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NetApp SnapMirror OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp SnapMirror is the #5 ranked solution in our list of top Data Replication tools. It is most often compared to NetApp Snapshot: NetApp SnapMirror vs NetApp Snapshot

What is NetApp SnapMirror?
NetApp SnapMirror technology provides fast, efficient data replication and disaster recovery (DR) for your critical data. Use a single solution across all NetApp storage arrays and protocols. SnapMirror technology works with any application, in both virtual and traditional environments, and in multiple configurations, including hybrid cloud.

NetApp SnapMirror is also known as SnapMirror.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Data Replication Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

NetApp SnapMirror Customers
University at Albany, City of Houston, Yahoo Japan, Washington Employment Security Department, DG Khan Cement Co. Ltd., AmTrust Financial Services, Sheridan College
NetApp SnapMirror Video

Archived NetApp SnapMirror Reviews (more than two years old)

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TamirFahima
IT Infrastructure Manager at Afcon Holdings
Real User
Top 5
Simple to use, an effective dashboard, and good reporting

Pros and Cons

  • "They have a very effective dashboard and good reports."
  • "In the next release, I would like to see Data reduction included and WAN optimization."

What is our primary use case?

This solution is a storage replication software, embedded in storage filing that takes a snapshot copy and transfers it to a different location and a different Net Application.

The deployment model we are using is on-premises.

What is most valuable?

What I like most about this solution is its simplicity.

They have a very effective dashboard and good reports.

What needs improvement?

This solution is stable but needs improvements with the network.

In the next release, I would like to see data reduction included and WAN optimization.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability needs improvement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable, it's good.

We have between one thousand and fifteen hundred users.

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

Previously I did not use another solution. This is the only solution that I have used.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

The deployment took a few hours.

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

It's part of the NetApp Firewall, so it's free.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend using only on NAS, a file-based storage, not as a storage-based Network.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JD
Senior Application Engineer Presales Support at a wholesaler/distributor with 10,001+ employees
Reseller
Easy to use and provides data protection for our customers

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution is easy to implement and easy to use."
  • "We have different families of storage, such as the E-Series and Flash systems, but NetApp cannot be set up between them."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider, and this is one of the products that we resell to our clients.

I am a presales engineer and have experience with this solution. I teach my customers how to use it.

This solution provides safety and data protection for my customers. 

The deployment model depends on the customer. However, in Poland, the private cloud model is the most popular. Many are moving to a hybrid-cloud, but the public cloud is still not very popular.

What is most valuable?

This solution is easy to implement and easy to use.

What needs improvement?

We have different families of storage, such as the E-Series and Flash systems, but NetApp cannot be set up between them.

Currently, there is only a command-line interface, but some users would benefit from the inclusion of a graphical user interface.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is very stable. Before I propose any kind of solution to a customer, I have to trust it. I don't think that there are any problems with this kind of server.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

NetApp has very good scalability because we can grow and store up to twenty-four nodes. We sell only two or four-node systems. Scalability to twenty-four or even twelve nodes is too high for this country.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is good. I am glad because I always receive answers to my technical questions.

How was the initial setup?

For me, the initial setup and configuration are easy because I am a NetApp specialist and engineer. I demonstrate the product to customers and show them how to use it.

What other advice do I have?

No solution is ideal. Every solution should continue to develop because customer requirements change over time.

This is a solution that I recommend because it is easy to use. Our customers choose the functionality that is useful for them.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about NetApp, Dell EMC, IBM and others in Data Replication. Updated: October 2021.
542,267 professionals have used our research since 2012.
WG
Senior Infrastructure Engineer with 201-500 employees
Real User
A stable solution with a straightforward setup and an easy to use interface

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for the infrastructure and for backup replication.

What is most valuable?

The user interface is very easy to manage. The replication is also very easy to set up.

What needs improvement?

The new coursework models need to be improved. The bandwidth monitoring could also be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 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?

The solution is very scalable. We don't have plans to increase usage at this time, however.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. We're very satisfied.

Which solution

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for the infrastructure and for backup replication.

What is most valuable?

The user interface is very easy to manage. The replication is also very easy to set up.

What needs improvement?

The new coursework models need to be improved. The bandwidth monitoring could also be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 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?

The solution is very scalable. We don't have plans to increase usage at this time, however.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. We're very satisfied.

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

We did previously use a different solution. We switched because the cost was so high.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We had a consultant assist us in the implementation of the solution.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model.

I would rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
EH
Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Good data replication and has good data migration features

What is our primary use case?

I use the on-prem deployment model for this solution. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the data replication tool. There is also a lot of ability for data migration. 

What needs improvement?

In the next release, I would like to get an active IP number solution. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SnapMirror for around five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. It's stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. You can expand your usage on the go. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. It's not hard getting in touch with them. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial…

What is our primary use case?

I use the on-prem deployment model for this solution. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the data replication tool. There is also a lot of ability for data migration. 

What needs improvement?

In the next release, I would like to get an active IP number solution. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SnapMirror for around five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. It's stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. You can expand your usage on the go. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. It's not hard getting in touch with them. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. 

What other advice do I have?

It's a good solution that will give you what you need. I would rate it an eight out ten. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
AA
System Manager at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
A stable, scalable tool that's easy to use

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for replicating data in the storage system.

What is most valuable?

Overall, the product is very good. It's an easy to use tool.

What needs improvement?

The user interface could be simplified. They might want to have fewer options on it, to make it less complicated. There are a lot of options we never use ourselves. They're often very specialized and don't apply to us.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 10-12 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?

The solution is scalable. We have about 700 users on it currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for replicating data in the storage system.

What is most valuable?

Overall, the product is very good. It's an easy to use tool.

What needs improvement?

The user interface could be simplified. They might want to have fewer options on it, to make it less complicated. There are a lot of options we never use ourselves. They're often very specialized and don't apply to us.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 10-12 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?

The solution is scalable. We have about 700 users on it currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex.

What about the implementation team?

We had a local partner that helped us with the initial implementation.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model.

Overall, we've been very happy with this solution. We'd recommend it to others to use.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Tom Evert Olsen
Senior Infrastructure Architect at Proact It Norge As
Real User
Stable, easy to install, and easy to implement

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is very stable."
  • "There is probably some limitations when it comes to the scalability of the solution."

What is our primary use case?

The main reason we use NetApp SnapMirror is to try to have a disaster recovery site. We want to have the possibility to do disaster recovery to failover to another site when there is a problem, but also to failover to another site during maintenance, for instance. So if the customers are going to do some maintenance, they can failover to the other site and keep on running. 

What needs improvement?

The product itself doesn't have any big issues. What is lacking and what we need to use other products for, is to have active data centers. You need to implement another solution for it, but that is also available from NetApp. So I don't think there is an option to put that into SnapMirror either. It's lacking that functionality but it's available with other solutions from the same vendor.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for more than 20 years now.

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?

There are some limitations when it comes to the scalability of the solution, but I don't know where the limitation is. There is often a limitation in the communication line between the sites. Also, a large part of the data is changed because all changes are replicated from one site to the other. So I'll say it's a mathematical issue. The developers should have a communication line that is packed enough to transport all the changes.

How are customer service and technical support?

My understanding is that the technical support is good, but we don't need much support because it's working fine. Since we have been working with the solution for 20 years, we have very good internal competence. So it's very seldom that we have to call support. 

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

We've used other vendors from time to time, but it is more because of political issues - nothing technical.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite straightforward. One has to implement one hardware system on two sites and then implement the functionality to mirror between the two sites. It doesn't take very long. So one has to implement and get the one site up and running first, and then implement the second site and get that up and running too. Then one can do the metering between them.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others would be to do a test run first, to see is the solution does what you want it to do. On a scale from one to ten, I will rate the solution an eight, because it doesn't solve all our issues. But it is easy to implement, easy to set up, and it works.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AA
Senior System Engineer at ICTeam
Real User
An excellent backup solution that's flexible, reliable and quite stable

Pros and Cons

  • "There are a lot of features that are excellent. The data compression during the transfer, for example, is good. The replication is great. The durability of the solution and the speed of the data moving from one site to another is impressive."
  • "At the moment, we are not using the synchronous mirror, but we can implement the synchronous mirror. The only thing is that it needs another license. This is the same issue we have with business continuity. It needs another license to be implemented. You need too many separate licenses for the features. They should add some of the aspects of the premium bundle into the basic bundle. Sometimes our customers choose other replication services because of the initial cost of the licenses."

How has it helped my organization?

We are using the solution to backup our two data centers between our location site and our data center in Milan, and, in both directions: from Grassobio to Milan and from Milan to Grassobio. From the customer's side, we are storing all of our customer's data as an application in our cluster on our data center.

What is most valuable?

There are a lot of features that are excellent. The data compression during the transfer, for example, is good. The replication is great. The durability of the solution and the speed of the data moving from one site to another is impressive. 

What needs improvement?

At the moment, we are not using the synchronous mirror, but we can implement the synchronous mirror. The only thing is that it needs another license. This is the same issue we have with business continuity. It needs another license to be implemented. You need too many separate licenses for the features. They should add some of the aspects of the premium bundle into the basic bundle. Sometimes our customers choose other replication services because of the initial cost of the licenses.

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?

The solution is very flexible. We can move the destination from one site to another, or from one cluster to another without cascading the relationship, so transitioning is quite easy. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is quite good. For example, I've had an issue in the past, and within a few minutes, with a chat, the issue was solved.

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

I did not previously use another solution.

How was the initial setup?

Previous earlier versions of the solution had quite complex setups. Now, you can perform the cluster peer SQL replication or from the GUI so it's become quite easy and quite quick. Once you have stated the replication volume, etc., and the clusters are aligned, it takes a minute to implement. Of course, that's once your network requirements are specified.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation ourselves.

What other advice do I have?

We are running multiple versions of the solution, including 9.3, 9.5 and 9.6 versions, and, sometimes, we are migrating from 8.2 version of 7-Mode to 9.3 or 9.5 version of NetApp Cluster Telnet.

We're a NetApp partner. 

We use a private cloud deployment model ourselves and we are also a service provider for our customers.

It's quite stable, it's not that easy to implement, but it's stable, and it's reliable, and all the data that's on the destination are read-only so there is also extra security.

I would advise it would be a good idea to implement it with VMware. It would make good base for disaster recovery.  

I would rate the solution ten out of ten. It's really reliable.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
AbdulSalam
Sr. Manager - System Analyst (Datacenter Infrastructure) at Bank Sohar
Real User
A good solution with an easy setup, but needs to improve bandwidth efficiency for baseline replication

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the snap shot."
  • "It is not as efficient as it needs to be. It doesn't compress the data really well when it is forwarded to a secondary site. The download performance could be better."

What is our primary use case?

NAS Filer with quick recovery features within same site or across DR site. Being a unified storage, it is used as a Block (SAN) storage as well with pretty decent performance.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the snap shot.

What needs improvement?

It is not as efficient as it needs to be. It doesn't compress the data really well when it is forwarded to a secondary site. The download performance could be better.

Our company is Oman, and there is a ticketing problem here. If there are issues, we have to go to the partner who did the implementation. We need to contact the partner, then the partner has to get the log, and then they will raise the ticket on our behalf. After that, the tech support team contacts the partner and then it gets to us. We would like to get support ourselves or the ability to directly log the ticket or even call without having to go through the partner. We want to report the problem to tech support directly and then take it from there.

In terms of improvements for the solution, I think they already have a different product, AFF, where you can get much better performance and more combination as well as data security and data savings, if they have a different protocol already, which they are lacking now.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We didn't have any problems with stability during the installation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. The upgrade is really smooth. It doesn't require any content. Once it's done, it's ready to go. We can scale out as little as we want. We have five servers right now and 900 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

With technical support, there are multiple levels. We are not very happy with Level One and Two support from our region. When it comes to escalation support, when there is a huge problem, it goes through the US or Canada. Those support techs are really good.

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

We did not previously use a different solution. It was entirely a different use case. Previously, we were using a Windows-based file server. We didn't have the high availability and replication to secondary site, also snap shot's capability, which is what we were looking for. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It was pretty easy. Most of the items were available from the GUI end.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the private cloud deployment model.

I would say that if people are using this product they should make use of the snap shortcut. It would be very useful to them. If they can afford it, they should get the second box to put at a different site and replicate it for maximum protection of their data.

I would rate the solution seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Storage and VMware Expert at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It's a simple and efficient tool to build a disaster recovery solution that involves many applications such as Oracle, SQL, VMware, and Hyper-V.

What is most valuable?

It's a simple and efficient tool to build a disaster recovery solution that involves many applications such as Oracle, SQL, VMware, and Hyper-V.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a VMware environment and many NFS exports to Linux servers which are easy to replicate. If we lose the main environment, we can restore all the applications to the recovery site to the appointed LUNs, and then the NFS servers to another server using storage from the DR site.

With VMware, this is very simple because you replicate the identical volume where it is stored in your datastore. I think that recovery for VMware is too simple and you don't need any tool to support this procedure, only directing the LUNs to another ESXi and executing the procedure inside VMware to mount datastore.

In the Oracle environment, the procedure to restore the database on the recovery site is simple as well.

What needs improvement?

I think that NetApp needs to improve the performance of SnapMirror with controller volume access. This is because when you have many SnapMirror jobs running, the controllers give priority to accessing volumes and transfers remain slow. It is very difficult to understand how to change this in 7-Mode.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution by more than 8 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

If you have to replicate a database environment, you have to put your database into backup mode before starting the replication. If you don't do this step the data will stay corrupted when you need to use replica on site the DR.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issue if you follow best practices and understant your replicated application/solution...

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

10

Technical Support:

10

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

Yes i have used solution from HDS and Fujitsu and the company accquire Netapp and so their dont back more .

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is too simple because Netapp integrated the configuration snapmirror on the oncommand system manager.

What about the implementation team?

I have implemented this solution since i started my working with Netapp solutions

What other advice do I have?

You must understand your environment to implement any replicated solution, talk to business area before implemented and design your Disastery Recovery .

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user351183
System Engineer at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Initial setup was very easy as it was part of our Data ONTAP system, so we just select our source and destination volumes and click initialize.

What is most valuable?

It provides block-based replication of data from the primary system to the disaster recovery systems. It’s fast and doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth, and it transfers everything including data and snapshots. Also, the clustered Data ONTAP is valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

It's very robust, very fast, and very easy to set up.

What needs improvement?

On very large data sets with a lot of changes, the interval between mirrors can be rather long.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been 100% stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can’t say how far it goes, but I haven’t run into problems yet. It’s very scalable, although on very large data sets with a lot of changes, the interval between mirrors can be rather long.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good.

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

No previous solution was used.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was very easy as it’s part of our Data ONTAP system, so we just select our source and destination volumes, click initialize, and that’s it.

What other advice do I have?

Keep in mind that is an asynchronous replication solution, so the destination will always lag behind compared to the source. If you can live with that, then it’s a perfect solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Balaji Venkatraman
Senior Storage Engineer at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Excellent tool. Always a THUMBS UP. The support from Netapp itself is worth the product.

What is most valuable?

Its ability to transfer data retaining its complete integrity, access, permission etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We have migrated data from old and expiring Netapp hardware using Snapmirror - thereby allowing us to decomm the old hardware and save power, maintainence, cost etc.

What needs improvement?

None for now.

For how long have I used the solution?

8 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

None.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent. None of the users whose data has been migrated using Snapmirrot have ever complained back to us.

Technical Support:

10/10, just like any Netapp support.

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

No - this is the best tool from Netapp and we never thought of any other tool. In fact, all additional features like Netapp Datamotion for vfilers use SnapMirror as their backend.

How was the initial setup?

Straight forward - infact just 3-4 commands can effectively deliver the power of Snapmirror.

What about the implementation team?

Obviously in-house.

What was our ROI?

100%.

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

No idea. I am a technical guy and dont get into finances.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

None. This technology has been in place for last 10 years as I know and I have personally worked 8+ years on it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user157911
SAN Storage Administrator at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Great for Tier Two Applications but I will recommend EMC or Hitachi for Tier 1 Applications.

Valuable Features

Administration of Netapp Snapmirror and Netapp Storage through CLI or Oncommand manager is the best.

Creation of any size of storage LUN and replication of the same with Snapmirror environment is most valuable.

Improvements to My Organization

I can not say much, but obviously Netapp came out with different types of GUI based management tools for Performance management and Replication Management which has made acceptability of Netapp environment better than earlier.

Room for Improvement

I must say that Netapp will have to come out with Better performance and Faster Data replication technologies.

Use of Solution

We have been using Netapp Storage and Snapmirror for 4 Years for Banking Domain applications, I have also seen that many clients using Netapp Snapmirror for Messaging as well.

Stability Issues

About about a year now we have faced random issues related power supply or auto failover failback issue which was related to bugs in Firmware.

Scalability Issues

No, it's very good.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

I would rate is with 3 as India Support which I am experiencing is not that good when compared to EMC.

Technical Support:

I would also rate is with 3.

Initial Setup

It is straightforward in terms of LUNs,NFS and CIFS with Snapmirror at DR.

Implementation Team

Vendor Team - Yes Experience was good

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

I am not aware of it as I am the administrator, Client used to manage costs.

Other Solutions Considered

Of course. We checked for EMC's VNX and Hitachi's HNAS.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Network Engineer at a wholesaler/distributor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
In essence, the livelihood of the company is served up from a central NetApp storage system; all company data is there.

What is most valuable?

I find the most valuable features to be the management suites, integration into VMware with the Virtual Storage Console, and the capabilities it offers toward disaster recovery such as Snapshots, Snapmirror, and Snapvault.

How has it helped my organization?

A NetApp storage solution allows a company to architect a disaster recovery plan that protects all company data. For instance, you have a production NetApp. All company CIFS data is located there. All VMware NFS volumes are located there. All server LUNs are located there. In essence, the livelihood of the company is served up from a central NetApp storage system because all company data is there. This production storage system offers local snapshots for easy restore capabilities. You can then Snapmirror all of this data to a separate NetApp storage unit in a different hosting facility. You can also implement Snapvault. If disk-based recovery is enough you can stop there. Or if you prefer, one can implement tape-based backup via NDMP against the DR NetApp SAN then ship tapes offsite to Iron Mountain or somewhere else. This essentially gives you local Snapshot to production, Snapmirror to DR SAN and offsite tapes. This is a simple and brief description but should provide an outline to its benefit to an organization as it relates to disaster recovery or a backup solution. There are a number of different capabilities a NetApp filer provides that is a clear benefit to any organization.

What needs improvement?

This has to do with Snapmirror to an unlike NetApp unit and disks but the process is called Deswizzling. This process can get out of control sometimes and cause excessive disk utilization. You really have to be careful with Snapmirror planning as it relates to how often synchronizations are completed especially on large volumes. The other improvement area could be support for replication from Windows file servers. There is the NetApp OSSV solution but you are version locked with ONTAP. You cannot run cluster mode on 8.2.x and still support OSSV. There is an appliance but that can get a bit pricey. There are open source solutions if you look hard enough and put some effort into implementation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used NetApp storage products for the past ten years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

With large implementations there are always hiccups but nothing serious that can't be fixed with minimal effort.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Initially one can experience issues with stability if the NetApp unit is over utilized. This can happen. I have seen a NetApp unit with sustained 100% disk utilization over a period of a few days. This causes real issues. This is why I say it is imperative to really plan the deployment of disk storage systems. You cannot overload the system with production access, Snapmirroring, Snapshots, NDMP, and such. Definitely give your plan due diligence and design your implementation accordingly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

NetApp systems are very scalable especially with cluster mode ONTAP.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I do not interact much with NetApp customer service. That is the job of my primary purchasing vendor. However, the few times that I have it was great service.

Technical Support:

NetApp's automated support is great. If the system encounters an issue it will fire off an auto support to NetApp. On the rare occasion that I have actually had to call NetApp support they were very responsive and actively worked to a resolution of my issue. Overall, excellent technical support.

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

It is not to say I ONLY use NetApp. That is simply not true. I just prefer NetApp. I have implemented storage solutions from pretty much all vendors. It mostly comes down to a business decision of cost vs. benefit. NetApp is not cheap by any stretch but you do get what you pay for.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of racking, wiring, assigning shelves, IP addressing, and even array and aggregate creation is fairly simple. As you integrate systems and data onto the storage solution it can get a bit complex I think. I am so used to it now it is like second nature but I can see it being complicated for some who are not used to a particular solution or vendor. Examples of complexity could be implementing high availability, fiber channel, iSCSI, NFS, LUNs, flash cache, snap schedules, permissions, Qtrees, Quotas, NDMP, CIFS, etc. all on the same production filers.

What about the implementation team?

This really depends on the size and complexity of the implementation but typically it is either in-house completely or a combination of in-house and vendor support. I have never relied on just a vendor implementation. The primary vendor I use is very knowledgeable and responsive to my needs.

What was our ROI?

It is sometimes difficult to quantify a return on investment when it comes to certain technology especially when it does not technically make the company money. However, with a NetApp storage solution, if designed and implemented for a specific purpose, it can provide some real numbers for a return on investment. If a particular solution was built to provide high availability, backup capabilities, disaster recovery capabilities and faster access to data then one can clearly calculate an ROI.

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

I cannot provide specific numbers but depending on the size of the implementation it can run well into the $100K+ range with recurring support contract costs. With power and cooling costs it can also accrue costs quickly. Again, certain solutions are cheap while others are not. It is really a business decision as to which is selected.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluate different vendors regularly to keep up with new technology from various vendors. I have recently evaluated solutions from EMC and Dell.

What other advice do I have?

NetApp is a solid solution for SAN needs. It is best to really do your homework and find the solution that is appropriate for the organization and allow for growth based on company historical data. You don't want to just purchase the top model solution just to say you did but at the same time you don't want to under engineer a solution either. Take your time and design what's best for the company.

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