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NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is #1 ranked solution in top Cloud Migration tools, #1 ranked solution in top Cloud Storage tools, #1 ranked solution in top Public Cloud Storage Services, #1 ranked solution in top Cloud Software Defined Storage tools, and #6 ranked solution in top Cloud Backup tools. PeerSpot users give NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP an average rating of 8 out of 10. NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is most commonly compared to Azure NetApp Files: NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP vs Azure NetApp Files. NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 66% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 27% of all views.
NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Buyer's Guide

Download the NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2022

What is NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP?

The leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services and supports up to a capacity of 368TB. Software service supports various use cases, such as: File shares and block-level storage serving NAS (NFS, SMB / CIFS) and SAN (iSCSI) Disaster Recovery, Backup, and Archive DevOps Databases (SQL, Oracle, NoSQL) Cloud Volumes ONTAP is offered in a standard single-node configuration or in a High Availability (HA) configuration.

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP was previously known as ONTAP Cloud, CVO, NetApp CVO.

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Customers

Rohit, AdvacnedMD, D2L, Trinity Mirror, Eidos Media, WireStorm, Cordant Group, JFK Medical Center, ALD Automotive, Healthix, City of Baton Rouge, ON Semiconductor

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Video

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP pricing:
  • "If a customer is only using, say, less than 10 terabytes, I don't think CVO would be a good option. A customer using at least 100 or 200 terabytes should get a reasonable price from NetApp."
  • "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."
  • "Our licensing is based on a yearly subscription. That is an additional cost, but because of the storage efficiencies that the NetApp gives, even with the additional cost of the NetApp license, you still end up saving money versus straight Azure native for storage. It's definitely worth it."
  • "If we wanted to use the AWS solution, we would have to manage two or three different platforms and pay more money than what we should have to pay, as some of the features don't even exist. If we wanted to, we could use AWS cloning, but it is useless because it uses more space, is more expensive, and takes more time."
  • NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Reviews

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    Storage Engineer at a media company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Helps us keep control of storage costs because it's an OpEx-based model
    Pros and Cons
    • "One of the most valuable features is its similarity to the physical app, which makes it familiar. It's almost identical to a real NetApp, which means you can run all of the associated NetApp processes and services with it. Otherwise, we would definitely have to deploy some hardware on a site somewhere, which could be a challenge in terms of CapEx."
    • "There is room for improvement with the capacity. There's a very hard limit to how many disks you can have and how much space you can have. That is something they should work to fix, because it's limiting. Right now, the limit is about 360 terabytes or 36 disks."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are predominantly using it as a backup target for our products. We are also doing some CIFS shares to remote sites that don't have their own file server infrastructures.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It gives us flexibility. In a disaster situation, or even in an office relocation, there can be a gap. NetApp CVO allows us to continue to provide service customers with access to their data, even if a physical site is going to be down for a long period of time. It's only really viable if you know a site is going to be down for a long period of time. We've had office relocations and there have been gaps between when the old office closed and the new office opened, during that period of moving stuff over and setting things up. There were a couple of weeks where we were serving the data out of the cloud, rather than out of the physical site. NetApp CVO may have improved our uptime by 1 or 2 percent, because we don't have that much downtime to start with. It has all the advantages of the real NetApp product. You can provide storage in most of the formats you'd want.  It helps us to keep control of storage costs because it's an OpEx-based model rather than a CapEx-based model. It depends on how you license it. You can have it up and down, almost on an hourly basis. Obviously, we don't do that, we've got it up long-term. But it does have that flexibility to bring up an instance of a client filer for just a short period of time. It has saved us from having to buy and host another filer somewhere. That would be the only option to achieve the same goal. If we were to buy another filer to provision the capacity we've got in the cloud, the CapEx would probably be at least $200,000, whereas the running costs are not that much. It depends on how you deal with AWS, but we don't pay that kind of money. It probably saves us 75 percent of the cost of buying a filer for real.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the most valuable features is its similarity to the physical app, which makes it familiar. It's almost identical to a real NetApp, which means you can run all of the associated NetApp processes and services with it. Otherwise, we would definitely have to deploy some hardware on a site somewhere, which could be a challenge in terms of CapEx. Also, in our case, in Europe, in terms of physical real estate, we are trying to reduce the size of our data centers.

    What needs improvement?

    There is room for improvement with the capacity. There's a very hard limit to how many disks you can have and how much space you can have. That is something they should work to fix, because it's limiting. Right now, the limit is about 360 terabytes or 36 disks.
    Buyer's Guide
    NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP
    June 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
    611,060 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for about two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability has been really good. I don't think we've ever had any major outages. AWS, obviously, doesn't guarantee 100 percent uptime, so I can see that it's not been up since I last restarted it. Rather, it's been up since some AWS event resulted in it migrating to another one of their pieces of hardware. But we've never had it actually crash.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is good to a point, but there is a hard limit on the capacity. We could, obviously, create another associated instance of it, but it wouldn't be a single name space, and we couldn't do some of the things you can do if you have a lot of multiple, real NetApps. So there are some hard limits to how big a solution you can create. Day-to-day, it's probably only being used by about a dozen people in our organization, because it is mainly a backup target. There is a small collection of people whose shares live on it, but the majority of the business' files are on the real NetApps on their sites. It's probably at a size where we're not likely to implement any more. You never know. It's very hard to tell what will go on with our company. But at the moment, it's probably not going to get any larger. We may actually shrink the capacity because we are temporarily storing some stuff for a part of the business that should only be on there for a few months at most, with this COVID. As an organization, we went ahead wholehearted that anything and everything should be in the cloud — cloud first — and that got tempered a little bit because they started to see the costs. We also hit limitations with some of the software vendors because they're quite small companies and very niche. They don't want to support anything that's in the cloud, so there are limits to what you can put in the cloud.

    How are customer service and support?

    Their technical support is very good. In the early stages, we would get almost instant online support, because we would go into the Cloud Manager and there would be a chat and we could have a chat session with the engineers who were implementing it on the NetApp side. As things have progressed, we now need to follow a more formal support model, but we usually get a pretty good response, for general, routine questions, within five or six hours. If it were a major incident, you would get much faster support. We've never had a major incident with it.

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

    It replaced some physical NetApps that were going to be refreshed. One of the reasons we switched was to limit capital expenditure. Another reason was that it was very much a "Let's go and put as much as we possibly can into the cloud" approach. It fell in with that initiative quite well.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was pretty straightforward. The challenges we had were only around the security we put on top of AWS. For me, as an engineer, to be able to do things requires another team to do stuff on the network side or to do stuff on my rights within AWS so that I could deploy it and manage it afterwards. But it is relatively straightforward if you're not fighting other complications. It took us a couple of days to get it up and working the first time. My colleague did one in the US and it took him about half a day. We did one for another part of the business and that took about three or four hours to get up and running. Initially, we were just doing an evaluation to see what it was like and if we could actually use it. It went from a trial implementation to going live within a month or two, once we realized it was going to do what we wanted to do. We had four people involved in the implementation. I was involved, as a storage engineer, and we also had one of our client specialists, a network person, and an info-sec person to validate that the network stuff was within their rules. In terms of maintenance, it's just  me, but it doesn't really require a lot of attention because it's cloud-based and it's a NetApp. Generally, once you set them up properly, unless you're changing something, they look after themselves.

    What about the implementation team?

    It was done by just us. Because it was one of the very early implementations of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, we were working with NetApp and their staff were playing the role that a third-party integrator might have played.

    What was our ROI?

    We're probably burning about $10,000 a month on it but it's saving us the CapEx and the power and cooling of a real filer. We're likely seeing at least a 50 percent saving.

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

    Choose your disk type properly. Go with the slowest, cheapest disk you can. If you need bigger, faster ones then go for them.  They've got a variety of license schemes. The one we've gone for is where we pay NetApp once a year. They call it the Bring Your Own license scheme. There is a by-the-hour or by-the-month basis from AWS and you can get it that way as well and be billed through AWS. But you may not get the same level of discounts that you would if you were dealing with NetApp directly. If you are committed to having a client filer for an extended period, then go with the NetApp licensing model rather than the AWS-provisioned one. Ultimately, the more data you save, the more it costs you, because you're paying AWS for the capacity. NetApp is licensed per filer, but there are additional running costs that are paid to AWS. You pay AWS' hosting fee for an EC2 instance, and each one of the disks within the NetApp is EBS storage and you pay AWS for those. There is potential to save money by moving things off to object storage. The only cost savings we see on it is against having to buy physical hardware.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at third-party hosting with either our own, dedicated hardware or shared NetApp hardware. I wasn't that involved in that evaluation process, but I figure that the costs for the work-around were too high or the solution was too complex for us to go with. CVO enables us to manage our native cloud storage better than if we used management options provided by the native cloud service. With the native solutions, you don't get any of the advantages of the NetApp in terms of being able to deduplicate and having clear management of the snapshot-ing. Also, at the time, there wasn't an easy way to back up to a cloud NetApp. There was nothing. Now they have a slightly different solution where they'll mount it for you but, at that time, you created your own cloud instance and your own cloud file and you managed that. Now, you can access a solution that is managed by AWS or by NetApp.

    What other advice do I have?

    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.

    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: 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.
    Amarjeet Singh - PeerSpot reviewer
    Cloud Architect at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 10Leaderboard
    Provides all the functionality of traditional NetApp, and data-tiering helps us save money
    Pros and Cons
    • "The feature which I like the most is that it has the capabilities that the traditional storage system offers. It provides all the functionality. The deduplication and compression work exactly like ONTAP's traditional storage. So people who have experience with that find it very easy to manage."
    • "When it comes to a critical or a read-write-intensive application, it doesn't provide the performance that some applications require, especially for SAP. The SAP HANA database has a write-latency of less than 2 milliseconds and the CVO solution does not fit there. It could be used for other databases, where the requirements are not so demanding, especially when it comes to write-latency."

    What is our primary use case?

    I work as a cloud architect in the multicloud team. We have customers that run NetApp services like CVS or CVO on Google or AWS or Microsoft Azure. We help them, support them, and we do migrations from their prime workflows to the cloud.

    The primary use case is the migration of workloads from on-prem to cloud. We use the SnapMirror functionality to move to GCP, for example. The second use case is that we also have some file services which we need on the cloud platforms. Our customers use file services like NFS and  CIFS or SMB to address their requirements.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We save money using CVO because there is a data-tiering concept. There are algorithms that make sure that data which is frequently accessed is kept on the faster disks, and data which is less frequently accessed is stored in a cold tier. Deduplication and compression also provide storage efficiency and savings..

    What is most valuable?

    The feature which I like the most is that it has the capabilities that the traditional storage system offers. It provides all the functionality. The deduplication and compression work exactly like ONTAP's traditional storage. So people who have experience with that find it very easy to manage. And, exactly like the traditional NetApp system, it provides you SnapMirror and the Qtree functionality, which means you have the multi-protocol mechanism. That is something that many of the cloud-native file services do not have. 

    The capacity is also flexible. You can start from a small disk and you can go with a bigger disk size.

    CVO is quite well when it comes to use the file services on a cloud-native platform. 

    It does have some compliance features. If a person is looking for compliance with GDPR, he can use the compliance feature provided by Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Most companies have some kind of compliance software for example, Data Custodian.A second option would be to go with the compliance feature provided by Cloud Volumes ONTAP. You can implement policies that would restrict the usage of data. NetApp doesn't control the data, the data stays with the company.

    What needs improvement?

    Currently, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is not a high-availability solution. When you deploy the solution it comes in single-node. It supports a single-node deployment in Google Cloud Platform, but with other cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon it does offers dual controllers deployment models. However, the RAID protection level isn't quite well designed since it is laid out at the RAID 0 level. So even though you have a dual-controller deployment in place, you do not have high-availability and fault-tolerance in place during a component failure.

    NetApp has said it will come out with HA as well, but even if they come out with HA, the way CVO data protection is quite different than a traditional NetApp storage system. Hence, in my opinion It needs to be improvised with RAID protection level on CVO to have better redundancy in place.

    In addition to it, when it comes to critical demanding workload or read-write-intensive application, it doesn't provide the expected performance that some of apps/DBs require for example SAP HANA Database. The SAP HANA database has a write-latency of less than 2 milliseconds and the CVO solution does not quite fit there. However, It could be quite well worked with other databases, where the requirements are not so stringent or high demanding for write-latency. I don't know if NetApp has done some PoCs or evaluation with the SAP HANA databases so they are certified to use with.

    A last thing, it is an unmanaged solution, it means  someone who has no storage background or technical experience for them it's quite challenging to manage the Cloud Volumes ONTAP. They may need a NetApp managed-service model so the NetApp support team can help them to maintain or manage or troubleshoot their environment. When you deploy the solution to a customer environment, you shouldn't expect they will have some storage experience.  They might be software or application developers but this product would require them to upgrade their knowledge on the storage track. In my opinion NetApp should consider selling the solution with some add-on services model for example   CVO Manage Model support service models to support and manage customer CVO infrastructure.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with Cloud Volumes ONTAP since 2018. We are using two kinds of solutions from NetApp. One is the Cloud Volumes Services  managed cloud storage services and second one is Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is only lacking when you have a problem with the underlying subsystem and the hardware has failed. I have not encountered that problem so far. 

    When doing tests for some of our LOBs, I realized that if your aggregate goes offline then you would have to do a manual failover. That means if you are using CVO for instances, like VMs or, on the on-prem world if you are doing hybrid-cloud connectivity, then you would have to unmount your disks and mount them back. That would be a disruption. 

    But when it comes to overall product stability, if you don't have any underlying issues, it works fine. But if you have a subsystem level issue, then you will have a problem.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There are capacity limits. It has a maximum of 368 terabytes.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have never used technical support from NetApp. I know people there whom I was working with two years back, and they are my points of contact if I need something. I haven't used technical support because if I have issues I directly contact the people I know. They are usually quite responsive. I have not had any problem with the support so far.

    How was the initial setup?

    I have done the deployment end-to-end for our customers. The CVO setup is quite simple and straightforward.

    You need to have a cloud account, a service account, which CVO can be used with for a cloud provider like Google. You cannot download CVO directly from the marketplace, you need to be on the NetApp website. If you have a service account already created, it will authenticate. You just feed it the information. It's a GUI interface. You just click "next" and it will ask you for the information, like "Which network do you want to deploy?" and "What is the name of your machine?" etc. I don't think anybody needs experience to do the set up.

    The challenge comes with configuration, such as if you want to do a multi-protocol or an AD integration. Those things are a little bit deep. A person who has already worked on those kinds of things can easily do them. And other than that, the deployment is quite easy.

    The deployment time depends on what you feed to the appliance but it should take about 20 to 45 minutes, everything included, except things such as Active Directory integrations or multi-protocols.

    There are many people in our company using CVO but, from an architecture standpoint, I am the one who is helping the LOBs. Some LOBs have some experience because they have been using NetApp. But when it comes to the deployment on the cloud, they are not aware of how the service account works.

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

    If a customer is only using, say, less than 10 terabytes, I don't think CVO would be a good option. A customer using at least 100 or 200 terabytes should get a reasonable price from NetApp.

    Because we have been a NetApp customer for a long time I think we do get some discounts when we buy this solution from NetApp on a large scale, although I am not involved with the pricing side.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I work with file solutions from other vendors. We have vendors like Elastifile which I used to work with but it was acquired by Google. I also checked a Google-native solution. And Azure has file shares as well as something called NFS Blob, but it also uses the NetApp in the backend. It's a NetApp CVS. It's not like CVO, it's quite different, but it does provide the same functionality, such as file services like CIFS or NFS. But that solution lacks other things. It doesn't work like CVO because CVO provides a lot of features.

    CVO provides all the functionality any customer would need on cloud. It's a single solution that covers everything.

    What other advice do I have?

    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. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    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.
    Buyer's Guide
    NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP
    June 2022
    Learn what your peers think about NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
    611,060 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    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.
    JeremyHarrison - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Analyst at a comms service provider with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    All our data shares and volumes are on one platform making adjustment of share permissions easier than with Azure native
    Pros and Cons
    • "We're able to use the SnapMirror function and SnapMirror data from our on-prem environment into Azure. That is super-helpful. SnapMirror allows you to take data that exists on one NetApp, on a physical NetApp storage platform, and copy it over to another NetApp storage platform. It's a solid, proven technology, so we don't worry about whether data is getting lost or corrupted during the SnapMirror."
    • "When Azure does their maintenance, they do maintenance on one node at a time. With the two nodes of the CVO, it can automatically fail over from one node to the node that is staying up. And when the first node comes back online, it will fail back to the first node. We have had issues with everything failing back 100 percent correctly."

    What is our primary use case?

    It is managing services in our production environment that are in Azure. It provides file shares, both NFS and CIFS, that are used by other applications that are also in Azure.

    NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is part of the production environment of our company so the entire company, over 5,000 employees globally, is touching it somehow. It's a part of an application that has data that resides on it and they may consume that application.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP is great because of the storage efficiencies that it provides. When you look at the cost of running Azure native storage versus the cost of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, you end up saving money with Cloud Volumes ONTAP. That's a big win because cost is a huge factor when putting workloads in the cloud. We had a cost estimate survey done, a comparison between the two, and I believe that Cloud Volumes ONTAP saves us close to 30 percent compared to the Azure native costs.

    Azure pricing is done in a type of a tier. Once you exceed a certain amount of storage, your cost goes down. So the more data you store, the more you're going to end up saving.

    The storage efficiencies from the NetApp platform allow you to do inline deduplication and compaction of data. All of this adds up to using less of the disk in Azure, which adds up to savings.

    We have two nodes of the NetApp in Azure, which means we have some fault tolerance. That is helpful because Azure just updates stuff when they want to and you're not always able to stop them or schedule it at a later time. Having two CVO nodes is helpful to keep the business up when Azure is doing their maintenance.

    The solution provides unified storage no matter what kind of data you have. We were already using the NetApp platform on our on-premise environments, so it's something we're already familiar with in terms of how to manage permissions on different types of volumes, whether it's an NFS export or a CIFS share. We're able to utilize iSCSI data stores if we need to attach a volume directly to a VM. It allows us to continue to do what we're already familiar with in the NetApp environment. Now we can do them in Azure as well.

    It enables us to manage our native cloud storage better than if we used the management options provided by the native cloud service. With CVO, all of your data shares and volumes are on the one NetApp platform. Whether you are adjusting share permissions on an NFS export or a CIFS share, you can do it all from within the NetApp management interface. That's much easier than the Azure native, where you may have to go to two or three different screens to do the same stuff.

    What is most valuable?

    The storage efficiencies are something that you don't get on native.

    Also, because of the NetApp product, we're able to use the SnapMirror function and SnapMirror data from our on-prem environment into Azure. That is super-helpful. SnapMirror allows you to take data that exists on one NetApp, on a physical NetApp storage platform, and copy it over to another NetApp storage platform. It's a solid, proven technology, so we don't worry about whether data is getting lost or corrupted during the SnapMirror. We are also able to throttle back the speed of the SnapMirror to help our network team that is paying for a data circuit. We're still able to copy data into Azure, but we can manage the transfer cost because we can throttle back the SnapMirror. It's just very solid and reliable. It works.

    And all of us IT nerds are already familiar with the NetApp platform so there was not a major learning curve to start using it in Azure.

    NetApp also has something called Active IQ Unified Manager, and it gives us performance monitoring of the CVO from an external source. There are several people on my team that utilize the CVO and we each have a personal preference for how we look at data. The Active IQ Unified Manager is a product you can get from NetApp because, once you license your CVO, you are entitled to other tools. CVO does have resource performance monitoring built in, but we primarily utilize the Active IQ Unified Manager.

    Beyond that, it provides all the great stuff that the NetApp platform can do, but it's just in the cloud.

    What needs improvement?

    I think this is more of a limitation of how it operates in Azure, but the solution is affected by this limitation. There's something about how the different availability zones, the different regions, operate in Azure. It's very difficult to set up complete fault tolerance using multiple CVO nodes and have one node in one region and one node in another region. This is not something that I have dug into myself. I am hearing about this from other IT nerds.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had issues with Azure when they did maintenance on the nodes. They just do their maintenance and it's up to us, the customer, to make sure that our applications are up and data is flowing. When Azure does their maintenance, they do maintenance on one node at a time. With the two nodes of the CVO, it can automatically fail over from one node to the node that is staying up. And when the first node comes back online, it will fail back to the first node. We have had issues with everything failing back 100 percent correctly.

    We have had tickets open with NetApp to have them look into it and try and resolve it. They've made improvements in some ways, but it's still not 100 percent automated for everything to return back. That's an ongoing thing we have to keep an eye on.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is definitely scalable. You can add more disk to grow your capacity and you have the ability to add more nodes. There's a limit to how many nodes you can add, but you can definitely scale up.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Tech support is good. A lot of it depends on the technician that you get, but if you're not happy with one technician, you can request that it be escalated or you can request that it just be handled by another technician. They're very eager to help and resolve issues.

    How was the initial setup?

    We had some issues with permissions and with getting the networking correct. But we had a lot of support from NetApp as well as from Azure. As a result, I would not say the setup was straightforward, but we got the help and the support we needed and you can't ask for more than that.

    I've always found NetApp support to be accurate and good with their communications. Rolling out this product in Azure, and working with the IT nerds in our company and with Azure nerds, occasionally it does add another layer of who has to be communicated with and who has to do stuff. But my experience with NetApp is that they are responsive and very determined to get situations resolved.

    It took us about a week to get everything ironed out and get both nodes functional.

    We had done a PoC with a smaller instance of the CVO and the PoC was pretty straightforward. Once we rolled out the production CVO that has two nodes, that's when it was more complicated. We had a plan for getting it deployed and to decide at what point we would say, "Okay, now it's ready for prime time. Now it's ready to be put into production."

    For admin of the solution we have less than 10 people, and they're all storage administrator analysts like me.

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

    Our licensing is based on a yearly subscription. That is an additional cost, but because of the storage efficiencies that the NetApp gives, even with the additional cost of the NetApp license, you still end up saving money versus straight Azure native for storage. It's definitely worth it.

    What other advice do I have?

    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.

    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.
    Shricharan Ganesh - PeerSpot reviewer
    Technical Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Tiering saves us significant costs, and Unified Manager helps resolve issues before they have an impact
    Pros and Cons
    • "The storage tiering is definitely the most valuable feature... With respect to tiering, the inactive data is pushed to a lower tier where the storage cost is cheap, but the access cost is high."
    • "It definitely needs improvement with respect to clustering and with respect to more collaborative integrations with Azure. Right now, we have very limited functionalities with Azure, except for storage. If CVO could be integrated with Azure that would help. When there is any sort of maintenance happening in the cloud, it disrupts the service in Cloud Volumes ONTAP."

    What is our primary use case?

    NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is where we host our NAS storage on which we keep our files, et cetera. We have three clusters of CVO, each serving close to 300 terabytes of data. We have our SQL backup workloads and the application data residing in it. We are using the tiering policy, which pushes the inactive data down to cold storage to help save on costs.

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP is all cloud-based and we have our workloads on Azure.

    How has it helped my organization?

    At one point we were paying close to $80,000 a month for cloud resources, and now it's down to $25,000 to $30,000 after using the tiering.

    Also, using Unified Manager we are able to resolve issues before they have an impact. For example, there were conditions where bulk operations were happening against a particular volume, and our business was also writing the data. We caught it using Unified Manager. The IOPS were low and there was a high latency, close to 1,500 milliseconds. We had a look at exactly what operations were happening and, before the user even reported it, we reached out to the team that was doing the bulk operations to stop whatever process they were running. That's just one example. We have had a lot of occasions where the tool has been really handy when it comes to proactive monitoring. 

    And it's not only for proactive monitoring. The same tool is also used for a lot of root cause analysis.

    What is most valuable?

    The storage tiering is definitely the most valuable feature. With the pay-as-you-go plan, we can choose between standard and premium storage, but we use only premium for high performance. High IOPS and low latencies are the main features of the premium storage. With respect to tiering, the inactive data is pushed to a lower tier where the storage cost is cheap, but the access cost is high.

    NetApp also has something called SnapMirror replications and that's how we replicate our data from production to the DR site, for our BCP. It has pretty solid solutioning for the replications so the SnapMirrors are pretty handy when it comes to BCPs.

    In terms of cloud resource monitoring, we use Unified Manager and it's pretty cool. It has both Excel-based metrics as well as graphical representations, which give us a clear idea of which particular file systems have performance problems. We can go over the statistical information and it comes in very handy. At the same time, it has an alerting mechanism where any sort of conditions can be configured and alerts are then sent to your mailbox or your mobile SMS.

    What needs improvement?

    It definitely needs improvement with respect to clustering and with respect to more collaborative integrations with Azure. Right now, we have very limited functionalities with Azure, except for storage. If CVO could be integrated with Azure that would help. When there is any sort of maintenance happening in the cloud, it disrupts the service in Cloud Volumes ONTAP. 

    If those could be rectified, that would be really good news because it would reduce the administrative overhead my team and I are facing.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for close to two years now.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is stable, at least with respect to Azure, which is what we use.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    NetApp is scalable. When we initially started with Cloud Volumes ONTAP, it had a hard limit of 378 terabytes as its maximum capacity per cluster. Beyond that you couldn't expand. So we had to spin up another cluster. When that was almost full we had to get a third cluster. But I believe that in the recent build of CVO they have introduced the ability to stack one license on top of another cluster, so you can have infinite data per cluster. So there were challenges, particularly with vertical scalability before, but that has now been fixed in the recent release.

    In terms of increasing our usage in the future, we definitely will if required. It gives us the flexibility to perform automations and it has its own encryption tools. Right now, we are using it for one particular region in Europe, but we do have plans to get it out to other regions as well, but that's not going to happen immediately.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have used their technical support on a lot of occasions and they have been pretty helpful. I'm completely satisfied with the resolutions they have come up with. We have created more than a hundred tickets in the last two years. Those were all submitted initially, when we had an older version of CVO, but now we hardly create tickets with support because our team has the ability to administer it.

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

    We had ONTAP before CVO. We also used Dell Isilon and SoftNAS before we migrated to CVO. We switched because we found that SoftNAS was not stable enough to handle the workloads. We often had problems with the applications.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of Cloud Volumes ONTAP is pretty straightforward. We didn't have any sort of difficulties getting it spun up. It was also pretty quick. We had everything needed in Azure. It hardly took us three to four hours to have the entire environment set up and ready.

    We did some architectural planning for setting this up and we got all the approvals and licenses well in advance, before we actually configured it.

    When it comes to maintenance, it depends on what kind of coverage an organization wants. We are a team of four who administer NetApp clusters alongside the cloud resources. We have roughly 2,000 users.

    What about the implementation team?

    We worked only with NetApp. We had one architect and one contractor from Professional Services.

    What was our ROI?

    Now that we have started using tiering, we could still actually save more costs, but we haven't gone to that specific area. We know it is definitely going to affect the performance if we keep all the data in the cloud tier. That's why we haven't. But Cloud Volumes ONTAP has the flexibility to dump all the data to the cloud tier to save every penny possible.

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

    We have an annual license renewal for all the clusters. The license comes with annual training and with some Professional Services time. We have used all of those. I'm not sure if that's standard or it's an agreement between our organization and NetApp, but that's what we get as a part of our licensing.

    The money you can save with CVO depends on what type of configuration an organization needs. They can also push all the data down to the cold tier. The pricing model for the Azure Cool Blob offering is pretty low compared to the premium or the standard. The cost of cold storage would probably be 10 cents per GB.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Very few of the cloud service solution providers have that tiering option. Tiering results in a lot of savings.

    What other advice do I have?

    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.

    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.
    John Boncamper - PeerSpot reviewer
    Technology Consultant at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Reseller
    It's easy to set up and schedule replications from the cloud manager
    Pros and Cons
    • "The Cloud Manager application that's on the NetApp cloud site is easy to use. You can set up and schedule replications from there, so you don't have to go into the ONTAP system. Another feature we've recently started using is the scheduled power off. We started with one client and have been slowly implementing it with others. We can cut costs by not having the VM run all the time. It's only on when it's doing replication, but it powers off after."
    • "Cloud Volumes ONTAP's interface could use an overhaul. Sometimes you have to dig around in Cloud Manager a little bit to find certain things. The layout could be more intuitive."

    What is our primary use case?

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP is used for disaster recovery right now, and the primary use case for our current clients and environments is CIFS. Most clients use Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a replication destination for CIFS. It's a way to back up their documents and files offsite for disaster recovery. They have VMs that they spin up and connect to. 

    In most cases, we have not deployed anything that uses the service protocol, like iSCSI or NFS. It's strictly CIFS. We haven't used one solution—matching DR for CIFS volumes—which is a destination that replicates from on-prem to the cloud, but we've done DR tests with that. 

    The other two instances we're currently running will be the same scenario, but we're not there yet. Right now, they are being used for SnapMirror destinations of CIFS volumes only, and that's all three. We've been running Cloud Volumes ONTAP in Azure as a VM along with a connector. They had one deployed before I took it over, but it's typically done within the NetApp Cloud Manager system. Once we connect to the Azure portal or subscription, we push out the CVO from there.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Our clients see most of the benefits. Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides offsite backups. We used to host our backups on physical infrastructure in a data center or on remote sites. There were a lot of storage costs for replication. By implementing Cloud Volumes ONTAP in the Azure portal, we eliminated the cost of additional hardware and everything you have to maintain on-prem in a physical environment and put it up to the cloud. That was a considerable cost savings for the customer.

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a massive improvement in terms of manageability. It's easier for customers to perform certain functions from that interface, knowing it sits on a high availability platform. We don't worry about paying all these separate vendors for replication solutions. Other costs are associated with maintaining physical infrastructure in a data center, like electricity or storage space, RAM, and other hardware. It has improved our clients' bottom line because they spend less on disaster recovery.

    What is most valuable?

    The Cloud Manager application that's on the NetApp cloud site is easy to use. You can set up and schedule replications from there, so you don't have to go into the ONTAP system. Another feature we've recently started using is the scheduled power off. We started with one client and have been slowly implementing it with others. We can cut costs by not having the VM run all the time. It's only on when it's doing replication, but it powers off after.

    What needs improvement?

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP's interface could use an overhaul. Sometimes you have to dig around in Cloud Manager a little bit to find certain things. The layout could be more intuitive. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I haven't been using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for too long. It has been a little under three years since we started working with it. We were mostly doing a lot with data centers, so we only really started getting into cloud systems about three years ago.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Cloud Volumes ONTAP seems to be fairly stable so far. The only time we have issues is when there is a circuit interruption, but this product has been pretty stable. We haven't had issues with crashes or data getting corrupted. We've had interruptions due to internet problems or leaks between the sites. 

    These are things we have no control over because they're different providers. That's the only issue that I've seen. But once those come through the actual system itself, it's been fine as far as resiliency, performance, and availability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We can expand on it as needed. In particular, it's easy to add storage, and storage expansion is probably the feature we utilize the most. We don't mess with any other features, like within the protocols or anything like that. Those are fine, but storage scalability is pretty good.

    Our clients' storage needs vary. Typically, it's somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 terabytes, but at least 15 to 30 terabytes. Each client is a little different, but the one that uses the most storage has a capacity of about 30 terabytes.

    How are customer service and support?

    NetApp technical support is pretty good. We sometimes have to wait a bit, but they're good at resolving issues once they find out what the problem is. They come back with solutions, so I would rate them pretty well.

    How was the initial setup?

    Deploying Cloud Volumes ONTAP can be complex at times, but I think it's a learning curve. You have to put in many different pieces, and it's not always easy to find the documentation you need on the web. Some parts are straightforward, but sometimes you need to do some digging before deploying. 

    It really comes down to planning. When implementing, we ensure each case is planned and deployed to the networking part for Azure. We also put together a template. That way, other engineers can follow or use it as a guideline when building it. I make a basic template of the required information, configuration settings, etc. 

    These were all deployed as part of a much larger project, which included new hardware that was upgraded. The Azure and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP were part of that upgrade experience. It was in conjunction with the client getting a new on-prem NetApp system and other infrastructure, like switches. Once everything was migrated, we implemented the Azure part in Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

    We have a small team for handling deployment. I think they have maybe two people. One person could do it, but there is an alternative if somebody is out on vacation. The managed service division covers all the maintenance for our clients. The managed service team takes over all the backend IT work for our clients. Instead of having a full staff, the client pays us to manage the backend of their servers and other infrastructure. As a managed service, we go in and take care of their switching, patches, upgrading, etc.

    What about the implementation team?

    We do all of the implementations for our clients in-house who are the end-users. We sell them the solution and deploy it for them.

    What was our ROI?

    I believe our clients see a return because they don't need to purchase hardware. It's much easier and quicker for them to get additional storage when needed compared to an on-prem system. 

    They save on costs associated with ordering additional storage for a physical on-prem system versus expanding what you have and you pay a little more in Azure. One client saw significant cost savings on their electricity bill. They reduced their bill by almost half just by shutting these things off.

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

    Our management and salespeople deal with pricing. I'm not part of the price negotiations or anything like that. I work on design and implementation.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate Cloud Volumes ONTAP nine out of 10. It's an excellent solution that is cloud-based, so you don't have to worry about leasing or purchasing hardware. All costs of purchasing lines and circuits are upfront. Since this product works over the internet, you only need data access, which most of them have. 

    Overall, I would say this is better than an on-prem solution that requires physical hardware at remote sites. You don't need to invest in buying or maintaining physical hardware. In this case, you're paying a monthly cost for something. You can decide at any time to stop using it if you don't need it anymore. That's a problem with owning physical infrastructure. You have to dispose of it when you don't need it anymore. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is also easier to manage and upgrade than on-prem systems.

    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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
    Flag as inappropriate
    Sr. Systems Architect at a media company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Gives us great control over our data, allowing us to choose in which AWS regions we put our offsite data
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable features are tiering to S3 and being able to turn it on and off, based on a schedule."
    • "I would like to see more aggressive management of the aggregate space. On the Cloud Volumes ONTAP that we use for offsite backup copies, most of the data sits in S3. There are also the EBS volumes on the Cloud Volumes ONTAP itself. Sometimes what happens is that the aggregate size just stays the same. If it allocates 8 terabytes initially, it just stays at 8 terabytes for a long time, even though we're only using 20 percent of that 8 terabytes. NetApp could undersize that more aggressively."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use NetApp for our on-premise file shares, and we use Cloud Volumes ONTAP as an offsite backup copy.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Being able to deploy in AWS is a big advantage for us. The company I work for was recently spun off as a smaller company. We sold most of our company to a large company and all of our assets went to that company. Then we started building our first data center and we did not have a second data center for our outside copy. This was a great solution in these circumstances.

    In general, NetApp provides unified storage, but we mostly use it only for NAS. It gives us great control over our data. We can define which region or zone we put our data in, in AWS. That way, we can strategically place our offsite copies. Instead of putting everything in one place, we now have more freedom to put data wherever we want.

    We are also saving at least $100,000 a year on storage costs.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features are 

    • tiering to S3 
    • being able to turn it on and off, based on a schedule.

    These are valuable because of the effect on cost. All of the data that is stored in AWS is, obviously, very expensive if stored in EBS volumes or spinning disks, but it's pretty cheap in S3, so that makes good financial sense. 

    For the shutdown and startup, it's the same thing. Since it's a backup copy, we don't need that filer running all the time, so we just shut it down. We only turn it on before the replication starts, and then shut it off after the replication is complete.

    What needs improvement?

    One area for improvement is monitoring. Since we are using turn-on and turn-off, based on a schedule, it becomes a little bit difficult to monitor the instance and the replications, etc. If NetApp could implement a feature to monitor it more effectively, that would be helpful.

    Also, I would like to see more aggressive management of the aggregate space. On the Cloud Volumes ONTAP that we use for offsite backup copies, most of the data sits in S3. There are also the EBS volumes on the Cloud Volumes ONTAP itself. Sometimes what happens is that the aggregate size just stays the same. If it allocates 8 terabytes initially, it just stays at 8 terabytes for a long time, even though we're only using 20 percent of that 8 terabytes. NetApp could undersize that more aggressively.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP for about one-and-a-half years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In all the time we've been running it we have had no issues. It's great.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We are not using it at that big of a scale, so right now we do not have any concerns. It's limited to 360 terabytes. In the past, before we sold 80 percent of our company to that large company, we used to have more than 360 terabytes of data. If we still had all that data we would have to build another instance of Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Or, post-sale, if we were to cross that limit we could have to build another instance of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, but we're not there yet. We are using about 25 percent of that limit right now.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Overall, their support team is great. One of the best features about Cloud Volumes ONTAP is that once you open the OnCommand Cloud Manager, there's a tiny chat button at the bottom. You can just send a message to all the experts related to Cloud Volumes ONTAP. That's a great feature.

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

    We used to use two NetApp filers in two different data centers for offsite backup copies. We decided to go with Cloud Volumes ONTAP because after we sold 80 percent of the company, we were left with only one data center. We did not have a second data center to put the second NetApp in, so we went with this solution. It was the perfect solution for our use case.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of the solution, in our case, was a little bit complex because we use Terraform to manage our cloud infrastructure. To configure Cloud Volumes ONTAP in combination with Terraform proved a little bit challenging. That's one of the areas for improvement of the solution: NetApp could provide customers with templates of how to manage this infrastructure as a code. The difficulties we encountered were mostly in terms of what components need to be configured in Terraform, as well as how they could be configured.

    Overall, our deployment took about a month. We didn't really have a deployment plan for this solution because this was the first time we were deploying it. We had to make it up as we went along, especially because NetApp did not have any documentation on how to implement this using Terraform. We had to come up with that plan.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did not hire anyone, but the NetApp support team was great. It is just me working on this, in our company.

    What was our ROI?

    This is more of a pay-as-you-go model rather than an investment, but we definitely see benefits. If we had to build another NetApp in our on-premise location, whether we used the storage or not, we would just be spending money. The asset would just depreciate, whereas, in the cloud, we only use what we need and we just pay for what we use.

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

    Licensing seems pretty straightforward and then we just pay for the EC2 costs.

    Pricing brings up another point in terms of room for improvement. If they could provide some insights into how we could optimize the cost of Cloud Volumes ONTAP in our cloud, that would be great.

    There are no additional costs to the standard licensing fees. It's the same as what they showed us in the initial deployment.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate other solutions because we use on-premise NetApp. NetApp works best with NetApp.

    We did look at other solutions just to see how they were working, but back then, when we were implementing it, they were nowhere even close to as mature as NetApp. We looked at the Dell EMC Isilon but it was not even close to what NetApp was capable of in the cloud. They were not even close to building something in AWS at that point. It was an easy decision.

    What other advice do I have?

    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.

    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: 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.
    Lead Storage Engineer at a university with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Easier to control data since we can run queries across all our platforms with a single solution
    Pros and Cons
    • "It is much easier to control data since we can run queries across all our platforms with just one solution. Not only that, we can also monitor all the platforms with Active IQ, where we can see all the alerts, messages, and space consumption through a single application. This is regardless if the data is on-prem or AWS. It is much more efficient."
    • "The solution is not stable when using single nodes. This is a problem. NetApp should work on this solution to make it more stable with HA nodes and resolve this issue."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for multiple cases. We use it for DR and backup tiering. 

    We have some Oracle Databases in AWS that need backing up. We back them up to CVO. From CVO, we tier them out in a FabricPool scenario, then tier them off to StorageGRID. This way, we are putting minimum space on CVO, which has expensive storage. Instead, we are pushing them on a stream. This is really efficient in terms of performance and backup. I like it because we are able to restore quickly. 

    We also use this for dev test data. For Oracle database, we are putting the data file for Oracle Database on a CVO data file. This way, we are able to replicate and clone the Oracle Database very quickly and efficiently with minimal space consumption.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is much easier to control data since we can run queries across all our platforms with just one solution. Not only that, we can also monitor all the platforms with Active IQ, where we can see all the alerts, messages, and space consumption through a single application. This is regardless if the data is on-prem or AWS. It is much more efficient. 

    What is most valuable?

    The number one feature is the solution's space saving, which is great. 

    They are on AWS and Azure. Because we use both cloud options, we have access through them from everywhere. It is a big colo facility, where we can have access to our data wherever we want. 

    We use NetApp technology for deduplication and compression as well as the cloning technology and Snapshot. This usually helps us to restore everything. It is really helpful.

    It is a unified solution for storing data across the board. This data fabric lets us have data across the board.

    What needs improvement?

    NetApp has a big problem with the HA pair model on this solution. If you want to use it with CVO, you need to run lots of tests. The problem with HA pair and CVO is that it has a huge impact on performance. We also can't use HA pairs with CVO because the cost is higher. It is really more expensive than a single node since you have to pay for the data twice, using their single-node solution with an AWS or Azure data center and causing redundant data. We have had many meetings and discussions with our NetApp account manager and their engineers about this issue since we can't have redundant data. 

    Since it is too expensive, we haven't implemented the HA pair solution. Since we don't have an HA pair solution, we make the trade off of data loss. This happened once. We were lucky that we didn't lose data because we were able to recover it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We were one of the first customers. We have been using Cloud Volumes for a long time. I think that it has been five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is not stable when using single nodes. This is a problem. NetApp should work on this solution to make it more stable with HA nodes and resolve this issue.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    NetApp has to make improvements on the scalability. It is not really scalable for a bigger scope because of many reasons. NetApp is limited to using six disks and the biggest disk size that they can use is just 16 terabytes. Six disks with 16 terabytes is not enough for a big environment. Right now, NetApp CVO can accept 350 terabytes, but it is 350 terabytes including tiering. In many cases, this is not enough for big data.

    How are customer service and support?

    Initially, technical support was not good at all. We were one of the first customers and couldn't get any support from NetApp in the beginning. Then, we had to communicate with the guys from Israel through Slack, which was so difficult. In the beginning, I would rate the technical support as two or three out of 10.

    Within the last year, it has gotten much better. Based on my experience, they help quickly every time that I call, which is great and more solid than before. I would now rate their technical support as seven out of 10.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Neutral

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

    This was the first solution that we used. We were one of the first customers. There were very few options for solutions back then to utilize cloud storage.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was great. It was so easy and straightforward. Everything was automated with no confusion.

    What was our ROI?

    It has saved us a lot of money. If we don't use it and want native AWS, then we have to pay three or four times more. 

    We are also using it for other use cases. We use CVO for replicating product data to the dev test environment in AWS with a SnapMirror technology, using data from CVO to the dev test environment in AWS data using SnapMirror. This is much faster than any other solution that you can imagine for moving data from on-prem to AWS. We tried many methods, including some native AWS methods. We tried FTP server, file transfer, etc., but none of them were as fast and as quick as SnapMirror replication.

    When we store more data with the solution, we can save more money. The savings depends on how many copies we make of each stage of the environment. If we need to clone the environment four times, then we save a lot of money. If we have to clone the data 10 times, then there are huge savings.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated AWS and Azure file transfers for replicating data between on-prem and cloud. We also tried AWS and Azure native volumes for cloud and those solutions were much better. 

    The reasons that we went with NetApp:

    1. The data fabric technology created a single standard for everything.
    2. Cost.
    3. Our familiarity with it. We didn't have to learn anything new.

    If we wanted to use the AWS solution, we would have to manage two or three different platforms and pay more money than what we should have to pay, as some of the features don't even exist. If we wanted to, we could use AWS cloning, but it is useless because it uses more space, is more expensive, and takes more time.

    What other advice do I have?

    We use NetApp storage when we want to use NFS methods. If we don't have to use an NSF method, then we use native cloud sets. So, we use both.

    I recommend using this technology for now as there isn't another technology that can cover transferring data across sites, provide reliability of data, money savings, and space savings. If you want to compare these factors with any other solution, then NetApp is the best for now.

    I would rate the solution as eight out of 10 because they still have to work on the HA pair issue.

    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
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    Updated: June 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.