SwiftStack Review

The platform is capable of scaling to very large capacities

What is our primary use case?

We are a data center operator and service provider. We deliver cloud storage as a service solution to other customers. So, it's a multitenant cloud service solution, like Amazon S3 or Azure Blob Service. Therefore, cloud storage is our use case.

Our customers are getting file volumes, storage volumes, or object containers from us. They put data on them and manage them on our portal.

We are using the current version of the product.

How has it helped my organization?

We launched a product. We don't use it internally for our own use. We deliver it as a service to other customers. The impact on our business was that we launched a new product which has allowed us to generate additional revenue for our business with it.

We repurposed existing servers for our initial deployment of this solution. This allowed us to save because we didn't have to buy new hardware for one of our initial deployments. That was a nice feature. We were able to buy because of the wide range of hardware that they support. We're able to buy affordable type of white box hardware (commodity, efficient hardware) that drives our cost down.

It helps you store more data with less head count. Today, we are storing about eight petabytes of raw capacity.

What is most valuable?

  • The scalability: The ability to scale the platform to very large capacities, while remaining manageable. 
  • You can do file and object in the same platform using their proxyFS capability.
  • We have had good technical and operational support, which has been an important factor for us.
  • The hardware is flexible. They provide a wide range of options.

What needs improvement?

  • The biggest room for improvement is the maturity of the proxyFS solution. That piece of code is relatively new, so most of our issues have been around the proxyFS. 
  • Having the full feature set and the management APIs available, there is a lot of room for improvement there. 
  • The code upgrade process at scale, managing code upgrades at large scale. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, stability has been good. We haven't really had any major stability issues.

The performance is good. It is a secondary storage platform designed for archive and backup, so performance for the right use cases is very good. We have been pretty happy in that regard.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We found scalability to be good. The platform is capable of scaling to very large capacities. Overall, manageability at scale is pretty good. There are areas that they are continuing to improve, like code upgrades, which are needed to take it to super large scale. However, compared to most solutions, scalability is pretty high for very large multitenant capacity requirements.

We maintain the platform with less than five people. They predominantly are just cloud engineers. This doesn't count people who touch the platform peripherally, like network engineers.

Our customers' users number in the hundreds.

We have about 35 servers in our environment today. We are getting ready to go to between 40 and 50 servers in our environment.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good. I would rate it as a nine out of ten.

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

We switched to SwiftStack due to technical problems with the previous company.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was moderate in terms of complexity. From a scale of one to ten (with ten being complex), it was probably about a six to seven. Getting the network designs, selecting the right hardware, and building a cluster with a lot of roles and servers involved. Each of those has roles on it that have to be clearly defined on a per server basis. Also, getting user management clearly defined and set up. It's a pretty lengthy process where you need their help getting it set up initially. It is not an easy self-install process.

For our clients, we give them accounts on an existing platform. This happens very quickly, in a matter of hours. We don't do a lot of custom configuration on a per customer basis for our product.

What about the implementation team?

We used SwiftStack consultants for our initial deployment, but not for individual customer accounts that are turned out. Our experience using the consultants for this was good.

For our overall cluster deployment, we use SwiftStack consultants. 

What was our ROI?

We launched this product last year. It is too early for us to quantify ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

One of their advantages of being a commercial open source platform is, for the scale that they offer, the pricing is pretty competitive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated Scality and Cohesity.

It helped us to decrease our costs for storing and utilizing data. This was based on a comparative basis versus other choices that we considered.

What other advice do I have?

It is a really good object storage. I would be careful about use cases around proxyFS, because it's a less mature, earlier stage component. It is a good platform, as long as it's a technical fit. The support is very good, and that is an important criteria for choosing it. 

When working with petabytes of data, we find that data can be ingested and accessed at a fast rate. We are able to ingest on a per client basis, typically at about 100 to 250 megabytes a second.

We are growing it every month. We continue to sell customers on the service and continue to build new data centers where we're deploying it. So, we do plan to continue expanding its capacity.

**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.
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