If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
Make sure that you can stay operational when Azure is doing their maintenance. Make sure you fully understand how the failover and the give-back process works, so that you can deal with your maintenance.
NetApp, on the whole, is a whole different tool for me. Two years back, when I started, when I had my hands on it for the first time, I found it pretty interesting. I would note its simplicity. It's simple and, at the same, time very powerful and able to handle any sort of storage workloads. NetApp is really cool. If your organization is looking for cost savings, NetApp is the way to go. Overall, I would rate CVO a nine out of 10. We had a lot of problems with NetApp, but those were in the very early stages. And NetApp always promises to upgrade their products and they actually listen to the customer's problems. We have raised a couple of defects with NetApp, and they have always been supportive, getting these resolved as soon as possible. The NetApp organization, on the whole, is pretty good. They're coming up with go-to-market products like Azure NetApp Files, etc., which is actually the beta version of Azure Sites.
My main advice is to get your cloud technical support online. Make sure you have all the prerequisites properly done and you understand how to deploy the Cloud Manager. That's really the main thing. Anytime we want to deploy new sites, we have to get the network people involved for firewalls because in our case, we're coming from Azure, which is where the CVO is, back into our company's network. The security protection is the most important lesson that you've got to get right. The security of your connections is important. I would rate NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP a ten out of ten.
I would rate this solution a nine out of 10.
The product is secure. Cloud Manager also works quickly. I would rate Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a nine (out of 10).
I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).
It's not a managed solution, so a person who uses this solution should have some prior knowledge using NetApp storage. It is your responsibility to manage the solution. CVO does provide unified storage, We use CVO's cloud resource performance monitoring. It provides you overall performance stats, such as your disk level, your egress traffic going from the disk, the read/write, random data and sequential data. But for databases, you need specific tools like DB Classify. While CVO does give you information, it doesn't give information at a more granular level. It only provides information from the disk side, such as the IOPS and the throughput you're getting. But there are other things that play a vital role, such as your instance size or type. If your instance-type or size configuration is not properly configured or if it is fighting for resources, you won't get a good performance. In conclusion, it provides a holistic view, but when you want to drill down you need different tools to look at the subsystem level, like the DB or application level. CVO provides quite good file services that no other cloud provider offers so far, from what I have seen. It has all the mechanisms, such as NFS and SMB and it has multi-protocol. It does provide exactly what a normal storage system provides. The thing it misses is performance/fault tolerance.
Be careful while choosing the instance size, and manage the aggregate size as carefully. Otherwise, you'll just end up paying a lot of money. The biggest lesson I have learned from using this is exactly those two things. I noticed that I need to size the instance carefully, and I need to make sure that the EBS volume sizes that I use are not too underutilized.
We don't use the solution’s cloud resource performance monitoring. I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10).
It is almost identical to having a real NetApp, and it's just that it's remote and it's in the cloud. Almost anything you can do with NetApp locally you can do with a cloud filer. Go with the cheapest disks to start with, and if you need the performance you can easily transition to using faster disks. There are limitations, but in general it's robust and easily managed.
I would rate it as a 10 out of 10. I've been using the solution for a number of years. I have watched it increasingly get better, not worse. The solution’s Snapshot copies and thin clones has affected our application development speed by speeding it up. However, we do so much through Ansible that this is really irrelevant. Theoretically, you should never care about your virtual machines. Your data should always be on NFS or CIFS exports so if a virtual machine gets messed up, you just blow it away and redeploy it. I can redeploy it faster than you can log into it and troubleshoot it, but the data's always here. With dedupe compression, it does reduce our organizational footprint. Unfortunately, we have to hold on to everything for 20 years. We are getting ready to use the solution’s inline encryption using SnapMirror.
My advice to anybody who is researching this type of solution is to definitely take a look at NetApp for all of the cloud-specific products that are out there now. I think that NetApp is definitely a leader when it comes to the cloud approach, especially compared to other storage vendors like Pure. Pure is definitely playing catch-up to NetApp. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
I would rate it a nine out of a ten. I give it this rating because of my experience with it and the ease of implementation. To make it a ten it wouldn't cost money. My advice to someone considering this solution would be to go for it.
Definitely check out this file solution. We are using that and the cloud solution. It's something you need to see in your environment if you are not using it yet. NetApp is nine out of ten. If we address the air gap concern, it would be a ten.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
The speed to market with the encryption has really been a nagging thing for a lot of folks in our industry, so I'm glad to see that they're finally getting around to encrypting things, including the traffic in between SnapMirrors. NetApp has been around for a long time. They're an established company and there's a lot of big companies using NetApp, so I think that the new stands for itself. When you're comparing it to other companies in the industry, NetApp is one of the leaders. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
I have no problems with this solution at all. My advice for anybody who is researching this type of solution is to take a serious look at NetApp. They have products that are very flexible, extremely reliable, they're cost-competitive with other storage solutions, and their support is outstanding. There is always room for enhancement, but what it does, it does very well. I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
I love this solution. They have a lot of features and they explore the market really well, whereas other vendors fail to do those things. ONTAP keeps evolving with the needs of the market and follows the trends. I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
I would rate it a nine out of ten because of the simplicity of the DR is amazing. You just set it up. If there are any issues bringing it back, bringing it online in a DR site just takes a few minutes and then you're back up online again. The advice that I would give to anybody considering ONTAP is to give it a try. That's how I learned. I didn't know anything about the cloud. Then our company just started telling us that we were moving everything to the cloud and we had to learn about it. That's how we learned and moved everything to the cloud.
Try not to focus only on the current issues, but also look into the innovation process of NetApp. It is very impressive how they have been able to develop and continue trying to develop products for the cloud. Try to gain a deeper understanding of established needs and requirements for files and blocks. I would rate this solution as ten out of ten.
If Snapshot copies and FlexClones are licensed they work great. The challenge is that the client will not always get the FlexClone license, then it is more difficult to provide it in the future. Some of our older clients do not have a license for FlexClone, so the recovery of snapshot data can be problematic. In some cases, they use inline encryption using SnapMirror, but not often. Inline encryption addresses concerns of data security, as well as using Snapshot. If it is encrypted and it's not near encrypted traffic, then it has less chance of being accessed by someone. I don't work with application development, so I can't address whether or not snapshot copies and Flexcone affect their application, but for testing environments where we have to update with batches made for maintenance, yes, it allows you to provision, to test, and it validates the stability of the testing and updates releases. The clients included me in the decision making. Each has its pros and cons, but with NetApp, this is a NetApp to NetApp product. With Windows backup solutions, it can be from any storage platform to any cloud also. In different ways, they have different workflows with different approaches, but you know each of them is meeting with its business objective, giving you a good balance. My advice would be to try it first, figure out all of the kinks that might come up, have the proper resources from NetApp lined up to provide you support, and don't give up because it works in the end. I would rate this solution a six out of ten.
Work with your resources in different ways, as far as in NetApp in the partner community. But bigger than that, just ask questions. Everybody seems willing to help move the solution forward. The biggest advice is just ask when you don't know, because there is so much to know. I would rate the solution as a nine (out of 10). We're not using inline encryption right now.
This company that I work for now is just acquiring quite a bit of NetApp equipment. We will be doing SnapMirror. I have done it in the past at another company. It does exactly what it does, and it does it well. It works, and that's what really matters at the end the day: uptime, functionality, and scalability. I would rate it a nine out of 10. There is always room for improvement. No one is ever going to be a 10.
We are a big NFS shop, so ONTAP is a great fit for us. If you are an NFS shop then I would recommend getting ONTAP. I would rate ONTAP a nine out of ten. Not a perfect ten because it's not very efficient with upgrades and management.
Take a look at it, try it yourself. It's one month for free, with no licensing costs from NetApp. Try it out. It doesn't cost anything but some of your time. It's pretty simple to run and see how it works. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten. It's not a ten because the multi-cloud has to be in three layers.
I would recommend NetApp any day, at any time, because there's so much hard work in it. It's more open and transparent. Nobody is coming from NetApp, saying, "We're going to sell this gimmick." Then, you view all the good stuff but begin to realize, "This is not what they promised." For this reason, I would recommend NetApp. They make sure the solution fits our needs. It's not, "Okay, we'll go to the customer site and tell what we feel like regarding their products." Even if it fits or not, it doesn't affect that they've gone through the door. A lot of people do that. NetApp makes an assessment, then they make sure, "Okay, it does fit in." The product: I would give it an eight (out of 10). The company: It's a six (out of 10). We have not yet implemented the solution to move data between hyperscalers and our on-premises environment. It's just from our NetApps to the cloud, not from the hybrid. The RVM team is planning on that. So, they can have the whole untouched thing put on the cloud rather than being hosted on our data stores.
For somebody who's never used it before, the biggest thing is ease of use. In terms of advice, as long as you design your implementation correctly, it should be fine. I would do the due diligence on the front-end to determine how you want to utilize it before you deploy. We have over 3,000 users of the solution who have access to snapshots, etc. but only to their own data. We have multiple SVMs per business unit and a locked-down security on that. Only individuals who own data have access to it. We are officially like a utility. We give them storage space. We give them the ability to use it and then they maintain their data. From an IT perspective, we can't really discern what is business-critical and what isn't to a specific business unit. We're global, we're not just U.S., we're all over the world. We've gone into doing HA. It's the same as what's on-prem, and HA on-prem is something we've always done. When we would buy a filer for on-premise, we'd always buy a two-node HA filer with a switch back-end to be able to maintain the environment. The other nice thing, from an on-prem perspective with a switched environment, is that we can inject and eject nodes. We can do a zero-downtime lifecycle. We can inject new nodes and mirror the data to the new nodes. Once everything's on those new nodes, eject the old nodes and we will have effectively lifecycled the environment, without having to take any downtime. Data ONTAP works really well for that. The only thing to be aware of is that to inject new nodes into an existing cluster, they have to be at the same version of Data ONTAP. In terms of provisioning, we keep that locked down because we don't want them running us out of space. We have a ticketing system where users request storage allocation and the NAS team, which supports the NetApp infrastructure, will allocate the space with the shares, to start out. After that, our second-level support teams, our DSC (distributed service center) will maintain the volumes from a size perspective. If something starts to get near-full, they will automatically allocate additional space. The reason we have that in place is that if it tries to grow rapidly, like if there's an application that's out of control and just keeps spinning up and eating more and more of the utilization, it gives us the ability to stop that and get with the user before they go from using a couple a hundred gigs to multiple terabytes, which would cost them X amount. There is the ability to auto-grow. We just don't use it in our environment. In terms of the data protection provided by the solution's disaster recovery technology, we use that a lot. Prior to clustered ONTAP - this is going back to 7-Mode - there was the ability to auto-DR with a single command. That gave us the ability to do a cut-over to another environment and automatically fail. We're currently using WFA to do that because, when they first came out with cluster mode, they didn't have the ability to auto-DR. I have not looked into whether they've made auto-DR a feature in these later versions of Data ONTAP. OnCommand Cloud Manager doesn't allow you to do DR-type stuff. There are other things within the suite of the cloud environment that you can do: There's Cloud Sync which allows you to create a data broker and sync between CIFS shares or NFS mounts into an S3 bucket back-end. There's a lot of stuff that you can do there, but that's getting into the other product lines. As for using it to deploy Kubernetes, we are working through that right now. That process is going well. We've really just started getting through it and it hasn't been overly complicated. Cloud Volumes ONTAP's capabilities for deploying Kubernetes means it's been fairly easy. In terms of the cloud, one thing that has made things a little easier is that previously, within the AWS environment, we used to have to create a virtual filer in each of our subscriptions or accounts because we really wanted the filer to be close to the database instances or the servers within that same account, without traversing VPCs. Now, since they have given us the ability to do VPC peering, we can create an overarching primary account and then have it talk to all the instances within that storage account, or subscription in Azure, without having to have one spun up in every single subscription or account. We have a lot of accounts so it has allowed us to reel that back by creating larger HA components in a single account and then give access through VPCs to the other accounts. All that traffic stays within Azure or AWS. That saves money because we don't have to pay them for multiple subscriptions of Cloud Volumes ONTAP and/or additional virtual filers. For my use, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a ten out of ten.
Don't be afraid of granting permissions because that's one of the most complex parts, but that's Azure. As soon as you've done that, it's easy and straightforward. When you do it the first time you'll think, "Oh, why is it so complicated?" That's native Azure. The biggest lesson I've learned from using Cloud Volumes ONTAP is that from an optimization standpoint, our on-premise instance was a lot more complex than it had to be. That's was a big lesson because Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a very easy, light, wide service. You just use it and it doesn't require that much configuring. You can just use the standards which come from NetApp and that was something we didn't do with our on-premise environment. In terms of disaster recovery, we have not used Cloud Volumes ONTAP in production yet. We've tested it to see if we could adopt Cloud Volumes ONTAP for that scenario, to migrate all our offloads or all our storage footprint we have on-premise to Cloud Volumes ONTAP. We're still evaluating it. We've done a lot of cost-comparison, which looks pretty good. But we are still facing a little technical problem because we're a CSP (cloud service provider). We're on the way to having Microsoft fix that. It's a Microsoft issue, not a NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP issue. I would rate the solution at eight out of ten. There are improvements they need to make for scale-up and scale-out.
Implement it. Do not think about it. It's very simple and very useful.
It's NetApp. It's what we know. Our NetApp on-prem has been really good, so we continue to maintain that. There is a 30-day trial that you can use to get a feel for it. You can work with NetApp in case you have questions in deploying it. They're helpful with that. If you're planning big, to deploy in several sites or a few systems, and you have plans for the future, you can always talk with NetApp and work on getting the right price for you and what makes sense. It depends on your growth and how big your footprint is. They will help you, of course. I would rate it between nine and ten out of ten. I don't have any complaints. Maybe it could be cheaper but as for how it functions, it's really doing what it needs to do.
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I would rate ONTAP as an eight. It has a lot of great features, some features that we didn't even know we needed until we talked with our account team and they walked us through some of the reasons for some of those features and then we look at implementing them. The stability of the environment really helps us have that as a key solution for our organization. In terms of advice I would give a fellow colleague or friend about implementing ONTAP, it would be to just continue to work with your account team to make sure that you're finding the right solution to fit your workload need. We have a very generic workload in terms of virtual machines infrastructure. NetApp really provides a great solution there for us in that environment.
We have not started using the cloud version. We are using the on-premise version with FlexPod.
I would recommend NetApp because it is a stable product. The AWS and on-premise versions of the product are about the same. It is currently not being used in the AWS environment. It is just being tested. The integration and configuration seemed okay.
NetApp is a user-friendly solution. I would recommend it to colleagues, because of its user-friendliness for implementation and running your operations. I use the on-premise version of this product. Our company is in the transition to the cloud. We are focused on cloud solutions going forward.
We are making good use of the product. It has a lot of features and is an efficient/stable product. The recovery using Snapshots is a big plus, alongside the flexibility in volume creation for Unix, as well as Windows environments. Its challenges are on the learning curve, as well as its pricing could be improved.
Talk to any peer you can find about what products they looked at. We spoke to a dozen peer institutions - universities, colleges - about what they were doing for file services. We found a lot that were failing and a lot that were successful. The successful ones were mostly on NetApp. It's a very solid product. I've been using if for about seven years, and it's been mostly bulletproof. They have very good support and a very good quality hard drive. We use it for mission-critical applications but less than we used to. A lot of our mission-critical stuff is now going out to cloud. That's why I'm here at NetApp Insight 2018, to see how we can tie this into the cloud. Absolutely, all of the university's "crown jewels" used to be on NetApp storage. Now, some have gone out to AWS and we're integrating into AWS more and more. For example, Blackboard is no longer running off out NetApp storage. It's now running out of the cloud. The same is true for all the financial stuff, all the Workday and the like. They've moved off of NetApp and out to the cloud. In terms of machine-learning, AI, real-time analytics, and those kinds of ground-breaking apps for storage, that's more the research support side. We're not doing that. We're doing more of the general file systems support, for general-purpose use. I don't have any opinion about NVME over Fabrics, I haven't researched it yet. We bought our equipment through Sirius Computer Solutions, and we're very pleased with that. They care. We've had a couple different senior salespeople with them over the years and they've both been excellent. They're very committed to their customers. I rate NetApp ONTAP Cloud at eight out of then. I won't give a ten. There's always something that's better out there, but you're going to be paying double or triple for it. For the price, the quality of the hardware, the quality of the support, the features it offers, I'm thrilled with NetApp.
It functions and I think in the future it will be a reasonable method of getting NFS and the cloud. The most important factor that lead us to use OTC versus a native cloud storage solution was having enough fast capabilities and social capabilities. It is extremely important that our storage enable us to render and integrate on-premise systems with cloud services. Cloud integration is also very important for us in our selection of a future on-premise storage system. We use AWS cloud service. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: We are 95% on NetApp on-premise. We wanted compatibility with their on-premise solutions.
What do you like most about NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP?
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