NETAPP SOLIDFIRE FIBRE CHANNEL NODE
Mfg.Part: SFFC0025 | CDW Part: 4167277
NETAPP SOLIDFIRE FIBRE CHANNEL NODE
NETAPP SOLIDFIRE FIBRE CHANNEL NODE is rated out of 5 by 3.
Rated 4 out of 5 by associat541638 from Some of the valuable features are compression, deduplication, and thin provisioning. Valuable Features:* Expandability (incrementally and non-disruptive* Compression/Deduplication/thin provisioning* Recovery from failure/data-protection* Guaranteed IOPS per volume* Simple browser web-admin (with extensive out API interface)Improvements to My Organization:Right now, we are using this solely for an Oracle RAC implementation, which is ironic because SF is known more for its role in MSPs. It has software tie-ins with VMware and OpenStack.Room for Improvement:The level of monitoring could be better. They give you access to stats and it is very informative. But you really need to do your own internal availability monitoring. Perhaps they just assume you are. And part of the thing, perhaps an adjustment on my part is needed, is that because something like a drive failure is handled internally and data-blocks are re-duplicated automatically, a failure somehow becomes less urgent. That is not second nature to me.Use of Solution:We have been using this since December, 2016.Deployment Issues:There were no issues with deployment.Stability Issues:There were no issues with stability.Scalability Issues:There were no issues with scalability.Customer Service:Customer service was good. I haven't needed much so far. We prefer to be our own source of knowledge and reach out to clarify or confirm something.Technical Support:Technical support is good and helpful. While you can schedule the node S/W upgrades and have them take care of, I had them walk me through it, as we were in pre-production at the time. Knowing/understanding more about the process gave me a better feeling.I don't like black boxes, so anything I can understand or wrap my head around things provides comfort. The nodes are ubuntu and they leverage ubuntu/debian update mechanisms. These methods are well-known and understood, so no re-inventing the wheel was necessary here.Previous Solutions:We have some older EMC boxes that were not sufficient to the task. We wanted an AF (all-flash array).Initial Setup:The setup was quite simple. Even though we had help, it was not needed.Implementation Team:We implemented in-house, although SF sent a technical staff members out to us. He allowed us to pick their brain and ask questions, which was very helpful.Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing:I believe the initial buy-in/purchase is more expensive, because you are starting out with 4 (minimum) nodes. It then becomes cheaper and easier to expand and grow.For example, compared to the more traditional dual-controllers+shelf, expanding to a new shelf was a pretty big investment and you needed to fully populate it with drives).That uses the same controllers, so you have added capacity but not performance. Whereas, adding another node is a relatively simple operation. You don't even have to add all the drives right away. Licensing is via your support contract.Other Solutions Considered:We did an extensive evaluation of several products and vendors, looking at SF, Kaminario, Nimble, Pure Storage, EMC, and HPE.Price was a factor, but it was not the only factor. We are not a huge shop, but are growing, so we wanted something that had a solid architecture for now and for later.We wanted it to be as bulletproof as possible, and yet be able to change/grow with us. The more standard, dual-controller-with-1-shelf can survive with a controller failure, or 1+ drive failures, but what about a shelf failure? While this is unlikely, it is still a possibility.With SF, a few minutes after a drive failure, the data (blocks) that were located on that drive are re-duplicated elsewhere. In a very short time (a few minutes), you are fully-protected again. And as long as you have _sufficient_ spare capacity - you can lose an entire node with no data-loss and reportedly only a small performance hit.That entire node's data is re-duplicated elsewhere on the remaining nodes. If you don't have a node's worth of spare capacity, that becomes more problematic, of course.What this also means is, as you add nodes, for increases in both capacity and performance, a.k.a. the scale-out model, you also get faster recovery times in case an entire node fails.Adding nodes is a simple as:* Adding a node to the cluster* Adding the drives.Data is re-balanced across the new nodes automatically. Removing/Decommissioning a node is just as easy:* Remove the drives from the cluster* Allow data to be re-located* Remove the node from the clusterThere is another unique option. Let's say I grow to 10 nodes, but the LOB application changes, and the role is no longer the same. I can break that into 2 x 5-node arrays and redeploy in different roles.Other Advice:We have not fully kicked the tires on all that it can do. We have not leveraged the API access in any way, but we have some idea of how it could be useful.I'm not sure why SF isn't more popular in the SMB space. To my mind, it offers a unique combination that isn't easily matched in the marketplace. Kaminario seems to be the closest. I haven't had it long enough to truly "know" the product, but will happily revisit this in 6-12 months.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by Alexander Vierschrodt from It delivers stable and efficient data storage. Improvements to My Organization:We're currently working on the Element X operating system with SolidFire, because we're trying to break the combination of hardware and software. We're going for the Element X implementation, where you can use any hardware you like. That's also something where SolidFire's very supportive. Maybe we end up buying the SolidFire hardware anyway, but it's a nice option. You have no vendor-lock; you can purchase the software from SolidFire and use some appliance from other vendors.Use of Solution:I have been using it for about two years now. We launched our new product at the beginning of 2015 in Europe and deployed it in the US in the middle of 2015.Stability Issues:It's absolutely a consistently stable solution. We have, currently, up-times of 100% and no data loss at all, not even the slightest. That's one of the major points why we went for flash array storage and not local SSD storage, which is, of course, faster, when you look at the IOPS, but the redundancy is just missing. SolidFire was delivering not only stability, but also a lot of efficiency with the data storage.Scalability Issues:Scalability is a very interesting point for us, especially with the new licensing model SolidFire now offers. We can just add new appliances without purchasing new software. That will be very relevant for us in the future, especially since we added new data centers all the time over the last year. We started with one data center in Europe, we added another one and another one, and now we're provisioning it in four data centers all around the globe.Technical Support:Technical support is very good. We had some minor issues when we started the US data center, because we did not reach the performance level that we were promised and that we had in the European data centers. We figured out, it cannot be a hardware problem; it must be somewhere within our implementation. The SolidFire guys were very, very supportive and now, with over-provisioning, we reach levels that are far beyond the guaranteed levels.Previous Solutions:The product we have been building was brand new, so we didn't have any legacy we had to deal with.Initial Setup:For us, it was very easy to do the initial setup because we built part of the building blocks just around the storage appliance. That made it very easy for us to grow with SolidFire in, basically, the storage.Other Solutions Considered:We were really looking for the highest performance combined with very specific requirements regarding the platform. Of course, we looked at the NetApp portfolio, but they couldn't offer anything that matched our requirements in both ways. All of a sudden, our upper management came up with, "Look at these guys. they're doing great job.", and that's how we ended up with SolidFire.Of course, we evaluated some other vendors, as well, but the package that SolidFire delivered was simply the best. It was not only the performance or price. In fact, the price is quite high compared to other vendors, but what we really loved about SolidFire was the agility of the team. If you deal with really large vendors, like EMC, NetApp, or HPE, you do not have much leverage when it comes to, “We want that, we need that and please change the product this way.”SolidFire was very open, their support was great, and they fixed a lot of problems on our side with their solution.When my company selects a vendor, the reputation is not a key factor for us. That's why we looked at SolidFire in the first place. For us, it was very interesting to work with a small provider. We always try to get some leverage there; that we can influence the development. That's why we focus, in the evaluation also, on small vendors. Of course, we looked at different providers, like Pure Storage, Nimble and so on, but in the end, SolidFire delivered the perfect package for us.After NetApp acquired SolidFire, we were a little afraid that it wouldn't work out, because we all have seen acquisitions that went totally wrong. As soon as we got the word that they were acquired, we immediately started looking at other vendors. But, at the moment, we're still really happy with them and it seems that the combination really works out. What happens with NetApp is, now that we're looking at the rest of the NetApp portfolio, because the integration of SolidFire seems to work quite good, the other products get more interesting for us as well.Disclaimer: 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.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by Engc2f9 from It can allocate a certain number of IOPS in your throughput to your LUNs. Valuable Features:The quality of service features are valuable. They are able to allocate a certain number of IOPS in your throughput to your LUNs. That's something that's a little bit more difficult using traditional methods.VDI is a perfect use case. If you have ones that need more performance than others, it's easier to allocate it on a prolonged basis for a VDI environment for your specific virtual desktop users.Improvements to My Organization:Right now, we're still in the testing phase but I think it definitely helps in the sense where, with traditional SAN architectures, you have to architect what kind of disk you need and how many of those disks you need in your storage pool and things like that. With the SolidFire, it's really just a number and it’s really just a matter of typing in that number for that certain LUN or whatever it is that you want to allocate for your users.Room for Improvement:I now know their best practices associated with allocating IOPS to your LUNs. I wish that was more apparent to me when actually configuring the system. That's really the only feedback so far.Also, in a competitor's solution, they have this ability to tell you what platform you should buy next to expand your environment based on your current needs and your predicted needs for the future. It tells you what models to buy. Maybe SolidFire could do the same thing.Stability Issues:It's stable. We haven't had any stability issues at all. It works really well.Scalability Issues:We have not had any scalability issues at all. I think it scales out really well. We've tested it with cloning multiple VMs at the same time. The numbers it generates are pretty impressive.Technical Support:I did have an issue where, when I was deleting stuff, it did not detect that I had deleted something. I just reached out to the SE and he gave me the script to unmap the blocks that I had originally used. That was the only time I had an issue. They were great, excellent, and responsive.Previous Solutions:Management of traditional SANs was becoming cumbersome. We wanted to look for a more efficient solution. That's why we started looking at SolidFire.Initial Setup:Initial setup was very straightforward, easy. I've used all the hyper-conversion platforms before and I think we got it up and running within an hour or so. It was very simple.Other Solutions Considered:We also looked at hyper-converged infrastructure competitors.We actually have both in our environment. We're really assessing both at the same time and trying to see which might be better for certain use cases. One is more storage focused and the other one's computing and storage. There's that problem, too, where you just want to compute. Expanding on storage is more difficult with the hyper-converged stuff but with SolidFire, you can just expand on the storage without worrying about compute.Other Advice:Start small, then expand. That's what I would do.I think the solution was very simple and easy to set up, which I really appreciated.To give it a higher rating, I'll have to thoroughly test it and have a better understanding of the whole architecture and the solution and also the capabilities I’ve mentioned.When I look for a vendor such as NetApp, some of the important criteria are the market space, their customer support, and how responsive they are from the account manager to the SEs, not just tech support but also the other guys involved in the organization, too.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-11-16