NetApp HCI Review

Enabled us to consolidate workloads and breakdown silos but the upgrade process should be easier

What is our primary use case?

The use case is for a demo center, and then we load different kinds of workloads like Dockers, Citrix VDI, F5 Load Balancers, Virtualizers, all the virtual platforms, and virtual appliances. Customers would come to our data's demo center to take a look to see if they have an interest in HCI and then we would show them a showcase. 

How has it helped my organization?

It helps to consolidate our demo gear workloads because we have a lot of products that we take care of. We are a distributor in Hong Kong and we have other products like Cisco. It enables us to consolidate all of these kinds of virtual appliances onto the NetApp platform. At the same time, despite showing those solutions, we can also show NetApp solutions to our customers.

HCI has enabled us to consolidate workloads and breakdown silos. We used to have many down servers, a lot of kinds of servers that had no different portal solutions. Now, we consolidate all these kinds of virtual appliances in the same process. It saves us time and money to deploy the other servers. I don't really have very exact metrics but going from seven servers down to two servers helps to save a certain amount of electricity.

It has increased application performance because previously we were using single disks, like 10k's or 50k's. Now, we have a full flash SDS solution. The IOPS have increased significantly so that when many users come in to test at the center we don't have any performance complaints anymore.

NetApp provides efficiencies and mobility similar to that of the public cloud. NetApp is doing a good job with that, ONTAP can move data across the cloud very easily.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the software design storage that really provided a faster, agile, easier to scale up and out storage path.

What needs improvement?

The NDE Engine needs to improve because it will suddenly crash and I need to call the support and take it a look at that. The support in India also failed to resolve the issue and then we need to keep track of the restful APIs to see what is on before we can complete the installation at the first-time deployment. It was not a good experience.

The problem is that it needs to be much more stable, for example, when I want to do the upgrade to 1.7 that just released, I also need to issue a ticket to the support guy in India and he asked me to deploy another mblock. There are a lot of manual steps compared with other products.

It's easier to do with other products like Nutanix. It's very easy to upgrade with them. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not need to scale up and out yet, but I think when we will have the need to have additional web load, it will be quite easy because of the reset button. You just add a log.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is okay. For the service support part, it's seven or eight out of ten. But for the quality or the solution deployment part of the experience, I would give it about two and three.

What other advice do I have?

There are many competitors like vSAN, Nutanix, and SimpliVity. Those guys are doing a similar job that tries to seamlessly give an easier experience for the users to operate and upgrade. The integration with the VMware part still needs a lot of improvement. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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