Re: Some extra detail
Hi, AC. Let me respond to your epistles point by each.
1 a) "Anecdotal evidence is interesting, especially when colored with confirmation bias. I assume you've spent your days talking to every single storage admin that's ever migrated to cDOT?"
No, I haven't talked to every single storage admin that's ever migrated to cDOT. I have talked to all those I could find and who were willing to talk to me. Just like I talk to sysadmins about their experiences with any and every bit of infrastructure (especially storage) or software they are willing to share experiences on. The more I learn about pain points the more informed my questions can be when I get the chance to talk to vendors. That's, you know, my job.
Regarding confirmation bias: I don't have any on this topic. Yes, I think NetApp is probably doomed, but the reasons for that are more related to issues around the support experience, partner/channel difficulties, sales targets, marketing and the utter incomprehension on NetApp's behalf of community management.
The cDOT thing is actually fairly incidental in my calculations. Despite that, the issue has been raised so many times, by so many sysadmins that when I saw what appeared to be a NetApp employee adding info to an article I took the opportunity to ask questions in the comments forum instead of using my full blown article pulpit.
The comments section receives less than 1% of the readers of a main article. NetApp has declined to assign me a PR flak to whom I can ask questions when I have them. This seemed a perfectly valid way to ask questions in a manner that would be relatively low impact to NetApp itself.
1b) "Where is your empirical evidence and precise examples of where dealing with cDOT/ONTAP is so much worse than any other vendor, so much so that it's worth the *extra* downtime to do so? Because all I see here is unfounded opinion."
Well, were I going to take the time to ask my sources to get official permission to discuss this, be named, and document their issues in full I would damned well expect to get paid for the effort. This means writing up a full article. Given the tales told around the boozer about this that article would be damning. Bordering on assassination. I have no interest in assassinating NetApp. At least not over the cDOT thing.
As to whether or not it is "worth the [extra] downtime" to migrate away from NetApp to another solution, different people have expressed different opinions on the topic. For some, they have heard of so many things going wrong during cDOT migrations that they flat out do not trust NetApp's claims of seamless migration and wouldn't try it, no matter what the spokesdroids say. For those customers the question then does NOT revolve around downtime (or lack thereof) but instead around the ROI and TCO of the different offerings.
Others are using solutions such as Datacore or Falconstore to migrate workloads from NetApp to other solutions live and without interruption. Some competing storage vendors have other tools which make migrations easier. Migrating workloads off of one storage vendor's tin and over to another its own industry.
Others might be willing to trust in NetApp's cDOT migration capabilities but view the cost of staying with NetApp as being higher than a competitor + the outage/effort required to migrate. And yes, there are those who have - successfully and unsuccessfully - felt that sticking with NetApp and doing the migration is the best path.
I am not claiming - nor have I claimed - that any of these paths is "correct". I asked questions and I was hoping for a reasoned response that would allow me to gather more data on the topic.
1c) "I'm fairly certain that there are legal avenues that can be taken if "CFT craters" on you. Luckily, CFT has rollback methodology built in, backed by decades of proven SnapShot technology."
What are those avenues? What is covered? Under what circumstances? Vague promises are irrelevant here. As for "has rollback technology"...great? I mean, that's some comfort, but the risks involved are so high that the existence of one possible technological remedy is just not remotely relevant compared to the importance of the financial and legal remedies that are available. As you seem to be involved in teh technology industry, I am hoping you are more than passingly familiar with risk management.
1 d) "I agree - Forklift upgrades are retro, which is precisely why customers are moving to cDOT."
I can see this as an easy enough marketing message. I am trying to match the corporate bravado with actual reports from systems administrators. To date, it would seem that those who trust in this particular bit of "messaging" are vastly outnumbered by those who do not.
Seem is the operative word here. I have stated what I see on the ground. I welcome rebuttal with facts and numbers that can be verified.
2a) "Wait. So first it was "NetApp was slow to the flash market" and now it's "congrats you have an all-flash solution. Big deal." Which is it? And I'm sure you realize that AFF is *not* classic FAS, right?"
First off, I don't recall saying NetApp was late to the flash party. It was, but that isn't something I consider relevant to today's systems administrators. Today, hybrid flash and all flash are common. No big deal. The question isn't "can you do it" - Synology can do it! - but "does your solution suck less than others and/or cost less than others?".
AFF may not be classic FAS, but they are really not so very far apart. While I have not personally had the opportunity to run AFF through the wringer, others whom I trust to be very good at testing these things found it to be decent on performance but less than middling on value. As always, more data to better refine analysis is better.
2b) "The data is out there and more is coming."
Hyperlinks would be appreciated. What I've seen so far does not convince me that NetApp is the be-all and end-all of storage by a long shot.
2c - "You complained about no proof in 2b, then shrug off the proof in 2c. This makes little sense."
Um, no. I acknowledged that the data provided was an important data point, but do not find that it is remotely adequate enough to call it for NetApp. Performance, looks great for one specific benchmark. NetApp should be proud, but that is really only one data point amongst the many needed. It also does not address TCO or ROI, nor the intersection of those two with performance.
Proper analysis considered multiple use cases, multiple (and mixed) workloads, ROI, TCO, performance, support, migration, reliability, insurance coverage, ecosystem, future proofing and migration friction/lock-in.
"I will say that your entire post would have been perfect if summed up in your last two paragraphs."
I am sure you would, as your pro-NetApp bias is pretty blatant. Which, to my mind, is aught but a stronger incentive to ask more - and more probing - questions.
"There *does* need to be industry-wide standards and testing done by independent groups. It needs to be impartial. The FUD slinging has to stop, and honestly, it starts with the people with the largest mouthpieces, like The Register."
See 1 a). I'm doing my job. What's yours, exactly?
And while you're at it, please have the bravery to use your real name. If you want to go after me, The Register and/or anyone else, don't hide behind the coward's veil.