Since NetApp’s introduction of OnTap 8.2 several months ago, Zerowait has been receiving a steadily increasing number of requests for staff augmentations and help in planning data migrations, often to more affordably priced storage arrays. Migrating mixed NFS and CIFS NAS volumes can be tricky. These migrations typically require a significant time investment and cost a princely sum when handled by the OEM of high-priced, first-tier storage. Zerowait has developed a recipe to sweeten the mix when customers want to refresh and augment their data storage infrastructure.
The upgrade to 8.2 OnTap is leaving a bitter taste in many customers’ mouths, and who’s to say that OnTap 8.3 will even have a “7-mode”? The upgrade involves training customers on Clustered OnTap, which contradicts NetApp’s messaging that customers would only need to learn OnTap once and never learn it again. The conversion is a lengthy process as all data needs to be copied from the 7-mode system to Clustered OnTap without any means for an in place upgrade. Regardless of OnTap mode, once a customer’s upgrade is complete, all of the customer’s licenses will be reissued to a new code that is node-locked reducing the portability of OnTap that NetApp always championed. While some customers may like the new feature sets, there are many who feel the 8.2 upgrade is going to add unwanted complexity in both solution engineering and day to day operations.
This is a fork in the road for NetApp’s customers. A sizable number of customers like the simplicity, reliability, and compatibility of their current equipment with 7-mode. Additionally, customers have to engage NetApp directly to get 8.2 licenses for older systems, which requires an expensive NetApp support agreement.
Our customers like NetApp’s original messaging that allowed customers the freedom to upgrade their filers simply, on their own schedule, and without a professional services engagement. Now you have to ask permission for an upgrade from NetApp. What people have traditionally liked about NetApp is that it left administration of the filers in the hands of the administrators. This was a big differentiator from EMC, who controlled even the simple task of swapping out of bad drives! Trading that freedom in and being forced into a box is a bitter drink to swallow for many NetApp aficionados.
Zerowait’s customers have asked us to sweeten the storage cocktail they’ve been offered, and we have come up with a recipe which leverages a customer’s NetApp equipment with our SimplStor hardware to provide an affordable and easy to manage tiered storage strategy. Using our approach, customers will be able to put their primary storage on whichever current equipment they choose, and then using standard migration methodologies, move their lower tier data to NetApp equipment, which Zerowait supports, on a second tier. For even greater cost savings, SimplStor can be rapidly deployed for archival storage needs.
Zerowait’s customers like the flexibility to choose their storage equipment’s support model while most are questioning how NetApp’s new licensing scheme will benefit customers. If you are considering an upgrade to OnTap 8.2, but aren’t sure about it, give us a call and we will review the options with you. Our expert engineering staff can help your staff upgrade or migrate your data and afterwards they can enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade using our recipe of lemons, sweeteners, and a few drops of our secret sauce.