NetApp SnapCenter Initial Setup

Aaron Isaacson
Storage Administrator at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
The initial setup was pretty simple. I created a single VM, which didn't have to have huge resources. I grabbed the all-inclusive image that you can apply in your vSphere client to just create a VM with the right operating system, completely configured and ready. I used that and that was really simple. I just downloaded the file I needed from NetApp, created the VM using that template, and then I logged in to it through a VMware consul and configured an IP address and whatever else I needed to set up on there. It really didn't take very long, once the image had done the work through VMware. The setup took less than half an hour, and it was functional. It was able to talk to the filers, take Snapshots, and interact with vCenter. Part of the implementation is that it configures vCenter with its own little plug-in. It's really pretty slick and it actually installs it on the vCenter. That's what gives you the option to right-click on one of the VMs and see SnapCenter as one of the options. You go in there and choose the type of backup. That's all installed as part of the configuration. I can't say how long it's going to take vCenter to get its part done, but from the command-line perspective, it was less than half an hour to configure everything else, after the VM was created. Regarding an implementation strategy, I looked through the NetApp document on SnapCenter 4.0, and read through it briefly. Then I said, "Okay, we need to do this step, this step, this step..." I got a basic image of it in my head and then went forward with it. It wasn't complicated. There weren't a whole lot of extras and hoops you have to jump through. It was pretty simple. Let me add another observation - and they may already have something in mind to change this. In our environment we have two different sites. We have a vCenter on both sites, but they're not linked; they're completely independent. One thing I noticed is that the vCenter that I set up on "site one" was able to do backups for both of them, but it had trouble seeing the backups on the second site. They had mentioned this on the documentation: If you're not using linked vCenter sites, then it can have problems communicating with the second site. Apparently, if they're linked, it handles backups for both sites, restores for both sites, monitoring, etc. In our environment, it was simple enough for me to repeat the process in our second site, have a second SnapCenter server, just to do that site. That made everything simpler, rather than trying to figure out if backups weren't working. Going into initial setup, you have to understand that because you don't want to have it try to take care of two completely unrelated vCenters. It doesn't work well for that. Maybe they have some kind of update plan to change that, but for right now, I couldn't get it to work. I went through a couple different cases with NetApp to try and resolve that. Finally, we just said that it's not really designed for one SnapCenter server to be able to run a vCenter plug-in on both sites. That's what it would really amount to: You would have to install a second vCenter plug-in, and its own rules say it can only have one. When you're trying to use just one to do two different sites, you get weird issues in connectivity and the like. View full review »
Ivo Dissel
Senior Systems Administrator at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
For normal sysadmins who are working with the product for the first time and who haven't taken a course on it, the setup is complex. And that's especially true for someone who didn't have any NetApp or snapshot technology knowledge prior to this. It's such a universal product - you can work with iSCSI, you can work with VMware, you can put file systems on it - you can do a lot with it. But our main provider of this software did not have any usable knowledge or experience with it either. They used whitepapers which were not that clear. It really could be better. To install it and for everything to be working it took one to two full days, about 16 hours. That's a lot of time. At times we were saying, "No, this is not working, try it again. Let's try this, let's do this, what does the whitepaper say? How do I interpret this? Oh, let's call NetApp." It was not really that transparent. We didn't really need any implementation strategy because we started with just one server. We had our regular backup and that continued to do what it does. Then, in addition to the regular infrastructure, we were building this. We did not really have an implementation plan. We said, "Okay we have a test SQL Server, we're going to put it in SnapCenter and see what it does." View full review »
Christian Gruetzner
Architect, Storage Services at All for One Steeb AG
The SnapCenter setup, itself, is not that complex. The SnapCenter setup is very easy. You just have to install it and then it's running. It's intuitive. The first time you see the UI, you need a few minutes to find everything. However, our environment makes it more complex. We have different kinds of customers with different setups. They have a single domain, they have no domains, or they have trusts with our domains. So it's more our environment which is hard to maintain. But SnapCenter's doing a good job there, with the additional support they introduced, and the functionality is working. Right now our implementation strategy is that we're running only HANA databases and MS SQL databases SnapCenter. We're on the way to migrating our MS SQLs backups at the moment. Afterward, the other databases will follow, like Oracle, Db2, MySQL, etc. So the strategy is clear to set everything to SnapCenter. The implementation took relatively long because we started with the 1.0 version which wasn't that good at the start. We talked a lot with the engineers to get to 2.0 and 3.0. Since 3.0, it has been really usable for end customers. That was the release where we were really able to use it. We're managing it as a team. At first it was missing support for a team, such as permissions, permission groups, and not just single users. Back then, if I created a backup job, for example, I was the only one who could edit it and see it. View full review »
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Manuel Maurer
ICT System Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The initial setup is pretty easy. Also, with the plug-in registration in vCenter, it's very easy. Depending on the database you want to back up, it could be a bit more difficult. For example, we tried to create a backup of SAP HANA systems with SnapCenter, but there was an issue with the single-tenant and multi-tenant installations of SAP HANA. At the moment, it's not possible to back up multi-tenant databases from HANA with SnapCenter. I think that's an issue on the SAP side, because there is no backup solution on the market, with Snapshots, etc., for this scenario. The time for deployment depends on how many different backup policies you have. If you have a complex situation, it will probably take longer. In our business it's pretty easy. We have just one policy for all the types of databases so we were really quick. It took about two days to get it running and working. There were two of us involved in our company. One is more for backups and I'm more on the primary storage. It's difficult to draw a border between us, because there are the Snapshots and we have to make sure that they are labeled correctly and that the backup is working correctly. The two of us work to maintain it. View full review »
Engineer at a non-profit with 201-500 employees
The initial setup was straightforward. It was just plug-and-play on the Windows Server, get the firewall ports open that are needed, and push to the clients. It is still a manual process, but that piece, the initial install, is easy. The upgrades are not. The deployment took no more than an hour, but I did it on my own. If I had had initial support it probably would have been less. The reason it took so long is that I didn't have the right firewall ports open. It was clearly there for me but I missed something. So it took about an hour to get the ports opened. I had everything that I needed. I just took it on by myself, and it was the first time doing it, and it was the first release of SnapCenter. It was 3.0. We don't have direct NetApp support. We have Datalink support. Datalink is our VAR but they didn't know too much about SnapCenter. They had to promote my ticket to NetApp and go from there. Once my question was answered - "Oh, you left out this firewall port" - then it was all good. Our implementation strategy was to get all of our Prod servers into SnapCenter and that was accomplished in six months. View full review »
Senior Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
The initial setup was straightforward. The only problem, the only complexity we had, was when using SnapCenter cluster environment configuration. We have network load balancing between SnapCenters. We struggled a bit with that because of, perhaps, the firewall or something else, but once the installation was completed it was a complex situation to resolve. The initial deployment went fairly quickly. It took about two hours in total. Then we tried to do the load balancing and we started having technical issues. We install it for clients. Their strategy, initially, was to move away from IBM DS Storage and upgrade their infrastructure to deploy the converged solution from NetApp, the FlexPod solution. That was the initial scope: To go from the more distributed type of environment to a more consolidated, single-solution type of strategy. Instead of having different vendors, FlexPod provided a single support mechanism. View full review »
Matthieu Devulder
Support Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
I'm not involved in the initial installation but I do support the solution and sometimes do upgrades. In my opinion, the upgrade I did went well, but it's been a while. It was from version 2.0 to 3.0. At that time, it ran fine and was better than expected. It was seamless. The upgrade took a little more than an hour. We did a first station, just to ensure that all the prerequisites were met up front, to set it up in the best way. The customers always want the sensitive stuff to be done outside of business hours. View full review »
Rostislav Pilka
Senior Systems Engineer at Our Space Appliances
The initial setup is straightforward and easy. If you are familiar with the products and know what to do, it's quite straightforward. View full review »
Keith Alioto
Lead Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
The initial setup was very straightforward. Then, we ended up going from SnapCenter 2.0 to SnapCenter 4.0 and we didn't do a straight upgrade. We did a separate server because we wanted, as an organization, to get away from Windows Server 2008. Transitioning those backups over to the other server was almost equally easy as setting up a new server. Deployment of SnapCenter 2.0 took about three weeks. SnapCenter 4.0 was done in under two weeks. Our implementation strategy was to put this on the virtual machine that we could move from data center to data center. Because we're a virtual environment, with multiple data centers, the ability to have SnapCenter be a plugin, and not like an agent, that reports back to a specific IP address, was very helpful for us. The strategy was to get the entire environment covered. This allowed us to do that. It took two people for deployment: Myself as team lead and my senior engineer who's familiar with the NetApp product line. We have four storage engineers who manage it and their roles are data protection and senior-level engineers. View full review »
Storage Administrator at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The initial setup is pretty easy. It's very good. The whole process of implementation is pretty easy and straightforward. There's nothing to improve here. Usually, it takes less than one hour to deploy it and get it operational. Our implementation strategy is to check the whole compatibility matrix. That makes it go easily. Deployment generally requires one or two storage engineers, as well as a DB or VMware admin. Four people is enough. It ordinarily works without any maintenance needed, but to monitor all the backup stuff might take half an FTE. View full review »
Yanuar Priambodo
Technical Service Engineer at Comsys Telecom & Media
The deployment took about a week. I had some issues and I needed to contact NetApp support. The setup was complex. When you deploy SnapCenter it requires integration with vCenter which is a firmware thing and it doesn't always work the first time. I had an issue that I thought was coming from SnapCenter but it was coming from VMware. NetApp needs to create documentation on the firmware setup. Our implementation strategy was just to follow the recommendations and, if there were any issues, to ask the NetApp support agents. They were very helpful in finding the issue. The integration required just one person, me. We have five people supporting it, from our engineering team. View full review »
Nikolay Gorbunov
Lead Engineer at a integrator with 201-500 employees
The install is very simple. I just need to know the requirements and then I can install it. The number of staff required for deployment and maintenance of the solution depends on the organization. View full review »
Edgars Jansons
Storage Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
I think the initial setup is straightforward, but it depends on your skills. For us, it's straightforward. The installation time depends on how many agents I need for the number of databases there are or how many systems. But in general, the initial configuration takes something like two hours. View full review »
IT Manager at a tech company with 51-200 employees
The initial setup is not complex. It's easy, but we have to know which version is used on the customer's side. For example, we have to know which version of ESX they are using and whether the Oracle or SAP machine is a virtual or physical machine. If we make a mistake at setup time it will be a problem for an application or Snapshot. Deployment takes one hour. We set up step-by-step. View full review »
Sr. Unix Systems and Storage Administrator at a retailer with 51-200 employees
The initial setup was straightforward, using online reference documents. View full review »
Joao Lavrador
Storage Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The initial setup is straightforward. Other than one issue, a networking problem on the customer's side, I have had no issues. Installation is very fast, very straightforward. Deployment, with all the features installed and configured, takes about one day. View full review »
Storage Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
The initial setup was complex. We were one of the first customers to implement this product, which made it difficult. Even connecting SAP to NetApp was not straightforward. View full review »
Arnold Romeijn
Technical Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
The initial setup is very easy. It usually takes about a day. We have a template for the design of the servers and then there's a little bit of customer-specific customization going on, but only a little: The scheduling is customer-specific. We only need one person, an engineer, for deployment and maintenance of SnapCenter. View full review »
Storage Architect at a software R&D company with 51-200 employees
Initial setup took one day, but it is complex. You have to deploy servers with high requirements on server power, you have to create users, you must deploy plugins, etc. View full review »
Storage Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
The initial setup was straightforward. View full review »
Sr Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
The initial setup is fairly straightforward. There is a little bit of work in getting it to work, but it's not too bad. It's not complex. The one time I installed it myself, it was for a somewhat complex customer, so it took some days. View full review »
Find out what your peers are saying about NetApp, Veeam Software, Cohesity and others in Backup and Recovery Software. Updated: October 2019.
378,124 professionals have used our research since 2012.
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