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NetApp OnCommand Insight OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

What is NetApp OnCommand Insight?

NetApp OnCommand Insight management software delivers consistent insight across your data center so you can monitor and manage your hybrid IT multivendor storage, compute, and switching infrastructures.

NetApp OnCommand Insight is also known as OCI.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Storage Management Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

NetApp OnCommand Insight Customers

Société Générale, TechnologyOne

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Archived NetApp OnCommand Insight Reviews (more than two years old)

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NN
Lead Systems Engineer at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Significantly improved our mean time to resolution, give us the ability to integrate with multiple systems

Pros and Cons

  • "This gives me better performance numbers and gives me more information about where my loopholes are, where I need to target my customers, where I need to go back and retain storage."
  • "A little bit more from technical support would give us a little bit more insight."

What is our primary use case?

We use OCI for tracking our capacity needs, our performance metrics, and future planning on the capacity trends. Recently, we've started integrating other vendor storage devices into the OCI. That is a key thing for us because that gives us integration with a single interface, where you can see what is trending and the overall performance.

How has it helped my organization?

It has definitely improved our organization. For example, we have, in total, 46 data centers and we're trying to make them into four or five data centers. OCI has helped us integrate all the other vendors into one OCI. We are trying to see what its usage is around a specific time. Since we know what the capacity usage trend is, we can try to buy storage in our data center with NetApp storage and then we can establish that within NetApp.

What is most valuable?

I've found the performance and capacity trends to be the most valuable features. The solution gives us usage reports. For example, if there's some kind of a peak, it can tell us certain times that usage will go up and come back down. 

We are getting into the public cloud right now. We have the storage area, and the future plan is to get that integrated into this one. We also have the PoC already running. The down-end is in place for us for the ONTAP Cloud Manager. There's cost, so once we know that we are full-fledged going to use it, then we plan to integrate that with OCI.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see some kind of email mechanism to send email alerts with system updates. Also, perhaps OCI could send a graph that gives yearly or quarterly reports.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. There are certain version compatibilities. We have an Oracle ZFS system and it wasn't compatible with the OCI version that we have. We upgraded to a new system and it was still not compatible. A little bit more information from technical support would give us a little bit more insight.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have hundreds of systems added to the OCI, and I haven't seen any problems so far: no performance, VM, or applications crashing. I'd say it's good. 

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. We are a big customer for NetApp, so I know that we get priority support from them. Even if something is not prioritized, we have a dedicated SAM and a dedicated systems engineer from their side. Everyone's on top of things like that. We have never had any problems with support.

How was the initial setup?

We upgraded the OCI and that wasn't complex, it was so simple. 

What about the implementation team?

We have a reseller named Informative. The experience with them was great.

What was our ROI?

We have saved significantly by using OCI. I don't know the exact amount but it's more than a million. 

Since implementing OCI, our mean time to resolution has changed by around 20 to 25%

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a ten because of its ability to integrate with multiple systems. This gives me better performance numbers and gives me more information about where my loopholes are, where I need to target my customers, where I need to go back and retain storage. 

OCI is by far a really nice product as compared to competitors. I know that this solution is better than others. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SC
High Performance Compute at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
These products are extremely durable and last over time. They are designed to take a beating.

Pros and Cons

  • "I am very happy with the stability. When your customers don't notice anything wrong, that's the biggest win for a product."
  • "When we first went to Cluster Mode, we had a lot of problems. Setup took a few months. We had people onsite, including one of the top guys from NetApp for a while. Going from 7-Mode to Cluster Mode was rough."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for Oracle, SQL, and seismic data. We use it as NFS mounted storage and also replicate to another location (or SnapMirror it). It's just storage right now.

How has it helped my organization?

It houses our most important data for the whole Gulf of Mexico. As a whole, it works on the most critical data on NetApp right now. So, it's critical.

What is most valuable?

The cost, reliability, and support are great features.

We are in New Orleans, so being able to SnapMirror, moving the data to another place protected. Also, Snapshots have been very helpful. These are helpful because we are in a hurricane zone. We test SnapMirror every year by doing disaster recovery tests in April.

We do our Mirrors every hour. Within four hours during the last hurricane, we had our basic infrastructure up in Houston. We had stuff that we could bring up, so our data was protected, which is what it is all about.

There are other admins who use a lot of the features, like FlexGroup and SnapMirror restore volumes, along with the dev and test stuff. So, we use a lot of the components.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am very happy with the stability. When your customers don't notice anything wrong, that's the biggest win for a product. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have like three or four petabytes, but we can use a lot more than that. As an example, back in 2012, we had about 13 racks of it, then we went down to three racks. Recently, we went down to one and a half racks and got more space than we had with those 13 racks, which was only six years ago.

We didn't even buy the solid state stuff this time. We just bought the 10 terabyte drives this time, which is pretty cool. The scalability goes way beyond anything we need. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an advanced support agreement and a good relationship with our NetApp support team and systems engineer, whom we call up and open cases if we have questions. We also have our own internal company group that has a lot of NetApp people who can help.

We have had some problems on weekend and the middle of the night. They have even written code for us on the fly within a few hours to address an issue that we were having. We receive 24/7 coverage. 

We have a monthly meeting with our customer support people through NetApp. They go through all the cases with us, and we analyze everything. They help us with the upgrades. We tell them, "Treat our data like their data." So, they come down and meet with us, they fly to New Orleans, and if they see something they don't think is right, they tell us. That's a great relationship, when different companies act as one.

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

In 2001, we switched from LSI Logic. We were sort of building storage on a cheap at the time. Anyway, a guy who used to work here suggested NetApp, though it was certainly more per gig or megabyte at the time. 

You pay a little bit more but you get enterprise storage. You don't have anybody upset that they lost something nor do you have downtime. In the old days, you could reboot something in middle of the day and everybody would be sort of be okay. Now, they freak out. So, downtime is not acceptable anymore. Whatever it costs, we're going to have to pay for it. 

How was the initial setup?

When we first went to Cluster Mode, we had a lot of problems. Setup took a few months. We had people onsite, including one of the top guys from NetApp for a while. Going from 7-Mode to Cluster Mode was rough. However, the last couple of upgrades to Cluster Mode have been fine.

The newest release was a lot easier, especially now that they're talking about their upgrades being more frequent. The whole non-disruptive upgrades can be scary because they are not 100 percent guaranteed. While it's always a little scary doing all non-disruptive upgrades, they have worked out well.

What about the implementation team?

When we buy the equipment, we buy NetApp's technical support time. This last time, we received 30 days of their time and only used about five days, but over the next five years we will use that time up. 

They were great and helped with the deployment.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. We still have an OCI on one of our drill ships and some of our platforms in the Gulf from 2012 and 2013 running on 7-Mode. We have had to extend the service maintenance time on them. These products are extremely durable and last over time. They are designed to take a beating.

We have saved money using the dedupe and compress. The price per gig has gone down, so it is easy to upgrade every three or four years, and say, "We can get twice as much data for half of what we paid for it." We just bought two systems. I probably paid as much for one system four years ago as I did for two now.

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

We like that it is one license and everything is bundled in together.

We just made a major investment back in May of this year, so we'll have it for another four and a half or five years easily. Thus, we have a five year bumper to bumper agreement.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The last dozen years, nobody's been on our storage list. It used to be Digital Equipment Corporation, but that was so long ago.

What other advice do I have?

NetApp is a major player. You should look into them. Their service around the world is incredible along with their support. 

OCI is moving at light speed. They are doing a good job on the trends.

I am looking at he NFS in the cloud and Cloud Volumes.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Raul Sanchez
Storage and Backup Administrator at T-Systems
Real User
Leaderboard
Security is the key for our clients: When we identify a vulnerability it's easy to mitigate

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the security. When we identify a vulnerability, it is easy to mitigate it. NetApp provides the solution. It's also easy to create and move volumes."
  • "I would like them to develop voice commands so that I can say to the product, "Create a volume.""

What is our primary use case?

We use it to provide storage for our clients.

How has it helped my organization?

NetApp gives our clients the best infrastructure with fast and easy administration. NetApp products are easy to use.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the security. When we identify a vulnerability, it is easy to mitigate it. NetApp provides the solution.

It's also easy to create and move volumes.

What needs improvement?

I would like them to develop voice commands so that I can say to the product, "Create a volume."

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We have few problems with NetApp products and we have them in multiple companies: Modelo Group, Volkswagen of America, Volkswagen Argentina, and Volkswagen Mexico.

How is customer service and technical support?

We can get support through their webpage or by calling and the support is good. They respond quickly, based on whether it's priority 1, priority 2, priority 3. In general, support is very fast.

How was the initial setup?

The older products were medium-complex to set up but the new products are easy to set up.

What was our ROI?

Because of the stability of the product, we don't have problems.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I administrate IBM, Dell EMC, and NetApp, and I prefer NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

IBM is very stable, but I prefer NetApp because it's more stable and secure.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
PB
Team Lead Storage at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Data analysis and reporting help us identify data for cold and hot storage

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is definitely the reports, the complete analysis of the data. We also like the scalability, since it can work with Hitachi, Isilon, etc."
  • "From 7-Mode to C mode a migration happened and many features, like FTP and SFTP, were dropped. We have been using it, but there needs to be better communication when features are dropped because there are end users using it who might find it a shock: "Oh, why was that dropped?""

What is our primary use case?

We use it to identify cold storage, hot storage, that kind of data. We have multi-protocol: file shares, blocks, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We have not implemented in a full-fledged way yet, but we expect OCI will be beneficial in helping us save on costs.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is definitely the reports, the complete analysis of the data. We also like the scalability, since it can work with Hitachi, Isilon, etc. That's also a very useful part of it.

What needs improvement?

We have traditionally been customers of NetApp, we have it all over the enterprise. So far it is satisfactory. But I would like to see NetApp focus more on availability and customer support. From 7-Mode to C mode a migration happened and many features, like FTP and SFTP, were dropped. We have been using it, but there needs to be better communication when features are dropped because there are end users using it who might find it a shock: "Oh, why was that dropped?"

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's absolutely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It can work with any protocol, with any vendor, any type of data or storage solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support is pretty good. They helped to set up multiple controllers, and then we started with the analysis and the reporting.

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

We didn't have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was good.

What about the implementation team?

We used NetApp only. We worked with John Russell. He's definitely a good guy.

What was our ROI?

We have not yet saved money using the solution, but if we can implement auto-tiering, which is part of 9.5 and onwards, we will see great savings afterward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated other organizations, like Hitachi and Dell EMC.

What other advice do I have?

OCI is a very strong product, it has so many features and a handful of features that are really good, such as analytics and the reporting.

We are not yet using the machine-learning features of this solution but we would like to. One feature we are using is the ServiceNow integration for infrastructure mapping but we're facing some troubles with it. ServiceNow has recently implemented sending an automated trigger or incident creation to ServiceNow from NetApp, and we are facing trouble due to the APIs. In terms of MTTR, we haven't calculated it yet, since it's not in production. We have only done the PoC.

We have plans to implement, or at least evaluate, products like StorageGRID and FlexPool.

If a colleague was concerned about being burned by legacy storage management products that don't work as promised, I would tell him to migrate to the cloud. It's a better way to manage the data. We can't escape on-prem. Legacy is one of the best use cases for on-prem, but cold data could be moved to the cloud.

OCI is one of NetApp's best products. I would rate it at nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JP
Performance Administrator at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
It's stable and gives good feedback on performance

Pros and Cons

  • "It's stable and gives good feedback on performance."
  • "The machine learning features help me troubleshoot faster."
  • "I would like to see better graphics. We have seen regular graphs and pie graphs. I am sure that there are better ways to show this information."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is VMware performance.

How has it helped my organization?

It makes it easier to log into the performance of VMware. Now, we are upgrading to Microsoft Hyper-V, so it makes it easier to see improvements.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the five minute review.

The machine learning features help me troubleshoot faster.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better graphics. We have seen regular graphs and pie graphs. I am sure that there are better ways to show this information. The graphical settings should also be easier to use.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's stable and gives good feedback on performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has good stability.

How is customer service and technical support?

I haven't used technical support because I haven't had any big issues.

How was the initial setup?

I was not part of the initial setup or deployment.

What was our ROI?

The company has saved money by narrowing down issues faster using servers and performance.

What other advice do I have?

If you are using legacy products, you should upgrade.

Look into different solutions. This is one of the best solutions out there. However, each company has their different standards and requirements.

Our company does use ServiceNow as part of our infrastructure mapping.

This is a very good product. I give it a thumbs up.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DD
Integrations Director at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It gives us the ability to look at our storage and figure out what we are doing with it

Pros and Cons

  • "Once we gathered and saw what we were doing with everything, we saved close to a petabyte worth of data by being able to delete old data and move stuff around. Thus, we became more efficient."
  • "It gives us the ability to look at our storage and figure out what we are doing with it. Without it, we are sort of blind."
  • "It has helped us optimize our storage."
  • "The initial setup is complex. There is a lot of stuff to set up. I had to teach my guys a lot of things, so there was a lot of learning."

What is our primary use case?

We use OnCommand Insight to manage our nine petabyte storage, including our EF-Series and a few FAS8060s and FAS8200s. We are using it to manage our storage across that entire array and track our "burn rate": 

  • How much we're using each month.
  • How much we are growing.
  • How much we can save.

How has it helped my organization?

Once we gathered and saw what we were doing with everything, we saved close to a petabyte worth of data by being able to delete old data and move stuff around. Thus, we became more efficient.

It's exactly what we needed. It has helped us optimize our storage.

What is most valuable?

It gives us the ability to look at our storage and figure out what we are doing with it. Without it, we are sort of blind. We have all these different aggregates going on, and we don't know what's been stored where, so it allows us to look underneath the hood.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see additional online training.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had no issues scaling so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

NetApp support is always there. Our guy, Matt is amazing. I can pick up the phone anytime to talk him when I have an issue. A company may have equitable software, but no one beats NetApp's support.

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

We didn't have a previous solution. 

We are very NetApp heavy. This is the solution that they suggested, so we went with it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. There is a lot of stuff to set up. I had to teach my guys a lot of things, so there was a lot of learning. Once they got the hang of it, they were good to go and all the training that NetApp and the reseller provided was on point.

What about the implementation team?

We used a reseller, ClearShark. 

We use them for a lot of things. It is an amazing company.

What other advice do I have?

Absolutely go with this solution.

I manage the team using the product, but I don't have hands-on experience with it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Gianfranco Lanza
Responsabile Data Management DC Area Nord Ovest at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
We can proactively anticipate performance issues on the server or databases

Pros and Cons

  • "Performance monitoring of hundreds of switches and being able to see results in one dashboard."
  • "Enhance SNMP monitoring in order to broaden the number of storages that can be discovered."

What is most valuable?

Performance monitoring of hundreds of switches and being able to see results in one dashboard.

How has it helped my organization?

With the alerts of saturation of FC ports in their early states, we can proactively anticipate performance issues on the server or databases.

What needs improvement?

Enhance SNMP monitoring in order to broaden the number of storages that can be discovered. Review the setup of the software and divide the DB from the application and web server. Also, modularize the software more.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, because it has a unique server module.

How are customer service and technical support?

It is very good with a quick escalation process and delivery of new patches in a couple of weeks.

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

We have used and currently use other SRM softwares, but this one is more intuitive and easy to manage.

How was the initial setup?

Very straightforward. You need only to define how many collectors and enable the needed firewall rules.

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

I do not advise about pricing: For me, it is always too much. Licensing is on TBs, and I think, nowadays that is outmoded.

A storage with 100TB or more could be the minimum in some cases. The licensing should be reviewed in number and types of storages discovered.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved in the evaluation process. However, one is the compatibility matrix: the larger, the best.

What other advice do I have?

Spend a little more time in design in order to save next time when the infrastructure is active.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Madhu Vinod Diwakar
Technology Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Reporting functionality enables us to look at our heterogeneous infrastructure and troubleshoot

Pros and Cons

  • "We haven't gone to the extent where we are using the anomaly detection, but from a reporting perspective and single-pane-of-glass perspective, to look at our heterogeneous infrastructure, it is doing a great job."
  • "It's the interop matrix. And if there was a chance to orchestrate on a heterogeneous structure using OCI, that would be a great start; or at least a plugin to each one of them, that would be a great start too."

What is most valuable?

It is the reporting functionality. We haven't gone to the extent where we are using the anomaly detection, but from a reporting perspective and single-pane-of-glass perspective, to look at our heterogeneous infrastructure, it is doing a great job.

How has it helped my organization?

Right now, it's our single pane of glass to monitor our entire infrastructure. It is the first point of troubleshooting where we go to see any anomaly, or for troubleshooting any performance issue. It's doing a good job so far. We're happy.

With a single pane of glass to look at, regarding any outage or any disconnect or regarding any TDP issues in our vSphere environment, we can go back and look at the data warehouse and see any changes in the infrastructure; like a port going offline or a port flapping. That's something that we haven't had the flexibility to do before, so that's the number one addition to our infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

It's the interop matrix. And if there was a chance to orchestrate on a heterogeneous structure using OCI, that would be a great start; or at least a plugin to each one of them, that would be a great start too.

Also, right now we don't have any management functionality using OCI. It's all about monitoring.

We have floor automation but I don't think we can include heterogeneous components into that. If there was a solution or plugin on OCI which could give us that functionality, where we could manage heterogeneous data sources, that would be great.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had some issues when we upgraded OCI. Right now we are having an issue where the reporting functionality is looking at the numbers of other vendors in a different perspective, and we are having some issues with interpreting them. So our usable, on-the-storage array is different from what OCI is reporting to us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are an 18 to 20 petabyte environment. So far we haven't hit any issues where scalability was a issue.

We grew from 14 petabytes to 20 petabytes as of now. Maybe it's because of our relation with NetApp, we haven't had an issue with that so far.

How is customer service and technical support?

We're happy so far. Whenever we are dealing with NetApp products, we have really good success. But when we are talking about other vendors like ENT or UCS - even now, UCS isn't supported on the interop matrix. That would be something which would look forward to be because we are a highly converged infrastructure. We have like 60 to 70% of our infrastructure on UCS so we thought that it being complaint in our OCI data sources - we're kind of missing a major chunk of our infrastructure.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor to work with, the most important criteria for us are support and its foothold in the market. If you're talking about storage arrays, it's the federation and the high availability components. Recently we had some mishaps where we had outages. So, high availability of the array is a big decision-maker for us.

I gave it a six out of 10, not because the company is doing anything bad but taking simplicity into consideration, it's not simple. OCI works such that you get out of it what you invest in it. So if you know what to make out of OCI, you can get really good reports and really good insight into your infrastructure. But it's not that simple. It needs to be simple, more intuitive.

We have had great success with OCI from the reporting perspective, but when it comes to other heterogeneous data sources, there might be some disconnects. So we need to look at both OCI and the vendor-specific tools to get the actual numbers and get some understanding of it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750762
Lead Systems Administrator at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Ties all the information together in one place so that we can get to the root of problems more quickly

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of OCI is the ability to correlate a lot of different data sources together. It's very difficult to get a picture from just looking at the storage view. The fact that it allows you pull in your VMware information and the like, and see it all together, helps when you have an incident. You can correlate all that data together, and that's very valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

It's improved the organization in that, when people complained about an issue in the past, we had to go to all these different systems to look at the performance data; going into vSphere, going into SolarWinds. This ties it all together in one place so that we can get to the root of the problem more quickly. That makes the business happy because then we're not churning on trying to figure out what caused their performance problem.

What needs improvement?

I think there's still a piece of it that's external, the Java interface. I think that's all starting to get integrated into the whole HTML5, and once it's all integrated together, I think that's probably going to be better. I'm looking forward to that.

I think one of the weaknesses is pulling in systems outside of virtual environments, of physical hosts, and the like. I think it's something they're working on from what I've heard. But being able to look at some other things outside of what we typically monitor - we have some physical AIX environments. They can look into it a little bit but there's more that I can see being done in some of those outside-systems for virtualization. For virtualization and NetApp it's great, but for pulling in other sources where we're using NetApp storage, we're looking to get a little bit more data out of it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think in the most current versions it's been improved considerably. We did have some hiccups in some of the earlier versions with data collection getting missed sometimes, but I think it's definitely been improving over time and getting better and better.

With the latest version of OCI which we just installed, we haven't been seeing any of that anymore, we're not seeing any data collection issues, so it's been much, much better. The experience is better, the UI is getting better, it's all slowly getting better.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know if I can say too much about that. We have a very specific size, we're medium size. I can't see us scaling up very fast, but from what I've seen, it seems like it should be able to.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't personally used tech support for OCI but I have colleagues who have. I don't think they have any complaints about it.

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

We had used some solutions in the past, SolarWinds, just looking at vSphere monitoring, and we didn't have any one solution that pulled it all together. While SolarWinds is pretty good, the polling intervals are quite long, so if you want to get to a real fine-grained time period, where you want to look at a problem and have all these different systems, we really need something that would have like BI capabilities to get more data into it.

How was the initial setup?

I think it was pretty straightforward. I think it was very quick to pull in data sources from all the different things that we monitor. I don't remember having any hiccups or trouble getting all the data in and getting it set up.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at - I believe it's now Brocade - but it was Riverbed that had a solution, and that had some dynamic performance monitoring. But I think OCI probably just made sense because we're using NetApp and vSphere most heavily, and it seemed to tie into it the best, of everything that we looked at.

What other advice do I have?

When we select a vendor, we look for somebody who is innovating in whatever their marketplace is, and that has a good forward thinking strategy. Somebody who is leveraging good interface technologies, because interface is super important when you're just trying to get in and get something quick; somebody who is using HTML5 and that has fast response time, that's really important to us.

I gave it an eight out of 10 for some of the reasons I said before. The interface isn't fully tied together, there's still some pieces that are outside of the web interface. But, with all the other improvements, I can't complain too much about the actual functionality, setting up dashboards and looking at the performance data.

I would just day be aware of everything that you're looking to monitor, to see if it makes sense to use it. If you have a lot of systems that don't fit into the OCI infrastructure, then you might want to look around a little bit more. But if you're using NetApp specifically, and you're looking at a lot of the technologies that integrate closely with OCI, I think it's a good fit. But really, the best thing to do is to look at something that fits the technology that you have.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750732
System Administrator at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Ease of use enables us to obtain strategic insights and plan ahead

What is most valuable?

The ease of use, because we don't have much time to learn all the new things.

How has it helped my organization?

The things we're able to derive, we're able to use that and figure out what the next steps would be that bring value to the company, or our organization. We get strategic insights and plan ahead.

What needs improvement?

Perhaps integration with other platforms; any other monitoring, other kinds of storage platforms.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's OK so far. I don't think we push it to the limit of what it can do, so I think it's been pretty stable for us. It's been pretty good so far.

We haven't really found time to upgrade it, so we've been pretty happy with where we're at. I forget what version we're at. But so far it's been OK.

Like I said, we don't push it too much. We're using it for a few things and that's pretty much it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We don't look at it from that perspective. We don't have a lot of devices that we monitor. So we don't need it from that perspective.

How is customer service and technical support?

I think one colleague has used it once, maybe twice, that's it. I, personally, have not.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor to work with the most important criterion for us is how easy is it to work with them. Our group is very small. We really don't have time to do a lot of back and forth with the vendors. It's either they want to deal with us or they don't, period. If they want work with us, we go ahead. If not, then we move on.

I give it an eight out of 10 because, again, we're not pushing it as much as we probably could and should. I think if we got down to knowing the nitty-gritty of it, we'd probably like it a lot more. But like I said, we just don't have time to use it that much.

If I were to advise a colleague at a different company who is looking at OCI and other similar solutions, I would say know the functions or features you want to use. Outside of that, do what we did not do, really try to get to know the product and do a deep dive into it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750726
Storage Services Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Collects data from every storage manufacturer, shows overall usage and performance

What is most valuable?

The ability to collect data from every other manufacturer like NetApp, HPE 3PAR - all the different storage products.

How has it helped my organization?

I can get the overall usage, performance and, later, we see all the details across the board.

What needs improvement?

I think there was an issue with the actual usage of some of the storage, so that could be a little bit more detail we can get in to.

Also helpful would be cloud integration or even assessment in going towards, "Will this footprint be viable to move to the cloud?" That's an option we are thinking would help.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Pretty good so far. We've collected a whole bunch of stuff and we are looking to go forward and assess what we really need in terms of storage, because it is helping us on that one.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had a chance to do that at this point. We have a certain set of systems and we are using it for so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

Yes, we have used tech support, and they are excellent. We have engineers set up for us and we have dedicated SEs, so they come and help us out instantaneously.

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

We had individual siloed applications, utilities. 3PAR had one and VMAX had one, NetApp had one, so we had DFM etc. Each of those had each feature and function. Not as detailed as OCI.

At this point in time we are trying to consolidate our storage infrastructure. So this is a pretty good way to do it because they cross multi platforms and the like.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was very straightforward.

It was very simple, they gave us preparation for the user IDs and the like and we were able to put that in and it came in, right through. It took some time to come up with the data, the initial data and that was it, it was done.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The option there was HPE OneView. We were looking at it but I think NetApp came out much more detailed.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor to work, the most important criteria for me are

  • response time
  • knowledgeable staff
  • detailed reports

and those all worked out pretty well.

It has given us a lot more information than what we could have done ourselves, or with other products.

Look at the product. I mean it has got a lot of features, functionalities, which individual products by the individual manufacturers do not give you. It has an overview of the whole estate, in effect.

As it crosses multi vendors, it's not difficult to put features to or from administration staff, so I think I am good with what we have today.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750675
San Administrator at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Simplifies looking at performance on all of our clusters, nodes, and volumes in one place

What is most valuable?

It's a good, single place to go to see the storage performance on all of our clusters.

How has it helped my organization?

It's able to simplify looking at performance on all of our clusters, all of the nodes, all the volumes, in one place, without having to log into each individual storage array and look at it.

What needs improvement?

Right now it monitors our entire datacenter, all the different Pure Storage as well as NetApp. It does multiple vendors. Its only drawbacks are it's expensive and the upgrades are somewhat difficult.

It would be better if they could simplify the upgrade process. It's long and tedious. You have to be careful, or you could shoot yourself in the foot.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had it for about three or four years and it's very stable, no issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You license it for whatever you need. It can scale out whatever you need to monitor.

We've added additional licensing to it. It's licensed by the amount of storage that you use, so we've purchased additional licensing.

How is customer service and technical support?

It's very good. The guys are sharp, they know the product very well and get back with you in a quick amount of time.

We've had no issues whatsoever with escalating.

How was the initial setup?

It was complex, and that's why we brought in Professional Services to get it up and running for us.

The product is very involved. There are a number of different modules so it takes a little bit of a learning curve to get up to speed on it.

What other advice do I have?

Primarily we use it for chargeback, but we also get some performance out of it as well.

When selecting a vendor to work with the most important criteria for us are

  • dependability
  • honesty
  • good integrity
  • reliability.

I'd say go for it. OCI is a good product if you can afford it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750663
Storage Architect at US Navy
Vendor
The key is being able to get a visual overview of the environment, see if a node is being hammered or a storage is filling up

Pros and Cons

  • "Being able to immediately look at my data. See the sizing, where I'm at on different virtual machines."
  • "You can build those out, but initially when you bring up the dashboard, that was one thing they couldn't take away. They couldn't change that. It just looks kind of kludgy. I'd like it to look a lot more clean when I first login."

What is most valuable?

Being able to immediately look at my data. See the sizing, where I'm at on different virtual machines.

Also, the most important thing, is IOPS. We have people - we support their applications - that are all the time complaining about slowness. So we can go in and say, "Oh, you need to moved over to this node or this node". OCI is perfect for that.

OCI has grown a lot over the last few years and we didn't realize until a few weeks ago, when we had our workshop, how powerful it really is, that it can actually automate and move stuff around for you in some ways.

The biggest thing though, is just being able to get a visual, overall view of your environment to see if this node is being hammered or if this storage is filling up really fast. Just being able see it at a glance, when I come in in the morning, I'm drinking my coffee and say, "Oh, this place is about to fill up I need to move this." That's key. That makes sure there are no "gotchas."

In addition, I get emails - I guarantee I have emails right now from OCI - that say, "Hey, we had a node that got over subscribed." Then, "Oh, its cleared now," that kind of thing. That's really nice because I'm never surprised, in the middle of the night if I get a call, I can look down at my email and say, "Oh, yeah there's a reason you're calling me, because that node is down or we're having issues with that."

How has it helped my organization?

We do a lot of databases within that app and we had a problem with a lot of our databases running slowly. Once we got OCI, we started seeing where the IOPS were really failing us. We actually found that we had built some machines too big.

Everything's got to be scaled to size and we actually found that out by making some of the machines smaller; and some of them did better on SATA instead of SaaS. But all that we found from OCI. It helped us improve the application side for what we call our customer, basically another Navy employee who is running, say, a database for time clocks. They would say, "I'm having people that are complaining, when people are punching in they're not able to go to work because it's not coming back as fast."

So we were able to improve those kind of speeds and help people service our Navy personnel faster, better, and more efficiently.

What needs improvement?

Maybe a little bit more graphical interface. Right now - and this is going to sound really weird - but whatever the biggest server is, the one that is utilizing the most storage space, instead of showing me that server and how much storage space, it just shows it to you in a big font. Literally in a big font. That's it. So if your server is named Max and you've got another server named Sue, and Max is taking up most of your space, all it's going to show is just Max is big, Sue is little. That's is really weird, because I really want to see more than that. You can click on Max, drill down in and see the stuff. But I would rather, on my front interface, say, "Oh, gosh, Max is using 10 terabytes. Sue is only using one. She's fixing to choke. Let me move some of this over."

You can build those out, but initially when you bring up the dashboard, that was one thing they couldn't take away. They couldn't change that. It just looks kind of kludgy. I'd like it to look a lot more clean when I first login.

It would help if it could be a little more user friendly at the beginning. Show me a little bit more that I need to see, that I find more relevant, without me having to build out templates. Maybe even have a drop-down that says you've already got the data there. But it would be a lot easier if I could just build the template out myself and, right now, I don't feel like we're comfortable doing that. We had to bring somebody in to do it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've never ever had a problem with OCI. It's never gone down, it's never crashed. As far as stability, we've never taxed it. It's a workhorse.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Again, it's a workhorse. When we started out, we had a very small virtual environment, maybe a 100-150 servers. We're up to about 700 now. OCI has just kept growing with it. It's been able to keep up. It's never once said, "Oh, I can't handle that many."

About the only thing we run into a problem with is licensing, sometimes. You may get too many things talking to it and they'll say, "Hey, you didn't really pay for that many licenses." But, at the end of the day NetApp will do whatever it takes to keep you up and running. They're not going to shut you down. So scalability is awesome.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used it for OCI. We had a couple of issues when we were setting it up, from the database perspective. We called into help desk. We opened a ticket with OCI. They actually sent a guy out to help us with it, which was amazing. To not charge us for Professional Services, but send a technician onsite to help us fix it was awesome.

I can't say enough about NetApp support. They're fantastic.

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

Our sales guy that came in, a wonderful guy, told us OCI was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He has an SE, he and I just hit it off. It was really his interpretation of OCI that sold us on it. It was the SE more so than the sales guy. It was more or less just a one-on-one with that guy that made me understand that it's not a lot of bull, that it was the real deal. So that's what sold us on it.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup.

OCI, three and a half years ago was in its infancy, or for us it was. According to the guys who built it, they had a lot of problems at the beginning. There were a lot of templates that we needed within OCI that we didn't get. When we would go into OCI, we weren't seeing a lot of the data that we needed to see. It went on and on and on. They sent the same technician out every time and he just didn't seem to quite grasp what we needed.

About a year ago, they sent another technician out. He sat down with us. We drew out everything we wanted. Bada-bing bada-boom, literally within just a few hours he had all the templates impemented.

But a lot of it, as he said, was because it's a lot easier now to implement OCI than it was back then. Back then it was a lot more hands-on, command line stuff. Now, it's a drag and drop type of deal. If I want to see the IOPS on a server I can drag it over, drop it, and then it works. Whereas before, you had to build a template out for some of the stuff.

Our initial experience with OCI wasn't good. But, we stayed with it. Eventually it became something we use every day. We love it, we absolutely love it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't know that there was anything else out there. Balance was their predecessor. We used the heck out of Balance. Balance was free but it became an unsupported product. OCI we bought, but we couldn't, like I said, at the beginning, get OCI working. So we were relying a lot on Balance. One day they pulled the rug out from under Balance and said, "We're done." That's when we really started looking at OCI hot and heavy.

What other advice do I have?

When I look at a vendor, generally I look to see if I feel like I'm being fed a lot of bull or are they really talking to me. I look for a vendor that genuinely takes interest in what we're doing and sells you something you need. That was one of the things that impressed us about our sales guy. When he came in, we were looking at a much bigger NetApp environment. He told us,"I would love to sell you that, but you don't need it." It's those kind of people. When you come in and you actually tell me what you think I need and I say, "Oh, but I want to buy this widget," and it's real expensive, and they say, "But you don't need it," that's when I know you're trying to help me out, size it up, make it more functional for me.

But also, I want to make sure I can grow with it. So, I look for honesty in a vendor, if that's the right word. But you usually have to sit and talk to him for a while before you finally figure out if they're here just selling me a load or they're actually telling me what I need to hear.

If you'd asked me three years ago, I would have given it a one out of 10. Today I give an eight. I love it. They need to change the GUI interface at the very beginning, but I love it. I think it's a great product. I'm completely turned around. I'm 100% on board with OCI now.

I would say that if you've got a large virtual environment with a NetApp storage - OCI is written by NetApp - it would almost be silly to look elsewhere. You can look at other storage solutions like EMC, but if you're pure NetApp like we are, there is no other tool like OCI. It does everything. It has all the hooks because the people that built the product are the people that make OCI. It's going to do more for you than an EMC or something like that.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750627
Storage Engineer at Cerner
Vendor
Enables us to see where there are issues with latency and port saturation, and report array usage

What is most valuable?

The fact that it gives us a way to report usage for the arrays that we have, issues that we have.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a reporting tool so we can see where we get issues with latency, and we can see issues with port saturation, and it shows us each of our clients.

What needs improvement?

Personally, some of the older things that HPE created originally, you could dig a little bit deeper into each client in certain ways that OCI doesn't quite do.

With HPE we could look at very specific port-to-port on there, per array that we have. Whereas the OCI, you can still do that but the way it's done is a little bit... When I look at a host, I can't look at the entire host. I can only look at different LUNS on that host and that can be a problem sometimes.

For how long have I used the solution?

A year and a half now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is good. No issues with OCI.

It's got some things that are good and we still use some other reporting tools to mix in with it, but it is good overall.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not used it.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor to work with the most important criteria are what's easiest, what's quickest to train on and that way we can get into all of the different engineers' hands and get them up to speed fastest on it.

Functionally we're able to use it to troubleshoot pretty quickly. So it's come on and it's replaced a lot of the HPE tools that we were using before. What would make it a 10 out of 10 for me are some of the niche things that we would want to see, so that it could do some of the troubleshooting even a little bit better and a little bit faster.

For troubleshooting, for the way we use it, it's good. And for a large environment, it seems to have been integrated in pretty well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
EK
Senior Storage Engineer at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
It is multi-vendor and gives us the ability to report on all our VMs. The reporting tool is very cumbersome.

What is most valuable?

The ability to have insight into how our systems are being used.

How has it helped my organization?

The benefit is that it is not just the storage itself. It also covers our switches. It is multi-vendor, therefore we are not just talking about NetApp. We also have the ability to report on VMs, which is pretty important nowadays, because almost all our systems are VMs.

What needs improvement?

The ability to better manage the graphs and the dashboards: Resizing them, positioning them, and the ability to publish them outside of OCI to websites or SharePoint.

Sold differently, the user interface (UI) would be easier. At times, it seems a little bit slow. We find when it draws data that there is a lag.

The reporting tool is very cumbersome, and it is difficult to create reports out of it. That is the most complicated part of the tool and how to use it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We suffer a little bit from stability. At each batching cycle, we find some services that needs to be restarted. It has its moments. Even restarting the services does not help with the restart. I think there is work to do there to improve it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is fairly scalable. We have not hit the limits yet, but we believe that it will be fairly easy to scale.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have used the tech support. Unfortunately, every time we try to get a technician specialized in the solution, it seems like we always go to the wrong department or wrong area. There needs to be improvement to direct our calls to the right place, so we can talk to the right person.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was fairly complex. Due to what this tool is capable of, I think that is expected.

What other advice do I have?

It is a great tool.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
it_user750861
Senior Storage Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
You can use it for reporting, and also to identify connectivity and storage issues

What is most valuable?

This is a very good tool to see everything on an overview: Where and what are the devices, how much storage you are using, how much Apple storage, and with what connectivity is being used.

You will get a total view of your storage.

How has it helped my organization?

Because we can use it financially, we use it for inventory purpose. You can use it, not only for reporting, but you can identify connectivity and storage issues. You can pull performance reports.

We are a consulting company and we use it for various purposes.

What needs improvement?

  • Email notifications
  • Data store recoveries
  • Moving into the cloud.

They should include more of these type of things.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for the last six 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?

Scalability is nice, for all scales.

How is customer service and technical support?

We use the tech support. They are good.

We are able to get through, and they will follow up for anything they are not able to give us the solution to immediately. They will work with internally among themselves, then they will get back to us.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was straightforward, except for a firewall issue.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
ITCS user
Storage and VMware Expert at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It simplified the administration of our storages and environment

What is most valuable?

The flexibility to use it.

How has it helped my organization?

It simplified the administration of our storages and environment.

What needs improvement?

The product is not easy to learn from the materials provided. We still have questions regarding it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for about three years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I executed/deployed it the first time alone. When I need support, I ask for it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We have not had a problem yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good.

How is customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good. They…

What is most valuable?

The flexibility to use it.

How has it helped my organization?

It simplified the administration of our storages and environment.

What needs improvement?

The product is not easy to learn from the materials provided. We still have questions regarding it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for about three years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I executed/deployed it the first time alone. When I need support, I ask for it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We have not had a problem yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good.

How is customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good. They solve the problems/issues that we have.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
it_user750765
Senior Data Protection Specialist at Cox Enterprises
Vendor
Gives us a lot of data we didn't have in the past, enables us to monitor, visualize, and pinpoint problems

What is most valuable?

It gives us the ability to report on all our storage environment. It gives us a way to monitor, visualize, and pinpoint problems.

We can focus on and project usage growth. We can also monitor and measure performance of all the stores. We can compare, use it for capacity planning, forecasting, present usage.

We can also compare performance over several years. Compare different products from different vendors and see how they perform against each other. There are many things that you can do with it.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us a lot of data that, years ago, we didn't have. We can present that in order to prepare, when we're going to buy new equipment. We know, when we create a lifecycle, how long it's going to last, the current equipment, and what are we going to replace it with.

We use it for troubleshooting and to identify the root cause of problems. We also use it for proof of concept and comparisons.

We're in telecommunications and media. I would say OCI is uniquely valuable to us because it give us the data and it provides a more visual a way of evaluating our current storage environment.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more performance features on the flash storage and also on the backup appliances.

Also the ability to analyze NAS, NFS and CIFS protocols and cloud protocols.

For how long have I used the solution?

At least four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. It is mature. I have had issues, but I have resolved most of them myself.

On the reporting piece, sometimes I get a corruption in the database, but since we protect it and back it up constantly, we can always go back to before the damage is done.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have upgraded, maybe four times, different versions. The very first upgrade was not that easy to do because we had an old version and then it required being in a different version to upgrade automatically. But after we did that first one, they've been easy.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support is real good.

What other advice do I have?

I rate it an eight out of 10 because of the features that it lacks and the stability, although that is getting better. It's still an eight but it's getting better.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
WL
Technology Consultant at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Capacity and performance are two advantages, and it allows us to see where more storage is needed

What is most valuable?

The ability to get reports out, to see what OCI is doing for us, and we can see what our capacity is. We can also see performance reports.

So capacity and performance are two of the big things we use it for.

How has it helped my organization?

We're in the telecommunications industry and we're an actual service provider as well. I work in the service providing part . We have all of these external customers that have their pay-for-storage on our storage arrays. We're able to see through annotation how much each of those customers is using and we can use it for billing purposes.

It's given us a better concept of what we've got out there and where our hurt points are, where we need some more work in the different areas, where we might need to move volumes around to get better performance, and also definitely to see where that capacity is, see if we need to add more storage.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see the ability to produce more complex reports without having to go to Professional Services.

For how long have I used the solution?

About two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Very scalable. We've recently just got the two servers for data warehouse and collection and we've haven't even hit capacity on them yet.

How is customer service and technical support?

We've used it extensively. They're awesome, very good.

How was the initial setup?

Fairly straightforward, but after that, it's very complex to use and to learn and understand.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750606
Systems Administrator at a real estate/law firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Performance and monitoring of events give us real-time system status and overall improved visibility

What is most valuable?

  • Performance monitoring
  • Monitoring events happening within the cluster
  • Notifications we're receiving, mainly for monitoring

How has it helped my organization?

We can see the real-time status of the systems and, of course, monitoring. We have visibility in general.

What needs improvement?

There was a minor issue where we were receiving a notification that a cluster was not available, or communication to the cluster. OnCommand Manager could not reach a cluster, which is really much like a false positive. The minor issues were communications within the systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used the product less than a year; we installed probably six months ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution. Sometimes we receive a small number of false-positive alerts, but in general we can monitor the system efficiently.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have opened a few cases with NetApp support and, of course, I received valuable information. I was able to get through to the right person.

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

This is part of a migration, of migrating storage from EMC to NetApp. Once we migrated some data to NetApp storage we deployed OnCommand, the application as well, at the same time.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the initial setup of this product specifically, but now I'm involved in migrating from our current version to the new release that is available, which will help us to resolve the issues we've experienced.

What other advice do I have?

We are in the real estate industry. We are using NetApp storage to store various types of data: flat files, file servers, we have host of Microsoft Sequel Server databases, Oracle databases, so we're using a wide range of data to store.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750666
Storage Engineer at a marketing services firm
Vendor
We are able to pull statistics off of the devices within our enterprise and correlate them to predict trends which are happening

What is most valuable?

Some of the most valuable ones are actually being able to pull statistics off of the devices within our enterprise and correlate them to predict trends which are happening. 

How has it helped my organization?

Biggest benefits are with analytics on devices and some of the applications. Case in point, Exchange and SQL, seeing how they are doing with trending, then as we are adding things, see how it is changing that trend.

In the government and military industries specifically, it is unique. It has helped a lot. It is a little misunderstood still, but what we are getting out of it and what we are providing to the leadership has been extremely valuable to them. 

What needs improvement?

We can't encompass everything into it yet. E.g., the plugins for the other vendors' products that we can't currently monitor.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for just over a year now.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I came into it after it was already in place. However, it was being underutilized, so we started bringing in a few of the OCI experts to spin us up to speed on what it is capable of and how we could use it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For scalability, out of a 10, I would give it a nine. Mainly, this is because we have some other vendors' solutions, like Nutanix, where we do not have the plugins for them yet.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750618
Storage Administrator at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Data analytics help to track down issues and lead to more rapid resolution of issues

What is most valuable?

The data analytics for helping track down issues.

How has it helped my organization?

It's quicker to fix issues.

What needs improvement?

They're moving away from the Java interface, but there are still some things that are only in the Java versus the web interface.

For how long have I used the solution?

About three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable product. No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think there are issues with the Java Stack. Java seems to use a lot more memory than other solutions.

How is customer service and technical support?

I haven't used it.

What other advice do I have?

We're a water and electric company. I wouldn't say the product is uniquely…

What is most valuable?

The data analytics for helping track down issues.

How has it helped my organization?

It's quicker to fix issues.

What needs improvement?

They're moving away from the Java interface, but there are still some things that are only in the Java versus the web interface.

For how long have I used the solution?

About three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable product. No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think there are issues with the Java Stack. Java seems to use a lot more memory than other solutions.

How is customer service and technical support?

I haven't used it.

What other advice do I have?

We're a water and electric company. I wouldn't say the product is uniquely valuable to our industry, but it is valuable.

It's moving in the right direction. I think there are some things that it still hasn't quite got but it's a very good product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750654
Nas System Administrator at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
The product is uniquely valuable because it can actually snap into multiple different products

What is most valuable?

  • Reporting
  • The way it pulls the data
  • Performance analytics

Everything for it is just amazing.

How has it helped my organization?

Time to resolution has gone way down, especially when working with the current performance issue.

As an industry, the product is uniquely valuable because it can actually snap into multiple different products, not just NetApp. It can do multiple different products.

What needs improvement?

Just more features, to be able to dig a little bit deeper into what it can actually report on.

For how long have I used the solution?

About a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There's some features that I'd like to see in it, but other than that it's great. Features that I would like to see are the ability to be able to dig in a little bit deeper, to where it can actually do Snapshots and get inodes. Certain things that it cannot do currently.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very hard to implement. It takes a long time to learn. It is very unique skillset.

How are customer service and technical support?

It takes a little bit of time to get through to them, but once we did, they are very good about making sure they get whatever issue you are running into taken care of.

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

We were taking over from a previous company.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
JB
Senior Storage Engineer at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Having a single solution to monitor a multi-vendor platform helps us out a lot

What is most valuable?

Performance data.

How has it helped my organization?

We can analyze the arrays overall performance down to a LUN level, very quickly, with this product.

It is uniquely valuable because it covers the entire industry, just not NetApp products, but also HPE and other vendors. We have a multi-vendor platform, so having a single solution to monitor all the platforms really helps us out a lot.

What needs improvement?

Setup could be easier with some more integration with other products, but that's not really a NetApp thing. That's really the other products and how they integrate back with NetApp.

Most of it is not them, it is how they communicate with other third parties. It is just the third parties, trying to get all the pieces to talk together correctly.

For how long have I used the solution?

A little over a year.

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?

The scalability is very good (we have scaled out previously), because you can have remote agents as well as just a central console.

How are customer service and technical support?

It is very good.

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

We invested in NetApp because we didn't have a solution that covered all of our arrays and all the storage infrastructure that we had.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. I did the proof of concept.

It beats HPE products hands down in terms of initial setup. We were able to bring the OnCommand up in three hours, whereas it took 60 hours to bring the HPE solution up. So, it was a pretty hands down win for NetApp.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750747
Technical Engineer at FBL Financial Group
Real User
The Performance Manager is the best method we have for monitoring our individual virtual machines

Pros and Cons

  • "The Performance Manager: Where we get performance statistics."
  • "Just make it one product, not in pieces like performance and discovery. Stop having all these individual pieces."

What is most valuable?

The Performance Manager: Where we get performance statistics.

It is about the best method we have right now that we have for monitoring our individual virtual machines.

How has it helped my organization?

We have the server team actually logging into it and looking at it now. It's a good way to tell right away if it's the storage or the virtual machine.

What needs improvement?

Just make it one product, not in pieces like performance and discovery. Stop having all these individual pieces. Pricing by terabytes, not the end of the world, and that's okay. Stop if I want this, I have to buy that. Just release it as a single product.

For how long have I used the solution?

Eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has gotten a lot better. They have made upgrading it a lot easier. Upgrading used to be a bit of a challenge.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales pretty good. You can have quite a few clusters, etc., in one instance of Insight.

How is customer service and technical support?

They do have good support.

We have opened cases periodically whenever they are continually taking features out of the client, the Java client, and they're moving them to the web client. I don't think they've done a very good job of explaining, which features are going where.

Then when they go to HTML 5 interface, where are they? For instance, I just experienced this a few weeks ago I had to open a case, because what I was looking for in the Java client wasn't there. I opened a case with NetApp, and our VaR - it was moved under what's called queries. They didn't know that's where it was.

So, we are not always reaching the right person, but when we do reach the right person, they are knowledgeable.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was a little complex because we put it in quite some time ago. It's gotten a lot less complex. Overall, this is a complex package, at least in terms of it's capabilities. That is why it's not free. It has a lot of customization that you can do, such as reporting things.

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

In our case, we needed a way to monitor our NetApp environment and we were able to get it at a very good discount. Otherwise, we probably would have struggled to afford it.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
it_user750807
Storage Architect at a energy/utilities company
Vendor
Needs to be more stable and simpler. Gives visibility to the virtual machines.

Pros and Cons

  • "It gives visibility to the VMs."
  • "I'd like it to be more stable, simpler, and get Java out of it."

What is most valuable?

It gives visibility to the VMs.

What needs improvement?

It's really fragile. We try not to depend on it because every time we change something in our environment, it breaks. So reporting, performance, metrics, it takes a lot to keep this thing running. We have a really dynamic environment, meaning our machines are constantly being patched. They are constantly being rebooted, and OCI is not really that resilient.

I'd like it to be more stable, simpler, and get Java out of it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is terrible. It breaks all the time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is fine.

How is customer service and technical support?

It is not great. It's hard to get experts on the phone that understand your issues with the product, it's kind of a niche market. OCI seems to be a niche and every time I get someone working with me, they seem to know some of it, but there's one guy over there who knows it all. It's very bizarre. With reports, there's one guy at the company who it seems can spit out reports, at least the ones that we've been recommended. It's a complicated tool.

It is hard to reach the right person who is knowledgeable about the tool. The product's complicated.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was pretty straightforward.

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

The cost: It is expensive as a solution. You need to be an expert to get anything out of it and we don't have that kind of expertise. It's not worth it for us to spend that much time learning it, so it would be better if it were simpler.

What other advice do I have?

We went to C-DoT and it was thrown in on the deal.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Gary Yan
Staff Engineer at Trend Micro Inc.
Real User
Simplifies operations, helps us view every detail of our company's infrastructure

What is most valuable?

The product we use in our datacenter, and mostly I want to know about our datacenter's situation. In terms of the performance, before it was kind of is slow but now it is good. And the UI is good, after an upgrade, now it's a 7.3, I think.

How has it helped my organization?

Has made our operations simpler. Helped to know our datacenter, every detail. Helped to view our company infrastructure very well.

What needs improvement?

I don't know, the product is very good. Maybe lower the price.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable, and high performance, I think that's a very a good product.

It maybe have crashed in some situations, but it was not very critical because they have very good HA function, and the auto support is very good. It may be because we should have upgraded but didn't.

How are customer service and technical support?

That's good support. The response time is very quick. They have good documentation. They also respond by telephone and contact us directly.

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

No.

How was the initial setup?

It was very easy. No problems.

What other advice do I have?

We chose this solutions because of our datacenter. We usually monitor our datacenter and have to check and everything.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750690
Storage And Backup Tools Manager at a tech services company
Consultant
When the tech support gets into the product, they are very knowledgeable

Pros and Cons

  • "Scalability: If you're from a large enterprise, it's easy for us to go into customer environments and pull the data out. It's very security-friendly."
  • "The UI: They have been growing and changing. There's been some growing pains with that, but they are moving into the new HTML5 interface, which is fantastic."

What is most valuable?

Scalability: If you're from a large enterprise, it's easy for us to go into customer environments and pull the data out. It's very security-friendly. There's also the reporting suite, and the extensibility of that is fantastic. As well as we can replicate charge reports, so when you go from account to account it's always the same data. You're not looking at form A here, and form B there. We can actually have a standard set of reports globally.

The one thing that NetApp has done a very good job of is keeping up with the current technology out there, not just with what they're doing, but with what the industry is doing. When we have had to deploy something very quickly, this was several years ago, EMC released a new product, and we were the first people to have a functioning chargeback report in the industry, because they actually brought developers in, wrote the code, and allowed us to produce it. This ended being in the product.

How has it helped my organization?

Definitely, the single pane of glass for capacity management. Every customer has multiple vendors of storage, which allows us to bring those into a single report, deliver those, not just to engineers, but also to the operations level and business owners of those organizations as well, so they can make sound business and financial decisions.

It's uniquely valuable, because it's really at the top of its class. Everybody else who's doing storage, monitoring, and reporting, they don't have a standard base for doing this. They customize it for every vendor who's out there, whereas the NetApp approach was to build a base and a solid foundation, so regardless of what vendor you actually bring in, or new data source you add, it's always the same information. Therefore, you really can have a homogenous view.

What needs improvement?

The UI: They have been growing and changing. There's been some growing pains with that, but they are moving into the new HTML5 interface, which is fantastic. They are hitting on all the right points, but it's never going to be a perfect because there's always going to be something new, which means there's always going to be something that has to be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

About seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable, but it's software and software breaks. That's just how it is. Overall though, we generally do not have issues with the software itself. It's usually some underlying infrastructure issue that causes an outage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The architecture allows us to put the LAUs and roll them into a single reporting engine, either regionally and/or globally. Even though we have to add compute to monitor more storage, we don't have to go to different places to get that data, it all comes from a single point.

How are customer service and technical support?

They're great. Fantastic. We generally deal with the same people, so that tells me that the way they manage the teams that people enjoy being there, and they stay. Also, they train their individuals, because when they look at the different data sources, the technology, they understand it. When they get into the product, they are very knowledgeable.

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

The instrumentation wasn't there, and that's what we deployed it for: storage, instrumentation, reporting, then accurate chargeback.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup and it was straightforward.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user328083
CIP System Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It lets you see everything from the storage to our VM environment

What is most valuable?

Performance monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

It is uniquely valuable because it lets you see everything from the storage to our virtual or VM environment. It does the whole path; it does storage, the fiber channel, the network, and the fee center.

What needs improvement?

We're not using it to its full potential, so it is hard to provide feedback here.

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't looked into the scalability yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used technical support yet.

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

What is most valuable?

Performance monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

It is uniquely valuable because it lets you see everything from the storage to our virtual or VM environment. It does the whole path; it does storage, the fiber channel, the network, and the fee center.

What needs improvement?

We're not using it to its full potential, so it is hard to provide feedback here.

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't looked into the scalability yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used technical support yet.

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

We purchased this solution because we didn't have anything to do trending, forecasting, or reporting.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup and it was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

I used a NetApp engineer to implement it. The engineer's expertise was very good.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750744
Storage Analyst at BCCSS
Real User
Enables us to collect data from many vendors and get a better view of what is happening in the environment

What is most valuable?

It's not vendor lock-in so I can collect data from different vendors, which is important for us. We are collecting data from Brocade, HP, NetApp, and EMC.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us a better view of into what is happening with the environment, like performance issues or predicting problems. This is the most important part for us.

We can predict when storage will be out of space, so we can start buying before something bad happens.

What needs improvement?

It would be helpful if it were easier to create queries. It's not very intuitive.

For how long have I used the solution?

We're still implementing so it's not in production yet; so two months only.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't know yet. We're still testing. For now, it's stable. No crashes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's just software, it's not a hardware, so I don't see that there will be problems in the future with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't used technical support yet. We're still implementing so we haven't understood the architecture.

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

No, this is the first one. We needed to get a better view of our environment. Now we have a tube for collecting data and showing the manager the results.

We had NetApp on in our environment so we know it.

How was the initial setup?

It was complex. It's new for us so there are a lot of requirements that we haven't had yet in other products, especially all these servers that we need to set for this application to run. That is not something that we usually do.

We need to prepare our environment for this product.

What other advice do I have?

Our industry is healthcare but I think this product is valuable for everyone. I don't think it's uniquely valuable to our industry.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750660
Engineer at TD
Vendor
A centralized structure that has the ability to connect to any storage platform

What is most valuable?

The analytics over it. The ability to connect to any type of storage device that I've got, then extract and report in a centralized manner on all my SAN infrastructure.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a centralized structure that has the ability to connect to any storage platform, it doesn't matter if it's NetApp or not, and be able to report consistently on all my fabric. It's the greatest advantage that I've have.

What needs improvement?

I would like them to change the licensing model. It costs too much.

It goes on raw instead of going on usable storage. It doesn't necessarily have a value when you deploy, for example, a 400TB storage and I'm only using 60GB out of it at the beginning. Then, I have to pay for the entire 400TB, which is very costly, instead of having a growing up session.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is fairly reasonable.

We just increased the number of agents that we have, so we didn't have any issues in deploying it. NetApp has been there with us since Day One to do the analysis and to iron out a plan for deployment. No issues there. That's very standard.

How is customer service and technical support?

We go directly to our account manager, who we feel is knowledgeable and responsive, and put in the requirements there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SM
Systems Architect at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Trending and analytics give us a better view of our environment, we can set up service levels based on usage

What is most valuable?

It's probably the performance trending and the analytics that we have on that. We didn't have good insight into what our systems were doing until we had that product.

We also started installing the anomaly piece of that, so that's neat to see, and source. We're still just learning about that.

How has it helped my organization?

The benefits are just allowing us to get a better view of our environment, because today we just don't know what's happening. I know it's going to help us change our services that we offer today. Now, we're going to be able to set up different tiers and service levels based on our actual usage.

What needs improvement?

It has a lot already. But if they would just continue the platform support for other vendors besides NetApp on the OCI part. Just to get more of our storage vendors involved.

The UI is friendly. But I think we'd like to see more graphics on it, more graphical reports for management and the like, so we don't have to actually put stuff together. Anything we can pre-generate or that is canned is a lot better.

Like I said, we're still learning about it. I don't know if there are any features that they can improve right now that I know about.

For how long have I used the solution?

Six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, it's been stable. No issues whatsoever. Knocking on wood we won't have any.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales to our environment, so I would say it's fine.

How are customer service and technical support?

I think we have used the technical support. I haven't personally, but I know the guy that's setting it up has. We love it. They're very responsive and they follow up. We get the results we need. They're knowledgeable.

We've had lots of outages before. Like I said, they came back in and they followed up, gave us the right technical stuff. A lot of times, they'll do it proactively. There will be a bug out there and we won't have hit it yet, but then they'll tell us about it beforehand, so we can proactively fix it before it happens.

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

No. Before, we were just using the native tools on ONTAP. We needed to have a way to look at our performance statistics.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the initial setup.

In terms of upgrades, when I was doing it a long time ago, it was straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

We're in the Finance field. But I wouldn't say this solution is uniquely valuable to finance. It's just good for all the storage environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750864
Storage Engineer at Web.Com
Consultant
When there is an issue, its graphing of all the data helps pinpoint where the issue might be

What is most valuable?

I like the performance side the most. When we have an issue going on currently in the environment, the graphing of all the data helps pinpoint where the issue might be.

For the reporting side, the data warehouse side, if you're good with that, it can get really detailed reports that are good for showing people, at any level of the company. For the performance side, obviously it's good for troubleshooting.

How has it helped my organization?

I'd say for the cDOT side of it, yes. We had a solution for 7-mode, but for cDOT we didn't really have anything yet, so it helped by making sure that our NetApp source is staying healthy and our implementations are working.

What needs improvement?

They've already got better stuff coming out. I don't know what else I could need, honestly. Before, they had the fiber channel for switches on there; I think they are already coming out with ethernet, the other boards. That was what I wanted and they're already working on it.

One thing they could improve is making the data warehouse side easier to use.

For how long have I used the solution?

A little over a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable once you get it into place. There were originally some issues; NetApp was very helpful in working through them, getting patches, and it's pretty stable now.

In terms of those issues, It wouldn't connect to some of the NetApps sometimes, so we would have incomplete data on certain NetApps because there were bugs with certain ONTAP versions. But, they will come out with patches if you need them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can add as many NetApps in there that you need to, I think. As many NetApps that you can put in there, even EMCs. We have our EMCs in there, SAN switches, and even VMware. So it's definitely scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

They were really helpful, they helped to troubleshoot the issue and to get as quick a fix as we could.

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

We initially invested in OCI to improve our reporting in our environment because we wanted to be able to predict purchases in the future. So that was what the tool seemed to be good for.

We chose NetApp because we have something like 50 NetApps, so it seemed like the right way to go.

How was the initial setup?

I felt like it was complex. They said it was simple but, they have a guy who will come out and help you through the process. He gave me a slight tutorial. Like I said, the data warehouse side is a lot more complex. So it had more of a learning curve, versus the performance side, which is pretty straightforward once you learn everything.

Regarding upgrades, the first one was complex, I think because we didn't have a lot of space on the server. But the backup wasn't working, so they wanted to back it up and then you restore from the backup to the new version. But the last one we did was very easy. So it's getting better.

What other advice do I have?

We do web.com, basically web hosting. I don't think this product is uniquely valuable in our industry. I think its pretty much good for anyone that has a NetApp, if you want the performance, or however you're doing it. It helps us maintain up-time for our customers, such as websites; that's why it helps there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user750600
Storage Admin at ZF
Vendor
It's centralized and pretty versatile

What is most valuable?

  • The tracking of utilization of our storage systems.
  • Seeing the throughput.

These are the most important metrics for having a working operating system and working storage system.

How has it helped my organization?

It's centralized. It's got a lot of data in there. We can utilize the data that's in there and the output to other systems to run scripts off of it. Therefore, it's pretty versatile.

What needs improvement?

Any increase in loading times, or anything like that, would be useful for us. It's slow, the user interface could be improved a little bit. You have to click through a lot of things in order to be able to find what you want. Also, the dashboards aren't very user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've had Insight for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any issues yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Very scalable, as long as you have the licenses. You just have to buy more licenses for more storage. As long as you have the money, you can support it.

How is customer service and technical support?

We don't really use technical support for Insight. We haven't needed it.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the initial setup.

What other advice do I have?

It already uses restful API, so it's on top of things.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user748326
Storage Administrator with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It gives us a single pane of glass to look at all of our environments

What is most valuable?

What I get out of it: the day-to-day monitoring. In my role as an administrator, I'm primarily responsible for operational functionality, so I mostly use it to keep an eye on the system and make sure that we're meeting our SLAs and we're up and running.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we have to monitor multiple systems, it gives us a single pane of glass to look at all of our environments. Also, to compare and contrast, if one environment is having some issues, we can judge it against the other environments to make sure everything is on par with one another.

In the financial services industry, customer responsiveness is very important. Financial advisors cannot sit in front of a customer and say, "I can't get your data." Thus, being up and running and constantly available is a very important area for our client.

What needs improvement?

Alerting: It's not complicated, but with so many groups involved in setting up something like an SNMP trap, or even an email alerting system, so many different groups have to get involved. If there was a simpler way to do that, to bypass a lot of that bureaucracy, that would be helpful. Then, just to make it even easier for management to have their own dashboards, possibly customize it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution in my current position in the financial services industry for about seven months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's been very stable. The entire NetApp environment has been extremely stable. We really don't have issues across the board with uptime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We actually have a relatively low footprint, so we haven't scaled it up very much. Though I know we're not even close to pushing the boundaries of what we could do with it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not specifically used tech support.

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

We chose NetApp because we look for a vendor who can provide value-added support, not just break and fix, but best practices, advice, roadmap information, information about other case studies from other customers in similar situations, and the ability to really help us (not just install the product), but to use the product and extract the maximum value out of it. Also, they really know our environment.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the initial setup. We also have not upgraded yet.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I would not have been privy to that. When those decisions were made, it was before I started.

What other advice do I have?

If you're going to do any reasonable-sized NetApp installation, you need to have it. You just can't manage it effectively without that level of support. You can try to roll it out your own, or you can bring in a third party, and there are some good third parties out there, but if you really just want to get something up and running and you want to be able to manage it, it's the fastest way to get it going.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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