The limitations you mention are either not there or rapidly going away
Hi all, Dimitris from NetApp here (recoverymonkey.org).
Technology evolves at a rapid clip - and ONTAP more rapidly than most think.
Think about it - we have needed a disruptive upgrade only TWICE since 1992 (TradVols->FlexVols, and 7mode->cDOT). Yet we allow full hardware re-use and don't force customers to buy all new stuff. It's not like a 7-mode system can't be re-initialized and join a cDOT cluster... :)
Other vendors force major migrations and hardware swaps upon customers every 3-5 years and XtremIO needed TWO destructive upgrades the past year alone. And most startups are too new - will their architecture stand the test of time so much that they need 2 disruptive upgrades or less in over 20 years? Really?
Puts things in perspective a bit.
To adress your points:
1. 7MTT is absolutely available for use by customers now, no PS or transition team needed.
2. E-Series is indeed not designed to make heavy use of the fancy capabilities - it's more an easy, fast, reliable I/O engine.
3. Look at the built-in GUI in ONTAP 8.3. Stats are there. We also DO provide performance stats via AutoSupport.
4. Exchange SnapManager needing RDMs: This is a Microsoft-imposed limitation. For SQL for instance we can use SMSQL even if the SQL VM is running on an NFS data store... :)
For the rest of the "limitations" - there are best practices and then there are true limitations. Don't confuse the two please.
ONTAP is still the most flexible storage OS by far. Does it do EVERYTHING? Nothing does. But it deals with more data center problems than any other storage OS extant today. Simple fact.