Another Reason to Seek NetApp Maintenance and Legacy Equipment

Park Place Hardware Maintenance

Drew Teller October 06, 2014

NetApp’s direction for ONTAP presents challenges that may have data center managers sticking to legacy equipment for longer and turning to OEM storage maintenance and NetApp 3rd party support in greater numbers. Under the headline “Has NetApp Reached a Strategic Inflection Point?” ArchitectingIT discusses “traditional” ONTAP, called 7G or 7-mode.

ONTAP 7-mode is still in production—available even in the recently released FAS8000 series—but “the intention is for 7-mode to fade away gracefully and in fact it is already considered a legacy platform.” While there is some debate regarding its future, 7-mode certainly appears to be end of life in terms of new features.

Therein lies the challenge because the two versions of ONTAP are completely separate. Or as Greg Porter puts it: “There is no ‘converting’ between 7-mode and cluster-mode, you have to do a complete re-install and copy all data.”

Storage administrators face various complications at the prospect of this NetApp EOSL, as enumerated by Architecting IT:

  • c-mode uses a totally different command set that requires acquiring new skills and knowledge.
  • Existing scripts and processes built around the 7-mode CLI will need to be re-written.
  • OnCommand Core v6 will not support 7-mode – customers will need to retain version 5.  In transition environments, where customers have a mixture of c-mode and 7-mode, either some systems will not be supported (v6) or some new features will be unavailable (v5).

Maintaining NetApp 7-Mode for the Long Term

The 7-mode/c-mode divide is as concerning as ArchitectingIT posits. Park Place Technologies is happy to support c-mode, as well as to assist in complicated migrations to the Clustered ONTAP. But we realize how many data center managers want and need to maintain the status quo with ONTAP 7-mode, at least for some time to come.

Without access to new ONTAP features, upgrading to newer NetApp storage equipment to run end-of-life ONTAP loses appeal. As a result, we believe that many customers will retain existing equipment in service as long as possible, kicking the ONTAP changeover issue down the road.

Given the situation, one of the quality 3rd party maintenance providers in today’s market is the optimal solution for many reasons:

  • NetApp will continue to declare storage systems end-of-support-life (EOSL) on its own aggressive schedule. If these systems are reliable in 7-mode, upgrading may not be desirable. Third party maintenance providers like Park Place will continue to offer support contracts, enabling you to keep existing infrastructure for as long as you wish.
  • Even when support is offered by NetApp, it is exorbitantly priced. Park Place typically saves customers 40% to 70% by comparison, without compromising quality. As NetApp’s corporate focus drifts away from 7-mode and legacy hardware support, the value of dwindles further, making the high prices tougher to justify.
  • Park Place Technologies offers a NetApp maintenance solution that is flat-out better than that supplied by NetApp. It includes a local engineer assigned to the account, up-front systems analysis, quarterly check-ins, immediate no-escalation access to Level 3 support, multi-feature online portal, full component coverage…we could keep the list going, but you get the point. All of this ensures a level of personalization and responsiveness NetApp doesn’t deliver, and our engineers are among the best in the industry—meaning quality of support is top-notch as well.

The option to retain ONTAP 7-mode far into the future is a key advantage, but at the end of the day, Park Place does much more to maximize the value of IT investments, no matter what your infrastructure.

About the Author

Drew Teller, Channel Marketing Manager
Drew Teller is focused on finding the latest end of life information. Drew's interests lie in supporting IT professionals with their end of life equipment.