Zadara Review

You can cut and tailor the pricing model to meet your needs, independent of disk size

What is our primary use case?

We are a managed service provider. We are basically working in a data center environment, managing the data of our customers. The number of our clients is around 100 today.

How has it helped my organization?

We use iSCSI and Object multi-protocols. These simplify our operations a lot because otherwise we would need a lot of different products or interconnections. With Zadara Storage Cloud, all of this is just one type of connection. It works only with Ethernet, which means no Fibre Channel nor other protocols, like InfiniBand. It is just Ethernet, which is easy and simple. You can just use the protocols that you need. Today, this means we are not using NFS. But, never say never. Probably tomorrow or one day, if someone would just ask us to implement something mounted via NFS, we are ready to go. This is good because we don't need to buy another hardware or additional features. The best part is the fact that the cost covers everything, so you don't have to activate features by license, e.g., we don't need to pay more to activate NFS, CIFS, or iSCSI because we are not using them today. We still have them. So, we are free to use them whenever we want, which is good.

All our customers report the same story when we ask for a case study. With Zadara Storage Cloud, you simplify the management, which is absolutely true. 

Zadara Storage Cloud's agility is the most important part because all customers want agility today. Everyone wants quick answers, support, and features as well as the ability to provide storage with just some clicks or a simple request. 

Zadara Storage Cloud is elastic in all directions. We create a lot of events (marketing events, technical events, and public speaking) with VMware. They have always been available to sponsor, participate, or just integrate their experience. Even with features, we requested some specific features for the Italian market, then they just put them into the roadmap, which was great.

What is most valuable?

The object storage feature is wonderful. With traditional storage, you have a cost per gigabyte that is extremely high or related to the number of disks. With Zadara Storage Cloud, you have a cost per gigabyte that you can cut and tailor to your needs independent from the number or size of the disks. 

We have a lot of tenants, so there is a lot of core and memory under pressure in this service. The good thing is that every single tenant is isolated and defined into their computer engine. This means that a customer is not able to create a problem for another customer, even if they get attacked, spoofed, or run malware.

It is absolutely important that the solution provides drive options such as SSD, NL-SAS, and SSD cache because we have a lot of customers. As managed service providers, we have all kinds of solutions. We have a customer that only has five servers, which means very few I/O disks. However, we also have a system with a cluster of databases that requires high IOPS, which means SSD, NVMe, and all the latest, fastest technologies.

What needs improvement?

There are still some storage features that they lack. For example, other vendors implemented the auto-tiering feature a long time ago, while Zadara Storage Cloud is just coming out with this feature today. So, they are a little bit late compared to the market.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In three years, we have had one issue. This means one incident in three years, which is not so much. With NetApp, the situation was much worse. The one incident was not related to the stability of the system, bugs, or something in the system. It was just because our customer was using the object storage system in the wrong way, overloading the system, and creating a DDoS. They auto attacked themselves. It was something very stupid. However, the support was still great. Even if the problem was not from Zadara Storage Cloud, the support was still available. We worked with people from all around the world just to solve this issue, which was great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Luckily for us, we usually scale up. We have never scaled down, so I haven't tested their ability to shrink and go down. However, scaling up is extremely easy, just a few clicks. This is very good for the financial part of the company because we don't need to spend money today for what we will need in the next month or year. You just pay for what you are using, and this is something that has definitely helped us. This is why we don't have any other solutions today, only Zadara Storage Cloud.

The increase of performance for us means having an elastic system where we are able to scale up and scale out the storage without buying new disks or requiring to size today what you need over the next five or 10 years. This is something very complicated as a service provider. This is the best part of Zadara Storage Cloud for us. 

Speaking just to the storage performance, I don't know if they are better than any other storage array with all-flash and similar features. They perform like others, not better or worse, just differently. It is a different approach.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have wonderful support because the guys from support will answer us in five minutes. They have great staffing in their support. 

Zadara Storage Cloud having 24/7 management saves me support and engineering costs because the storage and computing are managed by a third-party. We are able to focus more attention on the customer, which is truly our core business. Even at 1:00 AM or 2:00 AM at night, someone will answer, which is important. It doesn't matter if they are from the USA or another time zone.

Zadara has an international team with proactive support who will warn us if anything goes wrong, e.g., a connection is missing or lost. This is definitely good. 

If you are a potential customer evaluating platforms or solutions, they still provide support. Other vendors usually don't provide it because it is a huge human effort. With Zadara Storage Cloud, this means that the customer still gets the appreciation of support as well as the potential customer will become a customer because they are supported before becoming a customer. This is good because we are not able to provide all the answers since we are not an internal engineer into Zadara solutions. We need someone from the external side providing support. We onboarded a customer from this attitude.

From zero to 10, I would definitely rate Zadara's technical support as 10.

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

This was a completely new implementation. Before Zadara Storage Cloud, everything was based on the NetApp platform. However, NetApp is traditional storage while Zadara Storage Cloud is software-defined storage, which is much better.

They reduced our data center footprint by a lot. Before Zadara Storage Cloud, we wasted a lot of time managing storage with NetApp. This means, at a certain point, we had three engineers dedicated for storage. It was something complicated to manage, taking a huge effort. With Zadara Storage Cloud, all that was reduced to zero, which is very good.

How was the initial setup?

Today, it is definitely a complex environment. However, when we just started, we just got two servers without any switches and a network device. Using a simple scheme to interconnect everything with the colored cables, it was nearly impossible to get it wrong. The setup was extremely simple and easy. The entire process took no more than an hour or two hours.

What about the implementation team?

Just two people were involved in the initial deployment: a technician and solution architect (me). The support form Zadara Storage Cloud checked that everything was running fine in the process.

What was our ROI?

You cut costs. We have taken on a lot of customers who migrated from Azure or AWS to us just to save money, keeping Zadara as the storage.

For ROI, you can compare the cost of Zadara Storage Cloud with the cost of previously setup storage.

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

If you compare licensing, the full model of Zadara Storage Cloud to NetApp, it works against you. With NetApp, you can save a lot of money, but you don't have any features. Then, with any single feature that you want to use, you need a specific license. This means you are spending more money versus Zadara Storage Cloud, comparatively.

The best advice is regarding prices: You need to be careful. If you just take the street price of Zadara Storage Cloud and look up the price or cost per hour, then you could think that Zadara Storage Cloud is extremely expensive or a solution only for enterprise use. That is not true. You need to compare the entire system. This means that you don't stop looking at just the street price, but you need to consider all the features, requirements, and costs of support as well as the extra cost that other vendors have. Other players just play with hidden, additional costs. Everything is included in Zadara Storage Cloud's licensing cost; what you get is what you pay for. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at solutions to put both our data and the customer's data. We were looking for something that was secure, strong, and with cloud logic. Zadara Storage Cloud was the best option to answer this.

We made an extreme, strict case study with most of the brands, e.g., Infinidat, DataCore, and Pure Storage. We evaluated a lot of solutions. The last solution, but not least, was Zadara Storage Cloud since it was not present in Italy. At the end of the day, we decided for a product that was completely new for the market. When Pure Storage, DataCore, Infinidat, and other brands still had their representatives in Italy, Zadara didn't. So, this was a little bit tricky, but we did it. We chose Zadara for all the features and pluses that they had versus the other solutions.

Zadara Storage Cloud vs DataCore: DataCore has a good feature for auto-scaling, while Zadara Storage Cloud is missing that feature. However, Zadara Storage Cloud has the object storage part, while DataCore completely missed that part. For us, it was more important to have another avenue into the market, object storage, compared to the auto-tiering system. Today, we just size into a SATA disk with flash cache or SSD drives, and we are stuck with the disk. Now, Zadara is coming out with the feature of auto-tiering. Three years ago, they completely missed this feature.

We would still choose Zadara Storage Cloud because they were able to provide object storage. If you take Zadara Storage Cloud against Pure Storage, it is wonderful because of its pay-as-you-grow, pay-per-use model. Pure Storage still would require us to size the entire system for the next two years, which is unacceptable and something that is complex for us.

What other advice do I have?

Zadara Storage Cloud can be used to configure for on-premises, colocation, and cloud. We do not have any on-prem solutions for customers, though we are on-prem in our environment. Now, we just started to explore the replication solution from Zadara to Zadara, using the Zadara on-prem that we have with Zadara based on AWS. This means we can mix in the replication from on-prem to cloud, just to have another layer of security. This is something that we are exploring. We are just at the beginning of this process.

It is not so important to us that Zadara Storage Cloud integrate with all public cloud providers and private clouds. This might be more important for our customers. As a managed provider, we have on-prem on multiple sites, so we have enough setups of Zadara Storage Cloud to cover redundancy and data security. However, for our customers, I can understand that this can be important because it saves costs. For example, AWS with object storage is more expensive than Zadara on AWS. Object storage is 100 percent compatible and you save a lot of money, so why not?

We use Zadara Storage Cloud just for storage. We are not ready yet to use it for compute and networking. 

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**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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