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Buyer's Guide
Cloud Migration
July 2022
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Infrastructure Consultant - Storage, Global Infrastructure Services at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Top 10
Its data tiering helps keep storage costs under control
Pros and Cons
  • "With NetApp, you can integrate malware scanning or malware protection. This is something valuable that is not offered in SaaS solutions typically."
  • "If they could include clustering together multiple physical Cloud Volumes ONTAP devices as an option, that could be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to use NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for unstructured data storage, both for Windows and Linux-based machines. We use both from an NAS functionality perspective, along with SMB and NFS file shares/exports, for storing unstructured data.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution enabled us to deliver on our cloud-first strategy. It also provided us some savings and consolidation capabilities from a volume perspective where we can run with less management. We can run higher volumes of unstructured data and store higher volumes of unstructured data as compared to other solutions.

What is most valuable?

  • The data tiering capability
  • Deduplication
  • Compression

The data efficiencies are valuable, If we want to combine compression and deduplication.

It is valuable to us that it runs natively in Azure. 

Using this solution, we are also in control of our backups. In regards to disaster recovery, we don't have to rely on Azure or Microsoft to fail anything over. We are in control of backups and replication (or disaster recovery). 

With NetApp, you can integrate malware scanning or malware protection. This is something valuable that is not offered in SaaS solutions typically.

The solution provides us unified storage as long as it's unstructured data that can be accessed through a file share. We are in control of the portability of the data. We are not locked into Azure with this product. For example, if we wanted to go to AWS, there is that capability. If we wanted to pull this data or solution back to on-premises, there's that capability. Therefore, there is some flexibility in the control of the data versus being locked into a non-proprietary solution, e.g., just within Azure.

What needs improvement?

If they could include clustering together multiple physical Cloud Volumes ONTAP devices as an option, that could be helpful. 

The ease of data migration between devices could be improved somewhat. There is already some flexibility which is better than just migrating the data. However, that could potentially be further improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

Including the evaluation period, it has been over two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution has been great. A couple of interruptions that we had were not really related to the product. They were more related to Azure, where we had a couple of issues with actual Azure hosts which run the virtual storage device and Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There is a team of four people who are in the role of managing and administrating the devices. There are thousands of people who access it.

There is room for growth. We are just in the process of migrating an on-premise system. That will probably service 10,000 users. We started out using it mainly for unstructured data which would be less frequently used or Azure-native. Now, we are at the process of expansion. After using the product for a year and a half, we are comfortable migrating on-premises into our system.

How are customer service and technical support?

NetApp technical support is good. They are receptive and want to make sure that you succeed in using their product. Overall, their Professional Services, setup, and support for the past couple of years, in comparison to other large companies that I have used in the past (like Microsoft, IBM, or Dell EMC support), has been as good or better than their peers. 

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

We have used the NetApp solution on-premise with one of our outsourcing providers. We have used NetApp before in Canada. In the US, we used the Dell EMC NAS solution. So, we have had some experience with NetApp as our company has used NetApp in the past for years, but those solutions were not entirely cloud-based. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is unique in that it runs the same familiar operating system that you would run on the on-premise NetApp system with some differences and specifics to Azure. There are a lot of synergies, but basically it's the same operating system. A lot of the things work the same as they would using the on-premise NAS. Currently, we use the solution in Asia and North America.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is well-documented, so it's fairly straightforward. There are all these aspects where you need to have some understanding of what you want to achieve in the end. You also need to have in mind a final design of what the requirements are. Based on that, the initial setup is well-documented and not overly difficult.

Our initial deployment was a year and a half ago when things were fairly new for NetApp. Our environment was fairly complex because we needed an antivirus integration along with different things, so the initial setup took about two to three weeks. Then, setup of subsequent Cloud Volumes ONTAP devices, as we expanded the solution, would take one to three days. We followed the same steps that we established in the original deployment, and in some cases with a few improvements, incorporating lessons learned.

What about the implementation team?

We knew what capacity we required. We knew that we wanted to configure backups and deploy disaster recovery. We also knew that we wanted antivirus scanning and integration as well as malware protection on the system. Therefore, we identified the requirements, then worked initially with NetApp Professional Services to deploy the solution.

What was our ROI?

In the past, we were working with outsourcers on-premise. Even compared to just standard Azure or other solutions available, this solution has allowed for probably 50 percent, or in some cases, higher storage savings.

From a scale or scalability perspective, the more data you store, then the more you can save. For example, the more data you can tear down from SSDs (from premium storage down to Azure Blob), then the more you're going to save. Scale certainly matters because as the more data you store, then the higher savings you can achieve. 

There are storage efficiencies built into the product. The tiering helps with keeping the storage costs under control, i.e., the tiering from primary storage to Blob storage or object storage helps. Also, the storage efficiencies, deduplication, and compression help to keep storage costs under control. Depending on what solution you are coming off of, a 50 percent savings in storage costs is achievable.

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

Some flexibility around the licensing model would help. The product is licensed based on capacity. Basically, the largest capacity license that you can buy is 368 terabytes. At this point, NetApp is addressing some people's concerns around this. 

I can stack licenses, e.g., two, three, or more 368 terabyte licenses can be stacked. However, I would like to see some more flexibility because you can't remove disks that you added from Azure. You would need to delete a whole disk group. When you have highly utilized Cloud Volumes ONTAP systems, you can get into a situation where you can't remove disks. This is something that I run into, so you need some flexibility with the licensing. 

NetApp could perhaps allow temporary bursts of capacity on the 368 terabytes. For example, if I'm rearranging my disk groups or disk aggregates, then I could add to the existing capacity and move my data around within the system to optimize capacity, costs, and performance. After that, I could migrate off the set of disks that the appliance is using currently, move data around, and delete the original source, but still stay under the 368 terabyte capacity. However, to do that data movement, a couple of sets of disks have to be assigned. At the same time, you might temporarily exceed that 368 terabyte limit. Therefore, that is something that could potentially be improved. 

I understand why there is a cutoff. Because if you're licensed for 368 terabytes, you should be using 368 terabytes. However, keeping in line with the elastic nature of cloud and flexibility of the cloud, some bursting of that 368 terabyte license capacity should be allowed. I think that would a good idea.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Azure Files and just regular file servers in Azure. We also looked at a couple of other not well-known vendors who are in the cloud, like SoftNAS. Basically, when we were exploring options in the cloud over two years ago. Now, when we started kind of the journey of trying to see what was available in the cloud over two years ago, nobody had the capabilities of NetApp. To date, I don't find that there is real competition for NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP at the scale that they're doing it at. 

While I have been aware of Cloud Volumes ONTAP for probably over three years, it wasn't at the scale or refinement that we needed then. That's partly why we didn't go with that solution earlier. However, it met our requirements by the time we got on it.

The solution provides more granularity and feature-rich options than if we used management options provided by the native cloud service, like Azure.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
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.
Senior Software Consultant at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Seamless and resilient solution for database and server migration, with rock-solid stability and scalability
Pros and Cons
  • "Mature, resilient, and seamless database and server migration solution that's stable and scalable."
  • "The database schema conversion could be made more seamless for this solution. Widening the scope of features for database migration will also help."

What is our primary use case?

We used AWS Server Migration Service for database and server migrations. We used the solution for migration to cloud, as the primary business objective of the customer was reducing their data center footprint and moving to cloud, to wind up their data center.

How has it helped my organization?

The customer was interested in winding up their data center completely, and we ended up doing that.

They wanted to reduce their physical footprint and didn't want to invest in having their own IT and facilities, in terms of managing the data center. They also wanted to switch to more of an OpEx model, rather than the CapEx model.

A lot of their hardware infrastructure were legacy, so they had a choice of either going and refreshing their infrastructure and doing a large CapEx, or moving to cloud and incurring a migration project cost, then switching to OpEx.

They chose OpEx rather than the physical data center footprint, so they ended up winding up their in-house IT to a large extent. They only had people in a service manager capacity and an application manager capacity, and they winded up their infrastructure in-house IT teams, data center facilities, electricity requirements, etc.

What is most valuable?

What we leveraged to their fullest capacity were the database migration and server migration features of AWS Server Migration Service.

I also like that this solution is mature, seamless, and resilient.

What needs improvement?

There were some hiccups during the database migration in terms of schema migrations, in particular, there were some technical limitations, though I'm not able to fully recall. Apart from that, AWS Server Migration Service was okay.

Because of the technical limitations, we had to change our migration strategy and had to do some convergence before we can do the migrations. We had to look into work-arounds, and that resulted into delays, but for 90% of the databases, we were able to do the migrations using the native methods.

If the database schema conversion could be made more seamless for AWS Server Migration Service, it would help. There were also some elements that were not built-in for database migration, so if they can widen the scope of those features, that could make this solution better.

For how long have I used the solution?

We used AWS Server Migration Service for almost a year, and my last usage of it was six months ago in a past project.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of AWS Server Migration Service is rock-solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of AWS Server Migration Service is fantastic.

How are customer service and support?

We had to engage with the AWS Server Migration Service technical support team multiple times. Most of the time, I like their response time and how they solve issues, but on rare occasions, it was hard to get hold of someone who can actively and closely work with you, and really give you a scheduled time for one-to-one interactions.

In most of the cases, they prefer interacting over emails, but there are rare occasions when we needed them to sit with us, figure out where the issue is, and have troubleshooting sessions. That was the challenging part with their support, but in a broad sense, they were okay.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for AWS Server Migration Service was complex in terms of designing the landing zone and figuring it out. It became easier because we had third-party consultants who helped us with the onboarding, e.g. just for figuring out the best landing zone technological requirements, but it's complex.

The initial deployment of AWS Server Migration Service after the landing zone design took a very small amount of time, e.g. within weeks. Once the design was finalized, the landing zone implementation only took a few weeks. It took one to two weeks, but our migration objectives were spread with many dependencies and milestones.

We were very slow with onboarding workloads into the cloud, because the customer was being cautious. They wanted to do it slowly, rather than taking the big bang approach, only to result in something going wrong. Their targets were slow, and not because AWS was not allowing us to go with the big bang approach.

What about the implementation team?

We had third-party consultants who helped us with the deployment of this solution, particularly in figuring out the landing zone requirements.

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

From what I know, we had our own AWS Server Migration Service licenses, e.g. we used to bring our own licensing model into AWS, and we had a corporate tie-up for both the RQLs and SQLs. We leverage the same licensing models, and they are annual.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were able to evaluate Azure.

What other advice do I have?

We used the native AWS cloud migration tools in my previous engagement, so all AWS native capabilities in terms of database and server migrations.

My current project does not have a good cloud footprint, e.g. it's all on-premises, but in my previous project, we did some cloud migrations on the server and database side, and that was six months ago. We used AWS Server Migration Service. We used its latest version.

What we did was to integrate AWS Server Migration Service with the on-premises environment, then we migrated to AWS. We established a direct connection with AWS, then we started migrating the on-premises workloads into the cloud.

We only used a few of the services in server and database migration, so we used the native tools AWS was offering. We found the RDS (relational database service) and computing capabilities of AWS really interesting.

It's very hard to estimate how many users we have for AWS Server Migration Service, because I belong to a company with 200,000 employees all over the globe, so I can't give a rough number.

We have a small team of 10 to 15 people who handle the maintenance of this solution.

How AWS Server Migration Service works is that once you've set up the database migration and server migration, it constantly syncs with your on-premises environment, e.g. it keeps talking to your on-premises environment and does Delta sync continuously, at a scheduled frequency. When we need to do a cutover and when we migrate, it happens within minutes up to a few hours, depending on how the Delta is. AWS Server Migration Service from a migration cutover point of view, requires only minutes and hours, but the setup has to be continuously syncing with your on-premises environment.

I'll certainly recommend this solution, and we have been advising this to our clients. They have a roadmap of moving to cloud towards the end of this year, so they will start doing it, and I imagine that AWS is the vendor of choice, because of the nature of the workloads they have.

AWS Server Migration Service is seamless and mature. The choice of the customer could depending on the cost comparisons between AWS and Azure. For Microsoft workloads, Azure scores well, e.g. from a costing point of view, but for resiliency, stability, and for Linux workloads, we found AWS Server Migration Service to be rock-solid, and Azure couldn't compare to it.

I'm giving AWS Server Migration Service a score of ten out of ten.

We are partners with AWS, Azure, and GCP.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Infrastructure Architect at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Gives us a single storage platform for multiple regions, but takes time and work to configure
Pros and Cons
  • "Continuous File Versioning is one of the best features because it helps you to restore at any point in time. That means you don't have to worry about a ransomware attack. Even if that attack happens, you can restore all the data to five minutes ago and save everything."
  • "It is difficult to configure Nasuni. Adding a filer is an easy task, but deciding where to add them, how many to add, and what size to add takes a lot of time. I have to analyze my existing storage to understand how many users are going to access which folders. I have to design the Nasuni architecture accordingly."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it as shared storage so that our users can share data between multiple departments.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to have different storage platforms for different regions, but using Nasuni we can actually use one storage platform for our customers who are at different locations so that they can share data. We now have a single global file system. That is really important from both the financial and the maintenance perspectives. We don't need to engage multiple engineers when things are done by a single product.

And the Continuous File Versioning has enabled us to meet our SLAs with our customers. We can deploy snapshots as frequently as we want to match our SLAs.

What is most valuable?

Continuous File Versioning is one of the best features because it helps you to restore at any point in time. That means you don't have to worry about a ransomware attack. Even if that attack happens, you can restore all the data to five minutes ago and save everything. That restore feature is the most valuable. You can restore in seconds. 

Also, the ability for sharing between multiple regions is important.

What needs improvement?

Nasuni is not SOC 2 compliant and it needs to be.

Another issue, because it's a cache-based mechanism in the cloud, is that while it keeps some files in cache and some files in the cloud, it doesn't tell which files are in the cache.

In addition, there is no reporting feature available, so we have to generate manual reports of the folder utilization.

It also doesn't have monitoring solutions. They want to do the monitoring of Nasuni using TIV stack, but implementing that takes a lot of time. For every single new filer, I have to deploy the alerting dashboard.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Nasuni for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. I have not seen any issues with its stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable but it's not easy to scale. It's not that simple to manage because it involves size-wise expansion. If we have to add more customers, we have to deploy more filers and that takes time and is not that simple to do. You will end up having some overloaded filers and some filers without load. The scaling process is not good and they don't have any tools to help us scale, so it's trial and error.

It takes at least an hour or so to deploy a new filer, which is a really bad thing. Because it's on the cloud, you should be able to do it in five minutes, but that doesn't happen with Nasuni.

We are currently using it extensively. We have about 20 appliances and we are planning to deploy 10 more in the future.

How are customer service and support?

Customer support is good. Priority-two tickets and lower are handled by customer support via email. I have only had to use the email support so far.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We were using ZFS Storage but we replaced it with Nasuni. We switched because of the capacity constraints. We needed more capacity and there was a limitation with the ZFS Storage.

How was the initial setup?

It is difficult to configure Nasuni. Adding a filer is an easy task, but deciding where to add them, how many to add, and what size to add takes a lot of time. I have to analyze my existing storage to understand how many users are going to access which folders. I have to design the Nasuni architecture accordingly.

The initial deployment took four to five hours.

I had to deploy multiple Nasuni edge appliances onto the cloud, in the different regions, and then join them with Azure Blob Storage.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it with the help of Nasuni employees.

What was our ROI?

We have only had Nasuni for six months so I cannot say that I have seen any cost savings. Even if it doesn't necessarily cost that much, the Azure Ultra Disks are costly.

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

Nasuni pricing is average; it's not too high or too low.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated SoftNAS and Azure NetApp Files before opting for Nasuni.

The advantages of Nasuni are the cost and better restore capabilities when compared to the other products. The drawbacks of it are the implementation and designing of the architecture. 

What other advice do I have?

If you don't have multiple users or if performance is not a key for your deployment, go for Nasuni storage. In those circumstances it is good. But if you need performance with less latency, you should go with another solution.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
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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Buyer's Guide
Cloud Migration
July 2022
Get our free report covering NetApp, Microsoft, Amazon, and other competitors of Azure NetApp Files. Updated: July 2022.
621,703 professionals have used our research since 2012.