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Sandeep Gawde
Principal Enterprise Architect at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Real-time dashboard is excellent for providing support and helps with decision-making at business level
Pros and Cons
  • "In terms of administration, the portal which provides the dashboard view is an excellent tool for operations. It gives you volume divisions, usage rates, which division is using how much data, and more. The operations portal is fantastic for the support team."
  • "The only area for improvement would be some guidance in terms of the future products that NetApp is planning on releasing. I would like to see communication around that or advice such as, "Hey, the world is moving towards this particular trend, and NetApp can help you do that." I do get promotional emails from NetApp, but customer-specific advice would be helpful, based on our use cases."

What is our primary use case?

We store our user documentation repository in NetApp. We are serving multiple divisions, and there are use cases grouped by divisions, by user access rights, et cetera. We also have specific requirements for the backups and restores.

How has it helped my organization?

The main use case for us in going with Cloud Volumes ONTAP was to ensure the IOPS or performance. There are other solutions available that are probably more cost-effective than NetApp, but given the criticality of our application, the performance expectations, and the availability, those were the factors that helped us to zero in on the NetApp solution.

What is most valuable?

In terms of administration, the portal which provides the dashboard view is an excellent tool for operations. It gives you volume divisions, usage rates, which division is using how much data, and more. The operations portal is fantastic for the support team.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides unified storage, no matter what kind of data you have. In terms of our data, it's mainly Word and PDF files, but we have a specific use case where applications are using XML files for document management.

What needs improvement?

The only area for improvement would be some guidance in terms of the future products that NetApp is planning on releasing. I would like to see communication around that or advice such as, "Hey, the world is moving towards this particular trend, and NetApp can help you do that." I do get promotional emails from NetApp, but customer-specific advice would be helpful, based on our use cases.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP in production in April of this year. But we had been working with the NetApp team before that, from October of 2020, to get the configuration right in the test environment. Overall, we have been using it for about one year and two months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There has been just one incident since we started using it, in which a node refresh needed to be done. The stability is pretty good with only one incident in 14 months. We're pretty happy with that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have been pretty impressed with the scalability because when we started, we had to immediately onboard two more divisions and it was pretty straightforward, once we had the base setup going. We were able to scale it up pretty quickly and we were able to do it on our own.

We are using Cloud Volumes ONTAP daily. Our departments are copying the files on it and sharing them. It's a part of their daily work.

At the project level, we are not looking to expand our usage of NetApp, but at the organizational level, there are plans. They are looking at additional use cases that can be  onboarded to NetApp.

How are customer service and support?

After we deployed we had a couple of queries in terms of optimizing uses. We raised a support ticket and the help was available within a couple of hours. They had people on a call supporting us.

We're pretty happy with the support we're getting and with our account manager. Everyone is prompt in responding, so we're quite happy.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We used a typical Windows file share. Then, when we moved to the cloud, we worked with Azure Files. But in terms of performance and stability, we found that NetApp was way ahead of the other solutions.

How was the initial setup?

Overall, the setup process was excellent. It was pretty straightforward but we also had NetApp engineers available and dedicated to us on a call when we were setting it up. To help us get going, there was tremendous support available, which was good.

The setup time was about six hours and there were about two hours during which we had conference calls with the NetApp team. 

What about the implementation team?

The NetApp team was very helpful. The engineers worked with us to understand our use cases and advised us on the configurations. They weren't just checking what we were doing but were contributing to the overall setup. That was a good experience.

What was our ROI?

It's too early to comment on ROI because we're just a little more than one year into a five-year business case. We'll probably see a return in the third or fourth year.

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

The pricing of this solution is definitely higher than what the typical Azure Files and AWS solutions charge, but given the features and the stability NetApp has provided, we are okay with it. We are not complaining about the pricing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Azure Files and the Amazon EFS file system.

The pros for NetApp were definitely the stability, performance, and availability, out-of-the-box. Even Cloud Volumes ONTAP can be set up in HA. With Azure as well as AWS, you have to have your own custom solutions on top of them. Another advantage with NetApp is the admin portal which has a very good dashboard. Because it gives a good view of usage in real time, decisions become easier for the business.

The only challenging part that we faced with NetApp was that it would have been good to have a sandbox available for a PoC scenario. Without it, what we had to do was get a trial license and set it up. With Azure and AWS, you go directly to the console and just provision it. With NetApp, we had that initial period where we had to set it up on a trial license for a month, and when that was getting close to expiring, we had to extend it.

What other advice do I have?

First and foremost, test the use cases where you need availability and performance as the key drivers for a solution. In those scenarios, NetApp is way ahead compared to what the competitors offer. But given the cost of the other solutions, there has to be a three- to five-year view if you are going to go with NetApp. You will not see a return on your investment after six months or one year.

I'm happy with the way it is handling our use cases and meeting our performance requirements.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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