How has it helped my organization?
We're currently working on the Element X operating system with SolidFire, because we're trying to break the combination of hardware and software. We're going for the Element X implementation, where you can use any hardware you like. That's also something where SolidFire's very supportive. Maybe we end up buying the SolidFire hardware anyway, but it's a nice option. You have no vendor-lock; you can purchase the software from SolidFire and use some appliance from other vendors.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using it for about two years now. We launched our new product at the beginning of 2015 in Europe and deployed it in the US in the middle of 2015.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's absolutely a consistently stable solution. We have, currently, up-times of 100% and no data loss at all, not even the slightest. That's one of the major points why we went for flash array storage and not local SSD storage, which is, of course, faster, when you look at the IOPS, but the redundancy is just missing. SolidFire was delivering not only stability, but also a lot of efficiency with the data storage.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is a very interesting point for us, especially with the new licensing model SolidFire now offers. We can just add new appliances without purchasing new software. That will be very relevant for us in the future, especially since we added new data centers all the time over the last year. We started with one data center in Europe, we added another one and another one, and now we're provisioning it in four data centers all around the globe.
How is customer service and technical support?
Technical support is very good. We had some minor issues when we started the US data center, because we did not reach the performance level that we were promised and that we had in the European data centers. We figured out, it cannot be a hardware problem; it must be somewhere within our implementation. The SolidFire guys were very, very supportive and now, with over-provisioning, we reach levels that are far beyond the guaranteed levels.
Which solutions did we use previously?
The product we have been building was brand new, so we didn't have any legacy we had to deal with.
How was the initial setup?
For us, it was very easy to do the initial setup because we built part of the building blocks just around the storage appliance. That made it very easy for us to grow with SolidFire in, basically, the storage.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We were really looking for the highest performance combined with very specific requirements regarding the platform. Of course, we looked at the NetApp portfolio, but they couldn't offer anything that matched our requirements in both ways. All of a sudden, our upper management came up with, "Look at these guys. they're doing great job.", and that's how we ended up with SolidFire.
Of course, we evaluated some other vendors, as well, but the package that SolidFire delivered was simply the best. It was not only the performance or price. In fact, the price is quite high compared to other vendors, but what we really loved about SolidFire was the agility of the team. If you deal with really large vendors, like EMC, NetApp, or HPE, you do not have much leverage when it comes to, “We want that, we need that and please change the product this way.”
SolidFire was very open, their support was great, and they fixed a lot of problems on our side with their solution.
When my company selects a vendor, the reputation is not a key factor for us. That's why we looked at SolidFire in the first place. For us, it was very interesting to work with a small provider. We always try to get some leverage there; that we can influence the development. That's why we focus, in the evaluation also, on small vendors. Of course, we looked at different providers, like Pure Storage, Nimble and so on, but in the end, SolidFire delivered the perfect package for us.
After NetApp acquired SolidFire, we were a little afraid that it wouldn't work out, because we all have seen acquisitions that went totally wrong. As soon as we got the word that they were acquired, we immediately started looking at other vendors. But, at the moment, we're still really happy with them and it seems that the combination really works out. What happens with NetApp is, now that we're looking at the rest of the NetApp portfolio, because the integration of SolidFire seems to work quite good, the other products get more interesting for us as well.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Dec 28 2016