SolidFire Review

Easy to use, good performance and security, with proactive technical support

What is our primary use case?

We are a distributor and this is one of the products that we resell. I work with the entire NetApp portfolio.

It is used by our clients as a block storage solution.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the QoS and its ease of use. The dashboard is such that you don't need to be a storage expert to administer it.

The replication works well.

They now have a 100GB network interface, which is nice because I was disappointed with the original iSCSI protocol. That was all that it supported and I found it to be a limitation.

What needs improvement?

For people using FC SAN, SolidFire is not an option because of the interface.

The inclusion of more protocols and interfaces would make it easier to integrate with other products.

Adding NFS or another file service would be a good feature, on top of the block storage. There are, however, already other solutions for this in the NetApp portfolio.

For how long have I used the solution?

I began working with SolidFire two years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have a SolidFire grid set up and I find that it is a stable solution. I did have to replace a disk on one occasion, which is something that the technical support contacted me about. While I have not used SolidFire in production, I have not heard complaints about stability from any of our customers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some rules that have an impact on scalability. If the existing nodes have a small capacity then a much bigger node cannot simply be added. The reason for this is that there needs to be sufficient capacity to provide redundancy in case one of the nodes is lost. This means that during the design of the system, there are a few things that have to be considered. If the rules are respected then scalability is not a problem.

How are customer service and technical support?

Each time I have been in contact with technical support, it has been proactive. They always call me before I realize that there is a problem. They will call or send an email, at which point they will explain whether there are updates that you should consider installing.

We are connected to NetApp using Active IQ, and the support contacted me to say that there was a disk that was not behaving as expected, according to their metrics and analytics.  They sent me a new disk and we changed it, which was a very easy process. 

In a previous experience, I had a SolidFire platform in the lab, and I remember that we changed a motherboard on one of the nodes. It was not a problem and it was done without disruption. The data on the system was still available from the other nodes.

Overall, I have no complaints about the NetApp support around SolidFire.

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

I have experience with Pure Storage and NetApp is the better option. The software is similar and the Pure Storage has better performance but with NetApp, it is easier to scale up and scale-out.

What other advice do I have?

Most of the time when we sell SolidFire, it is integrated with NetApp HCI. Together, they make up part of a whole package that includes servers, compute, storage, and network. SolidFire can be fun in standalone mode but most of the time, if we have a need for flash storage then we will use the EF-Series. We also have the AFF storage with ONTAP as an option.

My advice to anybody who is implementing this solution is to make sure that it is properly designed. There are always things that you need to be aware of when designing an efficient system.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: reseller
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