NetApp HCI Review

The most fully-baked API for SDS, it gives us more API-driven management of our products

What is our primary use case?

We have the SolidFire Element OS, which is also their HCI. We don't use the hyperconverged part of it, but we do use the scale-out storage piece of it for all-flash storage.

How has it helped my organization?

The benefits for our organization are the performance that we're able to get out of it, as well as the guaranteed minimum performance from a storage perspective. They make life a lot easier to manage, for what we're provisioning out to customers.

What is most valuable?

We're trying to move to a much more API-driven management of all of our products, and NetApp's product is, from all the SDS providers we have seen, the most fully-baked API out there.

What needs improvement?

I'm not a fan of how they don't log you out properly from some of their web tools for management. There are some little things like that, that they're working on, still.

Replication is a big one that, I believe they're saying in version 11, is going to be able to accommodate our needs. That's three to six months away.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We're going to the 10.3 now and we haven't lost any data, which is a good thing. Some of the API calls were causing time-outs, but that's been fixed in the version we're moving to, so it's becoming more and more stable all the time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Thirty-six nodes are as big as we go right now and we have scaled them up to 36 nodes. It was not challenging at all. Just add them in and they connect right up.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a guy that we work with, primarily. He's really good. Obviously, he's still one of their frontline guys, but he can escalate things, as needed. So they've been very good.

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

We're trying to move away from Fibre Channel as our primary storage method, so moving to the SolidFire HCI product is a step in that direction.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. When you get them all onto the network, they all see each other and you just tell it to add it to the cluster. It's pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator but I was not involved in that piece of it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Dell EMC ScaleIO, their Ready Node stuff. And I think some of my peers evaluated Hedvig and some other SDS providers. We went for NetApp because of the API functionality that they really built into it. They're all-API first, and then they put everything on a wrapper around their API. Anything that can be done is done via API.

What other advice do I have?

Take a look at the guaranteed minimum QoS's that you can push out to the LOBs or the people who are using it, and the API as well.

We don't use Data Fabric for hybrid or multi-clouds. We are trying to form a DevOps team to take over the operations side of everything; everything from a drive failure to everything else. Has this solution accelerated that? Not yet. And we don't use the solution to leverage micro-services from our clouds.

I would rate the solution a nine out of ten. They are delivering what they packaged it as. It's a high-performing and scalable storage system.

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