SolidFire OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SolidFire is the #22 ranked solution in best All-Flash Storage Arrays. PeerSpot users give SolidFire an average rating of 8.0 out of 10. SolidFire is most commonly compared to NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS): SolidFire vs NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS). SolidFire is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 68% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 23% of all views.
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Download the All-Flash Storage Arrays Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2022

What is SolidFire?

SolidFire delivers all five core elements needed to deliver newfound storage agility to your next generation data center and beyond. With SolidFire you can deploy new applications and capabilities faster, provide more agile and scalable infrastructure, increase application performance and predictability, enable automation and end-user self-service and raise operational efficiency and reduce cost.

SolidFire Customers
California Public Utilities Commission, RFA, 1&1, Ultimate Software , Endicia, ezVerify, MercadoLibre, Sungard Availability Services, ServInt, Elastx, Hosted Network, Colt, Crucial, iWeb, Datapipe, Databarracks
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SolidFire Reviews

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Mir Gulzar Ahmed - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager IT at Synergy Computers
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Simple to deploy and has good stability
Pros and Cons
  • "SolidFire provides seamless performance across your storage system when you need to scale up. Other storage systems do not do that."
  • "SolidFire should start from two nodes instead of the four nodes. That's the only thing. In a lot of solutions, we have to use four nodes, that's the better thing. But as a starting point, two is better. That's why their starting point is expensive."

What is our primary use case?

Because I'm also a PC guy for my company and in Pakistan there is not a third-person specific guy for a client or specific job, we are also doing the very tough job as the IT specialists. So I have to look after the solution, the technical stuff, and also the deployment. I am personally working in all three departments. I have to, because it's my job as the head of IT in my company. We are a resellers, so we are actually giving solutions to our customers. Regarding SolidFire, it's a very good storage solution when you are looking for a software defined data center.

SolidFire provides seamless performance across your storage system when you need to scale up. Other solutions(software defined data center) do not provide that much of scalability.

If customer doesn't want to learn a lot of software stuff and only wants to learn one piece of software, and does not want to learn the storage system; that's where SolidFire comes in, because its software defined and it is really good for software defined data centers(SDC) and virtualization.

What I mean is, if a customer doesn't need a centralized storage system but does need a data center solution which is capable of being an agile software defined storage system, then they should choose SolidFire; but if they need a big centralized storage SAN, they shouldn't choose SolidFire.

How has it helped my organization?

For a customer who purchased SolidFire, they don't had reported any issue regarding it's performance or scalability.The end result is better productivity due to seamless performance of any application.

What is most valuable?

In terms of SolidFire's most valuable features, simplicity is the key component and key feature of SolidFire. It meant that the administrator or the user do not need to learn about storage RAID Groups or something like that, but they only need to provision the storage space that they need for the host. SolidFire's is being used in NetApp HCI(Hyper-converge Infrastructure)solutions that comes with a Deployment Engine to make the solution more simpler faster and easier to deploy.When you need a software defined storage system SolidFire's is really, really good.

When a customer need complete "Software defined Data-center Solution" with compute and storage; then NetApp HCI is far better choice than any other HCI Solutions.

SolidFire's really simple to deploy. you don't need to learn a lot. When you compare the NetApp storage system with SolidFire, both are very simple to deploy, but comparing to the other products from NetApp, SolidFire is even more simpler to deploy.

What needs improvement?

SolidFire should start from two nodes instead of the four nodes. That's the only thing. In a lot of solutions, we have to use four nodes, that's the better thing. But as a starting point, two is better. That's why their starting point is expensive. 

There is another thing - they should have a mixed/Hybrid disk option too; like other solutions have. If you get around the two things, then you can also compete with the cost. The others have mixed/Hybrid disk options. That's why they are cheaper.

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October 2022
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What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Collectively; stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is really, really good with reference to other storage systems. Other software defined data centers do not have that much storage scalability. SolidFire is very scalable and that's really good.

The starting point of SolidFire is really a little bit on the expensive side, but from a scalability perspective, as a total cost of ownership, if you go for it then it's not so expensive.If you want a scalable solution, of course, the starting point will be expensive.

How are customer service and support?

The product is really amazing, so I will not even think about the technical support because it's so easy to manage. There is no problem when you apply the solution according to the requirements and the documentation. You don't need support. In comparison other storage systems like Oracle, and others, have lots of problems and you need support. But with NetApp I only need the support to replace the component and that's easy to do. Also, the fault frequency of NetApp is really low compared to other storage systems.

I didn't experience any kind of problem which took a long time with NetApp support, but I did find a lot of problems which held me with support for other storage solutions like Oracle and EMC. This is very important because the backend engine is very strong. This is really a very smooth experience through the warranty period and of course after the warranty period. I got very good support from NetApp.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is very simple as SolidFire build for SDC.

What was our ROI?


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

One thing I would advise people is regarding the price. This is a very important point here. When you go for being a gold partner, not as a customer, then you should get a better discount. And if you get a better discount from NetApp, then we can compete with any other solution. But here, it is really important to tell the customer what the total cost of ownership is, not just the starting point, because at the starting point, it's still a little bit expensive. But when you have a back-end gold partnership, then you can tell NetApp, "Okay, NetApp I am competing for the cheaper solution." Then you can get extra discounts to sell the product.

But then in parallel, you must inform the customer. If you want a Ferrari, you have to pay for that.You have to tell the customer, "Technically, it is very good." You have to convince your customer that if they want technical ability, agility, simplicity and real ease of management plus a lot of other things, then you have to pay for that. There's no free lunch at all. Somebody has to pay.

What other advice do I have?

We are in a crisis situation for everyone, for customers, for partners, for principals, manufacturers. We need a specific solution to move on to the new normal. So from the available solutions, HCI (Hyper Converged Infrastructure) would be the future of IT. HCI is the future, it is easy faster to deploy collectively. You don't need to buy frequently - just buy once and scale out when you need more resources.

So, I think for the customers want their IT to have a continuous support and response for business needs, then they should choose HCI solutions.

I will advise to choose HCI from NetApp, others can choose HCI from other hardware manufacturers, but the future I believe is HCI.I believe and recommend that the best HCI is the NetApp HCI(The back-end Storage used for NetApp HCI is SolidFire)

The difference between SolidFire and other storage is that it is a stand alone storage. No one has that good storage software or that scalability and performance. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate SolidFire an eight.

The only thing is the initial cost because we have to convince the customer that he has to pay more. That's the only thing in this case. It's not an overall technical, scalability, or simplicity issue. Only the price factor brings it down to eight. Otherwise, if any NetApp partner is a gold partner and they get the good discount then I can easily give SolidFire a 10.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PeerSpot user
Cloud Architect at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to manage and deploy with a straightforward setup
Pros and Cons
  • "It's got full API functionality and the performance is pretty steady."
  • "The upgrade process could be better."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is our upper-tier all-flash shared storage for our customers. We have shared virtual private cloud environments that we serve storage to. This solution is our high-tier flash storage offering.

What is most valuable?

The product is easy to manage and deploy. It's got full API functionality and the performance is pretty steady. 

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. 

What needs improvement?

We have had some issues with it scaling as high as the marketing says it can. We've got some very large clusters of up to over 20 nodes and when you get to that size your upgrades tend to take a long time or just waste. We tend to have issues beyond 20 plus nodes.

The upgrade process could be better. Lately, we've had lots of hardware having general issues with lots of failures. It seems like every month at least we're replacing an entire node, as opposed to just dry failures which you would normally expect, or small components. It seems like we have to replace an entire node pretty often. The hardware reliability isn't quite there.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution since 2014. I've had it for the last seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is pretty stable. As far as the software side of it, how it works, it's got the double helix protection. It's very redundant. However, due to hardware issues, we've had some performance problems as a node fails and it takes all those drives out of commission. That's partly an issue with capacity management, however, just as a result, we've had a plan for much lower usage. 

We need to have a much bigger buffer there to deal with node failures to ensure it doesn't impact performance. If you're running at 70% and you suddenly lose a node now you're hitting cluster full alarms and that can impact performance as well as the ability to continue creating volumes and things like that for customers. 

Other than that, it works as expected as far as maintaining redundancy. We've never had a problem with losing data or anything like that, even with those hard work failures.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability may be a function of the distributed nature. When you do an upgrade on a 20 plus node cluster, it's going to go through and upgrade each node one at a time. As a result, for example, it can take sometimes upwards of 48 to 50 hours to complete as you're going through this one step at a time. It can be stretched out due to the fact that you can only do one node at a time and hold off during the day if needed. 

One thing that we run into during the upgrades is we have had cases where very large volumes become disconnected. Some of that might just be that we need to limit the size of the volumes that we support. However, for our customers, we have had issues with nodes rebooting and a volume might be disconnected from the ESXi for longer than the period that the ESXi can tolerate and then you get all paths down.

Right now, we have hundreds of end-users on this solution. We are a service provider and likely have thousands of users if you take into account our customer's user base.

We're not planning on expanding SolidFire. We're looking at different options just for our work for a private counter environment. We're going towards more of an HCI architecture. SolidFire may stick around as a dedicated platform or just an all-flash option, however, it's not going to be our primary shared storage.

How are customer service and support?

I've never really dealt with technical support. There was another engineer that mostly dealt with them. The times that I dealt with support, they were pretty knowledgeable. That was definitely before NetApp purchased SolidFire. Their support was top-notch. Since then, if we can get past the first layer of support, it seems to be better than what I would expect, however, there have been issues with calling in and not getting the right support. It just takes time to get past the level that isn't as knowledgeable as the next level up.

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

I'm also familiar with Pure, NetApp, and VNX.

Pure's are more traditional to controller architecture as opposed to the distributed architecture of SolidFire. It's also all-flash, just like SolidFire. It's even simpler than SolidFire in terms of deployment and management. They've got an active controller configuration so that upgrades are essentially transparent as you upgrade a node or scale. It's just the way that the architecture's designed on the back end.

How was the initial setup?

We have found the initial setup to be fairly easy. The implementation process is pretty smooth. It's self-explanatory.

We've got two people dedicated to the SolidFire array. We have several in our data centers and we have a whole support task force that deals with tickets. However, in general, there are two people that are the platform owners that ensure everything's up to date and any things are being resolved as needed.

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

While I don't know specifics about the licensing costs or procedures, my understanding it's comparable to other products. We did a comparison with Pure recently and the per-gigabyte charge was within a range of five to 10 cents difference.

What other advice do I have?

We are currently a customer and an end-user.

I did not use the latest version of the solution. We were a couple of years behind. We were most recently at version 11. I've been out of the operations group now for the last, probably eight months or so, however, it's my understanding that they recently updated it, however, the last one I worked with was version 11.

I'd rate the solution at a solid eight out of ten simply due to the hardware issues which are pretty impactful lately and the issues with the upgrades that we've seen lately.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
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Updated: October 2022
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