SwiftStack Review

The resiliency gives us better uptime than we could achieve with other products

What is our primary use case?

Object storage for a SaaS platform is our primary use case. We host a SaaS platform and we use this as our back-end storage.

How has it helped my organization?

I don't think it has improved the way the organization functions. It just delivers a better cost point. We can sell storage more cheaply by utilizing this product and it gives us resilience. It gives us the ability to deliver a better SLA to our customers.

In addition, SwiftStack has decreased our cost for storing and utilizing data, definitely by half. Our evaluation versus using Amazon S3 showed we're certainly cutting our costs in half.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are its 

  • resiliency
  • deployment cost.

The resiliency gives us uptime that is better than what we're able to deliver with competing products.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better client integrations, support for a broader client library. SwiftStack could be a little bit more involved in the client side: Python, Java, C, etc. We don't have a lot of issues, but if we do, we don't really get any support from them at all. It's not really in their business model, but it would be easier to integrate if they supported the clients a little bit better.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't think we've had any downtime since we brought it up a couple of years ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is phenomenal. It seems infinite, as long as you put enough storage in place, add enough nodes. We've scale-tested it in Amazon to meet any kind of needs we want, as long as we keep up with the hardware.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is really good. We haven't had any issues with them. Our cases are few and far between. We've opened up fewer than five cases the whole time. Mostly we've just used them for questions and general information, but not for anything specific where there's an issue. Their response time is within a day.

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

I have used different solutions in the past, but only ever open-source, never anything commercial.

This organization was using open-source Swift prior. We switched to SwiftStack when we began selling it to customers. We switched to the commercial version in case we need support, but we really haven't needed any support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. We didn't repurpose any existing servers for our initial SwiftStack deployment.

We used the open-source version first to become familiar with it. When we purchased the SwiftStack version, the installation was pretty easy because we already knew the fundamentals of it, through OpenStack

The initial deployment, until was fully operational and integrated with our environment, took about two weeks. The deployment took one person, an operations engineer. He also maintains it on a day-to-day basis.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a third-party.

What was our ROI?

One area we have seen return on investment is our SLA, being able to offer a better SLA to our customers. That's definitely an advantage in the market.

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

Other than the standard licensing fees, you need to have the hardware.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The only question we had was staying with open-source or buying the commercial version.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to get familiar with the open-source product first because it is more difficult to use but it gives you better fundamentals on how the actual system works. Then, when you do purchase SwiftStack, you'll be pretty much at an expert level. I'm not sure if I would be as comfortable with it by just outright purchasing it and not knowing the internals. You really get to know the internals by using the open-source version first.

The team at SwiftStack has been really good to work with. Everyone from the support folks to the product engineers - and we've even been working with the development teams - they've been really knowledgeable, have really understood our business. Even inbound, the salespeople have really known what we need to get out of it.

In terms of the performance, it's definitely meeting our needs. You have to build to the use case for it. It's definitely the slowest storage subsystem in our environment, but we don't put any high I/O workloads on it. When working with petabytes of data, we find that data can be ingested and accessed at a fast-enough rate. Of all the platforms we have, it's definitely the slowest, but if you build a use case around it knowing that upfront, you can work around it.

Our headcount hasn't changed by using this solution. At the end of the day, our people are maintaining the hardware. SwiftStack doesn't create any overhead. It's more the actual hardware where we put in the most work.

In our organization we do not have named users using it. We're a SaaS platform, so it's the customers using it, not us. They're in the hundreds of thousands.

We plan to increase usage. It's our go-forward platform for object storage, so any place that we have a need for object storage we're using it. We're expanding at about 50 percent per year and the scalability means there's no problem dealing with that.

I would rate SwiftStack at eight out of ten. What comes to mind with that rating are the price and higher-availability.

**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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