30 Oct Do You Need to Move from NetApp 7-Mode to Clustered Data ONTAP?
For more than 20 years, the basic operating system for NetApp Enterprise Storage Solutions has been 7-Mode (also now known as ONTAP Traditional or 7G). As with all operating systems, there have been multiple versions and upgrades for many reasons: errors, improved functionality, a proliferation of storage options, and changes in technology. With the introduction of Clustered Data ONTAP, you may be wondering about a transition to the newer option using cDOT. Is the upgrade to Clustered Data ONTAP necessary – or does it make sense to stay with what you know?
If the move feels a little overwhelming, let’s take the time to understand the why both sticking with NetApp 7-Mode and making the move to Clustered Data ONTAP/Cluster Mode should be considered, and how you can evaluate what’s right for your company.
Cost-Benefit considerations for an ONTAP upgrade
The market has been slow to adopt Clustered Data ONTAP, and there are still thousands of companies using 7-Mode. The cost to upgrade has been a key factor for many. The conversion to Clustered Data ONTAP can be expensive and complicated – but if you decide that 7-mode is a better fit, the OEM might hit you with costs to keep it under their support. Either way, you may be paying more to the OEM than you had planned.
It’s also important to consider what’s involved in creating a smooth transition for any upgrade. They can be challenging, labor-intensive (and resource-intensive) processes. There may be good reasons to switch, but staying with 7-Mode should be considered as a way of saving time, aggravations, energy and effort invested in upgrades. If things are working perfectly, why take on operational problems, costs, and headaches you don’t need?
What are the risks and rewards of staying with 7-Mode?
Many companies worry that they’ll no longer be able to get maintenance on what is a perfectly serviceable system. But is there a threat the 7-mode will not be supported? Not if you partner with a third-party maintenance provider. And moving away from OEM support may save you thousands of dollars per year.
Clustered Data ONTAP is a much more complex operating system, but original versions did not include several functionalities of the tried and true 7-Mode. The features that go beyond 7-Mode do allow for better horizontal and vertical storage scaling. Additionally, when there is a need to replace or refresh, you can do so on the fly with minimal downtime or disruption of storage operations.
The escalating cost of maintenance can be a concern to convert from 7-Mode as the manufacturer inflates maintenance costs as your filer ages. Keep in mind there are options at a significantly lower price point.
But what about all the new bells and whistles such as such as uniform controller failover, movable aggregates, and robust flex volumes? Remember that you also have an option to simply upgrade your older NetApp filer that’s running 7-mode.
If your company switches from 7-Mode, what is gained and what are the risks of staying away from Clustered Data ONTAP for the next several years? Is this even a reasonable option? What factors should you consider when deciding between 7-Mode and Clustered Data ONTAP? The prospect raises lots of questions that the OEM may not be able to answer.
Our skilled engineers would be happy to share what they know with you. We know that NetApp and their network of resellers or consultants might have a different point of view on this topic, but we think Smart 3rd Party’s engineers who work with NetApp in the trenches every day (and have dozens of years of experience with NetApp) can provide you with a balanced view. Please contact us today to speak to a NetApp specialist.
Want to dive a little deeper to find out more about this topic? Get the full story in our book NetApp 7-MODE versus cDOT: Should We Move.