back to article NetApp's STEALTH launch of ONTAP 8.1

If you were expecting NetApp to launch Data ONTAP 8.1 with a splash, forget it. The software is shipping already; no fuss, no muss, no splash, no bash, no nothing. John Rollason, NetApp's senior manager in the company's EMEA organisation, told The Reg ONTAP 8.1 had been shipping since 22 September. He said it features enhanced …

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NetApp; Run from this Vendor.

We purchased a filer 6 months ago and have been running 8.01P5 in 7-mode. All I can say is if you're thinking about purchasing a NetApp system, don't, it's quicker and cheaper to just pound yourself in the head with a brick. It's been one problem after another. One weekend, a couple months after installation, the filer failed completely. No recent changes, no upgrade going on, nothing. It just crashed. And 3 or 4 times we've had email alerts that one of the two controllers had failed when hadn't (we're setup in an active/active or HA pair configuration) NetApp software that just doesn't work and support calls that stay open for weeks.

Their customer support seems intent on either proving you're setup is not a validated hardware/software configuration and if that fails they try to sell you professional services. In 12 years of working as a UNIX admin, their software support is the worst I've experience. This is based on working with numerous calls, not just one bad experience.

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Unhappy

Alex McDonald, NetApp

H.T.

Please contact me directly at alex mc at netapp dotwotsit com (squish & replace) so we can get the issues addressed.

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8.0.1 wasn't one of their best

8.0.1 brought in support for a couple of things that were also later added into their 7..3.5 release, 8.0.1 imo wasn't that great for enterprise (mainly because downgrade was awful and it had a bit of a buglist) but originally they had to ship hardware with it pre-installed.

Stay away from 8.1 its still a RC for 7 mode (I'm I'm appalled Netapp are shipping systems with RC level software) even though it looks good. 8.0.2P2 so far has been running sweetly and fixes most of 8.0.1's concerns.

From my perspective 8.0.2 lets me use 64 bit aggregates (finally large volumes!) and 8.1 when we start using it will offer the ability to turn existing 32 bit aggregates to 64.

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Anonymous Coward

My experience is that NetApp's core technology is quite good, its secondary tools (System Manager, VSC) are crap, and support is generally poor. One of my colleagues opened a ticket about a periodic autosupport message indicating a Fibre Channel issue, and the tech sent back a white paper and asked to close the case. I have my own tickets that I've opened, which have languished for months. We were assigned a dedicated client support representative, supposedly to act as an escalation point, but so far he's been as useful as a glass hammer.

Mind you, the competition aren't any better. Support is the first thing to get cut, and most of the major storage vendors hire the cheapest yahoos they can find, able to follow a script and little more. Given that they want you to be self-supporting, it's ironic that their Web sites also tend towards unsearchable hairballs where you only find what you're looking for by accident. At this point, I generally self-support using Google and hope that I find a reference to a specific KB article or solution. I will say that NetApp has a very good OnTAP upgrade advisor and online problem analysis, though, so that's always worth a first stop if you have autosupport turned on.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

You should know better

This is a release candidate, not a full release, hence the lack of announcement from NetApp. I imagine we'll hear more of an announcement when the release goes to general availability.

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FAIL

2Gbps devices de-supported in this release?!?

from the release notes:

Beginning with Data ONTAP 8.1, DS14mk2 disk shelves with ESH2 storage I/O modules are no longer supported. If even one of these devices is attached to your storage system, do not upgrade to Data ONTAP 8.1 or later until after you replace the devices.

are you fucking kidding me?

that will pretty much end it for NetApp at several of our facilities. Isilon here we come...

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WTF?

latest belsl&whistles not available on >3yr old hardware

Doctor T: Last shipment date for ESH2 shelves was June 2nd 2008 (not that anybody still ordered it at that time, because ESH4 was already available for quite some time). So that HW is definitely much older than 3 years. The previous Ontap releases are still fully supported and actively maintained. No one forces you to update to 8.1. You can continue to run your systems.

However, a HW refresh might make sense in the near future (higher capacity, density, performance, less power, cooling, ..). And at that point you can enjoy all the cool new stuff from 8.1 as well...

See if your friends (colleagues?) at Isilon will give any commitment about making the latest features available on >3yr old HW :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Plugin ESH4

Me thinks you can still use your old shelves (mk2) but many need to buy ESH4 modules and plop them in...

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Go

Love ontap 8.1

It's interesting many EMC folks are busy writing comments here. As a customer for both I live this 8.1 stuff. Remarkable approach from NetApp. For the disks same with EMC VNX. All FC drives were not supported on VNX. But that said look into the new unified scaleout approach. Not sure if any other vendor could even create a true unified approach. All said EMC VMax a class apart for FC San and NetApp is the true NAS champ. Isilon, we looked is too primitive in enterprise features. Isilon cannot replicate Windows environment seamlessly yet and what are we talking about. Love the ONTAP block and compression.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Yeah, any negative Netapp comments must be EMC folks. Netapp doesn't actually have any unhappy cutomers.

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big, bigger, biggest...

When will do one of the storage vendors finally something about data growth? All they do is getting out bigger and bigger systems, nobody, not even IBM, thinks beyond the whole topic and works on solutions how information can be more efficiently stored....

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Anonymous Coward

OK

It's not the storage vendors who will do anything about data growth. Heck, even the administrators and IT managers of a company won't do anything about data growth - they just manage the infrastructure and storage vendors cater to this.

Trying to alter the way people create data and the rate at which they create data is a business problem, not a storage vendor one. If people need more and more storage that's just the way a business grows, capping this isn't high on any business list and the most active i've seen a company is to simply begin mandating what gets deleted.

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