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NetApp Snapshot OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp Snapshot is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Data Replication tools. It is most often compared to NetApp SnapMirror: NetApp Snapshot vs NetApp SnapMirror

What is NetApp Snapshot?

NetApp Snapshot point-in-time copy software protects data with no performance impact and uses minimal storage space.

NetApp Snapshot Buyer's Guide

Download the NetApp Snapshot Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

NetApp Snapshot Customers

Mazda

NetApp Snapshot Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NetApp Snapshot pricing:
  • "As far as their licensing costs, the licensing is paid on a yearly basis. The organization pays for the licensing based on the software and the capacity that they choose."

NetApp Snapshot Reviews

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Gregg Norton
ERP Systems Manager at TTi Power Equipment
Real User
Top 10Leaderboard
Very user-friendly, extremely stable, and scalable

Pros and Cons

  • "From a functional standpoint, it's been, pretty much bulletproof. I have never gone to a snapshot and not been able to do what I needed to do."
  • "The UI is probably their biggest weakness. There are always glitches in the HTML UI."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution to protect data in the cloud and data in the data center.

If something such as ransomeware comes along and corrupts our production data, I roll the volumes back to the last snapshot. More commonly, somebody deletes or corrupts a file inadvertently. In some cases we can roll back to the last Snapshot, however, that usually isn't a viable option because other data in the volume would be lost. That said, the system gives me the ability to mount up a Snapshot, go get the data that they were looking for, and move it back to where they need it.

What is most valuable?

I really believe the NetApp product is awesome. There may be others in niche spaces that can fill a particular use case better than NetApp, but in our environment, Netapp is currently our go-to product line. Pure could be an example of this. At some point in time, I may have something that provides an even  less expensive alternative, but for the moment NetApp's my vendor of choice. There will be specific use cases that bring other things into the data center, so I'm not a purist, however, we've had phenomenal success with NetApp and their support. It's been a great relationship for the entire duration. They have evolved well technologically, they've done a great job of getting past the idea of being a vendor for spinning disks. They've really repositioned themselves as a management system for your data regardless of where it resides. I just can't speak highly enough.

Snapshot, SnapMirror, and SnapVault have worked really well for us over the years. The next piece of that puzzle that we will be adding is data tiering, particularly as we start to move some of the stuff that I currently house on SATA disk (e.g.departmental shares, user shares, etc.). There's a lot of that data that's accessed frequently, and there's a lot of that data that's not. 

NetApp's FabricPool technology will allow me to basically set up a series of rules and then tell it, "Okay, go do it." And the minute the block becomes hot, it brings it back into my data center. The minute the block becomes not, it goes out into warm storage. If it cools down even further it goes to cheaper and deeper storage, and it's capable of sitting there and moving them in and out as it needs to. There's a lot of promise there because the cloud is never cheaper than on-prem until you can take advantage of some of that cheap and deep stuff.

The integration with the cloud is seamless. They have a singular management interface that makes it so you don't really have to know or care where the data resides.

The greatest value in the snapshot technology lies in the fact that we can mirror these snapshots to a remote site. In fact, one of the features that will be enabled that I have been looking forward to -- and it's been around for a while now, but it's still above the version I'm running -- is a continuous data protection scheme with near real-time mirroring. A lot of times my snapshot schedule might be every hour. By definition, if I snap it and mirror it every hour I could lose, 59 minutes and 59 seconds worth of data.  In most cases, that is acceptable for our business.  With the addition of synchronous mirroring, we can further protect more critical data.

Because of Snap Mirror and Snap Vault, I can keep (for example) two weeks' worth of data on my primary storage, yet I can keep a year's worth of weekly backups on the remote array. If somebody says "Gosh, you know, we had this file. I don't know exactly when we deleted it, but the last time we knew we had, it was March." Then I have those weekly snapshots and can go and try to recover that data for them. It's not as slick as it could be. Most traditional backup solutions will allow me to just type in the file name, and it would tell me where the data is.  With the NetApp snapshot approach, the search really very manual, but it is doable, and It does give us a longer-term retention strategy. The snapshots are immutable, so if I end up getting ransomware or something like that, we have the facility to roll back.

From a functional standpoint, it's been, pretty much bulletproof. I have never gone to a snapshot and not been able to do what I needed to do.

It's extremely user-friendly, it is a set it and forget it kind of setup.

What needs improvement?

It would be ideal if snapshots were searchable. It's a very manual activity. If I have to go looking for a file in a stack of snapshots, it's mount one and look, mount another and look, etc. That's one of the things that traditional backup products bring to the table, that to my knowledge, NetApp does not. I'm not sure whether or not they ever will. They are very tightly partnered with backup vendors like Rubrik, so they may leave searchability as a third-party option.  I can't say with certainty.  I don't necessarily have all the software that Netapp makes available, so for us, some parts, like grabbing files, is very manual.  I'm more focused in the coming year on adding better management tools and cloud than I am worrying about occasionally having to go get a file by hand.

The UI is probably their biggest weakness. There are always glitches in the HTML UI, but those are minor annoyances. They're not functional problems. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've worked with the solution for 15 years. We were an EMC shop for quite a while, but we  moved to NetApp, and we have never looked back.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. It's pretty much bulletproof.  As with all vendors, there are periodic software updates, bug fixes, and security updates, but I am not aware of any direct connection between the updates and the snapshots per se.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good, if I want to add more storage, I just add more storage. It happens all the time.

There are some limits to the size of the aggregates, however, that's never been an issue for us. We're talking in large numbers of terabytes before you hit that. It's really a function of the size of the disks in the aggregates.

All of our users store data on the Netapp, but that is completely transparent to them.  The only person that uses the software interfaces is me. I'm the only one that administers the product.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never had to call technical support for an issue regarding snapshots. It's a very stable technology so there are very few issues.

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

Previously, we were using EMC. That was really before I had any involvement with our storage apparatus. I was part of the same team, but I was not 'the storage guy', so I really can't speak to the motivation for our changing storage providers.

When Netapp came into our environment, my immediate supervisor said, "Hey, I need to start backing off from some of the tactical work. Would you look at taking this over?" After that, bit by bit, starting in 2007, I started learning more and more and more about NetApp, and eventually when he moved on, I took over his job, so I inherited the solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is fundamental to the product, so architecting the correct solution is the primary effort during implementation. You can mirror at the volume level or an entire storage virtual machine. With MetroClusters, there are even more alternatives, but we are not currently using that technology.  The point is that there are different levels that you can mirror, and snap. It's an integral part of the product. That has more to do with why we bought NetApp than just its management of local disks.

What about the implementation team?

We have an implementation partner that assists us with engineering the solution.

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers. We don't have a business relationship with the company.

A lot of our data protection strategy is still centered around NetApp.

We will be, over the next three years, migrating to a more cloud-enabled strategy that will still be centered around Netapp technology.  We looked at all on-prem, cloud as much as possible, and a couple of points in between, but the problem with migrating from on-prem to cloud is that we were going to have to lift and shift a serious amount of data from the data center to the cloud.

If you account for ingress fees and all those sorts of things, that's just part of the cost of doing that kind of business, but data availability would have been grossly impacted, and we don't have enough of a downtime window anywhere in our scheduling to effectively do that. What we elected to do was go all on-prem, one more round.

Then we can figure out how to break the data transition to the cloud into smaller chunks. I bought five years of support for all my SSD-related hardware. I only bought three years for all my spinning disks. The plan is in the next three years to eliminate the need for spinning disks, but this buys me three years to move stuff to the cloud in a piecemeal fashion rather than trying to do it in a 'big bang'.

I'm a big fan of NetApp. I'm not saying that they're the only storage vendor I would ever do business with. The days of the data center having one of anything are kind of passing us by. In the modern data center, we're going to end up with tiered everything. You'll have multiple public clouds. You'll have a private cloud. You'll have multiple providers for storage, multiple providers for compute. And essentially what we all end up with eventually is a data center where if somebody wants to spin up a server, they pick items à la carte off a menu with a price at the bottom of the screen and say, "Okay, I can live with that."  The challenge will be to provide that level of service without incurring tremendous administrative overhead.

The Snapshot technology rides along with the management interface on the controllers. I'm using 9.3, and the latest is 9.6. When we bring the new hardware in January, we will immediately follow it with an upgrade project. There are some new features that they've enabled that we can take advantage of. I'm not currently in a position to talk about what all of those are. I've done some reading and pretty much said, "Huh, that'll be cool one day," and then discarded it from my mind. We have implementation partners who will help with "Here's what makes sense for you." I'm looking forward to getting there, however, we're a couple of versions behind.

They're pretty good at knowing what their marketplace is looking for. They are probably the most technologically proficient in the storage arena. There are other niche players that do one thing very well, and they might do it better than NetApp, however, when you look at storage as a whole, Netapp really stands out. It is the center of my IT universe. Everything else is helped out from it. I've got hosts that boot to it. I've got most of our VMs in NetApp volumes. If it is not in HCI, it's in the NetApp and that's probably 85% of our storage. It's significant. Between data and backup, I've got about a petabyte and a half.

I'd rate it at a nine out of ten because of the searchability issue, and as I've said, NetApp may have a solution for that in a software package that I do not own.  In the course of doing my job, I never have to sit there and worry about whether the storage technology is working right or not. It just does what it needs to do, and gives me the ability to focus on other things. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
GA
CEO at BDPR Technologies Limited
Real User
Top 5
Offers advanced backups with special capabilities and has the unique ability to clone

Pros and Cons

  • "This mature product is the leader in the backup industry with unique features and capabilities for users with advanced backup needs."
  • "NetApp needs to take a look at their pricing in comparison to the competition and make the appropriate change to attract more customers and gain in market share."

What is our primary use case?

One thing about Snapshot is that it can be used for so many things. Say, for example, I want to take a backup of my database at a scheduled time, I can take a snapshot of that on whatever schedule I want. The snapshot takes just a few seconds to record. During the capture and while taking the snapshot, the database is frozen for me for only a few seconds that the snapshot takes. I can now mount that particular snapshot — or any snapshot — and then begin to do a clone of this database. This means I do not have to take the database offline to do a backup.  

That is just one example of what this product can do. Many companies find it very, very useful to use this feature for their backup purposes. I do understand that quite a number of enterprise-class backup solutions like NetBackup and other backup solutions in this category now have integrated snapshots into their solutions as well following NetApp's lead. It just shows that other companies are aware of the fact that it is a very good feature as a way of dealing with backups.  

In another case, some of my customers do backups every hour and some backup every two hours, depending on their requirements. The reason for that is they want to protect themselves in case there is any corruption or anything happens to their data. If so, they can roll back to the most current and the most useful version of their database.  

Snapshot also comes in very handy with their cloning feature. Say, for example, you want to create a new product and you want to make sure that you test the product on your live database, but you obviously do not want your development to have any impact on your live database. This is an instance where it is useful to do what NetApp calls a clone.  

You create the clone and a current snapshot is embedded in the clone. So now you can take a copy of that volume of whatever you wanted to clone, and then you can begin to use this for the development of your new product. The footprint is very small in the sense that it is already data that you modified and that takes up very little space. You cannot modify any of the live data and you cannot add any new data. The actual memory space that you are using by working with the clone is almost zero but it is the same data captured at the moment where the snapshot was created.  

So those are a few very good advantages that the Snapshot product has. The ability to clone is unique. The cloning feature is called FlexClone.  

What needs improvement?

In the FlexClone, I currently have not seen a need for any particular improvements because it is already so flexible and so robust. I do not think that most of my customers have actually exercised the features that are already embedded within the design of FlexClone.  

I am not seeing how these features that the customers already have but do not often need to take advantage of really need to be improved. They are very useful when needed, but just are not often used. We are talking about clients in demanding industries like in banking and financial industries, and also in oil and gas. If they do not need more functionality and can perform the tasks that they need without interruption because of the current feature set, there is really nothing to add.  

There is one thing about documentation. The documentation is always very good. But you know, there are some people who are very lazy when it comes to reading documents. This is more of a problem than the application.  

If there is a problem with the product itself, I don't know what it is. If NetApp wants to have a bigger share of the market, I would suggest they look at the pricing in comparison to the competition and make the appropriate change. The pricing should be lowered. If the pricing could be made more attractive, then without a doubt they are going to have more customers and they will advance in the marketplace. No doubt about that.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with NetApp Snapshot for about 16 years as a reseller.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

NetApp is extremely stable. No doubt about that.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. For example, if you start with the most elementary package, you can easily migrate to the mid-range package. All you need to do is change your contracts. Once you address your contracts, the product is already scaled to the mid-range. The same thing applies to the enterprise. Because of the way it is structured, you have the entire structure of the product already there. The solution that we use for the entry-level is the same solution that we use for the mid-range and also the same structure we use for the enterprise version. So the only thing that makes a difference are the contracts. This structure makes it very easy to scale — vertically and also horizontally. So the scalability aspect of the product is very, very good.  

We have all types of customers. Our clients are small, medium or enterprise companies. If they are a small company just starting, there is a NetApp version for them and they can start with the minimum contract. If they are a medium-sized company, there is a version available for their needs. If they are an enterprise-class company, they can start with the enterprise contract. Mid-sized and small clients can scale up as they need to just by paying more to upgrade the contract. It is very scalable.  

One last thing is that you can have both NAS (Network-attached Storage) and SAN (Storage Area Network) in the same storage component. So when they buy the product they can use the same storage for both NAS and SAN and everything is embedded in the system.  

How are customer service and technical support?

When it comes to the technical support system, they keep tabs on whatever they know has been reported and what has been resolved as far as bugs. They know what patches or updates were issued to resolve the problem. If you have any issues, you report them straight-away. All the people within the loop of the support team are copied on the report so they all know what is going on. That information is also available to the central support family as if you have one dedicated technical service representative.  

They take immediate action to make sure that whatever problem has been reported is taken care of within the specified time that you purchase from NetApp. So if you purchase to have a resolution within four hours or within twelve hours, as long as the fix is available, you will receive your resolution within that time. To the best of my knowledge, NetApp has been able to keep to those timelines and meet the demands.  

If it is the next delivery day, then they will send the bug fix to your office. It is very easy to repair things. You locate the component that needs to be replaced, you remove it and put in the new one and you are ready to go, straight-away. It is very easy.  

How was the initial setup?

In my old position as the managing director of the company, I did not go into that level of detail with the clients as far as being directly involved in the setup. There were other people who we sent out on location. So I have a broad overview of what NetApp software needs for the setup.  

I think that NetApp is very easy to set up. To put it in perspective for someone that has never worked with this product before, this usually means that they will be starting a migration into NetApp. They start this by doing the initial installation of NetApp. Then they create your aggregate data set, then you create your volumes, then you create your nodes. Then you map your nodes to your server and then you are good to go. So it is very straightforward from that perspective. It may be more complex if a client has special requirements. This is the same for most products.  

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

As far as their licensing costs, the licensing is paid on a yearly basis. The organization pays for the licensing based on the software and the capacity that they choose. Once the license expires, you can renew it for another year up to the time that the software is supported. As soon as the support ends for the software it is unavailable. You have to update the license and you need to re-purchase storage.  

Updating is really not an alternative anyway in a competitive market because technology is not stagnant. Technologies advance for many reasons and there are more capabilities available all the time. It is much better for the user if they make sure to keep tabs on the technological advancements.  

What other advice do I have?

My advice to people who are considering NetApp as a solution is that rather than just looking at the solution and what it does, they should look at it in relation to their business requirements.  

I believe that the sophistication of Snapshot is not necessary for every company because of what you have to pay for it. Any company that needs to make backups can use the products from any vendor who sells a product in this category because the product is going to make the backups. The advantage you have with Snapshot, in addition, is to have the availability to make very quick backups. So even if you do not want to use the resources to backup data by uploading it to separate storage, your backup is still available for you intact within NetApp, and you can then do the uploading. So that is a very good feature. No doubt about that.  

But this idea of evaluating need applies to all companies with respect to what they are doing. They need to consider which product fits them.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this NetApp Snapshot product as a ten-out-of-ten.  

In the case of Snapshot, you can quickly grasp how to use something within a minute by reading the documentation. Instantly, after you start using it, the process always becomes ingrained in your brain. The software is so well developed and mature that the processes are not changing often. To the best of my knowledge as someone who is using NetApp for 14 years, it is an important thing to have the processes in the application as well-thought-out and stable. Although there have been improvements over time, NetApp is a very stable application that is easy to stay familiar with.  

In fact, it may not be the application that needs to change so much as the clients using it. They may need to get some storage devices replaced because of the Snapshot features are so robust. That is also how NetApp gained ground in the market with that particular app: by being the leader.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Learn what your peers think about NetApp Snapshot. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
542,267 professionals have used our research since 2012.
SH
System Administrator at a engineering company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Reliable solution that works very smoothly and performs well

Pros and Cons

  • "SnapMirror and Snapshot are both very reliable products."
  • "The company could update their products more regularly."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use of SnapMirror and Snapshot is for site to site replication. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the console which is the on top command that we use daily. The console is very nice for viewing and we really do use it on a daily basis. They also throw in file arms and disk size. 

We normally have two VR sites that we just replicate. We'll start it in the evening and already by the next day we can see that the replication time rate is moving, the turnover rate is verified and there's no issue. I believe that there's now a new NetApp with flash and lots of other features, although I don't remember the name of the hardware.

What needs improvement?

For improving the product, I would suggest that NetApp update their products more often. It's possible that I might only get one update in a two-year period. Other products seem to have more regular updates. 

Also, we use two controllers in our company. If I have a hard disk in the first controller, it can't be used in the second one to virtualize. There will be a motion but it's not a new motion. It isn't synchronized. If I use a SATA (computer bus interface) in the first controller, I can't use it in the second. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using NetApp Snapshot and NetApp SnapMirror for about nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is an amazing solution. In the nine years we've been using it we've never had any downtime and no issues regarding updating and new parts. My manager is also very happy with NetApp. Last month we had a problem with the backend because NetApp was creating duplicate snapshots. But otherwise there have been no problems with the product, no problem with the console, it works very smoothly, it's fun and has no issues. I have nothing bad to say about NetApp. They are always good. Even when our hard disk crashed, we received the new hard disk within 24 hours. So there's no issue there, they perform very well. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're not necessarily planning to switch. When we want to bring in new products we need to have a commercial technical evaluation, so we bring in around two or three people to suggest options. I will give you an example: It's like purchasing a car. When I go to the showroom, I will tell the salesman that I want a Mercedes Benz. He will tell me, don't buy a Mercedes, it has no extra features, take a Porsche. So Dell and NetApp are like a Mercedes Benz and Porsche. They are in competition and Mercedes Benz is trying to reach the level of Porsche.

What other advice do I have?

Our license is coming to an end shortly, at the end of the year, and we will lose the warranty so we're planning on implementing a replacement. We need to get proposals for the new NetApp or new Dell and see who is the winner. Dell has come up with other features, so there's a lot going on now. 

I would rate this product 10 out of 10. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SM
Solutions Engineer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Very good repurposing and backup features with an easy initial setup

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features of the solution are the repurposing and backup features."
  • "The solution could include more databases and make it accessible to the DBAs. The automation process should be run in a way where it could be run from the database itself."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use of the solution is mainly for backup and recovery. We also use it for repurposing the workloads.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of the solution are the repurposing and backup features.

What needs improvement?

The solution could include more databases and make it accessible to the DBAs. The automation process should be run in a way where it could be run from the database itself.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using the solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, it’s very good. We've never lost anything. The only downside, I would say, is it does take a while to browse through. Sometimes I wait for maybe three minutes for something to come back so that I can get a proper listing and find what I need. If it's used with SnapManager, it does take long to update from the GUI.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Right now, we don’t plan to increase usage. We have 150-200 people on the solution currently. We will still use the solution, but not so extensively.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. However, sometimes we are put in touch with an agent that is not so knowledgable.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. Deployment took about three weeks.

What about the implementation team?

Mostly we handled the deployment ourselves, however, we did hire a consultant to assist us with implementation.

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

We bought the license with the machine, so we put everything together and paid for a bundle.

What other advice do I have?

We use a hybrid deployment model.

If you do have a storage device, I would strongly recommend that you implement it, especially with the ransomware that's going around. It offers quick recoveries for users, especially on file servers.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Thushara Bandara
Software Engineer at ISM APAC
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Straightforward to install and offers good integration with Azure

Pros and Cons

  • "We are able to easily do Azure backups and restores."
  • "The dashboards are in need of improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We have VMs deployed throughout the organization and we use this solution to take storage snapshots at the VM-level.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the integration with Azure. We are able to easily do Azure backups and restores.

What needs improvement?

The dashboards are in need of improvement.

The configuration could be improved by providing more options, in particular, during the initial setup phase.

It would be helpful if more functionality could be built around migrating files from on-premises to Azure because we have had issues when using Snapshot with very large database files, from 18 TB to 32 TB.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using NetApp Snapshot for more than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

NetApp Snapshot is stable and we have been depending on it for more than two years.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had to contact technical support a couple of times because of some issues that we were facing, and we are satisfied with the support. Our issues were resolved.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward, although if they provided more options then it would be better. I cannot recall the length of time required to deploy the solution, but one of the restorations that I performed recently took three hours.

What other advice do I have?

NetApp Snapshot is a product that we depend on and I recommend. It has helped us in the case of installations and other issues. Our main complaints are about the dashboard and configuration options.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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