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NetApp SnapCenter OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp SnapCenter is #43 ranked solution in best Backup and Recovery Software. IT Central Station users give NetApp SnapCenter an average rating of 8 out of 10. NetApp SnapCenter is most commonly compared to Veeam Backup & Replication: NetApp SnapCenter vs Veeam Backup & Replication.NetApp SnapCenter is popular among Large Enterprise, accounting for 97% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution is Computer Software Company, accounting for 24% of all views.
What is NetApp SnapCenter?

Unified, scalable platform for application-consistent data protection and clone management. This software simplifies backup, restore, and clone lifecycle management with application-integrated workflows.

NetApp SnapCenter is also known as SnapCenter.

Buyer's Guide

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

NetApp SnapCenter Customers

All for One Steeb AG, Accenture

NetApp SnapCenter Video

Archived NetApp SnapCenter Reviews (more than two years old)

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Yanuar Priambodo
Technical Service Engineer at Comsys Telecom & Media
Real User
Integration with VMware Snapshot makes it easy to use

Pros and Cons

  • "It's very helpful because SnapCenter is already integrated with VMware Snapshot, so it's very easy to use."
  • "I have an issue with SnapCenter because sometimes a VM cannot be backed up... The way SnapCenter works is that it makes a backup of all the VMs and then it removes all the old backups. If one VM cannot be backed up for some reason, it has already created a new backup for all the VMs but it cannot remove the old backups. It ends up creating so many backups in VMware and it will cause a performance problem if the condition is not fixed."

What is our primary use case?

It's for storage. We sell a call center and voicemail solution and we store the recordings there. We also store the configuration file there. We use it for redundancy. We are using an HA proxy for redundancy so if one fails we can use another node.

How has it helped my organization?

We have new software releases every month, or every week, and we can implement them directly on our system without worrying about the backup because we have SnapCenter. We can just roll back if there are any issues with the new software.

It helps with workflow because we used to need to create a Snapshot every time we wanted to upgrade things in vCenter but we don't need to do that because we have SnapCenter. It cuts down the time compared to what we previously needed to do.

What is most valuable?

It's very helpful because SnapCenter is already integrated with VMware Snapshot, so it's very easy to use.

What needs improvement?

I have an issue with SnapCenter because sometimes a VM cannot be backed up. All the other VMs have already been backed up, but this one particular VM is not being backed up because it has errors. It's causing a problem in the whole thing because after the next round of backups, not all the backups are removed. It's because we have an error on a particular VM where it could not create a Snapshot. That is really annoying because we need to check for that issue every week.

The way SnapCenter works is that it makes a backup of all the VMs and then it removes all the old backups. If one VM cannot be backed up for some reason, it has already created a new backup for all the VMs but it cannot remove the old backups. It ends up creating so many backups in VMware and it will cause a performance problem if the condition is not fixed.

It's really a huge issue. When one VM causes this problem it's too much. It could just skip that one VM and do the remove for the rest of the VMs. That's how it needs to work.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. We don't have any issues with SnapCenter.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SnapCenter has no issues with scalability. We have plans to increase usage in the future. When we add new customers, that will increase our usage of SnapCenter.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. They are responsive and really helpful. If I want, I can contact them directly.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What was our ROI?

If we were to lose that data it would mean we would lose customers.

What other advice do I have?

Just try it.

I would rate SnapCenter at eight out of ten because it needs some improvement, as I outlined above.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Rostislav Pilka
Senior Systems Engineer at Our Space Appliances
Real User
The main advantage is its fast backup and restore

Pros and Cons

  • "We have been very satisfied with the technical support's help. Their knowledge level is great. For a noncritical question, they will get back to us within a day."
  • "The main advantage is its fast backup and restore."
  • "Some of the minor functionalities from SnapManager did not transfer over to SnapCenter. These should be added in future releases."
  • "The Microsoft environment is its biggest disadvantage due to the central management of all the actions. Because the SnapCenter server is where we deploy everything, it also affects the Microsoft environment, which can cause many difficulties when resolving issues like Windows update problems."

What is our primary use case?

Primary use case is covering fast backup and restore for customers, mostly for SQL databases, some Oracle database systems in servers, and some file share backups with Snapshots with the possibility of restore.

SnapCenter is usually an additional software, which is not the main backup software. Most companies have already found a backup solution and are using SnapCenter to be able to do a fast restoration of their data. Therefore, they are using two solutions at once, side-by-side. Companies will have their primary backup solution and SnapCenter as a redundancy because the primary solution isn't favored to recover data so quickly.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest advantage of the product is you can provide a quick restore. We have some companies with policies which require us to be able to restore their data back up and running in maximum 15 minutes. We can achieve these customer policies for RPO and RTO using SnapCenter.

Most customers are able to restore their full backup of the database in two to three minutes (15 minutes is the maximum). This way, they have another 10 minutes in their time window to restore SQL transaction logs, etc. 

What is most valuable?

The main advantage is its fast backup and restore.

What needs improvement?

The Microsoft environment is its biggest disadvantage due to the central management of all the actions. Because the SnapCenter server is where we deploy everything, it also affects the Microsoft environment, which can cause many difficulties when resolving issues like Windows update problems. 

We had less issues with SnapManager, the previous product before SnapCenter came out, where there were standalone installations. We are having issues with SnapCenter because of its central management. While it is fine if it's working, sometimes it's quite heavy to figuring out what's wrong, and mostly the problems are because of some Windows updates. We would like NetApp to develop some better diagnostics to report when an installation is performing uncharacteristically. This would allow us to resolve issues and do troubleshooting instead of opening a support case for these issues.

Some of the minor functionalities from SnapManager did not transfer over to SnapCenter. These should be added in future releases. I know that NetApp is currently working on this.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. But if you have a bigger Microsoft environment, there are issues sometimes mostly caused by MS updates.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are no limitations on the scalability for customers with their environment size. We currently have about ten customers using this solution with the biggest installation containing up to 40 servers.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have been very satisfied with the technical support's help. Their knowledge level is great. For a noncritical question, they will get back to us within a day.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and easy. If you are familiar with the products and know what to do, it's quite straightforward. 

What about the implementation team?

We do our customer implementations. We use our customer requirements with their RPOs and RTOs, then find out which plugins of SnapCenter that we should use for them. If it is an installation of servers, then we do some testing of the functionalities, backup, and restoring of their test environments. Afterwards, we implement their production systems and documentation.

It took about five or six of us to do the deployment (including installation and configuration) of the client's SnapCenter server and storage.

Our implementation strategy depends somewhat on the implementation strategy of the company who we are doing the implementing for. The time frame for deployment depends on the environment size, number of servers, etc. It can take from one month from the beginning of the project to the production. However, we also had one company, where we had to write a lot of documentation and do a lot testing, which lasted around nine months.

Companies tend to maintain their own SnapCenters. Some companies can maintain it with one person depending on their policies. It usually takes ten people in bigger companies to manage their parts of the storage with SQL admins, storage admins, and network admins.

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

The licensing is well-designed because it's already included in some packages with NetApp storage. Therefore, for most customers, it's okay as the SnapCenter license is already included in some NetApp bundles, making it cheaper to use SnapCenter as a second solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have also used Veeam, Dell EMC NetWorker, Commvault, and HPE Data Protector. I have worked with these solutions for installations.

The problem with SnapCenter is not the backup solution. While it can help with backup and quick restore, our customers use SnapCenter (the previous version: SnapManager) as an additional tool for backup, not as the primary backup. We have no customer using SnapCenter as a primary backup.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a NetApp platinum partner.
Find out what your peers are saying about NetApp, Veeam Software, Commvault and others in Backup and Recovery Software. Updated: October 2021.
543,424 professionals have used our research since 2012.
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Senior Systems Administrator at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Cloning enables us to create test databases, even a terabyte in size, instantly

Pros and Cons

  • "A feature that stands out is cloning databases. If you have a SQL database and it's huge, like one terabyte, the classical SQL way would be to do a backup-restore to create a clone of your database for test purposes. With SnapCenter now, we can clone a database but through the Snapshot technology, which means if you right-click and you click Clone, the one terabyte database is there instantly."
  • "The backup process finishes very quickly."
  • "I feel a little bit that during the whole process of putting this software into production we were like a beta program. It was full of bugs... For example, we had a problem with truncating our Exchange log files... It has improved over time."
  • "The GUI is still so-so. I' don't use the GUI that often anymore because it's really slow, refreshing disks, refreshing hosts, and you have to click a lot."

What is our primary use case?

Backing up SQL and Exchange is our primary use case.

How has it helped my organization?

We are putting a new SharePoint infrastructure into production - we're upgrading SharePoint - and our users need a test environment for that and they need it refreshed every day. These are big databases. My colleague is able to create a clone of the production database on a daily basis, through scripts, or through SnapCenter's command line interface which comes in handy. He puts in a new database every day for our users.

I'm not sure this would be possible otherwise. I don't know how many databases SharePoint consists of but there are a lot and they're big. If you need a clone of your databases every day, I don't know if it would be possible to do so overnight, using a traditional backup and restore. I don't know if it would be ready the next morning for users to use. But with SnapCenter, now, it is ready.

The difference is that it's more manageable. Backup timeframes are shorter, restore timeframes are shorter, and we have one portal through which we can control everything.

What is most valuable?

A feature that stands out is cloning databases. If you have a SQL database and it's huge, like one terabyte, the classical SQL way would be to do a backup-restore to create a clone of your database for test purposes. With SnapCenter now, we can clone a database but through the Snapshot technology. That means if you right-click and you click Clone, the one terabyte database is there instantly. It's instantly presentable to our users and in test mode. Clones or duplicates of the original can be used for testing or acceptance. 

Also, the backup process finishes very quickly. In the old way of running a SQL backup, you would wait for SQL to read the whole database - and here I'm talking about a full backup. It would have to read through one terabyte of data. That's not necessary anymore. Now you snap the storage in which the SQL database exists, and the backup consists of pointers on disk, as far I understand.

What needs improvement?

I feel a little bit that during the whole process of putting this software into production we were like a beta program. It was full of bugs. I have made something like 20 calls to NetApp regarding this product. I've used a lot of products in my life and this one has needed the most interaction with the company that made it, to get it working properly in production. There were a lot of bugs and things that didn't work.

For example, we had a problem with truncating our Exchange log files. Exchange creates log files of the mailbox databases. After a full backup of Exchange, those log files were being cleared. It was not working. So we created a backup with SnapCenter of our Exchange environment but the logs were not truncating. Finally, we got in contact with someone from NetApp in Holland and he directed us to a university somewhere here in Holland and they explained to us what they did to fix it.

It has improved over time.

And the GUI is still so-so. I' don't use the GUI that often anymore because it's really slow, refreshing disks, refreshing hosts, and you have to click a lot.

In addition, we had a major production problem due to SnapCenter, because we also use SnapCenter to back up our whole VMware environment. When we did an upgrade of the SnapCenter Server and its plugins - because SnapCenter puts plugins on the host and, in this instance, it puts a plugin on our VMware server - SnapCenter was then supposed to snap our virtual machines and then the whole volume on which the virtual machines reside, and then delete the snaps. This last step, deleting of the snapshots, did not happen. It wasn't deleting snapshots anymore. Our fault was that we didn't record this. We didn't have any measurement of the number of snapshots which were on our VMware infrastructure. After two weeks there were 14 snapshots of each VM in our whole park, and this created a huge performance issue. After we discovered this, we had to delete them and then everything ran fine again.

So after the upgrade of the plugin, there was a bug. We could only work around this bug through manual scripting. Now, we are running a beta plugin from SnapCenter to overcome this problem. So, there have been a lot of bugs.

It's a beautiful product. You can put multiple systems in it but I think they're still really in the stage of developing it. They used SnapDrive before, and now its SnapCenter of course, to create a more general approach, which is great. But they should have tested more and more.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Other than the bugs I mentioned it has been stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can't say anything about scalability because we only have 12 physical hosts in SnapCenter and 20 VMware instances with about 400 virtual machines. We're not a huge ballpark. We're a hospital and we have 6,000 employees. I think that if you are a really big company you would need multiple SnapCenter Servers, but I'm not sure.

For my environment it's perfect: one server, a lot of gigabytes in total memory, http use. It works. And we plan on increasing our usage. Every server which comes into production will now be connected to SnapCenter.

In our organization, almost everything is working with SnapCenter. There are just a couple of SQL Servers that need to be rebuilt, new clusters. My colleagues should finish that somewhere in the first quarter of 2019.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical engineers who work at NetApp, here in Amsterdam, are really helpful and willing to help. They're really nice guys and we have no problem with them at all. 

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

We are using Data Protector backup software and SnapCenter. Before SnapCenter we used SnapDrive from NetApp. Before that, we were using EMC Legato NetWorker. We switched to SnapCenter because our colleagues here were already using NetApp. We're a hospital, we don't need high-end banking server rooms with Fibre Channel. This is an NFS solution so we decided to implement this storage. It was an all-in-one package: backup, file services, and VMware. That was really what convinced us to buy SnapCenter.

How was the initial setup?

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."

What about the implementation team?

We did not use any integrators or consultants. It was just my team. The server was installed and, afterward, we were implementing our servers into this product. I just took it on and did it myself.

Our SQL DBA took some things on also, but that was after I had explored the product and got rid of a lot of bugs with NetApp. It's an extensive software package. You have policies, you have schedule times. There was one person doing the SnapCenter integration, and that was me. Perhaps it would have been better for us to have someone from NetApp in the house. But there's a price hanging over that, of course.

What we should have done initially was put more responsibility for it in the hands of our main supplier and say, "This is not working, we need to do it differently," instead of me fixing all the problems.

What was our ROI?

Those quicker backup times, and quicker presenting of new environments: From an admin's perspective, this is a great product. But I cannot translate that into financial gain.

What other advice do I have?

Hire someone who has already installed the product ten times, an experienced SnapCenter installer who can implement this product very easily and who knows all the ins and outs and bugs and which patch he should run. Get guidance.

In terms of maintenance, I convinced my colleagues, our Exchange people and our SQL people, to use it often and look into it. We all get alerts if SnapCenter fails or if a backup does not complete, but I'm the main person who is looking at it. There are three people in our organization using it: our Exchange admin, our SQL admin, and our VMware storage admin (me).

SnapCenter is an eight out of ten. In general, it's a great product, and it does what it's supposed to do, but it's buggy. They should spend some more time on the web GUI for users who don't use the CLI that often. I thought, initially, it was slow because of the resources we gave to SnapCenter Server, but that wasn't it. It has slow reaction times and does not radiate security.

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.
Nikolay Gorbunov
Lead Engineer at a integrator with 201-500 employees
Real User
Provides fast backup and recovery, but resource management could be improved

Pros and Cons

  • "It has very fast backup and can handle a huge amount of data. It also enables really fast recovery."
  • "Groups might be helpful for each site or data center so that we know a given data center has these resources while another data center has those resources. It's not always easy to group hosts by type."

What is our primary use case?

It's used as a backup and recovery software. Some of our clients are using the solution for private cloud primary backup.

What is most valuable?

It has very fast backup and can handle a huge amount of data. It also enables fast recovery. 

What needs improvement?

  1. It would be a good idea to add date support and improve on resource management, not the backup itself, but in the manageability. Groups might be helpful for each site or data center so that we know a given data center has these resources while another data center has those resources. It's not always easy to group hosts by type.
  2. A host is trying to set up a connection with every SVM configured on SnapCenter Server. This is not good, especially if, like in our environment, each SVM is configured for particular department and is beyond a firewall. As far as I know developers are aware of this issue.
  3. It would be nice to have native plugins not only for Oracle and MS SQL. Community plugins can cover your needs, but I'd like to have more functionality.
  4. I would like to have more friendly logging. Sometimes this could save time for our team and allow us not to create new case in support.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If nothing changes it works fine. But we faced some issues twice after we upgraded to next SnapCenter release. One time Vmware was affected and one time it was Oracle on Linux. Before update procedure, you should test any new release properly in a test environment!

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It can cover much more than we have now. Scalability is a strong point. We are able to monitor it through a dashboard and reports.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used tech support and it has helped us in every case. It's very good.

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

We did have a previous solution. We switched to this one because it allows us to have a better RTO/RPO and the solution is included in our bundle.

How was the initial setup?

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. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

SnapCenter is really good for VMware, it's really nice. It's also very good for SQL and Oracle. But you need to test it properly each time because there are times you will need to reconfigure your infrastructure.

We have plans to increase usage of this product. It currently covers about half of our infrastructure.

I would rate SnapCenter at seven out of ten. It's very good, allowing us to do fast backup and recovery, but like every product, it has its flaws, limitations and it has a room for improvement. It may not be useful for certain companies. But anyway, when I look at other backup solutions, I have not yet seen a product that is a ten out of ten.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Arnold Romeijn
Technical Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Role-Based Access Control enables us to implement layers of security

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the RBAC, the Role-Based Access Control. In our managed service, we can have different layers of security."
  • "Reporting of the jobs could be better."

What is our primary use case?

We use it in our managed services for customers. We back up customer data from systems that we manage for them.

How has it helped my organization?

Because of the Role-Based Access Control, customers don't have to call our managed services representatives to do a restore, they can do it themselves. It's faster, easier, and more convenient.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the RBAC, the Role-Based Access Control. In our managed services, we can have different layers of security. Our customers can see their backups and some customers can do their own restores. But they are not able to mess up their schedules or data from other customers.

What needs improvement?

The reporting could be better. It's good, but reporting of the jobs could be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't found any problems running multiple customers on it with large environments, so it scales well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is good, in general: good to very good.

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

We used Virtual Storage Console from NetApp before and we used a third-party enterprise backup solution. We switched to SnapCenter because of ease of use and cost.

How was the initial setup?

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.

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

Pricing is very good because if you already have NetApp controllers, then it's included. There's no added cost for SnapCenter. 

What other advice do I have?

Do a PoC to see if it's a viable product for you.

In our company, we have about 20 users of SnapCenter. They are managed services backup administrators. Our management also uses the reporting. On the customer side, there are also have the people responsible for the virtual environment and the application owners. Those are the types of people that are using the product.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Edgars Jansons
Storage Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Enables us to clone databases and create test environments quickly

Pros and Cons

  • "Restoring and cloning are easy to do."
  • "I'm waiting for SnapCenter for hybrid solutions. Right now, we only have SnapManager for hybrid. I need agents for that. People are looking to install SnapCenter in a SQL environment, but where they're running SQL on Hyper-V and using virtual files. Currently, we don't have support for hybrid."

What is our primary use case?

We are a NetApp partner. For our systems, we are using SnapCenter only for testing purposes. For customers, we started to install when it was SnapManager, quite some years ago. We have many installations with SnapManager and some installations with SnapCenter. We're at the stage of migrating from SnapManager to SnapCenter.

Our customers primarily use SnapCenter for SQL Server and VMware.

How has it helped my organization?

When we're talking about databases, it gives us a fast way to make clones and test environments.

What is most valuable?

Restoring and cloning are easy to do.

What needs improvement?

I'm waiting for SnapCenter for hybrid solutions. Right now, we only have SnapManager for hybrid. I need agents for that. People are looking to install SnapCenter in a SQL environment, but where they're running SQL on Hyper-V and using virtual files. Currently, we don't have support for hybrid. We can't do that.

People are also asking about SnapCenter for SharePoint. There was a SnapManager, but SnapManager is being brought to an end and now there is nothing for SharePoint. We don't have the ability to do snapshots for SharePoint.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Now, the stability is good. The first release was not very stable, but now it's okay.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't had any issue with scalability. In our country and for our customers, it's okay. We haven't used it in the cloud yet. I think it's quite good.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good, but it just depends on how difficult the case is. 

I have problems with the documentation, for connecting new shelves to the old FAS models. The case is marked "resolved," but I haven't received the documentation.

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

We used SnapManager. We switched because SnapCenter provides centralized management. It's also a newer product and it supports new databases and operating systems.

How was the initial setup?

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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also provide SnapVault and Veeam. I'm a NetApp specialist, I don't install these other products. We have another person who does.

What other advice do I have?

Our customers generally have one or two users using SnapCenter. They aren't very big companies which have a dedicated SQL or& Oracle or VMware administrator. Most of the users are DB admins and system administrators. For deployment and maintenance, two is a good number, so that there is some redundancy. But one person is enough to install it and maintain it.

I would rate SnapCenter at eight out of ten, because it doesn't have functionality for Hyper-V, etc. I need more agents and support for more systems.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Keith Alioto
Lead Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Resource groups allow us to put servers into buckets, making backup reporting much easier

Pros and Cons

  • "Being able to add everything in as resource groups is a valuable feature... Having all the SQL servers put into specific buckets, based on their year of release - 2008, 2012, 2014 - allows us to get almost immediate backups that are easily seen and reported on."
  • "The reporting feature has been particularly beneficial to upper management... When you do manual backups, you do not get the benefit of seeing successes and failures and how often you have to do restores. With SnapCenter, you get all of that."
  • "The documentation could be a little bit better so that we could handle more of the troubleshooting ourselves, rather than having to go through support."

What is our primary use case?

We back up Microsoft SQL and Microsoft Exchange 2016.

How has it helped my organization?

What we found was that we weren't backing up all of our SQL servers. We have now gotten to 100 percent compliance in backing up all of our data, and it's regularly measurable: daily, weekly, and monthly.

Where we had issues before, spread out in multiple products, like SnapManager For SQL and SnapManager for Exchange, now it's all under one umbrella. It's made backups and reporting much easier for us.

What is most valuable?

Being able to add everything in as resource groups is a valuable feature. We used to have our SQL DBAs each do backups on their servers and there were some inconsistencies across our few dozen SQL servers. What we found is that having all the SQL servers put into specific buckets, based on their year of release - 2008, 2012, 2014 - allows us to get almost immediate backups that are easily seen and reported on.

And the reporting feature has been particularly beneficial to upper management. Everyone wants to make sure that our most critical data is backed up on a frequent basis. When you do manual backups, you do not get the benefit of seeing successes and failures and how often you have to do restores. With SnapCenter, you get all of that.

What needs improvement?

The documentation could be a little bit better so that we could handle more of the troubleshooting ourselves, rather than having to go through support. Other than that, it's been a pretty easy product to deal with.

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. Once it was in place and we had confirmation from your backup targets, the only issue we saw was due to a .NET upgrade on the client. That was fixable on the Microsoft side.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've thrown twice as many servers at it than at SnapCenter 2.0 and it doesn't seem to be impeded, performance-wise.

We do have plans to increase usage of SnapCenter. Currently, we don't have any Oracle in SnapCenter but we plan on backing up our entire Oracle environment. That's something that is being manually backed up right now, but we'd like SnapCenter to take care of all of that.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support has been phenomenal. NetApp's support is the best. They always solve the problem. They are always treating us like we're their only customer. When we had something that was a problem, that they hadn't experienced, they coordinated a call with the developers of the product and we ended up getting it fixed. We encountered something that they hadn't seen before. It ended up being a patch for other people. It's been a fantastic process and product for us.

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

For Oracle, we do manual backups. For the other platforms, we would use a combination of VSC, SnapManager for Exchange, and Snap Manager for SQL. We switched to put everything under one umbrella and not have multiple, fragmented points of administration.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

We did it by ourselves.

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

It comes free with the amount of equipment we purchase from NetApp. In terms of pricing, zero is my favorite number. If we purchased a certain size of NetApp hardware, SnapCenter was included for free.

What other advice do I have?

I'd recommend SnapCenter, if you're currently a NetApp shop and you're using a variety of other backup systems like NetBackup or others. This is much easier to administer and maintain and upgrade.

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.
MM
ICT System Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Centralized GUI allows us to see the state of all backup jobs, but working with roles is not user-friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "The centralized GUI is the best feature, that there is only one webpage where we can see the states of all the backup jobs. We can see all the tasks that are running and we can quickly see if one fails; if they are running or have any issues. We have all that in one place."
  • "It's integrated with VMware vCenter. You can also see the backups there and you can do a restore completely out of vCenter."
  • "When you have role-based access, for example, it's a bit of a problem that the person who creates the backup job is the owner of it. We are struggling a bit with this, that everyone has the same view and the same permissions in there."
  • "If it was possible to create backups on non-NetApp storage, that would be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is VM backup and our secondary use case is backup from all databases like SQL.

How has it helped my organization?

Before, we had to go to the storage CLI or to the SQL Server to check if backups ran correctly. Now, we have everything in one central management view, we don't have different views. That's the main benefit. I don't think that it really changed our organization. It's more for us, as administrators. We save a lot of time. It takes us about 50% less time for the same checks.

Also, if we have to create a new backup for a new SQL server, for example, the policy is all ready and we can add it there with just a few clicks. Before, it was a lot more difficult.

What is most valuable?

The centralized GUI is the best feature, that there is only one webpage where we can see the states of all the backup jobs. We can see all the tasks that are running and we can quickly see if one fails; if they are running or have any issues. We have all that in one place.

It's integrated with VMware vCenter. You can also see the backups there and you can do a restore completely out of vCenter. You don't need to go to SnapCenter to restore a single VM, for example. You just click on VM and you can restore it completely.

What needs improvement?

We are struggling a bit with the permissions and roles. We are not sure if there is an issue at our end, if we didn't get set things up correctly, as per plan. When you have role-based access, for example, it's a bit of a problem that the person who creates the backup job is the owner of it. We are struggling a bit with this, that everyone has the same view and the same permissions in there.

I don't think it's really an issue with SnapCenter. I think it's more that we aren't using it correctly.

In terms of additional features, if it was possible to create backups on non-NetApp storage, that would be helpful. For example, if you have a standalone host, you cannot back it up with SnapCenter. You have to make sure that everything is on NetApp. It would be nice if you could also back up systems that are not on NetApp storage. For example, if you have a standalone ESX host, and it is running a few VMs, it would be nice if you could back up those VMs, even if those files don't rely on NetApp storage. It would be a nice feature if it was possible to back up those VMs. At the moment, we are using another backup solution, Commvault Simpana, for those situations.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Normally, it's very stable. We don't have a lot of issues with it. We once had a case where everything looked good, all the services were running, but we were not able to access the management console. We still don't know, up to today, why there was this problem. The page was blank. Then, a few days later it just started to work again. That was a bit strange. But usually, it's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are big possibilities to scale it up, of course, with all those roles. The idea behind roles is that you can give control for backing up and restoring to the person who makes the database, to the database owners. They can restore their databases. We don't have to do it ourselves. So it's very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't used tech support for SnapCenter. There is a lot of documentation and best-practices guides on NetApp. We use those, and then, if we have questions, we ask our partner because they already have experience with setups like this, which always makes it a bit quicker. We also have a support contract with them, with a few hours in there. Usually it's quicker for us to ask our partner, rather than call NetApp tech support.

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

We switched this year to SnapCenter. We got a new all-flash MetroCluster. For that reason, we switched to SnapCenter and we left the technology of SnapManager for Oracle Databases and for the SQL backups, as well as the Virtual Storage Console we used earlier for VMware backups.

Another reason we switched is that before we had three tools. Now, we have all those in one, with the possibility to also back up other types of databases like SAP HANA or MySQL, etc. That was another the main point in choosing SnapCenter.

Finally, I expect NetApp will cancel support for SnapManager in the future and will only go with SnapCenter.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a third-party, for the most part, but we have a good storage partner, BNC, Switzerland. We had a few questions and they were able to help us out with the SnapMirror labels and the like, which didn't work at the beginning. But I think it's possible to do it on your own.

What was our ROI?

I'm not sure we've seen a direct ROI, but if you spend less time on the tasks of checking backups, that is also a return on investment. Of course, it's also cheaper if you can use the license that is already included, rather than if you have to buy another backup solution. And SnapCenter is fully integrated.

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

The license for SnapCenter was included with the storage array.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't look into other solutions because we have the licenses with NetApp. If you buy the storage cluster, you get a premium-license bundle, so SnapCenter is completely licensed with the storage. With other backup solutions, you have to buy licenses for the data volume or the count of instances. That was another main point. We decided to try it, since it was included, and we were happy with it.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it and have a look at it. You don't really need much time for the implementation, but you have to make sure that you have a bit of know-how on how the Snapshot technology from NetApp works with the SnapMirror labels, etc. That is very important.

At the moment, there are three persons using it in our company: My backup colleague, the database specialist also has access, and I. In a future step, we are planning to move our Exchange backups to SnapCenter. We are using about 60 percent of the functionality, and we are planning to go up to between 80 and 100 percent.

I would rate SnapCenter at a good seven out of ten. As I mentioned, one time it didn't work because the page was blank. That was a bit strange. We don't really know what happened there. And the other issue is the roles; it's not very user-friendly. So we have to check this out in the documentation first. Those are the two main points for why I only give it a seven.

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.
MM
Senior Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Gives you one console to monitor all your jobs, rather than going to different vCenters

Pros and Cons

  • "The central pane view is the most valuable feature. You have one console where you can monitor all your jobs, as opposed to going to different vCenters."
  • "We tend to have a lot of Hyper-V... so now we have two management consoles and we would ideally like to leverage SnapCenter to include Hyper-V."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for VMware. We haven't integrated any of our SQL or Exchange solutions with SnapCenter. We haven't tested that yet. I think there is a plugin for Oracle but we haven't tested that either. The primary thing we have been using in SnapCenter is the ability to integrate with our ESXi environment.

We have about 300 virtual machines, including virtual desktops. That's going to be increased to about 400 or 500, once the projects in the pipeline are rolled out.

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization is strengthened because we have NetBackup and we tend to use SnapCenter as the primary backup and recovery software. NetBackup has proven to be more the long-term archiving or storage solution.

What is most valuable?

The central pane view is the most valuable feature. You have one console where you can monitor all your jobs, as opposed to going to different vCenters.

What needs improvement?

The integration with the vCenter could be better in the sense that the only plain view you have is the data stores. In previous versions of the plugin for the VSC, before Snap Center, you could view the virtual machine that you wanted to snapshot. It would include all the data stores that were in part of that specific virtual machine. Now, you select the data store and it should tell you whether or not there's a virtual machine you're looking for included in that resource group or that data store.

I don't know if the roadmap includes SnapCenter for Hyper-V. We tend to have a lot of Hyper-V and we also have a Hyper-V environment and that is backed up through SnapManager for Hyper-V. So now we have two management consoles and we would ideally like to leverage SnapCenter to include Hyper-V.

I understand that restoring directly from SnapCenter would be a bit complex. And they have the plugin. For me, the two obvious features to add would be that the plugin in vCenter should be more granular, enabling you to select what you want to back up in the resource groups. And I would like to see a plugin for Hyper-V.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had any issues with its stability. I had issues with the underlying virtual machine, but as far as SnapCenter itself goes, it has been reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't scaled it.

How are customer service and technical support?

NetApp technical support is struggling. I've been using NetApp for several years. Maybe it's because support is outsourced, but I wish there were different degrees of support we could call into. I find that I'm starting on "page one" with support and I'm answering the same questions over and over. It takes a while before the ticket actually reaches someone who has the required level of experience and we can actually start working on the problem.

I feel there is definitely room for improvement in tech support.

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

We're using NetBackup. We haven't replaced any solution.

How was the initial setup?

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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated SnapCenter vs Veeam. We found that since SnapCenter was integrated and there's zero cost involved because we had all the licenses, there wasn't a need to purchase something else. We have used it along with Site Recovery Manager. Veeam wasn't going to offer anything unique.

What other advice do I have?

It works. It's reliable. There are no real negative aspects. It's a very solid product.

We only have one dedicated user. We haven't defined roles, we haven't used that functionality. We just provide one user with administrative access and that's being shared. We have three staff members managing the solution: SnapCenter, NetApp, and VMware. They all have access to SnapCenter. One is a backup administrator, another is the infrastructure manager, and we have a person who looks after the networking infrastructure, etc.

I would rate SnapCenter at nine out of ten. It's not a ten because of the limitations of the backup, of the granularity, and that it's missing the features for Hyper-V.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Gold Partner.
TR
Engineer at a non-profit with 201-500 employees
Real User
We can clone to different servers, but the manual upgrade process has been a headache

Pros and Cons

  • "The backup features are the most valuable because they allow the DBAs to replace SnapManager for Oracle (SMO), which is going away, and to do cloning as well. We can also clone to different servers and have the actual backup clone mounted on different servers. And we can split easily too."
  • "The DBAs are comparing it to SMO but it doesn't have a lot of the functionalities that SMO has."
  • "My major issue is when I upgrade. I have to touch every last client that I have in SnapCenter, and right now I have 60... They said that in another release that will get better, but right now it's not better and I've had to do this three times."

What is our primary use case?

We're using it for Oracle and SQL, and we use it for backups and cloning.

What is most valuable?

The backup features are the most valuable because they allow the DBAs to replace SnapManager for Oracle (SMO), which is going away, and to do cloning as well.

We can also clone to different servers and have the actual backup clone mounted on different servers. And we can split easily too.

What needs improvement?

It hasn't improved our organization because we're going through some kinks with the product as of right now. We've had several tickets open, but because it's replacing SMO we have to get used to using it now.

As far as ease of use, the DBAs are comparing it to SMO but it doesn't have a lot of the functionalities that SMO has.

My major issue is when I upgrade. I have to touch every last client that I have in SnapCenter, and right now I have 60. I have to touch all of them. They said that in another release that will get better, but right now it's not better and I've had to do this three times. That's my biggest headache, having to touch each client to upgrade this product, via GUI or manually.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a good product. There should have been more thought put into it before it went live, because when the DBAs are so used to using SMO, it's obvious they're going to compare the two. If they're used to a function that SnapCenter doesn't have, that's an issue. Slowly but surely, it's getting the functions, but when it was presented to us we understood that it would just replace SMO as is, that we'd be able to do everything we needed to do. But we couldn't.

How are customer service and technical support?

So far, technical support has been decent, it's been good.

Every time we bring up an issue that we're having, they say we have to upgrade to another version, but the version's not quite out. I think they're writing solutions to some of our kinks into the product, which is good, but I wish that they would just tell us that.

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

We switched from SMO because it was going to be discontinued. Going forward, we can't install it on our production servers anymore. That's why we went to SnapCenter. SMO is not going to be supported as of spring 2019.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What was our ROI?

It's a site license, so it comes with what we have. We have over 400 terabytes of NetApp disk, and it comes with it. So the return on investment is null and void. Since we have it, we're using it.

It does the cloning piece, which it's supposed to do. But we figured that out when 4.0 came out. When we first went to it, it would not do that in 3.0. We're getting a return on investment because it basically comes with what we have.

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

We have a site license, so it comes with the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other vendors. All our databases are on NetApp storage, so we wanted to stick with NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

Test out every function that you think you'll need before you implement it in your
production environment.

My role is just to do the configurations. The DBAs actually use the product because it's more of a set it and forget it. I configure it on the server then they get to use it. We have only SQL DBAs and Oracle DBAs using it, a total of about eight people. For deployment we just need the storage team which consists of two people.

If it botches, we will move more into Commvault, because we do have Commvault for backups. But with Commvault backups, it would be the storage team in control of their clones and restores, and we don't want that. So we're going to push forward with SnapCenter because, for the most part, it does what it's supposed to do.

I would rate SnapCenter a seven out of ten, only because of the kinks that we have to keep going through to get what we need. They end up fixing it in a different version, but I wish it was just ready for us on implementation, and then the DBAs would be off my back.

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.
Matthieu Devulder
Support Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Dashboard provides a good overview, but OS updates occasionally cause instability

Pros and Cons

  • "What is very handy for our clients is the consolidated view. They have a dashboard with everything, through a single pane of glass. This is what they really need because, within seconds, they can have a good overview and see if there are any errors or any issues."
  • "What I did witness lately are issues with some Microsoft KBs, the updates. But it happened only once, and not on a major platform, it was on a small one."

What is our primary use case?

We have a handful of customers constantly using it, mostly for SQL databases, while one of them uses it for VMware.

How has it helped my organization?

From the feedback I've heard from clients, they do experience time savings with this solution. It's more efficient than before. SQL backup is just a pain, but with this solution, it seems to be much better. And the consolidated view is a good tool for them on a daily basis.

What is most valuable?

The backup feature is the most valuable, of course.

Moreover, what is very handy for our clients is the consolidated view. They have a dashboard with everything, through a single pane of glass. This is what they really need because, within seconds, they can have a good overview and see if there are any errors or any issues.

What needs improvement?

What I did witness lately are issues with some Microsoft KBs, the updates. But it happened only once, and not on a major platform, it was on a small one. We're doing a major one for a customer in Paris with many SQL servers and, to date, everything is going well.

I have not yet had experience with version 4.0 - that is the latest one - but I have gone through the release notes and it seems to have some improvements.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's quite stable, but sometimes the stability seems to be endangered by the ecosystem itself and especially the OS updates. This is what we did experience from our side. But the demand for this piece of software is pretty slim among our customers. We have five or six customers using it. Since we support more than 400 customers, this is a pretty rare solution in our scope. But still, the stability seems to be fair.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've got customers with just one or two servers, and we've got customers with a lot of servers. But NetApp is something that is quite monolithic. You need the same base installed for or one server or ten, 20, or 50 servers. The prerequisites are really even, because you cannot tune the deployment for a small environment or a big one. There is only one flavor.

How is customer service and technical support?

I use their tech support on a daily basis. Lately, we have experienced many changes. In the past, we were able to directly access level two but that's over. Nowadays, we always need to go through level one. For us, it's a pain and a waste of time because NetApp wants us to be highly certified. We've got here a big team that is very knowledgeable about NetApp solutions, meaning the whole portfolio. At the end of the day, it's somewhat frustrating for us because when we do engage NetApp, it is because we cannot be completely autonomous. But by that point, we have already taken many troubleshooting steps. Especially for the end customers, when we don't have a solution and we have to open a case with NetApp support, often they get the feeling it's something of a "rerun," because most of the time they need to do the same steps that we already did ourselves.

We are trying to hide that process and make it seamless, but sometimes it does end up with a big waste of time and it's a bit frustrating. I have spoken about these kinds of concerns many times already with the department managers.

They moved all the service providers to this new scheme. It was a corporate decision and we just have to comply. Every authorized service partner, nowadays, is forced to go through level one.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is the same for all of the offsite products made by NetApp. You need to look carefully at the prerequisites to avoid any bad surprises afterward. But if you follow the rules, it should go easily.

The solution is mostly is used by backup administrators and sometimes DBAs. From my side it's really hard to tell who is using it because I am always in touch with the same one or two people at every company, because these are the people who are opening the tickets.

I would rate this solution at seven out of ten. It's more than "fair," but it's not perfect. But I will be pleased to have a look at version 4.0 to see what the improvements are.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
KE
Sr Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Provides good stability and initial setup is not too complex

What is our primary use case?

Our clients use it for backup and restore.

What needs improvement?

It needs to support vSphere 6.7.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability seems good.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not had to use NetApp support. As far as our customers are concerned, we are the NetApp representative.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to someone who is looking into implementing…

What is our primary use case?

Our clients use it for backup and restore.

What needs improvement?

It needs to support vSphere 6.7.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability seems good.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not had to use NetApp support. As far as our customers are concerned, we are the NetApp representative.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to someone who is looking into implementing this product depends on their environment, whether they're using several SnapManager products, whether they've been using SnapManager before, or if it's a new install. It would also depend on the versions of the products being protected.

The solution needs one primary administrator for 400 or 500 users.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Aaron Isaacson
Storage Administrator at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Takes minutes for it to completely rebuild and restore a VM

Pros and Cons

  • "The way that it interconnects with VMware is really handy, because you can go right into your vSphere client, where you spend a lot of the day anyway, right-click on one of the VMs where you have backups running for however long, and you can restore either some files or restore the entire thing."
  • "There is one area that needs improvement and that's in the alerting. When you set up your SMTP alerts, it only has - and I don't understand why - the ability to send an anonymous SMTP. It doesn't do basic authentication, which frustrated me for a while until I figured out that I'm not missing something. It's just not there."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for backup and for restore, primarily. It's really just for VMs. You can use it for other things, but we don't have other things to work with.

How has it helped my organization?

Earlier this week, we had a server that was having some issues. One of the database guys came in and said, "Do we have a Snapshot, do we have a backup?" I had looked at all my reports and I said, "Yeah, it looks like the backups worked fine this morning. We've got one as of 1 AM last night or earlier than that." I had saved a bunch of them.

If we didn't have SnapCenter for backups, that situation would have played out a whole lot slower. Without the ability to interact with VMware and have VMware perform the restore using the Snapshot taken by SnapCenter, we would have had to make a clone of the Snapshot and, a lot of times, if you're dealing with RDM drives, you've got to re-present clones of drives. It would all be done within vCenter and we would have to link back to either a vCenter-owned Snapshot or to link back to local Snapshots which might have been taken on the NetApp. The primary storage going to vCenter was through NFS on the NetApp. It would have become a number of more steps and have taken significantly longer to perform a restore than what I've found with using SnapCenter.

Since we have never really done regular backups with vCenter, it would have meant reverting an entire host. It's not convenient to try to do an entire host and then figure out what's changed on all the other VMs on that host. That's basically what it would require. You present the storage for the host to vCenter and it's taken in one shot. You can't just take a little piece of it and restore that, you restore the entire Snapshot. It may only take minutes to restore everything that way, but you're restoring all VMs to the exact same state as the VM you wanted to rescue.

What is most valuable?

The way that it interconnects with VMware is really handy, because you can go right into your vSphere Client, where you spend a lot of the day anyway, right-click on one of the VMs where you have backups running for however long, and you can restore either some files or restore the entire thing. You pick the Snapshot. I've timed it and it's under two minutes for it to completely rebuild the VM and restore it completely. I really like that feature. It's fast. If people have a problem I can get them back up online in less than five minutes.

I also use the monitoring feature every day. It can send an email every day and tell you, "These worked, these failed," for whatever reason. Typically you have to do some other kind of backup or run it again. That feature is really nice. You can automate it so it tells you afterward what worked, via email.

Finally, it's pretty simple to operate. The interface isn't complicated.

What needs improvement?

There is one area that needs improvement and that's in the alerting. When you set up your SMTP alerts, it only has - and I don't understand why - the ability to send an anonymous SMTP. It doesn't do basic authentication, which frustrated me for a while until I figured out that I'm not missing something. It's just not there. That's been a drawback and we're trying to figure out some kind of workaround. Obviously, you don't want to have an SMTP server using "anonymous." You want it to be locked down to some kind of authentication domain level. I would like to see that changed.

The SMTP thing is a concern for me. At the moment, we're just using it anyway, until we can figure out something else. In the worst-case scenario, I can set up my own PowerShell script to send an email and use "secure" that way, based on the reports that it's generating. But I can still log in to the website because it's got a web portal. I can go into my web portal and see, "Okay, the backups finished last night." That's not as simple as getting an email, but at the same time I can just open up a website and see the results anyway.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've had no problems with its stability. I haven't had to restart the server for any reason. Any failed backup that I've seen so far has not been related to SnapCenter. From what I've seen in the last year, it is pretty near bulletproof, as far as being able to run, once you set it up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't think scalability is bad at all. Like I mentioned with the vCenter thing, as long as you understand that if you've got different sites or different vCenter stacks, you're going to have to have a SnapCenter for each one of those. But in terms of scalability, if you actually have a network that is significantly bigger or suddenly grows really big, it would be as simple as going into your hardware, whether it's physical or a VM, and just increasing your resources a little bit. By default, they said you should use 8 gig of RAM and two processors. It doesn't take much up many resources, so scalability doesn't seem like an issue at all, particularly if you end up having SnapCenter for each site.

How are customer service and technical support?

I talked to technical support when we had the SMTP issue, to try and figure out a way to use domain-level authentication to send an SMTP message rather than just anonymously. And there was the time when I placed a ticket for the vCenter plug-ins, when I was trying to figure out why it wasn't working quite the way I expected between two different sites.

NetApp has always had fantastic response. I get someone on the phone, we do a little preliminary work, and if we need something later, it's usually a matter of single-digit hours to get the higher-level support online. They can do WebEx and get right in there with you and take a look at it. They've got people who are cleared to work on classified networks and that type of environment as well. They've probably been the easiest company, of any of our vendors, that I've had to deal with.

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

To understand the broader picture of where we were coming from, we had an existing network that was hodge-podge and built over the years; a combination of three different kinds of SAN storage from EMC to EqualLogic and we had a tape backup solution from Dell. They were all running a little bit here, a little bit there. They were using Commvault for some of the stuff and there was major overhead. It was a lot more than one person was going to be able to handle in my position. What we did was build a parallel network that was going to replace the whole thing, based completely on NetApp and using SnapCenter and VMs. It's far more streamlined.

I came across SnapCenter because I had worked previously with contracts with the Navy and Marine Corps and they had been exclusively using NetApp filers for the last nine to ten years that I'd been working on it. They had used a couple of different solutions before that, but then I heard that SnapCenter was coming, as I came out of this contract. We had a NetApp resident on our previous contract and he kept me updated: "Hey, this is coming out," or "We have this new tool." So I heard about it from him. I said, "Let's look into this and see what it's going to take." I read about it on the internet, I looked at some of the documents from NetApp; how to install it, how it works, how it interacts with VMware or Oracle or other databases.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

I did it myself.

What was our ROI?

The timeliness of the backups and the restore turnarounds are the areas of ROI. A lot of times, it's fairly important servers and, if they go down, you don't have half an hour to fiddle around with stuff while you're losing thousands and thousands of bits of data that are supposed to be coming in. The biggest return that I've seen is that once we find a problem, it's done in 60 seconds to a minute-and-a-half, usually.

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

There's no licensing involved. That was a question I had when I first set everything up. I didn't have any problems with it at all, but everything I had ever used had licenses. I noticed there was a place that said "License" but when I went in there it said "Standard File License." I thought, "Well what do I need to do, what kind of license do I need?" I came to find out they had upgraded some things and they said, "Actually, there is no more license required. Whatever you've got in there, that standard version, is good for everything. You don't have to buy anything. You never have to upgrade it." It's been simple. I've done one upgrade on the OS, one minor patch that came out. It took no time really. It was simple, automated.

There was no license required because they had a contract with NetApp already.

Because it can interact with more than just NetApp, I'm sure you can use it as a stand-alone. But unless they change the way licensing works, I would suspect that you just purchase a license for that one device and there isn't like an ongoing, "you need more licenses." You have the base license and it's yours. I haven't pursued that so I can't tell you for sure.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

They had already chosen NetApp as their storage for their filers. We could have looked at a number of different things and at the time that I came onto the contract, they really didn't have anything yet. But I knew from the experience that I had, that I really didn't want to bring Commvault into that solution. There were one or two other more flakey-type solutions that I'd seen in the past and I knew I didn't want to deal with that. I thought that looking at something that was made and supported by the same people who created our filers would make the support a lot simpler for me if I needed to reach out. I knew who I could get and when I could get them. I knew what to expect. That was really why we chose it. The others weren't really much of an option. It wasn't a matter of cost because, if I remember correctly, there really wasn't any cost to having SnapCenter. There's no license involved.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you've got some kind of a server in mind for it. If you're not going to be using just an IP address, if you want to use a domain, make sure that you've got access to your domain controllers so that you can create a DNS record. Just download the installation guide form NetApp. A high-schooler could probably pull it off.

As for the number of users in our organization, I'm really the only one. I do all the SAN storage and I overflow into the VMware and the enterprise networking. I'm the only one that interacts with it, although we've got three different people who could if they actually wanted or needed to. It would be easy enough to set up a user for them. We've got one VMware lead, and he primarily takes care of that. I just back him up when he's not here. We've got a primary network lead, and he does our routing and switching and firewall work. Either one of them could step in, had they the need to do so, but right now, I'm really the only guy with a SAN or NAS-type storage background or certifications. They usually just leave it alone. They get a copy of the backup reports if something fails, so at least they are aware of it, even if they don't have to go do anything.

It has been very low maintenance so far. I'm the only one who maintains it. Running whatever upgrades that come out for the OS is really all I have to do. Even if something broke, it doesn't take that much time out of one person's schedule to find out what's wrong. I honestly haven't found anything wrong, other than those couple of points that I mentioned and that wasn't actually broken, it just doesn't function like that.

There is a possibility that we could add backups for Oracle, if for some reason their native backups don't pan out but, other than that, we just see minor growth in the virtualized area. If we have to add more servers, that's really the only kind of growth we're anticipating.

I'm giving it an eight out of ten because, while I really like the way it works and how bulletproof it has been, I believe they could improve it by adding some kind of authentication to their SMTP. Also, they probably could improve by having a single, central spot that can handle multiple vCenter sites. Those two concerns aside, I'm completely happy with 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.
AZ
Storage Administrator at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Reseller
Instant backups and recovery are key but it needs replication management

Pros and Cons

  • "I like the instant backups and recovery feature that SnapCenter provides within NetApp storage systems."
  • "I would like to see replication support between systems. Right now, it's kind of limited. We manage them separately from the storage system interface, not from SnapCenter. It would be nice if it was integrated into SnapCenter."

What is our primary use case?

It is used for VMware and Microsoft SQL databases. We use it for ordinary backups. Nothing special.

What is most valuable?

I like the instant backups and recovery feature that SnapCenter provides within NetApp storage systems. That's mostly why I'm using it.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see replication support between systems. Right now, it's kind of limited.
We manage them separately from the storage system interface, not from SnapCenter. It would be nice if it was integrated into SnapCenter.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate the stability at four out of five because it's a complicated product. In terms of integrating with systems and software, sometimes you need to watch your software versions and the changing environment. But that is its design, so there is nothing you can do about it.

It's stable. I haven't had any stability issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SnapCenter handles scaling very well. In my opinion, it's for small or medium businesses but not for enterprise. It has great value because it's cheap and everything is bundled with the NetApp system, so it's best for small customers. Big enterprises usually use complete backup systems. There's no way you can it can propose SnapCenter as the primary backup system in an enterprise, in my experience. There is nothing wrong with the software, it's just that big enterprises have serious backup systems.

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

We use different backup solutions for systems that SnapCenter doesn't support. We use Commvault. We started using SnapCenter this year. We had a few new NetApp systems and it was cheaper to use SnapCenter than Commvault because it's included and bundled with the system. It's better to use SnapCenter than to pay for Commvault. It's better value.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What was our ROI?

We see a financial value with SnapCenter because we don't have to license Commvault, which is pretty expensive.

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

NetApp has great licensing models. It has two bundles: You can buy Premium or SnapCenter, and that's a great thing. You have all the replications included but, as I mentioned before, there should be some improvements in the management the replication for SnapCenter.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not looked at other systems. We have a primary backup system and SnapCenter for particular systems, and that satisfies our requirements.

What other advice do I have?

Check the compatibility of all components before, although it's pretty common. After you check the compatibility, then deploy SnapCenter and the plug-ins. Don't try to implement and then troubleshoot. It makes things more complex.

Backup and recovery software solutions are very important for every company. SnapCenter is pretty cheap, and that's important as well. Sometimes, customers don't want to pay a lot for backup solutions. That is why SnapCenter is good.

We do implementations from time to time, where customers have no backup solutions at all. It's better to have something that is actually free rather than nothing. Case by case, if we have no backup system, we use SnapCenter, but I don't think the number of our installations will grow significantly.

I would rate SnapCenter at seven out of ten because of the lack of replication management, which is very important.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
MS
Storage Architect at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Real User
The Exchange plugin is the most valuable because we have a lot of customers that use SnapManager Exchange and have to migrate to SnapCenter.

Pros and Cons

  • "The Exchange plugin is the most valuable because we have a lot of customers that use SnapManager Exchange and have to migrate to SnapCenter."
  • "Plugins should be developed in shorter times. Performance generally could be a little bit faster."

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a backup solution.

How has it helped my organization?

I think there is no improvement for our organization, it's just a new tool.

What is most valuable?

For us, it's the Exchange plugin because we have a lot of customers that use SnapManager Exchange and have to migrate to SnapCenter.

What needs improvement?

Plugins should be developed in shorter times. Performance generally could be a little bit faster.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes it works fine, sometimes not. It depends on the complexity of the customer's environment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No experience at this time, as it’s relatively new in our environment.

How are customer service and technical support?

Depends on the technician on the phone. We’ve had both good and bad experiences.

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

Yes, SnapManager Products. Because of EOA we had to switch to SnapCenter.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

As a service provider, we implement the solution by following best practices.

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

Looks good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we were looking at other software products. If a user already has a backup solution, for example Commvault, it's easier to sell and implement an agent for this product.

What other advice do I have?

You should always look at best practices and the interoperability matrix.

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.
JoaoLavrador
Pre-Sales at Arrow ECS Portugal
Real User
Top 20
Simplicity of backup and restore directly with VMware is an advantage, but it could be faster

Pros and Cons

  • "The simplicity of backup and restore directly with VMware is an advantage and the time to backup and restore is reduced."
  • "The compatibility with other manufacturers, like Oracle and Hyper-V, could be improved. I would like to see it be more compatible with other software."
  • "The tool could be faster."

What is our primary use case?

It's used for backup and restoring of virtual machines from VMware. I have some experience with SnapCenter but only on the installation. I don't work directly with the end customers.

How has it helped my organization?

The simplicity of backup and restore directly with VMware is an advantage and the time to backup and restore is reduced.

What is most valuable?

The easy installation of the plug-ins to the host is the most valuable feature.

What needs improvement?

The compatibility with other manufacturers, like Oracle and Hyper-V, could be improved. I would like to see it be more compatible with other software.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, it's very stable, although I don't know what it's like for the end customer. From my side, it seems to be very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I had a customer with two sites, and the scalability was great. I had to install SnapCenter on both sites and it was very straightforward. The two sites communicate with each other.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used NetApp's technical support for this solution and it went very well. They asked me for some logs, identified the problem - we easily got to the point, where the issue was - and the problem was resolved. 

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

Some of our customers were using Veeam and Commvault before using SnapCenter. They did not replace the other tools, they are doing some backups with them as well. The solutions are complementing each other.

How was the initial setup?

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.

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

I am using the Standard license, the free version. There is an Advanced license but I don't know its price.

What other advice do I have?

Try it and buy it. Try the product to see the features, the easy installation, and how easy it is to implement and to work with.

We have five or six end customers, users, who are system admins. For deployment and maintenance, it requires two people.

I would rate SnapCenter at seven out of ten. The tool could be faster.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor.
Christian Gruetzner
Service Architecture at All for One Group AG
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Centralized system allows us to manage all systems, agents, and updates remotely

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is that it's centralized. In the old SnapManager days, we had software for each server. Now, with a centralized system, we're able to manage all systems remotely, and all agents remotely, and update them remotely. That's a huge benefit for us."
  • "We have hundreds of servers and systems and hundreds of customers and they're separated in a multi-tenancy way in NetApp SVM. Right now, the problem is that it always scan all SVMs. If I backup Customer A, it scans all SVMs, or tries to scan all SVMs, if there is a backup relationship on the storage. But it doesn't have the permissions, so we run into timeouts or the backup just takes too long. They're fixing that in the upcoming release..."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for our backup strategy. We run almost all our backups over SnapCenter and we are migrating the rest.

How has it helped my organization?

It saves us a lot of money and manpower. We automate everything in our environment. We can just run some scripts over it and update all agents automatically, and we don't have to take care of each individual client. We can do that from the central SnapCenter station. That's a huge benefit for us.

A simple example of a way it has improved the way our organization functions is that if we have to update or analyze any backup errors, in the past we would have to go directly to the server, log in, and go to the log directory. We had to analyze it directly on the server itself. But now, we have a centralized, single pane of glass and we can use the SnapCenter GUI, which saves also a lot of time for our operating teams.

For the applications team, for the SQL admins, they log in to the GUI more because they can run their SQL restores out of the SnapCenter UI. They have the benefit that they can now restore their resources on their own. In the past, they had to open a ticket and say, "Oh, we have to restore that volume and that LUN," and then the storage and backup team had to restore it and give the information back. Now, the application owner or service owner can do that by himself. So that's a huge benefit for them.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it's centralized. In the old SnapManager days, we had software for each server. Now, with a centralized system, we're able to manage all systems remotely, and all agents remotely, and update them remotely. That's a huge benefit for us.

Another good feature is the user permission settings. We have different kinds of groups which can do different kinds of operating tasks in SnapCenter. Previously, that was not even possible.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. I haven't heard anything from our operating teams that it was not working.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability itself is great, overall. 

One thing I know of which will come out in the next release is a fix for a scalability issue we have right now. We have hundreds of servers and systems and hundreds of customers and they're separated in a multi-tenancy way in NetApp SVM. Right now, the problem is that it always scans all SVMs. If I back up Customer A, it scans all SVMs, or tries to scan all SVMs, if there is a backup relationship on the storage. But it doesn't have the permissions, so we run into timeouts or the backup just takes too long. They're fixing that in the upcoming release, which should come out in the next month or so.

Overall, the scalability is fine. It's working and running well in our environment.

We have a split of SnapCenters for different types of databases. We have a SnapCenter for Exchange, we have a SnapCenter for HANA databases, we have a SnapCenter for SQL databases. The amount of backups taken over a single server is really huge in our environment. We have around 400 or 500 HANA databases, for example. Splitting them up is just a precaution we've done to ensure that it's not running into any scalability issues on the single server. That's why we decided, internally, to split it up. But we haven't seen any real scalability issue or something like that up to now, except the SVM thing.

How are customer service and technical support?

We had some bugs. We always opened cases for them, or I had direct contact with the engineers. They were always fast. It was good working together. They were always interested in what the problem was and how to solve it with us. Our experience was that they're really good.

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

We used the SnapManager products before, and Snap Creator. The Snap Creator and SnapManager products were discontinued by NetApp. And they're not centralized, so it's definitely a benefit for us that SnapCenter has a centralized UI and centralized interface and centralized REST API. That's a huge benefit in the end for our administration.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

It was just our team and NetApp's.

What was our ROI?

We haven't calculated anything yet, but I can say that the migration from SnapManagers to SnapCenter saves a lot of manpower in our operating team. They save the time to log in to each server, and they save the time of running resources for our application guys because they can do it themselves. It saves a lot of resources on our operating and storage teams.

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

It's free. The license is included with other NetApp products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate any other options. Our strategy is a clear NetApp strategy. We have a single-vendor strategy on the storage side. We use only NetApp in our environment. Therefore there was no thought of looking at other applications vendors. When you buy NetApp storage systems, you already have it included in the price. So it wouldn't make any sense to use another backup resource like Veeam, because of the additional license costs.

What other advice do I have?

You should definitely plan some time to understand the concepts behind it. What we've seen is that each backup and user permission has its own defaults. You have to plan some implementation time. You can't simply install it and then it's working. It takes some time to understand how it is working.

But it's definitely a huge improvement because you can easily automate it. If you have a larger environment, as we have, use the REST API. It's a lot faster and a lot better for scaling.

We requested improvements that they have already implemented. For example, there were some GUI improvements, especially for the scalability, where there was no search available. You just had a static list and not a search field to limit the results. And in the last release was the fulfillment of a request where they provide workgroup support, and not just servers in one single domain, because we have multiple domains.

For the day-to-day maintenance, we've automated almost everything in our environment. We use the REST API from SnapCenter. Everything is direct from an external tool we have called UC4. It's rare that we log in to SnapCenter itself and administrate anything there, for our main backup operating team.

We have seven storage and backup administrators and there are nine people using it on the applications team. We want to expand it to our SAP colleagues, and they're 60 people or so, but that's in progress. We also have 300 outsourcing customers and 200 additional customers we run the backups on. We have a total of about 4,000 systems. It's quite a bit to administrate.

Right now, I would rate it as a nine out of ten. If they fix the problem with our SVMs I would give it a ten. Overall, it's good, it's working.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
II
IT Manager at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Enables us to restore an Oracle or SAP machine

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows us to easily take a Snapshot and use it with any backup tools. We can also take Snapshots on the application side. We can also take Snapshots on the application side. If we want to restore an SAP or an Oracle machine, a normal Snapshot won't do it, but we can do so with SnapCenter."
  • "The replication feature needs improvement in future releases."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for Oracle, on the client side.

In our company, we are mostly using SnapCenter software in our test environment. There are many customers using NetApp products, but most of them don't use SnapCenter software in their production environment. So we do not have a lot of experience with it in production systems. We are testing it in our data core environment and our test environment. We check the software's features and new features, and sometimes we do troubleshooting as well.

We test VMware Snapshot, Hyper-V Snapshot, database Snapshots, for example, MS SQL and Oracle.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows us to easily take a Snapshot and use it with any backup tools.

We can also take Snapshots on the application side. If we want to restore an SAP or an Oracle machine, a normal Snapshot won't do it, but we can do so with SnapCenter.

What is most valuable?

We can back up according to application types and not bind. All the features are good for NetApp storage. SnapCenter is the top application. It makes it very easy to work with backup tools.

What needs improvement?

The replication feature needs improvement in future releases.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SnapCenter is stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't had to use technical support for SnapCenter yet.

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

We were using NetApp's previous software, SnapManager: SnapManager Exchange, SnapManager SQL, SnapManager for Hyper-V, and SnapManager for VMware, etc. SnapCenter is the software which collected all the different kinds of SnapManagers into one bundle. That's why we started using it.

How was the initial setup?

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.

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

There are two kinds of licenses: a controller license, which is the SnapCenter Standard Capacity license, as well as the SnapCenter Advanced Capacity license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are using Commvault Backup software in our environment. Commvault can also manage Snapshots of NetApp, but SnapCenter is very easy for us.

What other advice do I have?

It's really useful if you are using NetApp storage. If you have NetApp storage in your environment and want to take a Snapshot, I recommend purchasing this software.

We have five users of it in our organization. In most environments, one person is enough to manage the software.

I would rate it at eight out of ten. It's useful. If you don't have a backup application, you can use SnapCenter.

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.
TO
Sr. Unix Systems and Storage Administrator at a retailer with 51-200 employees
Real User
Cloning capabilities accelerate development, while integration with NetApp storage provides better problem reporting

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a centralized, easy-to-use solution empowering RBAC management, monitoring, notifications, extensive logging, and backup schedules for standalone as well as groups of the same types of environments. The cloning capabilities accelerate development."
  • "The Dashboard view needs to be more compressed with better ease of access and drill-down features. They should also reinstate Linux filesystem backups of storage volumes (which existed in the prior version)."

What is our primary use case?

We use SnapCenter for our VMware, SQL, and Oracle environments providing application-consistent and centralized backup and recovery from disasters, and cloning. It maximizes NetApp Snapshot, SnapMirror, SnapVault and cloning technology.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a centralized, easy-to-use solution empowering RBAC management, monitoring, notifications, extensive logging, and backup schedules for standalone as well as groups of the same types of environments. The cloning capabilities accelerate development.

We previously had the NetApp SnapManager Suite which made the transition to SnapCenter smoother. SnapCenter is better integrated into our new NetApp storage as well as ONTAP Cloud, providing tighter, relevant problem reporting. This has helped in troubleshooting any problems that arise.

What is most valuable?

Here are just some of the valuable features:

  1. Quick cloning of DB environments when development or testing is critical. I love the new clone split feature and the clone update without re-cloning. 
  2. Centralized management of backup plug-ins without having to manage them at the host. You can perform host/agent download and push of updates. 
  3. Tight integration with NetApp storage, both on-premise and cloud. 
  4. Detailed backup reporting and suggested troubleshooting. 
  5. PowerShell commands can be run without having to access via the GUI.

What needs improvement?

  1. The Dashboard view needs to be more compressed with better ease of access and drill-down features. 
  2. DB plug-in cloning should have similar SnapManager features which allow reuse of specific cloning parameter features.
  3. Reinstate Linux filesystem backups of storage volumes (which existed in the prior version).
  4. Add integration into OCUM and Active IQ.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In a short period of time, we have seen the product scale quickly in feature enhancements and adjustments to the product, thanks to their quick development.

How are customer service and technical support?

Because of our prior experience with SnapManager, we had a smooth transition to SnapCenter.  When we had a need to reach out to technical support we would work directly with level-2 or global support engineers who are knowledgeable about the product.

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

SnapManager Suite for VMware, SQL, and Oracle.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, using online reference documents.

What about the implementation team?

We did an in-house implementation, with additional assistance from our NetApp Enterprise Solution Architect.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Veeam, Rubrik, Symantec, and Commvault.

What other advice do I have?

  • Evaluate in-depth features you require
  • Validate interoperability (very critical)
  • Thoroughly inventory every existing component of the business that will use it or be impacted
  • Evaluate the installation, configuration, and ease of use with an eval or vendor
  • Do a price comparison, once all components needed are identified
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SS
Storage Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
I like its ease of access and management from both storage and backup being all in one area

Pros and Cons

  • "It's all together managing both storage and backup, which makes it easier for troubleshooting issues and the automation part of it"
  • "I want to see a few more features add that will help our team in managing solution better."

What is our primary use case?

We use HANA Database for SMB. This is where we are using SnapCenter to manage all our Snapshots, backups, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

It's all together managing both storage and backup, which makes it easier for troubleshooting issues and the automation part of it. SnapCenter is the one that's making it possible to make everything work. 

What is most valuable?

The ease of access and management from both storage and backup being all in one area, where it integrates with SnapVault and other features with NetApp. However, this is not the case for databases where we used to take consistent Snapshots. 

What needs improvement?

For OnCommand Insight, they could do cloud-based stuff as well. It would be nice if they could integrate everything inside, so it would be easier for management: One tool used for everything.

I want to see a few more features add that will help our team in managing solution better.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not had any issues so far. It has been pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It can scale well.

How are customer service and technical support?

We had to engage the engineering teams on this one point, and the support that we received from NetApp was awesome.

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

For ERP SAP, we were using a Dell EMC solution previously, but a few things changed from the application teams perspective on what they needs were. So, this drove us to think about other solutions and not just fix on one solution that had been working fine for them. We wanted something that had both cost effectiveness, but also brought both backup and storage together in one platform. This made the difference in going with NetApp SnapCenter.

How was the initial setup?

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.

What about the implementation team?

We used NetApp consultants, who were great.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only looked at Dell EMC and NetApp. The ease of access, then cost, were the factors in choosing NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

Gather the requirements and see what your application team needs.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AS
Storage Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
It has greatly improved our DR activity

What is our primary use case?

Our ERP structure is on the SnapCenter. We also keep on it SQL Servers, VMware products, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

It has greatly improved our DR activity. 

What is most valuable?

Assisting backups.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see more granular repording and reporting in bigger sets available in SnapCenter. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Our ROBOs has told me that stability is good. However, we have been hit by bugs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not looked yet at scalability because we are using single instances right now.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have experience…

What is our primary use case?

Our ERP structure is on the SnapCenter. We also keep on it SQL Servers, VMware products, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

It has greatly improved our DR activity. 

What is most valuable?

Assisting backups.

What needs improvement?

We would like to see more granular repording and reporting in bigger sets available in SnapCenter. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Our ROBOs has told me that stability is good. However, we have been hit by bugs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not looked yet at scalability because we are using single instances right now.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have experience some difficulties with our current support. We are engaging in engineering level support because some of our problems are more technical.

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

We were having some data corruption problems in our biggest environments, so we started looking into it NetApp solutions, that's why we went for SnapCenter (after doing a PoC).

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used NetApp Professional Services. Our experience with them was good. We have a long standing relationship with them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked Dell EMC and NetApp. One of the features in our requirements was going from a SAN environment to a NAS. These types of features are why we went with NetApp.

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