NetApp HCI Review

Storage can be expanded to increase across all nodes or be limited to a minimal amount

What is our primary use case?

It is for high demand VMs.

We are deploying it on-premise. We are on the latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

Because NetApp usually marries capacity, performance, and upgrade planning together, there's not a whole lot that I need to worry about at this point. But I do know when I need to have high performance, I will use the HCI (for those few that I need it for).

It gives me a chance to have certain workloads on high performance for people who complain about performance. If they think it is their storage, I can put it on there.

The way we're using it is probably different than most. It's just to be able to move certain workloads. Because we're on the engineering side, we will do a distributed build which takes a certain amount of time to go through it. On the tools or application, people want to have something finished within a certain amount of time. If the current solution isn't working, we can move it to give it the best performance.

What is most valuable?

It allows me to move a VM set and require extra performance. I can easily move them onto it and have it just run.

It is easy to maintain.

What needs improvement?

Long-term, I would like them to add NVMe disks and possibly have a tiering solution built underneath it. Not everybody wants you to run things up to the cloud. By having a low-end storage attached to it, you can tier stuff up and down, as needed.

Because I like block mode, I'd like to see SAN connectivity. I would like to be able to easily put it into my current environment.

Unfortunately, the solution has not reduced our hypervisor footprint.

The solution’s Element software has not enabled us to consolidate workloads or break down silos yet. I need high-performance on a certain thing, and that is it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am looking at trying to scale it up by adding more blades and storage in the near future.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've had really good luck with them.

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

We were running on a non-hyperconverged application. We were running off it of instead of using the SSDs. It was all based on SAS and Near-line. 

This just gives us a little better performance.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward. You've got a box and you fire it up.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it ourselves.

We had NetApp people walking us through a lot of it. They were part of the NetApp application group.

What was our ROI?

The solution has increased application performance.

Maintenance costs are the same because my infrastructure is still there.

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

Talk with the vendor. Get a demo box, put it in, set it up, and see if it works. Remember that you still have to pay for the licensing for VMware and Red Hat licenses separately. It's not all inclusive at this point. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated NetApp and a competitor. What I like about NetApp is the storage wasn't defined to a particular node. I can expand the storage to increase across all nodes or I can have a minimal amount. Whereas, the competitor had a certain amount per node, and that was it. There was no expandability.

What other advice do I have?

Just have a good understanding of what you have.

I would rate it a nine (out of 10). It is easy for me to go out there and configure the storage along with everything through vCenter. However, when you get into SolidFire or the hardware side of it, it'd be nice to have a quick, easy way to get into that from VMware.

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

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