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Where is OnTap 8 with a bit of a rant!

After cursing OnTap for the millionth time this week, I am wondering where the heck the GA version of OnTap 8 is. OnTap 8 was announced end of August last year with a fairly large fanfare; indeed if you look at the NetApp pages, you'd be under the impression that it is shipping. 

Unfortunately, I'm here to say that it isn't. Well, I guess that depends on what you call shipping; yes, I can go onto the NetApp support site and download a RC. But note that is still only a RC, it's not a GA product and I have a policy that involves not running production systems on beta-code. 

And so I sit here cursing OnTap 7; actually I'm amazed that NetApp have had such an easy ride recently. Yes I love the ease of use and configuration of OnTap; yes, the snap functionality is probably best in class and A-SIS dedupe is very cool and surprisingly effective but there's an elephant in the room! The aggregate! It's so limited in scalability and it's becoming a real issue for effective and flexible management of storage. 

The size of the aggregate really conspires against effective use of today's larger disks. I am a little surprised that NetApp for so long have managed to get away with claiming that they have wide striping; it's not especially wide IMO especially when you are talking about terabyte spindles. Even with the 300 GB disks, it's not that wide…

And then there's the file-system limit, 16 TB is pretty small…..

Face it, the aggregate is a right PITA! Hurry and ship a GA OnTap 8 please! People are fairly quick to throw rocks at EMC about the pre-announcement of FAST but with OnTap 8; NetApp can pretty much join them in the corner of shame. And at least EMC are shipping FAST v1 as a GA product and I would bet that FAST v2 is in a number of sites running as beta-code. 

I wonder if FAST v2 will actually beat OnTap 8 to GA? So take up the gauntlet and get OnTap 8 out the door as a shipping product.


  1. Shazzam! Next week, look for a “Customer Product Communique” in your inbox if you’re a NOW subscriber.

  2. Martin G says:

    Well it’s been such a long time coming, it better be perfect!
    Of course, I should have added, I probably wouldn’t even install a shipping GA product for at least six months. And I wonder what the advice will be to customers, because generally the advice we get from all vendors is not to install for at least six months for the initial horrible bugs to be taken out. Which says a lot for the various QA processes!
    Actually, it’d be interesting to see which bugs/features have been concessioned in any shipping product.

  3. Nick Kirsch says:

    Why not try a next-generation NAS platform that has been delivering on its promises for years?
    Isilon is worth a look.

  4. Martin G says:

    Nick, already got Isilon.

  5. InsaneGeek says:

    Having been burned a number of times on major code release changes… ONTAP, Enginuity, Brocade… I got to say 6 months is simply not long enough for really any vendor.
    We waited about 18 months after GA before going from ONTAP 6->7 and it was still pretty painful, less in the way of “oh no we lost data”; but more in a “we got to talk to the business again to patch the systems because another critical bug has been uncovered after we patched it last week that will cause data loss”.
    I’ve found over the years that it’s more the frequency of patches coming out for the release rather than whether they are finding cosmetic vs critical items in them as a good indicator of upgrading safety. If things have died down sufficiently to where patches aren’t coming out very often, it’s probably a reached a pretty stable level. That’s for a new major release (which lets be honest doesn’t happen very often)… minor ones I’m a bit more flexible on. Even better I find that the hardware replacement guy from the vendor tends to have the most unbiased opinion as to whether it’s time to go to a new release. They tend to be willing to tell you straight up (I imagine replacing drives all day long is rather boring for them, so they get a good bit of chat time with people) if something isn’t good or not and the number of customers running it.

  6. Applse to Apples Please says:

    Though I agree the OT8 is late, GX was worse. Also I think you might have a bit of glass house in some area’s. Remember the pain we all got to experience when “upgrading” from 71.x to 72.x?
    Also if your going to drill Netapp on being slow you might want to also look in your shop. Is Celerra relevant anymore? Talk about slow moving product for the enterprise Celerra takes the cake for promising big delivering very little.
    For me the NAS space is extremely drunk and disorderly, poor quality, slow moving, custom FAB.
    Vendors such as:
    Onstor (LSI)
    Have better scale features, different ones for sure but they are real, N+1 clusters, REAL NDU, though not all have this either.

  7. Martin G says:

    What shop? I don’t work for a vendor and certainly not EMC!? I’m not an especially large Celerra fan either but EMC have not pubilically pre-announced a major rewrite of DART and then taken an age to deliver it…

  8. Barry Whyte says:

    You taken a look at SONAS? Its an appliance version of the SoFS offering, built on industry hardened products like GPFS šŸ™‚

  9. Martin G says:

    SONAS, now there’s a thought….pity IBM forgot to mention it when we were buying a nSeries!!

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