What is most valuable?
What I like about SolidFire is the ease of administration. It's a slight deviation from what we are used to before the ONTAP interface. SolidFire comes with its own interface and APIs, and that makes it much more intuitive and a little simpler to use when we're creating volumes, and managing it.
It's very automated. One of the presentations we saw this morning here at NetApp Insight explained that if a workload is more demanding, it accommodates increasing workload, without us, as admins, having to go in and do the manual administration. So it seems to be intuitive as to what's taking place within the system and the workloads.
Greater IOPS, speed, it's all-flash. So seeing that everything is going to all-flash, all SSDs, SolidFire fits right in there with the emerging trend in IT.
How has it helped my organization?
Less complaints from the database administrators as to why an application is so slow; we always get blamed, everything goes back onto storage. SolidFire takes that away from the equation. Now we have a fast system, so the admins have to go back and see where the bottleneck is.
What needs improvement?
I'd like to see a fiber channel being implemented in it. We have a large fiber channel infrastructure, and that's one area that we haven't seen implemented in SolidFire, its more iSCSI.
It's not a deal breaker, its just something that we would like to see. And I believe they mentioned it will be implemented soon, so we're just waiting for that part to be added into it.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We are still doing testing, but so far from what we've seen, it seems to be a very rock solid system. But like I said, we still doing testing as to how good and how fast it is.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't done much scalability testing yet. We've only had it for a couple months, so we are still preparing our tests, a range of tests, to see how scalable and how suitable it is for our environment.
So far I like what I see. I like how it's able to self-heal for advanced workloads, the ease of management, and all SSD. It's a great trend we're heading towards.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have not used technical support. We looked at the documentation. We had minimal input from our accountant team. We're a very experienced NetApp shop. So we more or less know how to manage storage systems. And again, SolidFire, it's very intuitive as to how you go about using it.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had a large implementation of spinning disks, hard drives, and they would fail often. We went to all-flash for our ONTAP systems and SolidFire began all SSDs which ensured that we would have fewer broken disks. We'll have longer up-time, running.
How was the initial setup?
I was involved in the hands-on setup of it. We racked it, we provisioned the IP addresses and we did the administration part of it.
It's a little bit different from the ONTAP systems. This is more of a Linux-type setup. But it was intuitive, it wasn't that difficult.
What was our ROI?
I cannot speak for the cost. The cost is actually on a higher level than I am at. I'm actually the administrator, so I look at what and how the product works. The cost is for my manager. He takes care of the costs.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at EMC, we looked at Pure Storage, and we also looked at DDN. And for what we needed to do, none of those vendors fit the bIll. None of those had been there to give us what we needed.
We also considered hybrid storage. But SolidFire is a specialized product. For hybrid we can use a fast product line. But SolidFire, it's designed, as far as we see, for a specific use case and that's why we are targeting it for our workload.
What other advice do I have?
For SolidFire, we're looking into better IOPS for database workloads and for other VM use cases. We purchased it for customer-facing applications, mostly for database administration-type work.
We are an enterprise level company, but we are federal. SolidFire is uniquely valuable for a company our size because our company scales, we're supporting thousands of users. And with SolidFire, we can handle the workload.
For us the most important criteria when selecting a vendor are reputation, reliability, support. All these things we have gotten from NetApp.
NetApp has been out for a long time, they know the storage business. And they've been very responsive to our needs when there are issues. Our contact team, they're right there to support us and make anything that we need right.
Look at the reputation of a company, the innovation, how they are able to support their customer needs. And seeing that many of the companies are doing pretty much the same thing, which one stands out in the reviews. That's very important.