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Azure NetApp Files OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Azure NetApp Files is #3 ranked solution in top Cloud Migration tools, #6 ranked solution in top Public Cloud Storage Services, and #7 ranked solution in top Cloud Storage tools. PeerSpot users give Azure NetApp Files an average rating of 10 out of 10. Azure NetApp Files is most commonly compared to NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Azure NetApp Files vs NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 33% of all views.
What is Azure NetApp Files?

Extreme File Performance
Azure NetApp Files allows you to target any of your business-critical file workloads with extreme file throughput with sub-millisecond response times.With three service levels you can change on-the-fly, you get the performance that’s best suited to the application.

Simple, Seamless Experience
A seamless Azure experience for your file services workloads. You can deploy and manage Azure NetApp Files directory from the Azure Portal or automate using the Azure API or CLI integration.

Secure Your Data
Built-in capabilities ensure your data is protected at all times in Azure: from always-on encryption to point-in-time data copies (without added capacity costs). And with Microsoft‘s world class support, you can rest assured that you‘re in good hands with Azure.

Azure NetApp Files was previously known as NetApp ANF, ANF.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Cloud Migration Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

Azure NetApp Files Customers

SAP, Restaurant Magic

Azure NetApp Files Video

Archived Azure NetApp Files Reviews (more than two years old)

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AVP at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Simple to learn and use, but the technical support is in need of improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "The critical features of this solution are SnapMirror for replication, data protection, and SnapLock."
  • "We would like to have backup functionality built-in so that we don't run into the issue where the replication process makes a copy of the corrupted data."

What is our primary use case?

We have implemented Azure NetApp Files in our lab, and we have tested the NFS and CIFS protocols. We are looking for the multi-protocol approach, where the clients can leverage both protocols to access files, whether they are using Windows or Linux. Once we have this, and the data protection is in place, will we begin using this solution internally.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the benefits that I saw was that the administrators are hands-off, and don't have to worry about disk replacements. All we care about is creating volumes and giving our clients access to those volumes. This functionality is critical because we are a very lean team, and it gives us back a lot of cycles.

In terms of seeing a performance increase, I would not say that this is our use case. We are concerned with functionality at this time. Traditionally, the way we see it, if we want more performance then we keep it local because we see the price point going up when cloud applications need higher performance. As of now, we don't have any applications that require that kind of performance in the cloud.

The scale-up and scale-down capabilities of the solution provided flexibility in both capacity and performance. In terms of operations, this solution has given us a lot of cycles back. We don't have have to deal with the scheduling and the data center folks when it comes to things like third-party disk replacement. It is hands-off.

I would say that ease of use is one of the highest items because it doesn't matter if I'm there in the company or not, tomorrow somebody else might come in and for that person, the learning curve is very linear. They will be able to pick it up in, probably, a couple of days and it's not a lot to learn. It's very intuitive when we are using Azure NetApp Files.

We have only done preliminary testing with dynamic resizing, but I would say that it has not saved us time.

At this point, using NetApp Files has not given us the opportunity for new use cases.

Features are being added to this product at a very slow pace, and they should be speeding that up and being a little more aggressive.

What is most valuable?

The critical features of this solution are SnapMirror for replication, data protection, and SnapLock.

Replication is important to us because we are a financial company, and we would like to have a second copy of the data available to use no matter what. Whether we are running on-premises or in the could, we would like to have it available in a different region.

The data protection is important because regardless of the disaster recovery, we were running into a situation where the data is corrupted in both locations. 

SnapLock is used for WORM files, where they are locked for a certain amount of time and nobody will be able to delete them. It is SEC compliant, which is important because we cannot put data onto these systems until the FINRA or SEC compliance is there.

This solution is intuitive, easy to learn, and easy to use.

What needs improvement?

We would like to be able to replicate data to different regions as soon as possible.

The data protection piece is missing.

We would like to have backup functionality built-in so that we don't run into the issue where the replication process makes a copy of the corrupted data.

Technical support needs to be improved.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We trust the stability of this solution. We have been using ONTAP for probably a decade and we trust the code. This is basically the UI that is changing, and we believe that everything else under the covers is still there, operationally.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

NetApp Files is definitely scalable. However, to what extent and what price point is something that is yet to be seen for us.

How are customer service and technical support?

We do not have to pay NetApp for support, but at the end of the day, we still have to have support, regardless of the product. So, either way, we pay NetApp or Microsoft so it doesn't matter. We still need support for the product.

On a scale of one to five, I would rate the technical support a two. There are very few people who understand this technology inside NetApp. If you need to have an answer on a specific question then you need to go to the right people, which means that you have to know who the right people are. Otherwise, the question will be lingering around for months.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Microsoft brought this solution forward to us. Once I heard about it, I saw the value in getting our time back. That is very important for us because we are a lean group and we do a lot of things with very few people. That is one of the main drivers for implementing.

Azure's Service and support did not influence us in going with this solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is very straightforward. Anybody who understands Microsoft Azure will find it pretty straightforward to create volumes or enable the licensing. It's very easy.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed this solution, myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our pricing has not been determined because we are still waiting on additional features.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We do have Cloud Volume Service on AWS, which is pretty much the same, I would say. There's no difference between this solution and that one. However, Azure NetApp Files is better for us because we manage Microsoft Azure as well.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is researching this solution is that it's a good opportunity for companies to save time on operations.

Definitely, I would recommend Azure NetApp Files over AWS because I have seen more of them, and I prefer NetApp. We have built a lot of functionality ourselves in the form of traditional, homegrown scripts. Even though the snapshot capability was not there, we had the ability to do it using scripts. It was easier, I would say. AWS has been there for a very long time so it has that benefit. It's more mature than Microsoft Azure NetApp Files, but personally, as Microsoft users, we recommend this solution.

This is a good product, but they have a couple of key elements in the works that need to be delivered within the next one or two quarters.

At this time, I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MikeCostanza
Senior Manager at Restaurant Magic
Real User
Easy to use, excellent technical support, and performs ultra-fast SQL backup and restore operations
Pros and Cons
  • "Using NetApp Files got us out of a really difficult situation quickly, effectively, and at a reasonable cost."
  • "I would like to see multi-zone redundancy so that I don't have to worry about it. I just back up my data to that one SMB share and I know that it's replicated to a different region."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for SQL backups and restores.

Right now, we've stopped using this solution because we finished our migration. We are looking to work with Microsoft and NetApp to see what other innovations we can do with this solution, on other practical problems in our infrastructure that it can solve.

How has it helped my organization?

The scale-up and scale-down capabilities of the solution have provided flexibility in both capacity and performance. We were able to scale up and add more capacity with zero downtime, allowing us to continue in our migration without having to refactor anything.

NetApp's dynamic resizing has saved us hours.

Prior to implementing this solution, we could not perform really rapid database backups and restores. This new use case allows us to easily do data migrations instead of them becoming a time-consuming, very long-planning affair.

When comparing ease of use, simplicity, and reduction in IT management versus the cost, I would say that this solution is fair. It is about four times the cost of premium storage on Azure, so in order for us to use it, we'd have to be willing to increase our storage costs by four times. It would be nicer if there was a little bit less of a differential.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the quick spin-ups and spin-downs, ultra-fast SQL backup and restore.

The speed of Azure NetApp Files is incredible. Instead of taking three to four hours to do a back and restore operation of a large database, we were able to conduct it in about 15 minutes.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see multi-zone redundancy so that I don't have to worry about it. I just back up my data to that one SMB share and I know that it's replicated to a different region.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is rock solid. We had no issues with it during the migrations.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We were able to scale really quickly.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using backups to Azure blobs and it was taking far too long to do it. A Microsoft Cloud solution architect suggested Azure NetApp Files, and when we saw the time reduced from hours to minutes, we were sold on the technology.

The Azure service support did not influence our decision because we had an established relationship with Microsoft, so their recommendation is what influenced us.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup seemed very straightforward, kind of point and click.

What about the implementation team?

The NetApp engineers worked with our Microsoft engineers, which worked with our team to both imagine and deploy this solution without our architecture within hours. The three of them worked great together.

What was our ROI?

While I cannot share dollar figures, I can share customer feedback. We received almost zero complaints because of our reduced downtime, which to us is a huge ROI.

What other advice do I have?

Using Azure NetApp Files got us out of a really difficult situation quickly, effectively, and at a reasonable cost.

My advice to anybody who is researching this solution is to definitely try it out. Benchmark it against their existing solution to see if it can improve their throughput.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about NetApp, Turbonomic, an IBM company, CloudSphere and others in Cloud Migration. Updated: January 2022.
564,599 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Solutions Architect at Champion Solutions Group
MSP
A flexible solution for dealing with unstructured data, integrates well with Active Directory
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of this solution is its flexibility."
  • "This solution would be improved with more innovation."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for Azure NetApp Files is unstructured data.

We have this solution deployed both on Microsoft Azure and on-premises.

How has it helped my organization?

Azure NetApp Files gives our clients better options.

My clients have seen a performance increase in a range of between five and thirty percent.

The scale-up and scale-down capabilities of the solution have provided flexibility in both capacity and performance, as well as billing. It has streamlined our operations, making them more flexible and allowing for easier growth.

The dynamic resizing has given us better position, accuracy, and deployment, so in this perspective, it has saved time.

As a partner, we have multiple use cases on a daily basis. There is a lot of flexibility and lots of use cases that fit well with this solution.

With regard to the ease of use and reduction in management versus the cost, this solution is excellent. The time to market is quick.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is its flexibility.

The speed of this solution is adequate.

The fully integrated Active Directory was exactly what I was looking for.

What needs improvement?

This solution would be improved with more innovation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been selling NetApp for about fifteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been good to this point.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has been good, so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution has been good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are a Microsoft Premier Partner in Cloud, which made for a nice bridge because we were already partners with NetApp.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of Azure NetApp Files varies. It can be anywhere from the basics to extreme complexity.

What about the implementation team?

We are the solution integrator who implement this for our clients.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing fees for this solution vary, ranging from a single shelf to a full suite.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options. NetApp is always on our short-list.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend Azure NetApp Files.

This solution just fits our needs, and I would rate it a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Storage Engineer at Walgreen Co.
Real User
Fast to deploy, easy to maintain, and provides better performance
Pros and Cons
  • "It has saved a lot of time. Because in the older, conventional hardware system, they need to raise a ticket to go to storage engineering, then storage engineering would increased the size. Now, it's dynamic. You don't have to do anything. This improved the time by more than 50 percent."
  • "We would like for the files which are coming in that we can version them. So, if a file is accidentally deleted, there should have a recycle bin option where we can go back, and at least once, clean it up."

What is our primary use case?

Some of the instances in the cloud, they needed NFS mount, and Microsoft did not have anything. That's why we are using Azure NetApp Files, we need to export NFS shares across multiple clients.

We are using version 1, which is the best version in my opinion.

This product is deployed in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. 

How has it helped my organization?

Azure has their native tools. We use the server tools to monitor the response time and availability of the shares.

What is most valuable?

  • You can scale.
  • The response time is very good on Azure NetApp Files. This is important because it solves the problem where we can export our Unix NFS shares with Windows as well as our UNIX clients.

What needs improvement?

We would like for the files which are coming in that we can version them. So, if a file is accidentally deleted, there should have a recycle bin option where we can go back, and at least once, clean it up.

They could probably improve the versioning and other advanced features. The replication is not available in all the Azure Availability Zones.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using it for about six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, we are not having any issues with the solution. It is working very well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very easy to scale. We can scale. There are some certain limitations on the size, but we haven't hit the limit yet, so I don't see any problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

It has been very good. Whenever we call the account team, the support team is very responsive. So, we don't have any issues with the support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our management made a decision that we had to move into the cloud. They went into a agreement with Microsoft that they would like to reduce their on-prem data center infrastructure and move as many applications into the cloud as they can. As part of that decision, we are migrating some applications from an on-prem environment to the cloud.

It has saved a lot of time. Because in the older, conventional hardware system, they need to raise a ticket to go to storage engineering, then storage engineering would increased the size. Now, it's dynamic. You don't have to do anything. This improved the time by more than 50 percent.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We have been using NetApp products for long period of time, so we understand how they work. There is not a huge difference between the way these products are implemented in the cloud. Because we have been working with it for a long period of time, it's easier in the cloud to deploy.

This is very easy to implement. It doesn't take a long time to create shares and go through the security team to get approvals, open firewall ports, etc. So, it improves the delivery time a lot, it's very fast to deliver, and it is very easy to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it with the help of Azure consulting services. Our experience was good.

What was our ROI?

The performance has improved by about 30 percent.

The solution’s combination of the ease of use, simplicity, and reduction in IT management versus the cost has helped a lot. It is very fast to deploy. It's very easy to maintain. You don't have to do a lot in the cloud to maintain this thing, so it gives good performance. It's fast to deploy, easy to maintain, and it gives a better performance. These are the most basic three criteria for any application. This saves cost because the manpower you need to deploy is going down. You're getting better performance and not buying new resources. You have resources available in the cloud. It's just a couple of clicks, then you're good to go.

We have not yet seen ROI. We are not at that point yet. We are just recently starting using it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are working with the NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP. One issue with that is you can use single node. It doesn't have redundancy right now. That is something we are a bit concerned with. So, we are thinking about it, and what are the alternatives?

What other advice do I have?

The solution is solid. It works as designed. You get better performance and it is easy to use. It's a solid product.

We are using the same applications and not doing anything new. However, we are thinking about it.

I would rate it an eight (out of 10).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.