What is most valuable?
The quality of service features are valuable. They are able to allocate a certain number of IOPS in your throughput to your LUNs. That's something that's a little bit more difficult using traditional methods.
VDI is a perfect use case. If you have ones that need more performance than others, it's easier to allocate it on a prolonged basis for a VDI environment for your specific virtual desktop users.
How has it helped my organization?
Right now, we're still in the testing phase but I think it definitely helps in the sense where, with traditional SAN architectures, you have to architect what kind of disk you need and how many of those disks you need in your storage pool and things like that. With the SolidFire, it's really just a number and it’s really just a matter of typing in that number for that certain LUN or whatever it is that you want to allocate for your users.
What needs improvement?
I now know their best practices associated with allocating IOPS to your LUNs. I wish that was more apparent to me when actually configuring the system. That's really the only feedback so far.
Also, in a competitor's solution, they have this ability to tell you what platform you should buy next to expand your environment based on your current needs and your predicted needs for the future. It tells you what models to buy. Maybe SolidFire could do the same thing.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's stable. We haven't had any stability issues at all. It works really well.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have not had any scalability issues at all. I think it scales out really well. We've tested it with cloning multiple VMs at the same time. The numbers it generates are pretty impressive.
How are customer service and technical support?
I did have an issue where, when I was deleting stuff, it did not detect that I had deleted something. I just reached out to the SE and he gave me the script to unmap the blocks that I had originally used. That was the only time I had an issue. They were great, excellent, and responsive.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Management of traditional SANs was becoming cumbersome. We wanted to look for a more efficient solution. That's why we started looking at SolidFire.
How was the initial setup?
Initial setup was very straightforward, easy. I've used all the hyper-conversion platforms before and I think we got it up and running within an hour or so. It was very simple.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We also looked at hyper-converged infrastructure competitors.
We actually have both in our environment. We're really assessing both at the same time and trying to see which might be better for certain use cases. One is more storage focused and the other one's computing and storage. There's that problem, too, where you just want to compute. Expanding on storage is more difficult with the hyper-converged stuff but with SolidFire, you can just expand on the storage without worrying about compute.
What other advice do I have?
Start small, then expand. That's what I would do.
I think the solution was very simple and easy to set up, which I really appreciated.
To give it a higher rating, I'll have to thoroughly test it and have a better understanding of the whole architecture and the solution and also the capabilities I’ve mentioned.
When I look for a vendor such as NetApp, some of the important criteria are the market space, their customer support, and how responsive they are from the account manager to the SEs, not just tech support but also the other guys involved in the organization, too.