Research Hub > NetApp’s SolidFire Storage System Takes Aim at Test and Dev

May 22, 2017

3 min

NetApp’s SolidFire Storage System Takes Aim at Test and Dev

Good enough for service providers, this new storage platform can probably meet your enterprise needs too.

Kathryn Averyheart


The test and development process is central to how companies grow their offerings and reach a wider customer base. Today, customers are quick to jump ship for new features and better service level agreements. Development teams seek to deliver new products as quickly as possible, while operations struggle to keep pace. Helping development, operations and business units (such as sales, marketing and HR) work together with a common language is key to getting to market quickly, and it’s an area that CDW’s been working in very closely, along with partners such as NetApp.

For those not familiar, NetApp has been a leader in the storage industry for more than 25 years. They engineered one of the first filers, leveraging an innovative use of redirect-on-write snaps and unified arrays. Their operating systems leverage WAFL for writing data, and now they are planning to bring some needed attention to their data fabric tools.

The past few years have seen exciting innovations in the data center space and at NetApp specifically. NetApp FAS series arrays, their E-Series (cheap, deep and fast block storage), Altavault (back up to the cloud), and Cloud ONTAP. In 2017, the manufacturer is adding another weapon to the arsenal: SolidFire. In use with a number of service providers, SolidFire is now being widely used among enterprises. While NetApp is evolving their Data Fabric and HCI story (more to come), today the focus is on SolidFire – where it fits and how it can help your company meet business objectives.

What’s Your T&D Type?

In the world of testing and development, we see a few different approaches. We’re going to define them and then take a look at how SolidFire addresses and resolves the challenges.

The Cowboy

This environment is ultimately high risk. There is no real testing and development environment. Instead, users leverage the technology on hand and use production environments for testing.

Pros Cons
  • No cost for testing and development hardware
  • Testing impacts real-time customer experiences
  • Degradation of experience for internal/external customers
  • Operating expenses increased due to rewrites and rollbacks



The Classic

This environment is created from repurposed/older hardware. There is a sandbox for testing, so the risk is far removed from our Cowboy’s environment, but since production is not mirrored for test and dev, the risk still exists.

Pros Cons
  • Low-cost (maintenance, power & cooling, licensing) environment for testing and development
  • Testing environment does not mirror production environment; challenges may occur that weren’t found in testing
  • Operating expense remains high because of rollbacks and rewrites that may be needed



The High Roller

This environment is an exact mirror of the production environment in order. For most customers, this is the ideal, but there are still things to consider when creating this virtual utopia.

Pros Cons
  • Risk is much reduced from the Classic and the Cowboy due to almost exactly mirrored environments
  • Operating and capital expenses will both be increased because of amount of hardware, maintenance and support for mirroring the production environment



A Solid Value Proposition

So, what is the right solution for you?

We’ve seen many customers struggling to fail faster, fail forward and do more with less. SolidFire was architected to solve the challenges involved in the data center. Because of its self-automating scale-out architecture, and Quality of Service, customers don’t have to answer hard questions around unpredictable growth or unknown performance requirements. Instead, they can focus on what they need right now to serve both production and development workloads. With easy scaling and the ability to set and change IOP performance on the fly, SolidFire makes any test environment into an ideal environment. This allows our customers to exceed SLAs and keep up with business needs.

Focusing on test and development environments, SolidFire’s capabilities will likely decrease operating and capital expenses. It also gives the business a way to test applications and products before they hit prime time. Capital expenses are decreased due to inline deduplication and compression, allowing for the test and development environments to reside in the same SolidFire cluster as the production environments. And this eliminates the need for additional storage. Operating expenses are decreased with the reduction in hardware, and risk is decreased because production and test and dev are the same. QoS ensures no noisy neighbors, even with test and development in the same environment as production.

Intrigued? So were we.

Want to talk about it? Reach out to your CDW Account Manager and they will include the Data Center team in this conversation. New products are the lifeblood of business and we look forward to helping you uncover your challenges – and how CDW and NetApp can help you solve it.

Learn more about what CDW’s partnership with NetApp can offer.