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NetApp HCI Competitors and Alternatives

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Read reviews of NetApp HCI competitors and alternatives

CB
Senior IT Consultant / Architect at Mightycare Solutions GmbH
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easily scalable with great technical support and very good snapshot capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "CDP is an important feature for avoiding data loss in the event of ransomware attacks. You need more storage capacity, however, you get the possibility to return at any time and use the data saved up to that point. The recovery is much faster than with a classic restore."
  • "NVMeoF should be implemented. This protocol will play a major role in storage infrastructure in the future."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is used for the provision of high performance and high availability block storage. By using auto-tiering, many applications can benefit from the high performance of current NVMe SSDs. At the same time, cold data is kept on low-cost storage resources.

The separation of data streams from different applications (e.g. SAP HANA, SQL server, virtualisation) also increases overall performance and availability.

The use of snapshots for data backup is already planned and scheduled. For this purpose, Veeam Backup 11 will be connected to SSY. The backup will then be LANless via Fibre Channel.

How has it helped my organization?

Among other things, we used SSY to bring a Splunk installation onto the existing central Datacore storage. Continuous data transfer rates of up to 2.6 GByte/s (16GB Fibre Channel, dual fabric synchronously mirrored systems over 20km) were also achieved.

The project was also much cheaper and easier to implement than any comparable solution.

The services already running (databases, virtualization) are not affected and run with the same performance as before the expansion.

A next project will link Veeam Backup with SSY. Veeam will then control the snapshots for data backups, especially of the virtual platform. These snapshots are then presented directly via FC to the backup server for backup.

What is most valuable?

Synchronous mirroring was a prerequisite for the project. Two data centers are used, which are connected via two different WAN routes. 16G FC is used via the WAN. The "Systems managed Mirroring" feature was used for this.

Another feature that makes the high performance possible is "pool striping", where accesses are distributed over a larger number of external data volumes (LUNs). The limiting factor for performance here is the external storage that is connected to the Datacore servers.

Snapshots are also an important feature. In connection with external applications, these enable an improvement in data protection.

CDP is an important feature for avoiding data loss in the event of ransomware attacks. You need more storage capacity, however, you get the possibility to return at any time and use the data saved up to that point. The recovery is much faster than with a classic restore.

What needs improvement?

For an upcoming release, I would like to see a function that can manage the storage of multiple Datacore servers in a kind of "erasure coding". This would simplify scaling and make SSY more competitive with other providers.

NVMeoF should be implemented. This protocol will play a major role in storage infrastructure in the future.

Network protocols are becoming increasingly important. For future projects, protocols such as RoCE should be implemented. Especially in LAN infrastructures from 25G, a simpler and high-performance SAN infrastructure could be built here. The costs should be lower compared to Fibre Channel.

Improving support will be very difficult as it is already one of the best in the IT world.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been implementing SSY very successfully with many clients since 2008.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The system runs very stable. Through the use of server pairs, there is no more downtime. The storage service is always available, even if maintenance has to be carried out or a hardware defect has to be repaired.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The performance can be scaled very easily by adding data devices of the desired performance class.

It is also very easy to expand the capacity. By adding low-cost storage, cold data can be stored there. This also ensures that the hot data can be accessed with high performance.

How are customer service and technical support?

Datacore offers one of, if not the best, technical support teams in the industry. Every request is handled very competently and in a short time.

The SEs are also very well trained and competent. They are always available for questions and are also very willing to give suggestions and information.

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

We previously used Netapp Metro Cluster. We switched due to the costs for the infrastructure (Metro Cluster) were too high. The performance was also no longer sufficient. The solution was too inflexible.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation is somewhat more complex than with simple storage. In addition to the actual storage resources and the SAN infrastructure, the x86 server with Windows Server and SSY must also be installed.

The configuration of the storage is easy, as it is best to create many identical volumes and present them to the Datacore server.

These volumes are then included in the pool within SSY and centrally managed there.

The SAN configuration includes the construction of a FrontEnd, BackEnd, and Mirror layer. It is a little more complex, but not complicated.

The host systems access the resources via SSY, so these must also be configured in SSY. On the other hand, only the SSY servers need to be set up on the storage.

What about the implementation team?

Being a DCIE myself, I did the installation.

What was our ROI?

Since the environment is dynamic (for example, changes, extensions), the ROI is not easy to determine. However, the TCO is more favorable than with other solutions.

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

Good planning is always very important. SSY is very flexible and can cover very different requirements. Therefore, it is important to keep a close eye on the requirements. If you have questions before implementation, ask support or a partner.

Also, pay attention to licensing. It may be cheaper to license a few TB more if you can make a jump in the discount scale.

Also note: Using DAS (internal storage) can be very cost-effective compared to external storage.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered different solutions such as Netapp FAS-Series, HP MSA, and 3Par.

What other advice do I have?

I am glad to have used SSY. The solution is very stable and performs well. It requires very little effort.

What you do have to do, however, is regularly apply Windows patches. To do this, the node has to be restarted. You should therefore always use a pair with synchronous mirrors to avoid downtime.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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JB
Consulting Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
MSP
Everything is core centralized; it's a significant cost saver for those not leveraging a hypervisor

Pros and Cons

  • "Everything is core centralized on the UI."
  • "Could have better visibility with the main OEM backup integrators."

What is our primary use case?

We deliver a lot of different solutions on various platforms, including different HCI solutions and solutions like Nutanix and Cisco HyperFlex and NetApps, later HCI mile. Most of them have been on Nutanix and on Cisco HyperFlex and as well as VxRack. Our primary use case has of Nutanix has been for virtualization consolidation. We are partners and resellers of Nutanix and I'm a consulting solutions architect.

What is most valuable?

Nutanix has several feature sets that we like. For example, everything's core centralized on the UI. You don't have multiple interfaces that you have to jump between like in some other solutions. It's more integrated for the overall management of the infrastructure. The other part too which is very attractive, is the fact they provide an option if you're not leveraging your OEM hypervisor like VMware or HyperV. That was a significant cost saver for us as well as enabling us to look at alternatives to the VMware tax. 

What needs improvement?

For now, I can't think of anything that can be improved. They've been pretty innovative and have provided a fairly comprehensive roadmap. I've worked directly with some of the backend TME guys and they're very responsive and have addressed anything that's come up. However, I would like to see better visibility with the main OEM backup integrators to have a full backup recovery from site to site and from site to cloud and cloud to cloud - the full range. The cloud ecosystem for public/private, site to site visibility with a single backup product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From a software perspective, it's incredibly stable and portable. The only caution I would give is that since it is a software-defined solution, be careful of the underlying hardware. It's nothing to do with Nutanix, it's a hardware issue. You may have a highly available, reliable software platform, but it's on commodity hardware so you might experience more failures on the hardware because you decided to go for commodity. You need to be careful how you're architecting your solution and your application factors as you build up your data center, and not sell yourself short and get the cheapest hardware on the market to save costs, because that can turn out to be an expensive decision. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't seen any issues with scalability. Most people I know for the most part are very sensitive about the fault domains. So they tend to go off from smaller clusters. You do have the ability to go pretty much as far as is humanly possible, it depends how much risk you want to take, but at the same time the scalability is definitely there. Most systems are capped at where you can scale out cluster-wise of VMware, 64 nodes and HyperV at 64. There are two factors to the scalability equation. There's the storage within each node, which is fine and then obviously the scalability as far as CPU and memory go. You can mix and match your platforms on your favorite vendor, but then you need the ability to go beyond 64 where necessary. We do have a couple of accounts that we've worked with where they have some fairly large clusters and I think that's a great option for people needing that level of scalability.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest thing that I've seen has been the backup and recovery which has been challenging for them over the past couple of years. They partnered with Beam and with Rubrik and Cohesity. They had their OEM go-to's, but didn't initially deliver a very good story for application integration for backup and recovery where they had good copy data management. Most of the OEMs are very good at backing up single clusters for local backup and recovery. That said, whenever true disaster recovery was needed and you're leveraging multiple Nutanix missions site to site, there wasn't the visibility of being able to backup or being able to have the application integration.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
RR
Presales Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Quite scalable, stable, and offers good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "It's very easy to use and quite a mature product."
  • "The pricing is pretty expensive."

What is our primary use case?

A client typically uses the solution for the VDI critical application and for the containerization as well. It's a critical application and he X location and the hybrid or multi cloud.

What is most valuable?

The solution is easy to deploy as they're based on ECS. We buy an ECS Manager so that we can scale out easily. We can also integrate with external storage. We can also scale for computing or storage only.

The product is quite stable.

It's very easy to use and quite a mature product.

What needs improvement?

As a fairly mature product, I can't think of any features that are lacking per se. 

The pricing is pretty expensive.

Right now they are coming into the public cloud, we want to be seeing HyperFlex integration with public clouds such as AWS, Azure or Google. 

I need to see the feature more use cases for the backup and restore functionalities or how  we can expand the cluster to the public cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution since about 2018. It's been about two years or so. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It doesn't have bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We do plan to continue using the product and expanding it as needed. 

Cisco is better for enterprise-level organizations.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco has great technical support. We're quite satisfied with their level of service. Cisco does offer full support for the product, which is quite helpful. They have a good amount of knowledge on their product and they are very good at sharing the information and insights they have. 

However, in comparison, Nutanix technical support is better in that they are not only knowledgeable but responsive as well.

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

As partners, we use a variety of solutions such as Nutanix, Cisco HyperFlex, and NetApp HCI. We don't for example, have partnerships with HPE or SimpliVity.

If you were comparing Cisco, to, for example, Nutanix, Cisco is more expensive.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not too complex. The installation is pretty easy as the HyperFlex has a deployment engine. We can just follow the wizard and go over everything step-by-step. Cisco has guidelines about the installation in the portal which makes it very convenient to get the insights you need.

The deployment is very fast and takes typically under one hour.

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

The solution can be pretty expensive. It's not the cheapest option on the market.

What other advice do I have?

My role in the company is pre-sales. We offer this solution to our clients. As a partner, we don't use Cisco HyperFlex, but we propose HyperFlex for the customer.

For the deployment, we can deploy for the DC and DRC side, for the synchronous replication, and also for the stress cluster, we can also deploy for the X location as the HyperFlex has a HyperFex extraction for the X location.

I'm in Indonesia, and in this particular country/region, this solution isn't really used very widely. Nutanix is more famous in Indonesia, as it can be used by the SMB customer or small customers up to enterprises. Most hyper-converged solutions that are used in Indonesia are Nutanix.

I would recommend the solution to other organizations, however, only if it made sense and fit their company's needs.

Overall, I would rate the product eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
JH
Senior Cloud Consultant at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Reseller
Compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources in a single device

Pros and Cons

  • "VxRail alleviates the operational constraints within an organization."
  • "The way that the VxRail is licensed could be improved."

What is most valuable?

VxRail alleviates the operational constraints within an organization. It really frees up resources as it requires little maintenance. If you're providing a platform that has consolidated compute, storage, and fabric, then it's basically a turnkey type of solution that organizations can use. It also has one patch, so you're not dealing with several different ecosystems, for example, one supplier for storage, one supplier for compute, and one supplier for networking. It's all bundled into one platform which reduces costs. That also makes it easier to maintain and manage as well.

What needs improvement?


For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using VxRail for two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's absolutely a stable product. The reason why we chose this solution and that particular type of technology were that we were running many different private clouds within our data centers. Considering the time spent on the maintenance and the patchwork, if we've consolidated and we're offering one platform to house over 3000 clients and over a thousand private clouds, it is a very stable platform. Given the fact that it's a software-defined technology, if it resides within a software-defined data center, the analytics are very transparent and it's easy to address a singular patch across an entire landscape of clients. It's very stable. In terms of scalability, capacity, and modularity, that's the reason why we selected it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't have first-hand experience with technical support. We have a support help desk. Clients can call in and we help them with VxRail. I've never had to contact their support for help with any client issues.

What about the implementation team?

If you partner with Dell, they offer Dell ProDeploy support and SmartHands. We hire them to do the shipping and implementation into a client's data center, whether that's on-prem or in a third-party incumbent location, such as our data center. They have a lot of expertise behind that. from my perspective, it always runs fairly smoothly.

Generally, we procure VxRail through Dell and then we sell it back to the client within our margin. With VxRail, comes Dell's ProDeploy and SmartHands capability to ship and then install.

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

The way that VxRail is licensed could be improved. I'm not entirely sure, but I think what I encounter is licensing VMware as Dell. Dell and VMware go together and I think that the licensing has become quite complicated and costly. For things like vSAN especially, having those types of skews displayed and a bit easier to understand how the licensing works behind the infrastructure would be a nice change.

Licensing things like vSphere on top of the platform itself can be quite tricky to manage. For anyone wanting a subscription-based model or a perpetual model, that's always quite important to scrutinize.

What other advice do I have?

Although it's really the only hyper-converged platform that I have any experience with, overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give VxRail a rating of ten. I understand the competitiveness between Nutanix and NetApp and other hyper-converged platforms. But I think that given the strengths behind Dell and their acquisition of VMware, it makes for a very solid platform — it's very reliable. We've benchmarked our whole company off of hyper-converged Dell. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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JA
IT Technical Operations Manager at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Turnkey solution with low management costs that is easy to use

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the low management overhead, and the lower skill set required to manage it."
  • "The cost of using the public cloud deployment is astronomical."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to run all of our production workloads, which are file servers, databases, web servers, and front ends. It's running everything.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the low management overhead, and the lower skill set required to manage it.

All of the additional management tools plug into vCenter, which is our standard virtualization interface for VMware. It has the vRealize Operations Manager, which is the management and the monitoring suite that's available from VMware. This is all incorporated into the product. It's a turnkey solution.

What needs improvement?

The cost of using the public cloud deployment is astronomical.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this particular product for a couple of months.

How are customer service and technical support?

We didn't need to contact technical support. We had Dell support on-site setting up and implementing the solution for us.

How was the initial setup?

We did not have any problems with the initial setup because we hired Dell ProDeploy services to install this solution and get it running.

Deployment was approximately two months from start to finish, and that included the high-level design, racking and stacking, the testing, and the migration of workloads.

What about the implementation team?

We used Dell ProDeploy services to deploy this solution for us.

What was our ROI?

We are getting time back to other things because we are not having to look after the infrastructure, as we have had to do in the past.

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

We received a good price from Dell. Pricing was pretty much the same apart from the pricing for the public cloud it was astronomical.

Other than licensing fees, we had to pay for our equipment. We calculated that our TCO  is going to be lower with this solution than it was with our traditional three-tier architecture.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Nutanix, NetApp, Public Cloud, and another product called Datrium.

What other advice do I have?

We did a lot of research ahead of time with this solution to make sure that it was stable, scalable, had a good interface, was easy to use, and that it had good technical support.

I don't have enough time with the solution to know what areas need to be improved. When I have run into some difficulties, Dell has let me know that those have been addressed and instruct me or direct me to where I can find and enable certain functions.

These functions are there, but with my inexperience, I didn't know they were there.

I haven't found things that are missing yet.

It's a single driver update that reduces management costs.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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