releases should be available.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What is our primary use case?

Used SnapMirror for replication and DR. It's a good case for a storage-based DR. Good results on RPO and RTO.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Efficient usage
  • Good pricing
  • Good solution architects and deployment guys are available
  • Licensing is easy.

What is most valuable?

  • Lesser resources needed for snapshot and recovery
  • Easy to manage
  • Recovery process is easy
  • Integration with other tools is available.

What needs improvement?

  • Integration with most of the third-party BR tools
  • A clear roadmap for next releases should be available.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Business Partner
Find out what your peers are saying about NetApp, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and others in Deduplication Software. Updated: October 2021.
552,136 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user627942
IT Infrastructure Manager at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Resilient storage but latency and IOPS could be better

Pros and Cons

    • "I would like to see less latency and higher IOPS."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for storage and it has performed fine, but now we need to upgrade.

    What is most valuable?

    We like its resilience. It's reliable storage.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see less latency and higher IOPS.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is very good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I'm satisfied with the scalability.

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

    We did our research and, at the time, NetApp was what we chose. Our most important criterion when selecting a vendor is reliability. The price is, obviously, always an issue but reliability and the quality of the product are most important.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very, very straightforward.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you need reliability, definitely go for NetApp.

    I rate it at seven out of 10 because it has been very reliable but not very good when it comes to IOPS and latency.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    EboHagan
    Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Double-parity RAID guarantees that our data stays intact

    Pros and Cons

    • "One of the most valuable features offered is double-parity RAID, which guarantees that your data will stay intact. We're also able to provision storage and monitor which ones are really consuming storage."
    • "It lacks automatic tiering, When you use data, some of it goes cold. It is not hot data, so the system should automatically move that data to the SATA, while the hot data is kept on tier-one, the SaaS or SSD drives."

    What is our primary use case?

    The primary use case is for regular databases and file systems. So far it has been good. The performance is solid, it's robust, availability is solid.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We're able to keep data for a longer time because we are able to manage it well using the features that NetApp provides. It has also helped us to quickly deploy our test environment and finish all of our testing before we deploy on the customer side or the customer systems. It has really helped in our operations and our productivity.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the most valuable features offered is double-parity RAID, which guarantees that your data will stay intact. You can experience two disk failures and still be up. Another feature is the deduplication. It saves a lot of space. We're also able to provision storage and monitor which ones are really consuming storage.

    What needs improvement?

    I want to see the system automatically tier; we call it auto-tiering. When you use data, some of it goes cold. It is not hot data, so the system should automatically move that data to the SATA, while the hot data is kept on tier-one, the SaaS or SSD drives.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is solid. You can go over 3,000 days without a reboot or any downtime. It's so stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is also good. You can scale on the fly, just connect the cables. If you're adding a controller or you're adding big shelves, it's easy to move. It's excellent.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I'll give technical support a "good" rating because sometimes it's slow in getting people to respond, other times it's okay.

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

    When I arrived at the company they were using NetApp, and we are still using NetApp.

    When selecting a vendor, I first look at how robust the solution is that they're proposing, and how available they are to answer calls if there are any issues. This is very critical. The robustness of the solution and the availability of the vendor to attend to queries are important components of my selection criteria. After-sales support is also very key.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial configuration is very straightforward. You just cable up your system, power up, connect your power cables, connect to the console, boot up the system, do your system configuration, IP configuration, and all the other configurations, and the system is up and good to run.

    What other advice do I have?

    If I were to advise someone researching NetApp FAS Storage or a similar solution, I would want to understand what they really want. I would advise them to go with NetApp because it's unified storage. It supports both NAS and SAN environments, so whether you're doing block storage or you're doing file storage, it is a good solution. Also, the operating system that it runs is called Data ONTAP, and is cloud-ready, so in the future the file storage that you have can be deployed to the cloud.

    I rate this solution a 9.9 out of 10 because it's never failed me so I'm very comfortable with it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    SR
    Senior Network Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    The scalability is good, but it's too expensive

    Pros and Cons

    • "It is good to have a unified storage where you can have block and file level protocols."
    • "The only downside is in ease in management; it is not easy to use."
    • "It's not a cheap system. It is very expensive. The pricing has been ridiculous every time that we had to renew the support."

    What is our primary use case?

    The product has been pretty stable. Though we have had a few issues, not on the ones that we are going to replace, but on a couple of other ones. On the ones that we are going to replace, we usually use them for file storage and Exchange. The others are mainly used for interface and iSCSI.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has been a pretty stable environment, but over time our requirements have changed. Therefore, I don't think it's an issue with the system. We have put a lot of load on a lot more than what it can handle. So, it has taken a performance hit. I wouldn't put it down to there being an issue with NetApp. It's simply because it has more load on it than it can handle, so it has taken a performance hit. 

    The only downside is in ease in management; it is not easy to use.

    What is most valuable?

    It is good to have a unified storage where you can have block and file level protocols. It has been pretty stable, but the capacity requirements have changed overtime. Our utilization has been very high, so the performance has taken a hit, which is why we are replacing it.

    What needs improvement?

    • Ease of management needs to be improved.
    • The power consumption for the FAS is a lot more compared to the new SSD arrays.

    Going forward, I don't want to be using the FAS again. I want to be using AFFs more.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been pretty stable. It has been pretty good, and when we have issues, the support has been great as well. 

    I am pretty happy with the system, and the performance issues that we are experiencing have nothing to do with the NetApp system. It's simply because it has more load than it can handle.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is pretty good, but it's too expensive.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is cooperative and good.

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

    We were previously using an old IBM SAN. We switched because we wanted to moved to a unified system.

    How was the initial setup?

    We had a reseller set it up for us, simply because it was a little too complicated.

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

    It's not a cheap system. It is very expensive. The pricing has been ridiculous every time that we had to renew the support. Initially, we have a three-year support contract when we bought the system, but the subsequent renewal of maintenance was ridiculous. This is why we have not been too keen on NetApp.

    What other advice do I have?

    I wouldn't recommend NetApp FAS. I don't understand why anyone would go for NetApp FAS when you can get the NetApp AFF, which is an SSD array, for almost a similar price or probably even cheaper.

    Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

    • Cost effective solution
    • Performance
    • Reliability
    • A good roadmap.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    WC
    Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    It is stable and integrates well with other components

    Pros and Cons

    • "The initial setup was so straightforward. It was well-documented."
    • "It is very flexible. It integrates well with the public cloud and other components, so everything can be API driven. Therefore, it is very easy to automate it."
    • "We would like to have further integration with some backup products. They have some of them already, but there could be more."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use NetApp as our primary storage. Because we are a system integrator, we managed more than 100 data petabytes of data of our customers.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is very flexible. It integrates well with the public cloud and other components, so everything can be API driven. Therefore, it is very easy to automate it.

    What is most valuable?

    It is very stable and integrates very well with other components.

    What needs improvement?

    We would like to have further integration with some backup products. They have some of them already, but there could be more.

    We have already seen the new roadmap and a lot of our requested features are already on it.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is very stable. We use it for more than 100 petabytes. We do not have any issues. We have never lost data.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It acts as it was documented.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I do not speak with the NetApp support.

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

    We have always used NetApp, so we did not switch from another vendor.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was so straightforward. It was well-documented.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We have almost all vendors in our portfolio: EMC, Pure Storage, etc. 

    As our stand up, we use NetApp because we are pleased with it. Other vendors have good ideas, but they are not yet implemented in NetApp, hopefully that will come one day.

    What other advice do I have?

    Use NetApp, it is good. There are more specialized products in the market, but NetApp is a very good general fit.

    We have a lot of product knowledge, and it is not 100 percentage perfect. However, we know where it behaves well, and where does not.

    Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: We always check the vendor to make sure our clients are receiving the most value for their money. We want the best solution for customers based on their budgets, because it is stupid to offer a product if it if does not work within the customer's budget.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: System integrator.
    Albie Bokingkito Jr.
    Storage and System Engineer at Thales Services SAS
    MSP
    The storage efficiency provided maximum savings in our storage utilization

    Pros and Cons

    • "Using the built-in Snapshots and SnapMirror technology, we were able to have better working data protection locally and off-site."
    • "The storage efficiency provided a maximum savings in our storage utilization."
    • "The AutoSupport could be improved to be more proactive in certain cases."
    • "When getting new hardware, always tell the account manager that you are also considering other brands. They will be forced to adjust the price lower."

    What is our primary use case?

    We recently upgraded our NetApp environment from 7-Mode to Clustered ONTAP v9.3. Primary use cases are NFS and CIFS. NFSs are used for VMware data store while the CIFSs are for corporate file sharing.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Using the built-in Snapshots and SnapMirror technology, we were able to have better working data protection locally and off-site. The storage efficiency also provided maximum savings in our storage utilization.

    What is most valuable?

    Other tools, like OnCommand Unified Manager and Config Advisor, help us a lot in managing our environment.

    What needs improvement?

    None at the moment for the box itself. We are very happy with the current capabilities of this hardware. 

    Hopefully, the AutoSupport can be improved to be more proactive in certain cases.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one year.

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

    When getting new hardware, always tell the account manager that you are also considering other brands. They will be forced to adjust the price lower.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user829644
    Berater with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Provides ease of use and robust Snapshot functionality, but pricing is relatively high

    Pros and Cons

    • "End-users like that they can rely on the Snapshot technology so they can do their restores themselves."
    • "Most valuable features are its ease of use, robust Snapshot functionality, and that you can use it in two datacenters with SnapMirror-ing."
    • "It has a very good implementation of the Active Directory services, so implementation into a Windows network is easy."

      What is our primary use case?

      It is used as filer, for centralized file sharing. You use it, for example, for network drives from your Windows file.

      Performance is very good. It's reasonably fast, probably not the fastest. 

      How has it helped my organization?

      What the customers, the end-users, like is they can rely on the Snapshot technology so they can do their restores themselves. 

      What is most valuable?

      • Ease of use
      • Robust Snapshot functionality
      • You can use it in two datacenters with SnapMirror-ing.

      It has a very good implementation of the Active Directory services, so implementation into a Windows network is easy. 

      What needs improvement?

      One thing that was missing for quite some time was the support for flash, of solid state disks, that has now improved. Another issue is the price which, compared to competitors, is quite high. The reason for switching to a different manufacturer is mostly because of the high price that NetApp has for the product.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The stability is good.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      For the use cases I have had so far, scalability has been sufficient. But I don't know where the limits are. If you go into hundreds of millions of objects, you will probably see limits. Also, performance-wise, it's probably not the fastest solution on the market. 

      How are customer service and technical support?

      For the simple NetApp filer solution, we didn't have to use support. But for more complicated setups, MetroCluster for example, we had to call support.

      I would rate technical support at eight out of 10. Support is responsive, and we could then solve our issues. It took some time. It's not the perfect support that you would get with, say, Pure or Nimble, where they collect telemetry data - they always know what's going on with the system. I think with NetApp that's not possible.

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

      Reasons for choosing NetApp include that it's probably the most solid, robust, and easy-to-implement solution.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      For file servers, one alternative is Microsoft using standard Microsoft Windows Servers. Another solution is Huawei OceanStor; with the latest, version 5, they support mouse functionality.

      What other advice do I have?

      My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are to see that it has good market share already established, or that it has a robust roadmap with interesting products in the future, or that I have had a solid feeling with different products from same manufacturer.

      If I were only rating the NetApp solution without considering the price, I would probably give it nine or 10 out of 10. If the rating includes the price, it's more like a seven.

      If you're aiming for the easiest solution which will work, more or less, out-of-the-box and has lots of features, I would definitely recommend NetApp. If you're also bound by budget restraints, you should probably look at other vendors.

      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user806046
      Consultant
      Consultant
      Very easy to expand disks and manage CIFS

      What is our primary use case?

      Enterprise Storage for: Block and file SQL Server LUNs Exchange LUNs VM Storage.  Backup of above via Snap products.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Rock solid reliability Easy to use Very easy to expand disks and manage CIFS. It has been over seven years with no outages.

      What is most valuable?

      SnapManagers for SQL Exchange and Oracle SnapMirror for DR CIFS management for shares/permissions

      What needs improvement?

      Add wizards for newer, inexperienced users.  More modern GUI, not that it's bad.  ONTAP upgrades need to be much easier.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.

      What is our primary use case?

      Enterprise Storage for:

      • Block and file
      • SQL Server LUNs
      • Exchange LUNs
      • VM Storage. 

      Backup of above via Snap products.

      How has it helped my organization?

      • Rock solid reliability
      • Easy to use
      • Very easy to expand disks and manage CIFS.
      • It has been over seven years with no outages.

      What is most valuable?

      • SnapManagers for SQL
      • Exchange and Oracle
      • SnapMirror for DR
      • CIFS management for shares/permissions

      What needs improvement?

      • Add wizards for newer, inexperienced users. 
      • More modern GUI, not that it's bad. 
      • ONTAP upgrades need to be much easier.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      More than five years.
      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user829644
      Berater with 11-50 employees
      Real User
      Ability to use mirroring and SnapVault have made backup no longer necessary

      What is our primary use case?

      The primary use case is for standard CIFS/SMB file storage for Windows Clients in an ADS environment.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Samba on Solaris was a nightmare. Our situation improved with no Windows file servers, but at about 30 million files/folders, snapshot and backup functionality started to make trouble.

      What is most valuable?

      Snapshots for user self-service restore Ability to use mirroring and SnapVault have made backup no longer necessary.

      What needs improvement?

      The WAFL is slow. The adoption of flash by NetApp has also been lagging behind the trendsetters, like TMS, Nimble, and others.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Three to five years.

      What is our primary use case?

      The primary use case is for standard CIFS/SMB file storage for Windows Clients in an ADS environment.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Samba on Solaris was a nightmare. Our situation improved with no Windows file servers, but at about 30 million files/folders, snapshot and backup functionality started to make trouble.

      What is most valuable?

      • Snapshots for user self-service restore
      • Ability to use mirroring and SnapVault have made backup no longer necessary.

      What needs improvement?

      • The WAFL is slow.
      • The adoption of flash by NetApp has also been lagging behind the trendsetters, like TMS, Nimble, and others.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Three to five years.
      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      it_user821337
      ‎Cloud Plattform Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
      Consultant
      Integrated snapshot and backup capability

      What is our primary use case?

      NAS part of standardized virtualization platform, ranging from size from 15TB on-site solution to more than 500TB twin core datacenter.

      How has it helped my organization?

      Cost effective storage for all performance levels (including all-flash) Integrated snapshot and backup capability Many protocols Good service

      What is most valuable?

      Integrated backup functionality (SnapVault and SnapMirror) Option to mirror synchronously

      What needs improvement?

      Automation readiness API exposure Adaptive storage quality of service

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Three to five years.

      What is our primary use case?

      NAS part of standardized virtualization platform, ranging from size from 15TB on-site solution to more than 500TB twin core datacenter.

      How has it helped my organization?

      • Cost effective storage for all performance levels (including all-flash)
      • Integrated snapshot and backup capability
      • Many protocols
      • Good service

      What is most valuable?

      • Integrated backup functionality (SnapVault and SnapMirror)
      • Option to mirror synchronously

      What needs improvement?

      • Automation readiness
      • API exposure
      • Adaptive storage quality of service

      For how long have I used the solution?

      Three to five years.
      Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
      ITCS user
      Storage and VMware Expert at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Saves space with deduplication

      Pros and Cons

      • "Compression of the backup Oracle by RMAN on NFS saves space 5:1."
      • "The migration of the volume on the cluster is very useful and easy to use."
      • "Saves space with deduplication"

        What is our primary use case?

        Creating a DR site using SnapMirror technology from NetApp.

        How has it helped my organization?

        • NetApp improved our organization because their features are more friendly and create environment to tests, like dev. The FlexClone technology is easy to use.
        • The flexibility to create scheduling backups on the VMware platform is very useful when you need it. We can save space using VSC.
        • The migration of the volume on the cluster is very useful and easy to use.
        • It is very useful to verify performance problems on the any environment and move volumes to another aggregate without downtime to the application.
        • Compression of the backup Oracle by RMAN on NFS saves space 5:1, for example.

        What is most valuable?

        • Flexibility.
        • Saves space with deduplication.
        • All protocols on the same box. This means that you don't need to have a appliance to export. For example, an NFS volume on CIFs volume.
        • Easy integration to some cloud environments, like Amazon AWS.
        • Deduplication, now on cluster mode, runs on aggregate and no more on volume only. This means that you must put all their VMware environments on the same aggregate. If you have volume from prod, dev, and homolog that shares the same virtual machine, you will have a big gain on space saving.

        What needs improvement?

        NetApp for all these years has been improving their storage.

        The only area that could be improved is to lower prices for their All Flash FAS.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        You must have "flash cash" if you used the box to Oracle, any database environment, or any application that requires a lot of reads all time.

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

        We have used some solutions like Hitachi, Dell, and EMC, but NetApp has more flexibility and we decided to stay with NetApp.

        • My first case was migrate all solutions from Hitachi Storage to NetApp FAS on SAN with brocade.
        • Migrated all VMware environment to NetApp storage.
        • Migrated all backup solutions that were running on Veritas Backup to VSC on NetApp.
        • Migrated our whole Oracle database running on HDS storage to NetApp storage.

        How was the initial setup?

        Setup is very easy, but you need a partner to execute your first configuration, after that the administration is easy.

        What about the implementation team?

        The first setup must be done by any partner or a NetApp field engineer.

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

        The price it not low, but comparing features to other vendors, the price can be balanced.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user793935
        Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
        Consultant
        Enables us to handle business critical data with HA

        How has it helped my organization?

        Enables us to handle business critical data with HA.

        What is most valuable?

        NAS stability Simple customer support

        What needs improvement?

        Needs more SAN support.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        One to three years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        No stability issues yet.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No scalability issues yet.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        Eight out of 10.

        How was the initial setup?

        Works on administration, not implementation.

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

        Not overrated, though there are products available in market with comparatively lower costs.

        What other advice do I have?

        Good for NAS and unified…

        How has it helped my organization?

        Enables us to handle business critical data with HA.

        What is most valuable?

        • NAS stability
        • Simple customer support

        What needs improvement?

        Needs more SAN support.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        One to three years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        No stability issues yet.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No scalability issues yet.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        Eight out of 10.

        How was the initial setup?

        Works on administration, not implementation.

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

        Not overrated, though there are products available in market with comparatively lower costs.

        What other advice do I have?

        Good for NAS and unified solutions.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        Henry
        Team Lead at Tata Consultancy Services
        Real User
        Top 5
        FAS8040: Powerful, high availability, easy to use. But I have concerns about the company's future.

        What is our primary use case?

        NAS for the enterprise including unstructured data, EPIC Systems + the other 3,520 applications. I love those innovative healthcare data solutions that let me securely manage vast amounts of patient data (32.9 PB), use and share it enterprise-wide, and gain efficiency of scale through cloud solutions and virtualization.

        How has it helped my organization?

        Home directory access & Innovative clinical data and IT storage solutions from NetApp to share patient data across the continuum of care. Through improved flexibility and efficiency, NetApp solutions helps improve my healthcare workflows so you can deliver better patient care

        What is most valuable?

        Powerful
        Easy to use
        High availability

        DFM

        OCI

        Data fabric

        FPolicy

        Cluster-mode

        Hybrid cloud solution

        What needs improvement?

        I have found it to be expensive.
        It is good as a NAS, but not a good option for SAN.We use it for storing medical images.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        More than five years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Some

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Not yet

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Customer Service:

        Solid

        Technical Support:

        Good

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

        Pure Storage for SAN

        How was the initial setup?

        OK

        What about the implementation team?

        Vendor team

        What was our ROI?

        18 months

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

        Research fully

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        EMC

        What other advice do I have?

        Think carefully before you jump into NetApp. There are so many competing products and you should do a proof of concept before you buy it. I'm a bit worried since NetApp is competing against the big boys like IBM and EMC. So what happens if NetApps get acquired by one of the big boys? Will they be around in another 3-5 years?

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user614595
        ICT Network Administrator at a maritime company with 501-1,000 employees
        Real User
        The initial setup was quite easy and pleasing. Just enter some key values and there you go.

        Pros and Cons

        • "A reliable and easily managed storage system is a key performance factor. The system also has more features than we require."
        • "As I see it, there could be more interfaces, more cache, etc."

        What is most valuable?

        • Reliability
        • Rich features
        • Ease of management
        • Excellent support

        A reliable and easily managed storage system is a key performance factor. The system also has more features than we require.

        What needs improvement?

        Naturally, there would be room for improvement. As I see it, there could be more interfaces, more cache, etc., but those challenges are solved by just getting some other model.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Four years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        None whatsoever.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No issues, as expansion was a breeze.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        We do use third party support. On a scale of one to 10, I would rate the support to be an eight.

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

        During the years, we have had quite a few storage solutions, none of which did give us the same level performance, reliability, and manageability as the FAS-series has.

        How was the initial setup?

        The initial setup was quite easy and pleasing. Just enter some key values and there you go.

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

        For a number of years now, purchasing a storage system has been actually purchasing software. There is no plain storage anymore, more or less intelligent software solutions. Thus, licenses are required to fulfill the business demands. One considering between different storage system should carefully investigate what software options they get bundled in and what optional software they actually would need. Most storage vendors also have software, or licensing bundles, which may offer the required licenses considerably cheaper, but do also maybe offer licenses, which are not needed.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        No other solutions were evaluated at the time. Actually, this system was familiar to use and fulfilled the business demands.

        What other advice do I have?

        You really can't go wrong with NetApp products, They perform well, are rock solid, offer good space saving technologies, and the support is above par.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user520506
        Storage Administrator with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Vendor
        Valuable features include thin provisioning, simple management, and fast snapshots

        What is most valuable?

        Fast Snapshots Thin provisioning Simple management

        What needs improvement?

        With scalability, we feel the system is limited. 

        For how long have I used the solution?

        From 2013 until now; four years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        No issues. The system is rather stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Yes, we have encountered issues. The system is limited by the number of enclosures.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        The tech support is very good. We use a third party support.

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

        Previously, we used VNX5300 NAS. We found this one better suited to our needs.

        How was the initial setup?

        Initial setup was straightforward, not very…

        What is most valuable?

        • Fast Snapshots
        • Thin provisioning
        • Simple management

        What needs improvement?

        With scalability, we feel the system is limited. 

        For how long have I used the solution?

        From 2013 until now; four years.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        No issues. The system is rather stable.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Yes, we have encountered issues. The system is limited by the number of enclosures.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        The tech support is very good. We use a third party support.

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

        Previously, we used VNX5300 NAS. We found this one better suited to our needs.

        How was the initial setup?

        Initial setup was straightforward, not very complicated.

        What about the implementation team?

        We used a third-party for setup.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        No, we did not. We were given direction from the University.

        What other advice do I have?

        I would recommend it to anyone. It is good for some of the NAS and VMware implementations.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        Henry
        Team Lead at Tata Consultancy Services
        Real User
        Top 5
        FAS8k Series: Better performance & lower cost...+ A300

        What is most valuable?

        Better performance and lower costs.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It is a great help.

        What needs improvement?

        It may need more flexibility to fight with other competing arrays.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Over 10 years.

        What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

        Nothing special.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Not really.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Customer Service: Good. Technical Support: Cool.

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

        EMC.

        How was the initial setup?

        Straightforward.

        What about the implementation team?

        Vendor.

        What was our ROI?

        Three years.

        What's my

        What is most valuable?

        Better performance and lower costs.

        How has it helped my organization?

        It is a great help.

        What needs improvement?

        It may need more flexibility to fight with other competing arrays.

        For how long have I used the solution?

        Over 10 years.

        What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

        Nothing special.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Not really.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        No.

        How are customer service and technical support?

        Customer Service:

        Good.

        Technical Support:

        Cool.

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

        EMC.

        How was the initial setup?

        Straightforward.

        What about the implementation team?

        Vendor.

        What was our ROI?

        Three years.

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

        Be careful.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        EMC.

        What other advice do I have?

        Keep up the good work.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user515505
        User at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Vendor
        Organizationally, it changed the way we do DR around NetApp replication

        How has it helped my organization?

        It changed the way we do Disaster Recovery (DR) around NetApp replication.

        What needs improvement?

        Cluster mode needs to be more ubiquitous. The process for going to cluster mode is expensive.

        What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

        Unexpected costs and some systems were not compatible with cluster mode.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Yes, we encountered stability issues with the LDAP integration and with user logins on the web front-end.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Nope.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        Customer Service: The customer service is awesome. Technical Support: The technical support is great. The partner company (Bytes) has a close…

        How has it helped my organization?

        It changed the way we do Disaster Recovery (DR) around NetApp replication.

        What needs improvement?

        • Cluster mode needs to be more ubiquitous.
        • The process for going to cluster mode is expensive.

        What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

        Unexpected costs and some systems were not compatible with cluster mode.

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        Yes, we encountered stability issues with the LDAP integration and with user logins on the web front-end.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Nope.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        Customer Service:

        The customer service is awesome.

        Technical Support:

        The technical support is great. The partner company (Bytes) has a close relationship with us.

        How was the initial setup?

        The initial setup was straightforward, though there were a lot of hidden costs going to cluster mode and the amount of usable data was way lower than expected.

        What about the implementation team?

        We used a vendor team, and they were excellent.

        Which other solutions did I evaluate?

        EMC.

        What other advice do I have?

        Double up on the amount of storage that you expect to buy.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user332616
        Director of IT Infrastructure at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
        Vendor
        It provides us with redundancy and security, which is important because we hold a lot of customer information that must be secure and reliable.

        What is most valuable?

        • Redundancy
        • Snap mirroring
        • Home-drive capability, which looks at a user name and gives the correct rights to folder

        How has it helped my organization?

        • Rendundancy
        • Security

        We hold a lot of information for our customers, so the information has to be secure and reliable.

        What needs improvement?

        I'm not sure, because every time I’ve gone to them, they’ve said “yes, we can do that.”

        What do I think about the stability of the solution?

        I sleep well at night because of its redundancy. I hardly even know when it has a bad drive. The Call Home capability sends a message automatically if there's a bad drive to NetApp who then sends a new drive.

        What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

        Amazing how scalable it is. As a comparison, we looked at EMC vBlock as well, and if you want to upgrade, you have to use a forklift. With FAS, you just put in new shelves or heads.

        How is customer service and technical support?

        They’re extremely technical. Everyone I’ve talked to has been very knowledgeable, and I can’t say anything bad.

        How was the initial setup?

        It was complex. There's a lot to do, but I had their assistance and went through everything step by step. So while complex, it was also simple.

        What other advice do I have?

        One thing that burned me, is that it surprised me how much overhead it uses, like 30% right off the top. So don’t forget the overhead. It’s not usable space, but that percentage is coming down. It all has to do with deduplication.

        Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
        it_user332793
        Sales - Regional Southern California at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
        Consultant
        It's speed-optimized and there's no degradation in performance, although setup is complex and there are many areas for mistakes.

        Pros and Cons

        • "Other products lose performance over time, but NetApp OS is speed-optimized."

          What is most valuable?

          NetApp, as a design group, builds solutions that are reliable. Other companies don’t have the fortitude of NetApp. They have a very strong commitment to the multimedia industry, for example.

          Other products lose performance over time, but NetApp OS is speed-optimized.

          NetApp is also a very stable company that offers various storage options at the highest level of build and reliability. Products will be supported for the duration of a customer’s needs.

          How has it helped my organization?

          With NetApp’s dedication to the market, customers aren’t dealing with a fly-by-night organization. The company will follow through with support which, with FAS, is for multiple petabytes of data. For example, in the government and medical sectors, they are well provided-for.

          My ability as a VAR is solely connected to NetApp, my value is solely connected to the commitment of NetApp. In any particular vertical, NetApp is technically superior, price conscious, and superior at price-for-performance.

          They provide a lot of expertise on marketing and technical teams, and helps make our customers look good.

          What needs improvement?

          There’s always areas for improvement. For example, it’s not an inexpensive solution and it may not be for the cost-sensitive customer.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          My primary selling point is stability of the solution. It provides ongoing performance, which is proven to have no degradation.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          Scalability depends on how it’s ordered, which is the job of an integrator and dependent on the customer's needs.

          How is customer service and technical support?

          I work with their technical team, but not on a day-to-day basis. The teams I do work with are great, but there are so many of them it’s sometimes difficult to find correct teams.

          How was the initial setup?

          It’s complex because there so many areas where you can make a mistake. For example, the site survey may not have enough power and something as simple as that can ruin an installation.

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

          It loses points because of the price, but it can’t be everything to everybody.

          What other advice do I have?

          Make sure you buy the product that’s right for you. If it's competitive to NetApp FAS, great, but just know both products before making a decision and do a point-by-point comparison.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332655
          Storage Administrator with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          We now have the capability of both SIFS and NFS, and we don't need to have separate OS boxes.

          Pros and Cons

          • "It allows our Windows and Unix teams to have a centralized point to share data between the two."
          • "I’ve found that I use command line more often than I thought needed. Some things should be done in the GUI, and command-line switches can be overwhelming and take up a lot of time."

          What is most valuable?

          All SIFS and NFS are valuable. It allows our Windows and Unix teams to have a centralized point to share data between the two. When a potential army recruit provides info at various locations, FAS gives us a drop point where the system can pull info from various locations.

          How has it helped my organization?

          NetApp allows us to take arrays and pass through. NetApp now has the capability of both SIFS and NFS that we didn’t have before. We don’t need to have separate OS boxes. And we don’t have duplicate data.

          What needs improvement?

          I’ve found that I use command line more often than I thought needed. Some things should be done in the GUI, and command-line switches can be overwhelming and take up a lot of time. In a GUI, I can just hit options or boxes. However, cluster mode will address a lot of that, but 7-mode definitely doesn’t.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          Some issues where some of my stuff is not failing over. I’m the eighth person handling the system, and my impression is that it wasn’t configured correctly. However, I very rarely have a problem. It’s been stable.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          I haven’t had to scale in my department, but I foresee change in the near future because we’ll be taking on other portions of the government (medical, for example). Other portions will be somewhat isolated, but there is overlap.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          I’m part of a five-person team with in-house support. If that doesn’t work, then I go to NetApp support. We work with specific people within NetApp. I like that tech supports sticks to it until the issue is solved and that they follow up. Any delays are on our end because we move slowly.

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

          Five or six years ago, we used a Hitachi solution with fiber channel.

          How was the initial setup?

          I wasn’t there, but I will be involved in the 8080 installation in 2 weeks. NetApp will come in and do it for us.

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

          It’s difficult for us to get money, so make sure you get everything in order, because there’s no going back and saying “oh, I missed this or that”, so make sure you plan well and well in advance.

          What other advice do I have?

          It does a good job at what it’s designed to do.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user527190
          Senior System Administrator at a marketing services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
          Vendor
          The most valuable features are the snapshots, the flash pool that we’re using, and cluster mode.

          What is most valuable?

          The most valuable features are the snapshots, the flash pool that we’re using, and cluster mode. When we are doing an upgrade, there is less of an impact on the customer when you use cluster mode. It still has some with CIFS, but at least it has less impact.

          How has it helped my organization?

          Compared to the previous solution, I would not say that it has really improved anything. We were with the HPE EVA before the NetApp. It takes more of my time to manage them, as opposed to HPE EVA, with which I created LUNs and it's done. I have a lot more tasks to do. At least now with NetApp, we can provide NAS services, which HPE EVA did not have.

          What needs improvement?

          I would like to see antivirus that works, and generally a working solution. They just provided Vserver DR, which is good.

          Now we need to have a way to do some tests only because to do testing we really need to failover to the second site, destroy everything, rebuild it, and failback. I really need a test mode that is not as destructive, at least. There is no test mode. Maybe there is with ONTAP 9. I’m not sure. That’s probably a feature that doesn’t figure into the short-term roadmap.

          For more detail:

          With Data Ontap 7 if something was wrong there was a real passthru that was protecting us against a loss of service if something was wrong with McAfee.

          Now with Cluster Data Ontap they introduce the AV connector and the passthru is not working correctly. We have delayed our migration to the c-dot environment for over 2 years now with open call at netapp. It tooks them over 8 months to admit there was a problem until a second customer get hit with the same problem we had. This has cause us service impact with our external customer, so we are running with the antivirus disable in our c-dot cifs shares since (at least they are used mostly by applications, not direct users).

          We have 2 specific cases that happen:

          * A McAfee agent upgrade that cause the Virus Scan Enterprise for Storage (VSES) to stop working
          * A bad config in EPO pushing an invalid user to start the VSES preventing it to be able to read the file on the netapp

          In September, a new version (1.0.3) of the AV connector that was supposed to fix these issues was available but it didn’t help the file access are still being denied. The test we did was for the second problem which is easy to reproduce. Just after that I was being interviewed during the Netapp Insight which has given that review.

          Since we have worked with Netapp and McAfee, I have seen no real intent to have a functioning passthru. They instead finger point McAfee for not replying. We have tried an hotfix from McAfee but it is still not working.

          For vserver DR this is a new functionality which is really good and very helpful for our DR solutions. The improvement that should be done to it is a better way to fallback, there is none currently so we need to delete all the setup, on the secondary : reconfigure it, copy everything to primary and then fail it back to primary. Then to reconfigure it properly, we need to delete, reconfigure and copy to the secondary.


          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          It is very unstable. We have a lot of issues with antivirus programs interrupting us from providing services to our customer. As soon as something happens with McAfee, the customer had problems with our services.

          With the 7 mode, we were okay. There was a real pass-through working correctly, so if something happened with the NT file server, the files were still being served to the customer. With cDOT, it's completely the opposite. It's completely out of service. We have a lot of service impact.

          We have been delaying the CIFS transition a lot because of this.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          We have been using technical support for over two years regarding services been down. Support was not efficient in that case. They are available. They tried. I was supposed to have a solution with the latest version. That was last week. I did the test, but it’s still not working.

          Before the admin, there was an issue, it took close to a year until a second customer had the same issue. Then, they finally admitted that I wasn't the problem. It was an issue with the software. That's certainly why I rate them poorly.

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

          When we moved from HPE EVA to FAS, it was to have NAS services. For NAS, NetApp was probably the best one at that time.

          How was the initial setup?

          The initial setup was straightforward. I had no problem with that.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          We also considered EMC at that time and HPE. For what we needed, NetApp was the best one.

          The most important criteria we look for in a vendor is good service and quality of the product.

          What other advice do I have?

          Properly define what you need first. After that, talk with people who know NetApp well, know how to set it up, and properly define the design architecture before doing it.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user527118
          Systems Engineer at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          Supports anything from Windows CIFS shares to UNIX NFS shares to block-level storage.

          What is most valuable?

          Its flexibility: It will support anything; from Windows CIFS shares, to UNIX NFS shares, to block-level storage; on the same platform; on the same disks; with the same interface. It's not specific to one set or another set.

          How has it helped my organization?

          I'm not sure that I can comment. This is what we've always used, so I have nothing to compare it to.

          It has a steep learning curve. Once you've reached the top of that curve, though, it's much easier to manage since it is all in the same system. You don't have a separate system to manage block-level storage or a separate system to manage other types of shares.

          What needs improvement?

          One of the issues that we have had with NetApp in upgrading over the years is that migrating data from one system to another is one-way only. If you have a new storage system that is going to replace an old storage system, where you're transitioning slowly from one to another, you can copy the data in one direction, but that same tool, which is typically used as a disaster recovery tool, can't be used to reset it back the other direction, as well. That level of backward compatibility would be very nice to have.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          In the 20-some years I've been working with NetApp stuff, the system has caused one outage. Other than that, for any of the failure that it's had, the redundancy that is built into it, has handled the failure and left the systems up and the data available.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          It is very scalable. It has gotten much more scalable. With every level, it's becoming more and more scalable.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Technical support directly from NetApp is usually very, very good. As compared to others, the expertise that the individual that you talk to on the phone is usually very good. You can talk directly to an engineer, if that's required. We’ve actually talked to hardware development people on occasion, when that has been required.

          The support team is very knowledgeable and very accessible.

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

          We invest in a new solution when the existing solution goes out of its initial support. We have been looking for new options for about six months now because the extended support is very, very expensive.

          How was the initial setup?

          I was involved in migrations from one system to another system. The initial setup, the cabling, the hardware side of it is tedious.

          Have NetApp come in and do the initial install of the physical system for you. It's definitely worth the time.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          We are looking at Pure Storage. We have looked at and discarded an EMC option. That's why I recently attended a NetApp conference. We were looking to see the next level of the NetApp All-Flash FAS.

          We rejected the EMC option because we had an EMC piece of gear in-house that had a failure. It continued to operate, like it's supposed to. The problem was that the part on the piece of EMC gear that failed could not be replaced without causing downtime. It might as well have just caused the downtime initially. We have migrated everything off of that. It was a stupid little thing. It wasn’t like the backplane failed; it was a stupid little thing. I would not recommend it, and we will probably never go with EMC again.

          What other advice do I have?

          Take your time. It's a very dynamic market right now. Make sure that the information that you're getting on the system is for what's currently available and not for what they're expecting to have next quarter. Because, a lot of the next-quarter stuff is vapor, where they don't actually have it. They haven't gotten around to putting that in place, yet, and they promise and promise until they get money from you.

          That's one of the reasons why we're holding off on making a decision until the gear is actually available.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user527277
          IT Analyst at a local government with 501-1,000 employees
          Vendor
          You can run a smaller aggregate with SSDs in the flash pool.

          What is most valuable?

          It takes your standard IOPS in your drives and it gives you much greater performance out of that aggregate. You can run a smaller aggregate with SSDs in the flash pool, and it'll give you the IOPS of many more spindles. What it does is it brings your SATA disks aggregate up to the SAS speed, depending upon how many spindles you're running, and your SAS aggregates perform much better.

          How has it helped my organization?

          We had an IOPS problem earlier. We were running Citrix and we were having boot storms. Part of the problem was the aggregates that we had were too small. The boot storm would basically fill up the NVRAM. It was unable to write to disk because the disks were running full. The problem was solved by going to flash pools. It was great.

          What needs improvement?

          I have not given the FAS a perfect rating because the All Flash Array is probably going to beat it down, in terms of performance.

          I would give it a perfect rating if there wasn’t any ceiling. When you have some systems and you increase your disk IOPS by adding either All Flash Array or you add a flash pool, sometimes you move the bottleneck; you move the bottleneck up to the CPU. We did have that problem briefly. That was solved by basically moving some of the workload. That happened one time and we fixed it.

          By moving to cluster mode, it's going to be a lot easier to move the workload. We are moving in that direction. We're doing the first assessment and planning right now.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          We do not have any stability problems, whatsoever.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          NetApp aggregates are scalable. You can keep adding shelves.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Technical support is very good. I've never had a problem.

          Usually the problem is being able to hear them in our data center. :)

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

          I did not previously use a different solution. When I started working with the county, they already had the NetApp FAS.

          What other advice do I have?

          Go with NetApp; I haven't had a problem with it.

          The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are reliability and, for technical support, being there.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          ITCS user
          Storage and VMware Expert at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Real User
          It helps centralize and simplify all connections into one box.

          What is most valuable?

          It gives us the flexibility to work with all protocols on the same Storage Box. The WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) is the best feature implemented on this storage solution. Also, the DataONTAP is very reliable and stable, and I haven't had any problems yet. If you configure NetApp using the best practices, you should not have any issues with the performance. Lastly, the de-duplication works very well with all applications in a VMware environment, and you will save a lot of space. In my experience we save more than 80% of the space using deduplication on the volume, and if you have allflash fas you will have gain of the 3:1 and 4:1 on the your storage on the all environment without lost performance.

          How has it helped my organization?

          All the protocols on the same box can solve all the configurations problems. They also help centralize and simplify all connections into one box.

          The feature snapmirror is too simple to configure and it is the best way to configure one storage environment with High Availability site to site.

          What needs improvement?

          Unify all backup software on the single tool to simplify the administration.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          I've been using NetApp products for Ten years, and currently i am working with models FAS6220, FAS8020 using all softwares available...

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          I don´t find issues yet

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          No issues encountered.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          No issues encountered.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service:

          10/10.

          Technical Support:

          10/10.

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

          In the past, I used, and still work with, solutions like Fujitsu and Hitachi, but when I have an opportunity to work with a NetApp solution, I don't want to go back. That's because the NetApp solutions give me more flexibility to work.

          How was the initial setup?

          I think it is easy, because I have implemented NetApp in the past. I don't know if someone without work experience would be able to execute the initial setup. However, if you apply best practices, you should not have an issue.

          What about the implementation team?

          I have experienced both in-house and vendor team implementations. Whenever it is done by the vendor, they are 10/10.

          What was our ROI?

          The ROI for NetApp is good, and if you use it on a VMware environment, the ROI will be even greater, and if you get the new solution Allflash FAS you will have a big gain of the storage like 3:1, 4:1 and many more dependending on the your application.

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

          The price, sometimes, is very high, but the ROI is guaranteed.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          Ye I did, but I didn't find another solution that could centralize all the protocols into one box without an appliance.

          What other advice do I have?

          Study the NetApp solutions, and before you implement be sure to do PoCs.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          ITCS user
          Senior Storage Consultant at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          I like that there are various modes and protocols you can use at the same time.

          What is most valuable?

          • Multi Protocol
          • Scalability
          • Homogeneous hardware

          There are various modes and protocols you can use at the same time. For customers who use NetApp 7-Mode, I would rate Data ONTAP 8/10 and for Clustered Mode 7/10.

          How has it helped my organization?

          • Centralization of protocols within the same appliance
          • Software defined storage
          • Easy management
          • Scalability
          • Support

          What needs improvement?

          Migration from 7-Mode to Clustered Data ONTAP need improvement. It seems NetApp didn't know how to solve the main problem of migrating data from an old OS (7-Mode ) to Clustered.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          I've been using it for nine years, both using and implementing NetApp FAS series.

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          Deploying NetApp appliances is hard work. A lot of experience is required, mainly when your project runs a MetroCluster solution.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          There's an issue when you have a mix of a low-spinning disk (SATA 3TB ) and multi-protocol access (NFS, CIFS and FCP, and iSCSI). Data ONTAP performance with WAFL goes down on mid-range solutions with multi-protocol access.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          We've never had an issue with Clustered Data ONTAP, but we did with 7-Mode solutions and large amounts of data in the PB range.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service:

          They have really good customer service.

          Technical Support:

          They have a good level of technical support when you escalate cases.

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

          I've used EMC solutions in different companies.

          How was the initial setup?

          The initial setup was complex and you need experience.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          ITCS user
          System Administrator - Backup & Storage Specialist at METRO SYSTEMS Romania
          Consultant
          It provides very good storage High Availability and data protection. The thing we'd like to see the most is the possibility of pairing LAN/SAN ports from different nodes.

          Valuable Features

          What impressed me the most about these systems are their excellent reliability, ease of administering (both in GUI and command line), and their very good documentation that is easy to access and understand. It provides very good storage, High Availability, and data protection by employing the use of two separate storage controllers that can take over each other's role as soon as any of them goes down. The technology has been improved even more after the introduction of the cluster cDot ONTAP OS.

          Improvements to My Organization

          NetApp systems are a good choice if you want a versatile unified system that's also capable of delivering performance. Our company has been using NetApp filers both as file sharing solutions (CIFS over LAN) and also as block storage (LUNs) for VMware ESXi hosts.

          Since we switched to the newer 2552 models, we now benefit from better data protection and improved storage capacity thanks to the clustered Data ONTAP OS.

          Room for Improvement

          The thing we'd like to see the most is the possibility of pairing LAN/SAN ports from different nodes. Currently, the systems only provide pairing (and thus redundancy) only at same-node level. Also, it wouldn't hurt having this sort of cross-functionality when it comes to choosing disks for aggregate structures. Right now, you can't integrate in the same storage aggregate disks from different shelves.

          Use of Solution

          I've had the chance to work a lot with NetApp FAS 2552 series and also have some experience with older models such as 2050, 2040, 3240 and 2240. I think it's a pretty reliable unified storage solution. The FAS 2552 model, especially, offers good performance and excellent reliability. My experience with similar storage systems is, currently, somewhat limited however.

          My company has been using NetApp for a few years now, over four I think, and I have come into contact with this technology for over a year.

          Deployment Issues

          When it comes to deployment we had our share of issues. Some of these issues are to blame on the vendor's lack of experience with the new models and ONTAP versions, but sometimes the systems themselves were faulty.

          Stability Issues

          The most recent issue we had involves a LAN card that couldn't be set on the correct bandwidth setting. In consequence, the vendor had to replace one of the node's motherboard.

          Scalability Issues

          There have been no issues with scaling it, other than during the actual deployment of new devices.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          If you buy NetApp systems from third-party vendors, then you would be surprised that their technicians aren't exactly up to date with the latest ONTAP versions. NetApp releases new versions (with great improvements) so often that it's hard for some vendors to stay up to date with their technical knowledge base.

          However, when it comes to technical support from NetApp directly, they tend to have a very competent team and the reaction time is pretty decent. Perhaps their biggest strong point in this chapter is their public knowledge base which helps you solve on your own most of issues you can encounter with configuring and administering.

          Initial Setup

          All I can say is that if you take your time and study the NetApp documentation, you shouldn't have any issue, provided the initial setup was done properly by the vendor technician.

          Implementation Team

          Initial setup is usually performed by NetApp or the third-party vendor from whom you purchased the devices. Our experience with third-party vendors isn't the best due to reasons stated above. All other configuration and administration is done in-house.

          Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

          When it comes to software licensing, I think that NetApp promotes a very fair system. Basically you only pay for the features you need (eg.: Cluster Mode, SnapMirror, SnapVault, etc.).

          Other Advice

          The best advice I can offer is to try and purchase it directly from NetApp in order to have a better chance of having a successful initial configuration from the first try. Also, make sure you purchase the system with a General Availability OS version as Release Candidate ones tend to be bugged.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user354033
          Product Owner Storage at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
          Consultant
          We are an online hotel reservations company, so if our website goes down we lose money at a very high rate per minute. It has been many years since we have had an outage due to storage because of FAS.

          Valuable Features

          • Reliability
          • Snapshots
          • Ease of tooling
          • Integration with our systems
          • It's multiprotocol

          Improvements to My Organization

          We are an online hotel reservations company, so if our website goes down we lose money at a very high rate per minute. It has been many years since we have had an outage due to storage because of FAS.

          Room for Improvement

          The performance needs to be improved. Due to the performance issues, we're moving to NetApp Flash FAS as it provides almost infinite performance.

          Use of Solution

          We've used it for nine years.

          Deployment Issues

          We've had no issues with deployment.

          Stability Issues

          The stability is excellent.

          Scalability Issues

          It's scaled well for us.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It takes a long time to resolve most cases. It requires an extensive amount of troubleshooting and tends to be very time consuming on our end in terms of collecting data for the engineers to work on.

          Initial Setup

          It's straightforward. I'd say, though, that it's medium complexity because it is not done in one day.

          Implementation Team

          We used a mixed team of in-house and vendor personnel.

          ROI

          I wouldn't know how to begin to calculate it.

          Other Solutions Considered

          That was a long time before I joined the company.

          Other Advice

          Do your research on clustered Data ONTAP as it is a very complicated product, much more complicated than the previous version.

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I used to work for NetApp as a consultant.
          it_user352242
          Systems Technician at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          It made the workload we needed possible because of its flash cache and we can perform LIF migrations with clustered Data ONTAP.

          Valuable Features

          The most valuable feature for us is the ability to perform LIF migrations with clustered Data ONTAP.

          Improvements to My Organization

          It made the workload we needed possible because of its flash cache.

          Room for Improvement

          It would be nice to be able to mix flash cache with other technologies.

          Use of Solution

          We've been using it for one month.

          Stability Issues

          It's very stable.

          Scalability Issues

          It scales for the kind of customers that we have.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          We'd like to get more access to level-two engineers. Sometimes its been a difficult time explaining the problem to level-one people. This process is a little bit time consuming.

          Initial Setup

          The initial setup was straightforward.

          Implementation Team

          We did…

          Valuable Features

          The most valuable feature for us is the ability to perform LIF migrations with clustered Data ONTAP.

          Improvements to My Organization

          It made the workload we needed possible because of its flash cache.

          Room for Improvement

          It would be nice to be able to mix flash cache with other technologies.

          Use of Solution

          We've been using it for one month.

          Stability Issues

          It's very stable.

          Scalability Issues

          It scales for the kind of customers that we have.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          We'd like to get more access to level-two engineers. Sometimes its been a difficult time explaining the problem to level-one people. This process is a little bit time consuming.

          Initial Setup

          The initial setup was straightforward.

          Implementation Team

          We did implemented it ourselves.

          Other Solutions Considered

          When we deployed flash cache, there was no alternative for it. It was the only available cacheing solution.

          Other Advice

          Flash cache is a great product. If it matches with the workloads, you should consider it.

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are partners.
          it_user351177
          Lead Technical Architect IT at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          It saves a lot of time and minimizes downtime, which is important because we're a hospital and we can’t afford much downtime. I'd like more automation of the expanding aggregates and discs.

          What is most valuable?

          • Snapshots
          • Mobility of data
          • High Availability

          How has it helped my organization?

          It saves a lot of time and minimizes downtime, which is important because we're a hospital and we can’t afford much downtime. If they can stop all downtime, it would be a big benefit for us and our patients.

          What needs improvement?

          I have a very small feature request: more automation of the expanding aggregates and discs.

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          We've had no issues with deploying it.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          The stability is very good.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          We have six PB of data, and have had no problems with scalability.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          The technical support is good.

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

          We have had NetApp for a long time, and were one of the first customers in Belgium.

          How was the initial setup?

          If you are new, you have to learn the system, but once you know how it works, it doesn’t take much time to expand or install a new system. It was not difficult at all to learn the first time.

          What other advice do I have?

          Over the past few years, they have evolved a lot in manageability and automation, so we are happy with the direction they are going in. They haven’t lost their eye on stability as well. Lots of new features without sacrificing anything.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user351141
          Storage Administrator at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Its data compression saves a lot of capacity we'd otherwise have to have. It could improve by better integrating with other technologies like VMware, as there are some version conflicts.

          What is most valuable?

          • Clustered data ONTAP
          • Data compression
          • High Availability
          • Snapshot technology

          How has it helped my organization?

          It helps us reduce costs because its data compression saves a lot of capacity we'd otherwise have to have.

          What needs improvement?

          It could improve by better integrating with other technologies like VMware, as there are some version conflicts. When you are using the newest storage virtual console, you cannot use VM Wall, the VM-specific firewall.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          We have been using it for a year for SQL databases.

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          We've had no issues with deployment.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          It's very stable and we've had no problems in the year we have used it.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          It has scaled to our needs.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service:

          Customer service is good; we've had no problems with them.

          Technical Support:

          Technical support is good; we've had no problems with them either.

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

          We used HDS before NetApp and we switched because of the snapshot technology and high-availability function.

          How was the initial setup?

          The initial setup was pretty straightforward, the implementation of the system was easy, and we had great support from the NetApp team.

          What about the implementation team?

          We used a vendor team who had strong expertise, and we are happy with the implementation. It’s important to have NetApp technicians implement the solution because it is helpful to have some experts.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          No other options were evaluated.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user346119
          Systems Engineer at a government with 501-1,000 employees
          Vendor
          We were able to restore a lot of data in about an hour, although NetApp OnCommand, which has been a lot better recently, could still be made faster.

          What is most valuable?

          The integration with VMware is the most valuable feature for us because we run a lot of VMs and the backup is very good when you run your VM in NFS.

          How has it helped my organization?

          We had a case when they had to restore a lot of data. We went back one hour and got back everything. The restore itself only took about an hour.

          What needs improvement?

          Some of the tools could be improved like NetApp OnCommand. This has been a lot better recently, but they could make it faster.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          We've been using it since 2005.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          It's very stable and I’ve never experienced any problems in 10 years.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          It scales to our needs.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service:

          8/10 - only because it is impossible to have a 10, as there is no one that good. We’ve had a good experience with their customer service.

          Technical Support:

          The solutions that are present on NetApp’s website are enough usually, but when it is tough for me to resolve it on my own I go to our consultant.

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

          We did a long time ago.

          How was the initial setup?

          Initial setup was pretty straightforward. We started on a small scale and built it up.

          What about the implementation team?

          We implemented it in-house, but we use a consulting company to help. Now, we run it on our own.

          What was our ROI?

          It fulfills the needs we have for storing data well. We had a lot of storage spread out over many devices from many vendors and now everything is consolidated. It saves a lot of time.

          What other advice do I have?

          Ask other people who use it as references are really valuable.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332772
          Systems Engineer at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
          Vendor
          The integration with Windows for SQL exchange is critical, but it doesn't allow for live deduplication.

          Valuable Features:

          • High Availability – most important thing with all big storage systems
          • Flexible – it uses all different kinds of protocols (SAN, fiber channels)
          • Virtual Management Console – helps with and integrates with vSphere. I’ve deployed it, but haven’t configured it. Looks really promising.
          • Snap Drive – integration with Windows for SQL exchange is critical
          • Can update without taking the system down

          Improvements to My Organization:

          It’s a High Availability environment in which I haven’t had problems. We’ve only had one disk fail in a year. Quality of product is good.

          Room for Improvement:

          Tegile offers live deduplication. And NetApp can only be scheduled to dedupe in the background or for later.

          Also, the web page for downloading software could be more efficient (for example, getting instructions takes a few clicks). Make it easier for customers to download software.

          Initial Setup:

          The instructions didn’t provide for re-configurations from scratch and tech support were stuck too. The person who configured before had installed NetApp 8.2 on 7 mode. 8.3 didn’t support 7, which I wanted to do, so that’s why I had to reconfigure from scratch.

          Other Advice:

          First, make a lot of calculations of how much data you’re going to use and how much you’re using now. Compare the two and look into how you configure storage solution. How much data, how to split, etc. If you can’t spend that much on storage, you need to determine how to follow best practices to get as much storage as possible for the money. For example, if you have five shelves, you don’t need to worry about LUNs going offline. But if it’s just two shelves, like I have, you must be very careful about provisioning storage and use as much as possible.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332670
          Sr. Storage Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          It's reliable and scalable and, in the event of failure, it’s highly available, but Unified Monitoring loses a bunch of funcationality that its previous versions had.

          What is most valuable?

          The performance allows me to provide backend storage for large number of VMs and databases at a competitive price point.

          What needs improvement?

          Unified Monitoring v6.2 loses a bunch of functionality that previous versions had. For example, I took a cluster out of Unified Monitor, but Storage Monitor was still alerting me about it. 6.2 is not as comprehensive, but Unified Monitoring 6.2 will only be useful when it does everything. Insight’s price is just too expensive and unreasonable.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          It's pretty stable, even if it runs into something freaky, it keeps going. For example, mysterious a reboot, and nobody notices. It keeps working.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          It scales to a point, and then you buy more hardware. Doing a head swap (swapping out controllers) is not as easy as it used to be.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          It's better than Oracle, but actually pretty good. They're responsive, and help resolve situations. We have had a couple of issues, but 99% of the time, they get me an answer, although it may not be what I like, but it’s a definite answer within a reasonable time frame.

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

          It's complex, not a trivial task. We can unbox it and deploy. There are many unpublished tech tips that NetApp engineers get that customers don’t (for example, how to save a disk).

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

          The price-per-gig makes it the most expensive storage, more than EMC VMAX. So I’d like to see more aggressive pricing.

          What other advice do I have?

          It's losing points on its value. The performance is nearly perfect, but it’s really expensive.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332664
          Database Manager at Wilson Trailer
          Vendor
          Since updating to Dynamix AX 2012, not a week has gone by that we haven’t fired up a clone to test a user, code, etc.

          Valuable Features

          Clone – we updated to Dynamix AX 2012, and not a week has gone by that we haven’t fired up a clone to test a user, code, etc. Disaster Recovery suite of functions Quick backups that don’t impact system Refreshes test environments quickly

          Improvements to My Organization

          Reliability – hardware performs well, we’ve never had problems Great support from Sirius We’re able to recover a file if we need to

          Room for Improvement

          We use mirroring a lot, and if it had snap manager for SQL included, we could do that from one location.

          Stability Issues

          Rock solid. I’ve been at Wilson for three years and have also used it before at another company. We have a disk go out every once in a while, but no issue with FAS.

          Scalability Issues

          In the last growth, we went…

          Valuable Features

          • Clone – we updated to Dynamix AX 2012, and not a week has gone by that we haven’t fired up a clone to test a user, code, etc.
          • Disaster Recovery suite of functions
          • Quick backups that don’t impact system
          • Refreshes test environments quickly

          Improvements to My Organization

          • Reliability – hardware performs well, we’ve never had problems
          • Great support from Sirius
          • We’re able to recover a file if we need to

          Room for Improvement

          We use mirroring a lot, and if it had snap manager for SQL included, we could do that from one location.

          Stability Issues

          Rock solid. I’ve been at Wilson for three years and have also used it before at another company. We have a disk go out every once in a while, but no issue with FAS.

          Scalability Issues

          In the last growth, we went from a 3250 to an 8020. We’ve set it up to grow out easily by just adding trays.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          Lately, a little slow to respond, but once you get someone, they’re very knowledgeable, although I haven’t had to use it a lot.

          Initial Setup

          I was familiar with 3250’s from another company, so I knew how to use the software, but Sirius helped us. So in that regard, it was straightforward.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332652
          Storage Adminstrator at SRPNet
          Vendor
          It has the capability to use SAN, so it has a broad spectrum of use. I'd like to see more cohesiveness with a unified manager.

          Valuable Features

          • Software features, such as being able to do snapshots and file system optimization
          • High Availability -- components fail so this is a nice feature to have when failing over. There's no downtime, so we don’t lose data.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Good bang for the buck. Also, we use NFS generally, but FAS has the capability to use SAN, so it has a broad spectrum of use.

          Room for Improvement

          Tough for me to answer because I’m limited in my role, but the one thing I’d like to see most is more cohesiveness with a unified manager. I like the end product, but it’s not really all integrated and is convoluted with different managers. I would ike a single pane of glass, a single dashboard.

          Deployment Issues

          We see a lot of bugs in roll outs, and sometimes I think the first GA are late-beta deployments. My impression is they could have let it bake a little longer. But it could also be because of some of the environments it deploys in.

          Stability Issues

          Snap Manager v3.3.1 is a little buggy and NetApp doesn’t offer training course on it. So it could be what I’ve been taught by other people, or it’s in fact buggy, but likely a little of both. Hopefully they made improvements on 3.4.

          Scalability Issues

          7-mode scales very well. I’m even more impressed with where they intend to go with cDOT, but it may be rolled out prematurely.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          Tech support is usually pretty good, but occasionally there are some things that occur only on our site that tech support has issues.

          Other Advice

          Plan ahead and make sure you right-size it. How much head room do you really need? How many spindles are you going to attach? Are you really going to share workloads or do you want to separate some of those? We don’t segregate our infrastructure, which I don’t like, but all that costs money. But you should make sure that you have failover.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332643
          Enterprise Data Storage Engineer III at University of Kentucky
          Vendor
          Snapshots lets us revert accidental deletes quickly and easily, and although we had an outage when batteries were bad, it was a known defect and our fault for knowing this was an issue.

          Valuable Features

          Snapshot, because so much of it is on our end-user storage, our users often delete things they’re not supposed to. Having snapshots to revert these deletes quickly and easily is very valuable.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Our greatest advantage with it is ease of use, flexibility, and reliability.

          Room for Improvement

          Knowing what’s coming down the pipe, NetApp is headed in the right direction. In their five year roadmap, it provides what I need it to do.

          Stability Issues

          It's extraordinarily stable. We had one outage one-and-a-half years ago when batteries were bad, but that was a known defect on that particular model. However, that was our fault for knowing this was an issue. We've had two outages in 10 years due to something other than operator’s error.

          Scalability Issues

          Incredibly scalable. Not even touching what it could do. Between scale up and scale out, we’re not even close to reaching its highest potential. We have a four node NAS with the potential for 24 nodes.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's fantastic.

          Initial Setup

          Once you’ve done one, it seems very intuitive. However, the first time seems very complicated.

          Other Advice

          Of all storage technologies I work on, it’s the easiest to learn and one of the most powerful. But you need to spend your time taking classes before digging in too deep. Get educated.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332619
          Storage Engineer III at Providence Health & Services
          Vendor
          We use the NAS functions for all our file shares, although I wish we could do dedupe for the entire system and not just a specific volume.

          Valuable Features

          NAS functions, as it's primarily used for all our file shares. We have other NAS devices, but this is easier.

          Also, High Availability is a valuable feature.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Snapshots are good, especially the snap mirror, which we use for disaster recovery and backups. Also, we have a lot of data centers (seven primary centers) and we deploy at each of them.

          Room for Improvement

          I miss their old support structure. We used to be able to call up and get an answer pretty quickly, but now it’s more arduous.

          It could be cleaner for dedupe, and I wish we could do dedupe for the entire system and not just a specific volume.

          Stability Issues

          It's highly reliable, but has had the occasional bug. We install patches or shut off features.

          Scalability Issues

          Depends on how you’re scaling. If wide, it works well. Vertical scaling not so well because we’re primarily SMB. No matter how brief, people don’t like being offline (e.g. baby monitors).

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          I’ve worked with them for over 10 years. They used to be stellar, but in the last three to five years, not as reliable. The quality of information you get from them is less specialist, and they've not broken it up so that you get routed to a particular technology, it used to be one senior guy who knew everything.

          Initial Setup

          There’s always networking issues, but not related to NetApp.

          Other Advice

          Other than tech support, it loses points because it could always be better.

          It depends on what you’re implementing. Consider carefully what you want to do – for example, have enough vLANs because you don’t want to be adding more later.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332598
          Senior Storage Engineer at Sirius Computer Solutions
          Vendor
          It provides us with a single unified-type architecture for block-and-file-type data storage. But, if I'm running dedupe, fiber channel, and other protocols on the same CPU core, I can’t load-balance.

          Valuable Features

          • Dedupe
          • Also, our customers look for fast connectivity and cost efficiency.
          • It's TCP/IP vs. fiber channel, which tends to be more costly.

          Improvements to My Organization

          • Single unified-type architecture for block-and-file-type data storage
          • Ease of use
          • Being able to hand off things like snap shots directly to customers

          Room for Improvement

          They need to improve the go-to-market for all-flash and converged infrastructure. What is your goal-to-market vision, and when to get there? They’re too slow compared to others and what they’ve done in the past. They were the leader in dedupe, but now, it’s not such an innovative edge.

          It lacks flexibility in failover and failback, so we cannot granularly failover pieces. It's not easy to move one piece over to the other side.

          Also, from the overall workload standpoint, all protocols are handled in just one physical architecture. So if I'm running dedupe, fiber channel, and other protocols on the same CPU core, I can’t load-balance. I’ve seen issues specifically with EMP, one core is maxed out, and I can’t use the other cores to handle it.

          Stability Issues

          Fairly solid 5-9 array. FAS is a solid architecture in 90% of the environments.

          Scalability Issues

          Scalability especially in SMB range has been well-received. So long as the environment is sized correctly, it’s been good.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          I have had both good and bad experiences, depending on what tier I get to initially. Now it’s tiered, whereas it used to be one senior guy.

          Other Advice

          If historically you’re a NetApp customer, it’s not as complex as cluster mode. It requires a lot more complexity – command line is not so friendly for storage admins. I’d recommend also sticking with what you know.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332607
          Sr. Systems Administrator at University of Central Florida
          Vendor
          Snap mirror gives us a way to snap to our two DR sites to instantaneously bring up VMs, but it lacks certain how-to guides.

          Valuable Features

          • Snap mirror as it gives us a way to snap to our two disaster recovery sites to instantaneously bring up VMs
          • Dedupe helps us to save a lot on OS files for VMs

          Improvements to My Organization

          It provides a relatively cost-effective solution, as we have all our virtual infrastructure on NetApp.

          Room for Improvement

          They should provide more specific how-to guides. For example, I want to implement Sharepoint, but how do I do that?

          Deployment Issues

          Upgrades are always hold-our-breath situations. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve heard horror stories. I’m also dead-ended.

          Stability Issues

          It’s been good. We haven’t had a complete outage (other than when our network the went down). We’ve had some challenges with hardware, but this was done non-disruptively with failover.

          Scalability Issues

          We’re still on 7-mode, but it still scales fairly well as the 6240 is a hefty machine.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's used for repairs. We got outside help with set up and to put processes in place. Once done, it was seamless.

          Initial Setup

          Very straightforward. We’re using 7-mode, so nothing fancy, and I had no difficulties. There were a couple things I didn’t know, but our partner, DataLink, helped. Specifically, I didn’t understand the rate groups and when you expand aggregates, you have to do a full regroup, which wasted a lot of space. I had 16-disk rate groups, added five disks, and it unbalanced things.

          Other Advice

          Six to eight months ago, I would have said go for it, but now I’ve been getting a lot of doubts about the stability of NetApp itself as a company.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332604
          Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
          Consultant
          The snap products allow the end-user to make restorations and perform offsite replications.

          Valuable Features

          Redundancy Snap technologies (snap mirror, snap shots)

          Improvements to My Organization

          The snap products allow the end-user to make restorations and perform offsite replications. Also, it gives us secure multi-tenancy.

          Room for Improvement

          Nothing that I can think of right now.

          Use of Solution

          We've used it for seven in years.

          Stability Issues

          It's pretty stable. We've only needed NetApp engineers to help with an issue once since we started using it.

          Scalability Issues

          Very scalable, haven’t reached its limits.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          Generally goes well.

          Initial Setup

          Very straightforward from rack stack to configuration.

          Other Advice

          With FAS and other NetApp tools, they make for a very intuitive solution. It's simple to…

          Valuable Features

          • Redundancy
          • Snap technologies (snap mirror, snap shots)

          Improvements to My Organization

          The snap products allow the end-user to make restorations and perform offsite replications. Also, it gives us secure multi-tenancy.

          Room for Improvement

          Nothing that I can think of right now.

          Use of Solution

          We've used it for seven in years.

          Stability Issues

          It's pretty stable. We've only needed NetApp engineers to help with an issue once since we started using it.

          Scalability Issues

          Very scalable, haven’t reached its limits.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          Generally goes well.

          Initial Setup

          Very straightforward from rack stack to configuration.

          Other Advice

          With FAS and other NetApp tools, they make for a very intuitive solution. It's simple to manage, very scalable, one-stop shop and many native things that make it very powerful.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332259
          Senior Storage Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          It behaves predictably during failure, but it needs better built-in monitoring as Insight is too expensive.

          Valuable Features

          It’s a decently mature product that has a lot of documentation and standards and is something to be relied on.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Predictable behavior during failure. In terms of performance, if you have two machines, you know they’re going to perform the same.

          Room for Improvement

          It needs better built-in monitoring. We can’t afford Insight, and v6.2 seems like it's a purposefully inferior product to make people buy Insight, which is way too expensive.

          Stability Issues

          It's not on Cisco’s stability level, but it’s a 96/100.

          Scalability Issues

          It’s scalable, but it could be easier. Just adding shelves might require additional cards and cabling, which can be difficult.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          I’m happy with the support, as…

          Valuable Features

          It’s a decently mature product that has a lot of documentation and standards and is something to be relied on.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Predictable behavior during failure. In terms of performance, if you have two machines, you know they’re going to perform the same.

          Room for Improvement

          It needs better built-in monitoring. We can’t afford Insight, and v6.2 seems like it's a purposefully inferior product to make people buy Insight, which is way too expensive.

          Stability Issues

          It's not on Cisco’s stability level, but it’s a 96/100.

          Scalability Issues

          It’s scalable, but it could be easier. Just adding shelves might require additional cards and cabling, which can be difficult.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          I’m happy with the support, as they’ve been able to solve whatever I throw at them.

          Initial Setup

          It’s complex as there’s a lot of variables involved. Not for the weak-hearted, if you haven’t done it before.

          Other Advice

          It loses points because of failures.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332244
          System Engineer at a legal firm with 501-1,000 employees
          Vendor
          It gives us continuous uptime and we can failover when needed, although sometimes there are bugs with firmware upgrades.

          Valuable Features

          Uptime Performance High Availability Disaster Recovery NetApp as a company is doing well

          Improvements to My Organization

          We can failover when needed. In my organization, a law firm, brand recognition is important, and NetApp provides that. It gives us continuous uptime.

          Room for Improvement

          Sometimes there are bugs with firmware upgrades.

          Deployment Issues

          Not with deployment, but, again, there are sometimes bugs when we perform upgrades.

          Stability Issues

          It just works, and when some drives go into failure status, it’s just a prediction of drive failure, letting us know when to get the drives replaced.

          Scalability Issues

          It scales pretty well, and the limit is how much you want to spend on blades, shelves, controllers, etc.

          Customer Service and

          Valuable Features

          • Uptime
          • Performance
          • High Availability
          • Disaster Recovery
          • NetApp as a company is doing well

          Improvements to My Organization

          • We can failover when needed.
          • In my organization, a law firm, brand recognition is important, and NetApp provides that.
          • It gives us continuous uptime.

          Room for Improvement

          Sometimes there are bugs with firmware upgrades.

          Deployment Issues

          Not with deployment, but, again, there are sometimes bugs when we perform upgrades.

          Stability Issues

          It just works, and when some drives go into failure status, it’s just a prediction of drive failure, letting us know when to get the drives replaced.

          Scalability Issues

          It scales pretty well, and the limit is how much you want to spend on blades, shelves, controllers, etc.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's pretty good, they're very knowledgable. With other vendors who outsource support, there's difficulty getting knowledgable first-tier support, but with NetApp, that’s different.

          Initial Setup

          We had help in the installation, which made it straightforward. It was also complex because lots of planning was involved.

          Other Advice

          It loses points in upgrades from one version to another is not as smooth as it should be. Also, understand your requirements and see how it fits in.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user332232
          IT Architect at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          We can give people large amounts of storage for projects, and then remove it, though improvements could be made to the translation between 7-mode and cDOT.

          Valuable Features

          We have clusters, and can do non-distruptive upgrades with cDOT and can spin up VMs as needed. We have the flexibility to give people NAS storage.

          Improvements to My Organization

          With NAS storage in general, we can give people large amounts of storage for projects, and then remove it. For example, for SLS, they can spin up large amounts of storage to hold the output of modeling data, and when that’s done, they can delete it and move on. In that case, they don’t need the throughput.

          We have thousands and thousands of file shares and we’re able to offer up to one terabyte of storage, and this gives us high compression and dedupe.

          Room for Improvement

          For cDOT in general, improvements could be made to the little things, such as the translation between 7-mode and cDOT. If there’s some kind of backward compatibility or translation of certain functions from one to the other, that would be an improvement.

          Stability Issues

          It's very stable.

          Scalability Issues

          With cDOT, it's very good. It scales horizontally well, but not so well with 7-mode.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It’s top-notch support, very responsive and highly knowledgeable, very attentive to us as we have a monthly meeting with our TAM.

          Initial Setup

          It's straightforward in 7-mode, but using cDOT, it's terrible.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user330924
          IT Infrastructure Architect at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          We're able to scale out with cDOT, although, depending on the use case, it needs a service catalogue you can walk through without having to use SE.

          Valuable Features

          High Availability Reliability

          Improvements to My Organization

          Reliability Performance level Great history with it, and over the last two and a half years, it's been etter than others

          Room for Improvement

          Depending on the use case, it needs a service catalogue you can walk through without having to use SE.

          Stability Issues

          It's been great, and there's been no issues.

          Scalability Issues

          With cDOT, it's very easy to scale out, and that's the reason we went with it in the first place.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's been great, and any issues have been taken care of right away.

          Initial Setup

          It was very straightforward and easy.

          Other Advice

          Pick your partner wisely, as they have a lot in your success. Go with someone with a history…

          Valuable Features

          • High Availability
          • Reliability

          Improvements to My Organization

          • Reliability
          • Performance level
          • Great history with it, and over the last two and a half years, it's been etter than others

          Room for Improvement

          Depending on the use case, it needs a service catalogue you can walk through without having to use SE.

          Stability Issues

          It's been great, and there's been no issues.

          Scalability Issues

          With cDOT, it's very easy to scale out, and that's the reason we went with it in the first place.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's been great, and any issues have been taken care of right away.

          Initial Setup

          It was very straightforward and easy.

          Other Advice

          Pick your partner wisely, as they have a lot in your success. Go with someone with a history in FAS. Also, go with vendor that buys reference architecture and follows the methodology.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user331866
          Chief General Manager at SVC Bank
          Vendor
          The controllers are faster so we have more processing efficiency, and we're going onto the cDot platform, which is already an improvement.

          Valuable Features

          Today we use it for replication of our transaction data, and for storing data, for which we use the snap mirror feature. Primary and disaster recovery storage centers are connected. Snap mirror backup software does block level copy from primary site to the disaster recovery.

          Room for Improvement

          We’re going onto the cDot platform, which is already an improvement. The controllers are faster so we have more processing efficiency.

          Use of Solution

          We’ve been using it for the last six years.

          Stability Issues

          Stability has been very good. As far as we’re concerned, we update our systems (firmware, OS) consistently, so we don’t face any problems in that regard.

          Scalability Issues

          We've had no problems scaling. Our business has grown two and half times in size over six years, and we’ve added more disks and shelves, as well as upgrading controllers. We’ve done it without any down time.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          Quite good. Recently we deployed micro-clusters with cDot, the first bank in India to do it.

          Initial Setup

          It was complex because we experimented by keeping data and system volumes separate. We don’t replicate the system volumes frequently. We were able to do it, although we used only 1/10 of the bandwidth with a combination of FAS and vSphere.

          Other Advice

          Configure it properly. Today we have HA with any data loss because we did it nicely, and took our time for the beginning. We got terrific support.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user330882
          Senior IT Tech-Architect, Storage at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          It's added benefits are thin provisioning, compressioning, and dedupe, which help with capacity utilization.

          Valuable Features

          Being able to run any flavor of files and block storage. It's easier to manage, and we’re looking to phase out legacy systems and to go with FAS.

          Improvements to My Organization

          It's easy to manage regardless of how you’re utilizing platform. It’s a Swiss army knife of capabilities. Flexible platform and software features are added benefits (thin provisioning, compressioning, dedupe), which help with capacity utilization. Still get a lot of return even if going with best-practices application.

          Room for Improvement

          Make sure there’s current centralized virtual desktops. I get caught in the upgrade matrix quite a bit, which is an indication that it hasn’t been tested. Need more currency in IMT.

          Stability Issues

          It's solid, with occasional issues that surface, but are quickly resolved. No one’s software is perfect.

          Scalability Issues

          It’s good, but you have to do a lot of homework to scale horizontally and vertically. You need to have sales and engineering to expend effort to do that homework.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          We've frequently used it, and the quality will depend on which level of support you purchased. Premium support, I have no complaints as we get the right person who’s knoweldgable. Higher level guys take great deal of personal ownership over issues. I used their support as benchmark for our organization.

          Initial Setup

          It's easy. The more planning you do, the easier it gets.

          Other Advice

          The monitoring is key, and you must keep track of what’s going on. Be sure to use auto-support and have strong monitoring scenario in place.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user331854
          Senior Systems Administor at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
          MSP
          We are able to increase performance by adding more heads to a cluster, but the free performance monitor doesn’t provide enough information.

          Valuable Features

          Management, for a person who’s not a storage administrator In a couple of weeks, you can get the basics of createing virtual storage, and carving out chairs and LUNS.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Doing more with less. I can do multiple protocols, storage efficiency, data protection tool, everything is in one solution/ecosystems. There aren't many vendors who can provide that without adding third party software and apps.

          Room for Improvement

          Our major issue with FAS was not having one pane of glass with all products attached to it. Other major issue is the free performance monitor doesn’t provide enough information. They want you to buy Insight, which is very expensive.

          Stability Issues

          It's rock solid.

          Scalability Issues

          I love cluster ONTAP. Being able to scale out and being able to increase performance by adding more heads to a cluster and being able to do hybrid with regular storage on same platform is huge. You can move out easily too, they provide you the tools to do that, adding a lot of value.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          Great, I cannot complain. They’re there with you until problem resolved.

          Initial Setup

          It's straightforward setup. Depending on how you deploy, full SAN is complex, with NAS not so complex. You have to follow best practices when building out infrastructure. So, it’s not so different than deploying it with other vendors.

          Other Advice

          With storage, what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. Call your NetApp rep and tell him you want to test the solution. Get it on the floor and beat the hell out of it. Do a very thorough Proof of Concept.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user331830
          Chief Technology Officer at PTSO
          Vendor
          It's highly scalable, especially with CDOT, but they should make it faster and cheaper.

          Valuable Features

          Snapshot Snapmirror FlexClone

          Improvements to My Organization

          Huge time savings Large storage space savings In the end—time and money

          Room for Improvement

          They should make it faster and cheaper, but it does what we need it to do.

          Stability Issues

          Good overall. We’ve hit some bugs in the ONTAP code that’s caused it to crash. We’re just coming off of seven-mode, and I'm looking forward to the capabilities of CDOT.

          Scalability Issues

          It's highly scalable, especially with CDOT. We can scale out quickly.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's very good, generally first tier are wiling to help us or get us to right person pretty quickly.

          Initial Setup

          It was complicated. We were coming off an IBM system five years ago. We got help for everything…

          Valuable Features

          • Snapshot
          • Snapmirror
          • FlexClone

          Improvements to My Organization

          • Huge time savings
          • Large storage space savings
          • In the end—time and money

          Room for Improvement

          They should make it faster and cheaper, but it does what we need it to do.

          Stability Issues

          Good overall. We’ve hit some bugs in the ONTAP code that’s caused it to crash. We’re just coming off of seven-mode, and I'm looking forward to the capabilities of CDOT.

          Scalability Issues

          It's highly scalable, especially with CDOT. We can scale out quickly.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          It's very good, generally first tier are wiling to help us or get us to right person pretty quickly.

          Initial Setup

          It was complicated. We were coming off an IBM system five years ago. We got help for everything from cabling, terminology, and we had to relearn how we reconfigured storage. We got help from both NetApp and our VAR.

          Other Advice

          Just do it. Chances are the functionality that comes with the ONTAP software will be better than other products at a similar price.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user331812
          VP Systems Integrator at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
          Vendor
          We can add additional heads with the same IOPS, but we need better documentation for customers to understand automation of APIs.

          Valuable Features

          The flexibility to use in OpenStack with multiple data types, Cinder, Swift, etc.

          Improvements to My Organization

          Feasibility to use multiple protocols to talk to device, be it direct attached or Cinder/Swift, and the ability to use it as storage behind guest instances on cloud (commonly known as boot-from-disk).

          Room for Improvement

          When speaking with the NetApp CEO, we told him that we need better documentation for customers to understand automation of APIs. We want it all there and robust. Boot-from-disk allows me to use disk from Netapp, and understand how to set that up should be documented so I can teach my staff how to do that.

          Use of Solution

          We've been using NetApp products for 15 years.

          Stability Issues

          No issues encountered.

          Scalability Issues

          As we continue forward, we can add additional heads with same IOPS.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          I've never had to call tech support, but we’ve had them call us to tell us we were about to have a problem.

          Initial Setup

          It was very straightforward with OpenStack, very well-documented, and supported. I wasn’t an OpenStack admin when I started, so the ease of use was critical to me. Straight from the horizon dashboard from OpenStack and I was up and running in 15 minutes

          Other Advice

          1. Define use cases because we’ve come across where we didn’t do so correctly, and we had to go back and re-architect everything. This was our failure.
          2. Really engage with NetApp to understand how you use the nuances of things like the APIs.
          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          it_user330081
          Principal Computer Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
          Vendor
          Since implementation, our performance has definitely increased, but they're upgrading the performance monitoring tool, which is the main thing I think needs improvement.

          Valuable Features

          I think that the flexibility with the volume, resizing, and performance.

          Improvements to My Organization

          I think that our performance has definitely increased.

          Room for Improvement

          I think that they are upgrading the performance monitoring tool, which is the main thing I think needs improvement. From version to version they are changing, and you want to see things improve – I think we will continue to see more and more benefits.

          Use of Solution

          We have been using it since 2013.

          Stability Issues

          Pretty solid in terms of stability.

          Scalability Issues

          We haven’t really grown it but I see a roadmap, the only problem there may be cost. It’s not an expensive product per se, but because of budget issues. People sometimes don’t evaluate the cost correctly.

          Customer Service and Technical Support

          NetApp overall has been really good in terms of technical support.

          Initial Setup

          Initial setup was hard a year ago, but now we just did another setup and everything was smooth. It’s gotten a lot better in the last year we’ve been using it.

          Other Advice

          If you are on the fence it’s been a very good product, you don’t want to build your own solution, you want to use the appliance for the flexibility. Overall performance has gotten a lot better.

          Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
          ITCS user
          System Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
          Consultant
          It comes with an OS developed by its engineers, and its clustered data ONTAP, which supports clustering and high-level scalability.

          What is most valuable?

          Deduplication High Availability

          How has it helped my organization?

          It provides us with a very effective storage solution.

          What needs improvement?

          The virtualization technology.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          I've used it for over three years.

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          Absolutely, it’s just some compatibility variance with some of the production environment aspects, like AV, and Archiving systems which needed to be integrated with.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          Not at all as the HA features are great.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          NetApp comes with an OS developed by its engineers, and its clustered data ONTAP, which supports clustering and scalability to…

          What is most valuable?

          • Deduplication
          • High Availability

          How has it helped my organization?

          It provides us with a very effective storage solution.

          What needs improvement?

          The virtualization technology.

          For how long have I used the solution?

          I've used it for over three years.

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          Absolutely, it’s just some compatibility variance with some of the production environment aspects, like AV, and Archiving systems which needed to be integrated with.

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          Not at all as the HA features are great.

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          NetApp comes with an OS developed by its engineers, and its clustered data ONTAP, which supports clustering and scalability to a high level.

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service:

          The support team supports us as vendor partner with a lot of tools. And the auto-support feature is just as amazing as the product, whenever a disk fails or any issue occurred the features sends alerts to you and to the customer, and send you a replacement of the disk right away, in a very effective manner, and quickly, that you may do not notice that there’s an issue in your that disk.

          Technical Support:

          10/10.

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

          I deal with a lot of solutions similar in the concept with NetApp FAS, but when it comes to NetApp, there are too many features that means it worth it.

          How was the initial setup?

          It was clear and straightforward, as you console the device, and it boots, you configure and initialize the product, and as soon as that is done, you are ready to create your aggregates, volumes, and shares.

          What about the implementation team?

          We are an integrator, and we also have an in house device that we run our test labs on.

          The NetApp technical team is very supportive, and they can, in some complex and large projects, come and share the in-site implementation with their partner.

          What was our ROI?

          We can't calculate this.

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

          Prices may seem to be a little bit expensive, but the features just makes you happy that you took the step, and licensing is all included except a very few features, with a high end and complex environment.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          EMC

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're a partner.
          ITCS user
          Solutions Architect with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          The interesting thing about VVOLs is that not all implementations will be equal. It puts more responsibility on the array by moving storage operations to it that were previously handled by vSphere.
          More information on VVOLs is being released every week and it is only now that we are getting a chance to play with the full release code that we are able to dig into the detail of how it works. Let’s start off by exploring the benefits of VVOLs that are likely to make it game changing technology: Granular Control of VMs Enable VM granular storage operations on individual virtual disks for the first time including control of the following capabilities: Auto Grow Compression De-duplication Disk Types: SATA, FCAL, SAS, SSD Flash Accelerated High Availability Maximum Throughput: IOPS & MBs Replication Protocol: NFS, iSCSI, FC,FCoE Enhanced Efficiency and Performance Off-load VM snapshots, clones and moves to the array Automatically optimise I/O paths for all protocols No VMFS,…

          More information on VVOLs is being released every week and it is only now that we are getting a chance to play with the full release code that we are able to dig into the detail of how it works. Let’s start off by exploring the benefits of VVOLs that are likely to make it game changing technology:

          Granular Control of VMs

          • Enable VM granular storage operations on individual virtual disks for the first time including control of the following capabilities:
            • Auto Grow
            • Compression
            • De-duplication
            • Disk Types: SATA, FCAL, SAS, SSD
            • Flash Accelerated
            • High Availability
            • Maximum Throughput: IOPS & MBs
            • Replication
            • Protocol: NFS, iSCSI, FC,FCoE

          Enhanced Efficiency and Performance

          • Off-load VM snapshots, clones and moves to the array
          • Automatically optimise I/O paths for all protocols
          • No VMFS, therefore
            • Virtual disks natively stored on the array
            • Datastore space management is not required
            • Size limits are dictated by the guest and array
            • Zeroing, either on disk creation or use, is not required
            • vSphere UNMAP, when a VM is deleted, is not required
            • Guest UNMAP commands are passed directly to the VVOL
            • Thin-provisioning is managed by the array
          • Minimise LUN and path consumption, NFS mount usage, and LIF count and IP address consumption

          Automated Policy Based Management

          • Create a library of reusable storage profiles
          • Match the profiles to storage capabilities
          • Provision VMs using storage profiles
          • Alert when a VM no longer conforms to the profile

          To get VVOLs up and running you need cDOT 8.2.3 or above, Virtual Storage Console 6.0 and VASA Provider 6.0 – for more background information see A deeper look into NetApp’s support for VMware Virtual Volumes.

          The On-Demand engine

          One of the best kept secrets of cDOT 8.3 was the inclusion of the On-Demand engine which consists of the following new commands:

          • Single-File Move on Demand (SFMoD)
          • Single-File Copy/Clone on Demand (SFCoD)
          • Single-File Restore on Demand (SFRoD)

          When a command is triggered, data access at the destination begins immediately, while in the background the data is copied or moved from source to destination. The commands cannot be directly invoked, rather other operations take advantage of them (i.e. VVOLs and LUN moves). So when the policy of a VVol is changed that results in it needing to be moved from one volume to another (even across controllers) the On-Demand engine non-disruptively moves data access from the source to the destination instantly. All writes go to the new destination and, while the data is being copied from the source, reads are redirected back to the original volume as required. If a VVOL is migrated elsewhere in the cluster, a rebind operation automatically changes the I/O path to the new closest PE, maintaining optimum performance and reducing complexity and latency.

          Not all VVOLs implementations will be equal

          The interesting thing about VVOLs is that not all implementations will be equal, as it puts more responsibility on the array by moving many storage operations to it that were previously handled by vSphere – you therefore need an array that provides efficient:

          • Thin-provisioning
          • Snapshots
          • Clones
          • Non-disruptive VM mobility

          The current snapshot technology in VMFS is to say the least very poor – best practice is to have no more than 2-3 snapshots in a chain (even though the maximum is 32) and to use no single snapshot for more than 24-72 hours – the reason is simple, storage performance will suffer if you create a snapshot on a VM. So if an array supports VVOLs and we can off-load snapshot and clone creation to the array then we have surely solved the problem and we can then keep 100s of snapshots. As always it is not so simple – if the array uses inefficient CoW snapshots then you will not gain much over the standard vSphere snapshots. Thin-provisioning is another area whereby some arrays do it very efficiently, but many suffer a significant performance drop unless thick LUNs are used.

          The nice thing about FAS is that it has excelled at the first three points above for many years and the last point has been introduced with the On-Demand engine in cDOT 8.3 – there are plenty of arrays on the market that will be enabled for VVOLs, but they will not be able to claim efficient support for these features without massive re-engineering work.

          Other points of note

          It is essential to backup the VASA provider VM, this can be achieved using the in-built backup capabilities of the array using one of the following options:

          • The backup and recovery features of VSC
          • The built-in scheduled FlexVol snapshot copies

          NetApp All-Flash FAS has emerged as the first storage array to successfully complete validation testing with Horizon View 6 with VVols.

          The VADP APIs backup vendors use are fully supported on VVOLs therefore backup software using VADP should be unaffected.

          For a detailed breakdown of vSphere product and feature interoperability with VVOLs click here

          Get hands on with VVOLs on FAS

          If you would like to gain a detailed understanding of how the technology works we have created, in conjunction with VMware and NetApp, a series of demo café events – to find-out more click here.

          VVOLs is certainly interesting technology and I am sure what we have today is only the beginning of the journey and it is going to be interesting to see how it develops over the coming years – we know for sure that NetApp will be making improvements to cDOT to enable things like replication to be set at a VVOL level.

          What do you think – is VVOLs as game changing as VMware thinks?

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Partners with NetApp.
          ITCS user
          Solutions Architect with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          We have flash caching, but it would be nice if we could move data between flash, SAS and SATA drives.
          As we move into the world of Software-Defined Storage it “sticks out like a sore thumb” when an array vendor only makes new software releases available on their next generation hardware. The problem with this is that even if you purchase at the very beginning of the life cycle of a product, at best you will get one round of feature enhancements, after that all software development is focused on the next generation product. This often even includes support for new drive types – again they are only supported on the latest generation hardware. This problem is very evident when it comes to support for VMware Virtual Volumes – any array vendor that will be releasing new hardware next year is unlikely to provide support for Virtual Volumes on their currently shipping product. My view…

          As we move into the world of Software-Defined Storage it “sticks out like a sore thumb” when an array vendor only makes new software releases available on their next generation hardware. The problem with this is that even if you purchase at the very beginning of the life cycle of a product, at best you will get one round of feature enhancements, after that all software development is focused on the next generation product. This often even includes support for new drive types – again they are only supported on the latest generation hardware.

          This problem is very evident when it comes to support for VMware Virtual Volumes – any array vendor that will be releasing new hardware next year is unlikely to provide support for Virtual Volumes on their currently shipping product. My view is that the industry cannot continue like this and instead they need to make sure new microcode versions and drive technologies are supported on the current shipping product and at least the previous generation – without this there is a real danger that your new storage array becomes obsolete shortly after purchase.

          The good news for NetApp customers is that Clustered Data ONTAP (cDOT) meets my criteria above, so the recently announced version 8.3 will not only work on 2014 generation hardware (2500 and 8000 series), but previous generations as wells.

          So what’s 8.3 all about?

          Major features

          • MetroCluster support – to enable continuous availability
          • SnapMirror to Tape (SMTape) – simplifies and speeds up backup to tape
          • Virtual Volumes support – enables native storage of VMDKs (requires vSphere 6)

          Efficiency enhancements

          • Combined SnapMirror and SnapVault – so that you only need to send the data once, rather than having separate SnapMirror and SnapVault copies
          • SnapMirror and SnapVault Compression – traffic can now be optionally compressed to reduce bandwidth requirements
          • Root Drive and Flash Pool Partitioning – no longer requires Root Vols and Flash Pool drives to be dedicated to a single node therefore provides better capacity utilisation
          • Flash Pool enhancements – caches overwrites larger than 16K and compressed blocks, increases the usable capacity, and supports much larger pool sizes (up to 4x)
          • Inline zero write detection and elimination – so host disk zeroing activity does not consume I/O or capacity
          • Significant performance improvements – further multi-core, SSD random read, CIFS, replication and cloning optimisations

          Migration and Administration Tools

          • 7-Mode Transition Tool – now supports SAN as well as NAS
          • Foreign LUN Import (Offline) – to simplify 3rd party (EMC, HDS, HP) SAN data migration
          • LUN migration – whereas previously an entire volume could be non-distributively moved around the cluster it can now also be performed at the LUN level
          • Disaster Recovery fail-over – to a specific point-in-time snapshot copy at the DR site for recovery from mirrored corruption
          • Automated Non-disruptive Upgrade – requires just 3 commands to upgrade an entire cluster

          8.3 is a milestone release for NetApp as it is the end of development for 7-Mode as 8.3 only includes the cDOT build. Overall I think NetApp are finally in a good place with cDOT and they can now put the 7-Mode platform behind them and focus on innovating.

          So what would we like to see in the next version of cDOT?

          • SnapLock (for retention and compliance) – the last remaining major feature to be ported over from 7-Mode
          • Erasure coding – to enable rapid drive rebuilds
          • Sharing of drives across controllers – we are already starting to see this with the new drive and Flash Pools partitioning features
          • Detaching of the drives from the controllers – so that the failure of an HA pair within a cluster does not result in downtime
          • Controller based Flash modules – in place of Root Vol drives
          • Advanced QoS – to enable setting of Service Level Objectives rather than just limits
          • Automated Tiering – we have flash caching, but it would be nice if we could move data between flash, SAS and SATA drives
          • Integrated file archiving – to move older files to secondary storage or the cloud
          • Encryption – provided by the controllers rather than drives
          • MetroCluster granular fail over – so volumes or even Virtual Volumes can be “moved” between sites
          • MetroCluster IP replication – either using FCIP bridges or native IP connectivity
          • MetroCluster Active/Active – so volumes/LUNs can be active on both sides of the cluster
          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Partners with NetApp.
          ITCS user
          Solutions Architect with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          Policies are applied to FlexVols but it would be useful if they could also be specified for an individual Virtual Volume.
          Virtual Volumes is the flagship feature of vSphere 6.0 as they enable VM granular storage management and NetApp FAS running Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3 is one of the first platforms to support the technology. Today storage administrators have to explain to the VM administrators how to identify which datastores to use for each class of VM, which is typically achieved using a combination of documentation and datastore naming conventions – however, consistency and compliance are difficult to achieve. Virtual Volumes changes this by enabling the storage administrator to provide vCenter with detailed information on the capabilities of each datastore. VM Storage Policies, whilst they existed in previous versions of vSphere were not sophisticated enough to query the actual storage for its…

          Virtual Volumes is the flagship feature of vSphere 6.0 as they enable VM granular storage management and NetApp FAS running Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3 is one of the first platforms to support the technology.

          Today storage administrators have to explain to the VM administrators how to identify which datastores to use for each class of VM, which is typically achieved using a combination of documentation and datastore naming conventions – however, consistency and compliance are difficult to achieve.

          Virtual Volumes changes this by enabling the storage administrator to provide vCenter with detailed information on the capabilities of each datastore. VM Storage Policies, whilst they existed in previous versions of vSphere were not sophisticated enough to query the actual storage for its capabilities, the VMware APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) Provider 2.0 resolves this problem. Now the VM administrator can create VMs using Virtual Volumes and use the VM Storage Policy wizard to easily determine which datastores are compatible with its needs.

          What components are required for Virtual Volumes?

          VASA Provider (VP)The NetApp VP is deployed as an OVA virtual appliance and is managed by the Virtual Storage Console plugged in to the vSphere Web Client. VMs running on Virtual Volumes require that the VP is running in order to create the swap Virtual Volume at power on – the VP should not be running on Virtual Volumes since it would be dependent on itself.

          Storage Container (SC)A SC is a set of FlexVol volumes used for Virtual Volume datastores. All the FlexVols within a SC must be accessed using the same protocol (NFS, iSCSI, or FC) and be owned by the same Storage Virtual Machine (SVM), but they can be hosted on different aggregates and nodes of the NetApp cluster.

          Protocol Endpoint (PE)The IO path to a Virtual Volume is through a PE with the Virtual Volume bound to the PE through a binding call managed by the VP. The VP determines which PE is on the same node as the FlexVol containing the Virtual Volume and binds the Virtual Volume to that PE.

          For block protocols, a PE is a small (4MB) LUN, and the VP creates one PE in each FlexVol that is part of a Virtual Volume datastore. The PE is automatically mapped to initiator groups created and managed by the VP.

          For NFS, a PE is a mount point to the root of the SVM and is created by the VP for each data LIF of the SVM using the LIF’s IP address. The PE is automatically created when the first Virtual Volume datastore is created on the SVM along with the appropriate export policy rules.

          Storage Capability Profile (SCP)A SCP is a set of capabilities for a volume or set of volumes and may include features such as availability, performance, capacity, space efficiency, replication or protocol.

          How could things be improved in the future?

          Today De-duplication, Compression, SnapMirror and SnapVault policies are applied to FlexVols – it would be useful if they could also be specified for an individual Virtual Volume, which in turn would enable MetroCluster to non-disruptively “move” an active Virtual Volume from one site to another.

          It is great to see that NetApp is ahead of the game with regard to support for Virtual Volumes – it is also nice to see that the 8.3 release can be installed on older versions of hardware allowing FAS customers, who purchased their systems a number of years ago, to take advantage of Virtual Volumes.

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Partners with NetApp.
          ITCS user
          Solutions Architect with 51-200 employees
          Vendor
          NetApp do have a “pure” block storage array but it lacks the advanced data services enabled by WAFL
          For many years traditional storage array vendors have claimed that their platforms are superior for block storage than NetApp FAS because they do not have the overhead of a Pointer-based Architecture – let’s explore this in more detail: What do we mean by “pure” block storage? Uses a Fixed Block Architecture whereby data is always read from and written to a fixed location (i.e. each block has its own Logical Block Address) – in reality most block storage arrays provide the option to use pages (ranging from 5 MB to 1 GB) where the LBA is fixed within the page, but the page can be moved to facilitate tiering. The advantages of this architecture are No performance overhead – it is very easy for the storage array to calculate the location of a block and there is no metadata to…

          For many years traditional storage array vendors have claimed that their platforms are superior for block storage than NetApp FAS because they do not have the overhead of a Pointer-based Architecture – let’s explore this in more detail:

          What do we mean by “pure” block storage?

          Uses a Fixed Block Architecture whereby data is always read from and written to a fixed location (i.e. each block has its own Logical Block Address) – in reality most block storage arrays provide the option to use pages (ranging from 5 MB to 1 GB) where the LBA is fixed within the page, but the page can be moved to facilitate tiering.

          The advantages of this architecture are:

          1. No performance overhead – it is very easy for the storage array to calculate the location of a block and there is no metadata to cache
          2. No capacity overhead – as there is no additional metadata to manage
          3. No fragmentation – blocks always remain together which enables good sequential IO performance on HDDs
          4. Lends itself to tiering – to automatically place data on the most appropriate drive

          The disadvantages of this architecture are:

          1. Advanced data services – cannot be supported:
            1. Granular De-duplication, Compression and Thin Provisioning – typically 4K-32K
            2. Low-overhead snapshots – using Redirect-on-Write rather than Copy-on-Write
            3. Hypervisor technologies like Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) – as VMDKs need to be stored as objects/files
          2. Write performance overhead – especially when using parity RAID (i.e. R5 or R6)
          3. Replication performance overhead – when based on snapshots (as snapshots have a significant overhead)
          4. Separate block and NAS – NAS requires a separately managed file system to be laid on top of the block storage

          How does NetApp FAS compare?

          FAS uses a Pointer-based Architecture, utilising 4K blocks which can be located anywhere, called WAFL therefore we have to reverse the above list of advantages and disadvantages. NAS based file systems are delivered along with block storage on top of WAFL – block protocols do not sit on top of the NAS protocols instead they interact directly with WAFL.

          The good news is that WAFL has been around since 1993 so it is a very mature and highly optimised technology – retrofitting advanced data services to a “pure” block storage array is not straight forward and requires major re-engineering work.

          So which is best?

          Well we can debate this endlessly and clearly depending on your use case one may be a better choice than the other – 5 years ago this was a valid debate, but to be honest it is a moot point as today all storage platforms have to support the advanced data services listed above and therefore need a Pointer-based rather than Fixed Block Architecture.

          Let’s explore some examples of this:

          • VMware
            • Virtual SAN – version 2 will include the Virsto Pointer-based Architecture to enable RoW snapshots and clones, and moving forward many more of the advanced data services
          • EMC
            • VNX/VNXe – uses an 8K Pointer-based Architecture to provide RoW snapshots, De-duplication, Compression and Thin Provisioning
            • XtremIO – uses an 8K Pointer-based Architecture to provide RoW snapshots, De-duplication, Compression and Thin Provisioning
            • VMAX3 – uses 128K tracks to provide RoW snapshots and Thin Provisioning, and in the future support for VVOLs
          • HDS
            • HNAS – uses a 4K/32K Pointer-based Architecture to provide RoW snapshots, De-duplication and Thin Provisioning
            • VSP G1000 – the new Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS) was built with VVOLs in mind

          It is also worth pointing out that all of the start-up storage vendors that have come onto the market in the last 5 years do not have “pure” block storage platforms – it would just not make sense if they did.

          What is interesting is that NetApp do have a “pure” block storage array – the E-Series which provides excellent price/performance, but it lacks the advanced data services enabled by WAFL – also VVOLs support is not expected for some time.

          So for me “pure” block storage is no longer sustainable and dismissing products like NetApp FAS because they are not “pure” block no longer makes sense. Moving forward the issue is not that your storage platform has a ground-up all-flash design, but does it have a ground-up Pointer-based Architecture.

          “Pure” block storage is dead – long live WAFL and the like.

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Partners with NetApp.
          Sami Ventriglia
          Software & Services Advisor at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
          Integrator
          Exceeded clients needs

          What is most valuable?

          SyncMirror (for legacy to new platform migration, prior to CDOT availability), SnapManager Suite (for application aware data protection features, namely Oracle and Microsoft), FlashCache & FlashPools (for accelerating workloads, volumes and/or entire aggregates).

          How has it helped my organization?

          A customer was running legacy FAS3140's, 5+ years old, and began deploying VDI clients on their 10GbE network. Their storage became a bottleneck and seamlessly migrated to FAS8020's w/ FlashCache and all performance concerns have been removed, and users have complimented the performance improvement of their desktops!

          For how long have I used the solution?

          I'm a VAR and have been recommending FAS for 4+ years

          What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

          None

          What do I think about the stability of the solution?

          None

          What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

          None

          How are customer service and technical support?

          Customer Service:

          Very high. Local field support came onsite to the customer not to sell anything, but to introduce the support system at NetApp, and how everything works under the covers.

          Technical Support:

          Not much was needed for this particular client; however, tech support when needed has been very responsive and knowledgeable.

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

          No

          How was the initial setup?

          Client handled, but very straightforward.

          Which other solutions did I evaluate?

          Long time NetApp customer, very happy with the solution.

          Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am a consultant and reseller who works very closely with this client.