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Zadara OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Zadara is #3 ranked solution in top Compute Service tools, #4 ranked solution in top Public Cloud Storage Services, #4 ranked solution in top File and Object Storage tools, #5 ranked solution in top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools, and #10 ranked solution in best All-Flash Storage Arrays. IT Central Station users give Zadara an average rating of 10 out of 10. Zadara is most commonly compared to Amazon S3:Zadara vs Amazon S3. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 40% of all views.
What is Zadara?

Zadara is a complete enterprise storage solution because it has all the functionality you expect in enterprise storage — and so much more. It starts with our patented virtualization software running the same industry-leading storage you can buy from a legacy vendor. It’s OpEx, so you pay only for what you use. And it's fully managed by us 24/7. In other words, Zadara can do everything your legacy storage can do, just a whole lot cheaper and easier.

With the Zadara Storage universal solution, you can deploy storage of any data type (block, file, object), in any location (cloud, on-premise, hybrid - worldwide), and via any protocol (FC, iSCSI, iSER, NFS, CIFS, S3, Swift).

Zadara Buyer's Guide

Download the Zadara Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Zadara Customers

Time, Inc. A&E Network, The Washington Post, News UK, McGraw Hill, Gilt, Toshiba, Deloitte, VMware

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Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Zadara pricing:
  • "For our use, it's appropriately priced and overall, it's proved to be very cost-effective against other tier-one vendors."
  • "The pricing is very competitive and the fact that they have very compelling discounts for multi-year commitments is great."
  • "One of the factors that ruled out several providers was cost. They were way too expensive for the volume of data that we needed and the speed at which we needed to be able to manage it. There aren't a lot of providers that can do that."
  • "It is a nice licensing model and it makes it quite simple because we just pay for what we use, and the bill that comes shows us exactly what customers are using what resources."
  • "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."
  • "The pricing and licensing are very simple and the cost is predictable, although, like everything that you pay for as you use, you have to be mindful of what you're using."

Zadara Reviews

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GW
Platform and Infrastructure Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Flexible, good performance, cost-effective, and well-suited for disaster recovery storage

Pros and Cons

  • "It's very easy to expand and compared to other storage systems that we've used, it's a lot more expandable and a lot more flexible in how it's deployed."
  • "The management interface is more geared towards end-users rather than a service partner like ourselves, and there are improvements that can be made around that."

What is our primary use case?

We are a disaster recovery company and we used Zadara as a storage platform for all of our disaster recovery solutions. We do not make use of the computing and networking services they offer. Rather, we only use the storage facility.

Our main environment is Zadara Storage, and then we have multiple VMware and Hyper-V virtual clusters that run the services we provide to our customers. We've also got numerous recovery platforms as well, which we can recover customer's environments onto. Zadara is a key underpinning of that because, without that common storage layer and the services running on top of that, we wouldn't have a business to run.

It's key for us, as a DR specialist, that we have the confidence that all of our systems and services are available all the time. Picking a vendor, be it Zadara or any other vendor, is really important to us because we have to trust that they're going to be there 24/7, every day.

How has it helped my organization?

We use Zadara as a multi-tenanted experience and it is key to us that we have dedicated resources for each tenant because it maintains a consistent level of performance, regardless of how it scales.

The fact that Zadara provides drive options such as SSD and NL-SAS, as well as SSD Cache, is very important because we need that kind of performance in our recovery environments. For example, when the system is used in anger by a customer, it's critical that it's able to perform there and then. This is a key point for us.

At the moment, we don't use the NFS or CIFS protocols. We are, however, big users of iSCSI and Object, and the ability to just have one single solution that covers all of those areas was important to us. I expect that we will be using NFS and CIFS in the future, but that wasn't a day-one priority for us.

The importance of multi-protocol support stems from the fact that historically, we've had to buy different products to support specific use cases. This meant purchasing equipment from different vendors to support different storage workloads, such as Object or File or Block protocols. Having everything all in one was very attractive to us and furthermore, as we retired old equipment, it can all go onto one central platform.

Another important point is that having a single vendor means it's a lot easier for us to support. Our engineers only need to have experience on one storage platform, rather than the three or four that we've previously had to have.

It is important to us that Zadara integrates with all of the public cloud providers, as well as private clouds because what we're starting to see now, especially in the DR business, is the adoption of hybrid working from our customers. As they move into the cloud, they want to utilize our services in the same way. Because Zadara works exactly the same way in a public cloud as it does on-premises, it's a seamless move for us. We don't have to do anything clever or look at alternative products to support it.

It is important to us that this solution can be configured for on-premises, co-location, and cloud environments because it provides us with a seamless experience. It is really helpful that we have one solution that stretches across on-premises, hybrid, and public cloud systems that looks and works the same.

An example of how Zadara has benefited our company is that during the lockdown due to the global pandemic, we've had a big surge in demand for our products. The ability of Zadara to ramp up quickly and expand the system seamlessly has been a key selling point for us, and it's somewhat fueled our growth. As our customer take-up has grown, Zadara's been the backbone in helping us to cope with that increased demand and that increased capacity.

It's been really easy to do, as well. They've been really easy to work with, and we've substantially increased our usage of Zadara. Even though we've only been using it for just about five months, in that time, we've deployed four Zadara systems across four different data centers. Their servicing capacity has been available within about four weeks of saying, "Can you do this?" and them saying "Yes, we can."

With respect to our recovery solutions, using Zadara has perhaps doubled the performance of what we had before. A bit of that is because it's a newer technology, and a bit of that is also in the way we can scale the engine workload. When the workload is particularly high, we can upgrade the engine, in-place, to be a higher-performance engine, and then when the workload scales down, we can drop back to a lower-performance one. 

That flexibility in the performance of not only being able to take advantage of the latest flash technology but also being able to scale the power of the storage engines, up and down as needed, has been really good for us.

Using Zadara has not at the moment helped to reduce our data center footprint, although I expect that it will do so in the future. In fact, at this point, we've taken up more data center footprint to install Zadara, but within six months we will have removed a lot of the older systems. It takes time to migrate our data but the expectation is that we will probably save between 25% and 30%, compared to our previous footprint.

This solution has had a significant effect on our budgeting. Previously, we would have had to spend money as a capital expense to buy storage. Now, it's an operational expense and I don't need to go and find hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy a new storage system. That's helped tremendously with our budgeting.

Compared to the previous solution, we are expecting a saving of about 40% over five years. When we buy new equipment, our write-down period is five years. So, once we've bought it, it has to earn its keep in that time. Using Zadara has not only saved us money but it will continue to save us money over the five years.

It has saved us in terms of incurring costs because I haven't had to spend the money all upfront, and I'm effectively spreading the cost over the five years. We do see an advantage in that the upfront capital costs are eliminated and overall, we expect between 30% and 40% savings over the lifetime if we'd had to buy the equipment.

What is most valuable?

The two most important things about this solution for us begin with the flexibility of it. It's very easy to expand and compared to other storage systems that we've used, it's a lot more expandable and a lot more flexible in how it's deployed.

The other big thing for us is there's no large capital outlay to buy it. You just pay for the amount of the system that you're using, which is quite important for our business, because that means that we can align our usage with what our customer needs are. This is unlike other storage vendors that we've used. We're not wasting any capacity because we have to buy it in fixed components, in fixed sizes. We can just turn on as much as we need for what we're doing at the time. Essentially, the pay-as-you-go approach means that we are not overpaying or pre-paying for capacity that we are not using.

Zadara absolutely provides us with predictable costs and it's quite a straightforward and simple pricing model. It is very easy for us to predict what the costs are going to be at the end of each month.

What needs improvement?

The management interface is more geared towards end-users rather than a service partner like ourselves, and there are improvements that can be made around that.

The reporting tool is nice and I think that it's good; however, it would be a little better if it were more feature-rich. It would be nice if, as a customer, we could see more of the analytics that we know Zadara can see on the platform.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are new customers and have been using the Zadara Storage Cloud for five months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise, it's been really good and we've not had any issues with it.

It's done everything that we expected it to do, so we've been quite pleased with that. We've recently gone through and had a version upgrade and that was very easy, as well. There was no downtime and it all went really well.

Overall, it's exactly how we thought it would work and what we were hoping for.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, I would characterize Zadara's solution as elastic in all directions. We've got four physical systems and we have to expand those both in terms of their physical capacity and the sizes of the engines that we're using with them. It does seem to scale very well.

From a cost perspective, being able to scale up or down as needed throughout the month is very important to us. We are providing services to customers and as customer requirements change, the ability to change our usage to match our contractual obligations is essential. So, being able to closely align the two is really nice, from a budgeting point of view.

This has enabled us to be more efficient and more agile, both to support our customers and also from a financial point of view.

How are customer service and technical support?

From our experience, Zadara as a vendor provides proactive monitoring and support. We've used other tier-one storage vendors, and Zadara's support has been on-par or better than the others. It's what we were expecting from an enterprise storage vendor and they haven't disappointed in delivering that. They're always there when needed and they're very quick to respond, so we've been really pleased.

For example, they've given us more warning than our tools did of projected storage usage, so as to advise us on upgrading. Also, because of the way their storage works on their storage engines, they've been able to give us a heads-up as to when it would be best to upgrade those engines to the next size. Again, this has made for a seamless experience. Ultimately, we've been able to scale the capacity and performance of the platform working in tandem with Zadara as and when we needed it. It has been very effective for us.

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

Prior to Zadara, we used NetApp, which is another tier-one storage vendor. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite straightforward. Our storage requirement was well-defined from the existing legacy vendors that we used and as part of the engagement process with Zadara, it was quite comprehensively covered from what we required and how they would provide it. When it came to deploying, it was a really pain-free experience.

The length of time for deployment has improved as we've gained experience. The first one took us four weeks and the most recent one took approximately two weeks. We've learned a lot and Zadara has as well. Overall, it was fairly painless and very quick to do, and certainly a lot quicker than what we've experienced in the past with other vendors.

Our implementation was completed in two phases. One was the traditional storage side, using our SCSI, which was fairly easy to deploy because we understood that side very well. It is quite easy to set it up and configure and then start migrating customer data over. As we are a virtual environment, the tools within the hypervisors we use made that process really easy to do.

The object storage that we're using was also easy to set up, as it is with every object vendor. They have a slightly different look and feel for how they implement object storage, so that took a little bit longer to do, but again, was fairly easy.

We're in the process of migrating data onto the object storage platform at the moment, which isn't as easy as just doing standard disc to disc copies. That's mainly around the tooling that's available to move data from one object platform to another.

What about the implementation team?

We had one project manager who looked after all four deployments, and team-wise, we had a network engineer and two storage specialists who were involved throughout. Out of their time, over the deployment phase, the first one took approximately 10 man-days to complete over the four weeks, and the subsequent ones, with time frames of two weeks each, took us perhaps four or five man-days per deployment.

In general, it was fairly lightweight. We could have gotten away with one storage engineer, but as it's a new platform, we wanted at least two people to be involved from our side during the deployment. This would give us two people skilled in how it works.

Those two have subsequently passed on their knowledge to the rest of the storage team. But again, it's a fairly small, dedicated storage team that we have. Overall, it wasn't resource-intensive at all.

There is not really any post-deployment maintenance. Zadara does a lot of proactive monitoring for us and they offer full 24/7 monitoring of the solution and managing any faults, et cetera, that come along with that. From our side, we probably perform 20% to 25% less management of the platform than we did previously.

This is included in the fees and it allows us to concentrate more on the admin tasks that need doing, rather than having to concentrate on monitoring, et cetera. With Zadara's involvement and them being actively engaged in the monitoring, it means that we don't have to be as actively involved as we would be for other platforms. It is really nice.

On our legacy systems, if we were doing an upgrade, that would all be up to us to do. With Zadara, we keep a watching brief and they do all of these upgrades in the background. That is also a very good plus for us because again, we don't need to be actively involved in those kinds of tasks. They're taking care of them for us.

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

Like everybody, we'd like it to be cheaper, but that isn't going to happen. For our use, it's appropriately priced and overall, it's proved to be very cost-effective against other tier-one vendors.

The commercials on it are better than what we had before with our traditional vendors but really, it's the flexibility of its use that pays dividends. I don't feel that I'm wasting money by having to grow a capacity that I don't need. By comparison, that's the way a traditional vendor would sell it.

A traditional vendor will sell you a fixed amount of storage whether you can use it on day one, or you have to wait two or three years to use it. That's a waste of both capital and storage systems.

From that point of view, it is useful and has also a knock-on effect on the environment that we run Zadara in. Specifically, I'm not wasting power and cooling, et cetera, to run pieces of equipment that I don't really need.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we were considering Zadara, we also looked at upgrading our NetApp to the latest version. We also looked at what EMC had to offer.

The storage market is very mature at the moment, so in terms of features, there is very little difference in the features that each vendor offers. With Zadara, the two main selling points for us were one, it wasn't a capital purchase so we could buy what we needed when we needed it; and two, everything was all in the one product.

If you look at the likes of NetApp and EMC, while they have solutions that cover everything, generally, if you wanted object storage and traditional storage then you'd have to buy two solutions, because that's how the market's developed for them. They have different products to cover different areas.

It's really nice with Zadara that it's just one platform that does everything, and it's been designed from the ground up to do that. I think that NetApp and EMC will go down that route as well, but they have a lot of legacy engineering which makes that more difficult for them to do.

The summary is that Zadara won out because of its pricing model and the fact that it was a common storage platform that does everything.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is looking to implement Zadara Storage is to "Give it a go." It's a different model compared to everybody else, and it can take you out of your comfort zone if you're used to purchasing legacy storage systems because it works in a completely different way. Also, Zadara isn't as well known in the marketplace as the likes of EMC, NetApp, or IBM, et cetera.

For us, it was very easy to test out all of the functionality of Zadara and make sure that it ticked all the boxes for what we wanted, using it in the public cloud to start with. Testing everything ensured that it was a good fit, both technically and operationally, and that gave us the confidence to then move on to an on-premises PoC. From that point, we bought the product.

The fact that it's a single product that stretches from the public cloud to on-premises was quite key for us in our purchasing decision, because it meant that we could easily try it and buy it in a public cloud and just get a handle on what it could do for us before we attempted on-premises testing. The on-premises testing was really just about confidence in the performance of it compared to our existing on-premises solutions.

We were very comfortable with the product at that point because we'd been able to play with it in the cloud. It was just a last tick in the box, that it would deliver on the performance that they claimed it would do, and it did.

In terms of lessons learned, when we were initially talking to Zadara, we had some apprehensions about how it would work for us because we were very used to on-premises legacy solutions. The big win for us was that we could go and try it in the cloud.

From a deployment point of view, it was really easy. Also, because it's such a powerful product, I think our biggest lesson learned in deploying it was not to deploy everything on day one, but rather to have a staged deployment where the bits of the technology that we were comfortable with, such as the more traditional storage, should be deployed first. Once that is working and you're comfortable with it, you can then go and start deploying the bits which are more custom. Specifically, object storage.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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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IA
Chief Information Officer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Highly resilient for fault tolerance, offers iSCSI as a service, good support that is responsive

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the most useful features is that they provide iSCSI as a service."
  • "Having iSCSI over the internet using a VPN, the IPSec tunnel is really the only thing that I find missing from this product."

What is our primary use case?

Zadara provides us with storage, similar to the way IaaS does.

We have a data center in Miami and we need off-site storage, so we connect to Zadara through the Equinix Cloud Exchange, which is a dark fiber. It essentially bypasses the internet and allows many different Equinix data centers to connect to one another. Since we are on that particular network, Zadara is one of the service providers that allow us to consume services from them.

Essentially, we connect Miami to Ashburn, Virginia, and this is where we have a storage environment that can grow as quickly or as slowly as we need it to. Today, our use case is offloading our backups onto that storage, as well as doing a replication to our other data center, which is on the West coast.

How has it helped my organization?

The fact that we have offsite storage that is provided to us using iSCSI as a service has allowed me to offload certain storage-related workloads into Zadara. This means that when I have a planned failover, if I need to maintain the local storage that I have in my data center, I simply shift all of the new incoming traffic into Zadara storage. None of my customers even know that it has happened. In this regard, it allows us to scale in an infinite way because we do not have to keep adding more capacity inside our physical data center, which includes power, networking, footprint, and so on. The fact that Zadara handles all of that for me behind the scenes, somewhere in Virginia, is my biggest selling point.

With its dedicated cores and memory, we feel that Zadora provides us with a single-tenant experience. This is important for us because we are aware that in the actual physical environment, where Zadara is hosting our data, they have other clients. Yet, the fact that we have not had any kind of performance issues, and we don't have the noisy neighbor concept, feels like we are the only ones on that particular storage area network (SAN). It's really important for us.

Zadara provides drive options such as SSD and NL-SAS, as well as SSD cache, and this has been important for us. These options allow us to decide for different volumes, what kind of services we're going to be running on them. For example, if it happens to be a database that requires fast throughput, then we will choose a certain type of drive. If we require volume, but not necessarily performance, then we can choose another drive.

A good thing about Zadara is you do not buy a solution that is fixed at the time of purchase. For instance, if I buy an off-the-shelf storage area network, then whatever that device can do at the time of purchase, give or take one or two upgrades, is where I am. With Zadara, they always improve and they always add more functionalities and more capacities.

One example is that when we became customers, their largest drives were only nine terabytes in size. A year or so later, they improved the technology and they now have 14 terabyte drives available, which is good at almost a 50% increase. It is helpful because we were able to take advantage of those higher densities and higher capacities. We were able to migrate our volumes from the nine terabyte drives to the 14 terabyte drives pretty much without any downtime and without any kind of interruption to service. This type of scalability, and the fact that you are future-proofing your purchase or your operations, is another great advantage that we see with Zadara.

As far as I know, Zadara integrates with all of the public cloud providers. The fact that they are physically located in the vicinity of public cloud regions is a major selling point for them. From my perspective, it is not yet very important because we are not in the public cloud. We have our own private cloud in Miami, and not part of Amazon or Azure. This means that for us, the fact that they happen to be in Virginia next to Amazon does not play a major role. That said, they are in a place where there is a lot of connectivity, so in that regard, there is an advantage. We are not benefiting from the fact that they are playing nice with public clouds, simply because we are not in the public cloud, but I'm sure that's an advantage for many others who are.

Absolutely, we are taking advantage of the fact that they integrate with private clouds.

Zadara saves me money in a couple of ways. One is that my operational costs are very consistent. The second is that the system is consistent and reliable, and this avoids a lot of the headaches that are associated with downtime, reputation, and all of that. So, knowing that we have a reputable, reliable, and consistent vendor on our side, that to me is important.

It is difficult to estimate how much we have saved because it wouldn't be comparing apples to apples. We would be buying a system versus paying for it operationally and I don't really have those kinds of numbers off-hand. Of course, I cannot put a price tag on my reputation.

What is most valuable?

One of the most useful features is that they provide iSCSI as a service. That was very useful for us because it allows us to simply mount their storage into our servers and just utilize it as if the storage is local. That's number one.

Number two, their reliability and fault tolerance, is really unmatched. We were able to upgrade our storage, add more drives, add volumes, replicate volumes, and change sizes of volumes, all with zero downtime. It's very impressive.

These two features are extremely useful for us. The iSCSI as a service, as well as the fact that the system is highly resilient for fault tolerance.

We typically use iSCSI and to a lesser degree, object storage. We have not been using NFS, so I can't comment on that, but the fact that the solution offers all of those is certainly a big differentiator for people who are looking for those kinds of solutions. It means that they don't have to have multiple vendors or multiple systems to put together to support those different solutions.

For example, if I need to have S3, I don't have to go to Amazon or anybody else because I have it available within Zadara. iSCSI is exceptionally rare to find as a service and the fact that they support it is a major competitive advantage, and the same is true with CIFS and NFS. You would need extra plugins and extra add-ons from other vendors like VMware in order for you to do this, but Zadara does it out of the box, which is nice.

Zadara can be configured for on-premises, colocation, and cloud-based deployments and we use a mixed-mode. We provide our services in a cloud capacity but we're not in the public cloud. We're not in AWS or Azure, for example. We have our own private cloud and Zadara is working beautifully in this hybrid mode. They do have an on-premises solution as well, which we have not yet taken advantage of but we are planning to.

The fact that they can provide us services that are outside of our data center is of utmost importance. If something happens to my data center, I know that I have an off-site remote, either backup or remote system that I can tap into and continue my operations. The fact that they can provide me an on-premises solution, which is really the entire stack in my data center, where I need it to be low latency and high capacity storage, is certainly something that we'll be looking into. It's nice to know that those options are available from the same vendor.

At this point, we only use Zadara for storage, but we are about to use some of the other services. In terms of agility, the platform has been working flawlessly. All their SLAs have been met. We have been adding more storage, we have been upgrading from one engine to another, and all of that was happening without any kind of outage.

I would categorize Zadara as elastic in all directions for the fact that we can add more capacity on the fly. We can add more drives or more cache storage. We can increase the engine if we need to have it faster with more memory, or with more CPU power. The fact that we can do all of that with a click of a button and it happens, it's provisioned relatively quickly, and we pay by the hour rather than paying for it outright, allows us to scale without letting them know. It is easy because they don't have to provision special hardware just for us and it can happen fast. For example, if all of a sudden my business experiences an increase, I can react within the hour. Any change to the billing is reflected immediately.

Using this solution has increased performance in our environment because we can offload storage capacity elsewhere, which we know is infinite in size. This alleviates a lot of the headaches, it's been consistent, and it has worked pretty well. It would be difficult to estimate our performance increase because we don't measure it.

Our data center footprint has been reduced using Zadara. We have fewer storage systems today in our data center which means less power consumption, less environmental impact, less heat, and they take up a smaller physical footprint on the racks. I cannot say exactly how much, but it's definitely at least half a rack.

In terms of saving resources and redeploying people to more strategic projects, I can say that it allows us to support more storage with the same number of people. But, I cannot say that the next time I would have bought storage, I would have had to add another person. I really cannot make that kind of a distinction. The only exception I can say is that they are helping us in our West Coast data center because over there, I do not have any staff. The fact that Zadara is helping me with storage, certainly I can say that there would have been a staff member managing the on-premises storage locally. Instead, Zadara is taking care of that, leaving me with requirements for one less person.

What needs improvement?

We've been working with them on a few things that they can improve and they are actually working on a prototype for us. We have gone live with it as a pilot, and that is offering iSCSI as a service but via the internet, versus a cross-connect cable. If this is something that they can offer out of the box, that would be amazing. They do offer it to us right now as a custom solution but it's not offered to everybody.

The value is not something that I cannot put a dollar figure on but it would allow them, or anybody else who needs to consume storage from Zadara, to effectively attach themselves to a volume that provides a block of storage, quite literally without any further investment.

They can do it right away by having a secure VPN tunnel into Zadara's point of presence and just consuming as much storage as they need to. If they do that, they would dominate the market in a big way because it will reduce the barrier of entry to using Zadara. Right now, to use Zadara, you have to go through some hoops.

Having iSCSI over the internet using a VPN, the IPSec tunnel is really the only thing that I find missing from this product.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been customers of Zadara for almost three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, certainly, we have not encountered any kind of a situation where Zadara is not scalable enough. I know that they can scale to beyond what we need, by many measures. For example, in cases where we needed to have a faster engine, we have been able to simply go in using the provisioning portal, add another engine, migrate all of our volumes into that engine, and everything ran very smoothly. So, scale is certainly not an issue.

As it is now, all of our backups and all of our operational images are stored there.

We are able to scale up and down as needed through the month, and it is important for our business model. With that said, we are taking advantage of Zadara's very generous discounting system because we have committed to multiple years. Doing this provides us with significant cost savings and because of that, our costs are relatively stable. They don't go up or down, and they don't fluctuate as much compared to other types of usage-based utilization.

How are customer service and technical support?

With the 24/7 management that comes with Zadara cloud services, we know that we have somebody reliable on the other side that can assist us if we need help. We have asked them for assistance a couple of times and it was not outage-related but rather, it was related to how we can take advantage of a couple of things that they provide, such as snapshots. Each time, they have been able to help us and it was a very quick and very pleasant experience.

The vendor provides proactive monitoring and support where within the console, they will let us know if we are utilizing our hard drives incorrectly, perhaps if we are requesting too much throughput from the kind of hard drives that we have. They monitor our performance and will let us know, for example, if we have something misconfigured.

Of course, if a hard drive goes bad, they automatically replace it. We don't even have to know about it. That's quite amazing and I know this because having run systems like that in my past, I know that this is a major headache and I'm happy that it is removed from me. There are a lot of things that they handle automatically without us even knowing.

If there is a situation where we have a misconfiguration or something similar, where we have influence and the opportunity to improve, they let us know. It can be initiated in different ways such as an email report, part of the conversation with the customer success manager, or it can just be a console message that we see when we log in to see how things are going. The console shows us alerts and things like that to keep us informed.

Overall, they are knowledgeable and responsive and I would definitely rate their support a ten out of ten.

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

Prior to Zadara, we used an on-premises solution that was built from products by Nimble and Dell storage. We switched because of Zadara's reliability record and because of their architecture, which is fully fault-tolerant and has a six nines uptime guarantee.

It allows us to have upgrades without having any kind of interruptions and the fact that it's managed remotely, to us, is the biggest advantage.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward because we were on the Equinix Cloud Exchange. If you have the network and infrastructure to do it, it's straightforward, but Zadara is not the kind of product that you can simply connect to from your private cloud because it requires some homework. If you use the iSCSI with the IPSec tunnel then it will simplify a lot. In addition, if you're on the public cloud then connecting to Zadara is very simple and very quick.

If you have the infrastructure ready, it doesn't take more than a few hours. If you don't have the infrastructure ready then it depends on the setup in your data center. For example, you may have a cross-connect that connects to Zadara. The bottom line is that there are a lot of variables that go into the configuration and it's not a "one size fits all" kind of answer.

What about the implementation team?

Only one person, our system administrator, is needed for maintenance.

What was our ROI?

We cannot really put a price on stability, but having them in our corner is a major advantage.

Alternatively, I would have to pay HPE Nimble for storage that reaches end-of-life every five years, then have to buy a whole new storage system and then migrate all of it. As it is now, I don't have to do any of that stuff. The fact that I can upgrade and downgrade whenever I wish, without having any kind of interruptions, is a pretty good return.

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

The pricing is very competitive and the fact that they have very compelling discounts for multi-year commitments is great. 

If for some reason my business is losing a customer, I can remove their data within the hour and I will not pay for that storage anymore. Another advantage of being with Zadara is that the billing is very consistent with the actual operation. The billing and operations are compatible and proportional to one another.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have looked at other options of this kind, but Zadara was the only one that could give us the overall package that we were looking for. Specifically, with respect to the iSCSI service, we could not find anyone else who could do it at that scale.

We looked at Nasuni, as well as a couple of others that I think have been absorbed by other providers.

What other advice do I have?

The people at Zadara are very good business people. We know their CEO personally and we just had a call with them a couple of weeks ago. It's a company that is definitely suited for growth and they're here for the long-term.

My advice for anybody with a private cloud is to ensure that they have the network in place ahead of time. I don't have any setup advice for people in the public cloud because it's exceptionally smooth. However, for a private cloud, you have to have cross-connects and other things, which can be a pain. The reason is that you have to have the data centers talking to each other. That said, my advice is that it's definitely worth the wait and worth the hassle because once you get there, you have frictionless storage. It's not a trivial thing to do but they do it very well.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

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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Learn what your peers think about Zadara. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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Steve Healey
CTO at Pratum
Real User
Top 10
We're able to scale up or down almost instantly, and changes are handled efficiently by their managed services team

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the most valuable features is its integration with other cloud solutions. We have a presence within Amazon EC2 and we leverage compute instances in there. Being able to integrate with compute, both locally within Zadara, as well as with other cloud vendors such as Amazon, is very helpful, while also being able to maintain extremely low latency between those connections."
  • "Being able to scale on demand, and being able to get out of our security operation center, and not having to purchase hardware upfront, has drastically reduced the overhead that was required to maintain our information. We have also gained additional capabilities in terms of speed of replicating that information."
  • "I would like to see them be a little bit more proactive in terms of the patches and updates that are available. I would like to see more disclosure and information around what fixes or what enhancements are available within a patch, and help in coordinating and scheduling that. Right now, it's driven more by the customer in reaching out via a support ticket."

What is our primary use case?

We have a significant amount of data that is stored and retained. We have a rolling 365 days' worth of data. There are about 35,000 to 45,000 events per second that come into this solution and then get stored, long-term. That data also needs to be readily accessible, meaning that it can be searched on at any point in time. We have real-time security metrics that are run against that volume of data, so we need the data to not only be persistent and stored long-term, but also on fast storage arrays that can be readily accessed in a minimal amount of time. We've leveraged Zadara to house that storage as well as have it available to us so that we can query it very quickly.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the main benefits is being able to scale up as needed, on-demand, without having to invest in any sort of hardware costs. If we were to get a large client, a Fortune 500 or Fortune 100, that had a significant number of assets or data they were looking to monitor, being able to scale on-demand and increase the drives behind the scenes is something that we can do in a matter of minutes today. If we were to manage that ourselves, it would take time to spin up those drives or to make those purchases and then get them configured and onboarded. We can now do that with the click of a button.

Zadara performs proactive monitoring and that includes any alerts or support tickets that are created within the system. For instance, if there is some sort of performance issue due to increasing ingestion or increasing storage consumption, or there are any other issues behind the scenes, all that is monitored. It creates an automated ticket that also goes to their team and one of their customer support individuals will reach out. We, obviously, have our own security monitoring on top of that, as well as performance monitoring, but we certainly work closely with Zadara and their support team in responding to any events that are generated. But they have the ability to go in and help mitigate any of the items that do come up.

It always helps having additional monitoring capabilities or individuals, especially when their focus is primarily on the data storage and the volumes behind the scenes, to ensure that everything's healthy and functioning. It's always good to have multiple layers there, in terms of visibility. But one of the key benefits that we have received is being able to respond quicker. We can open up a support ticket and ask them to make a change on our behalf, or to add additional storage, or to increase speed somewhere. They leverage their team to perform those things on our behalf and that saves our team from having to do it. They've been able to reduce the management overhead for us because we can offload some of those responsibilities to them.

It's pretty hard to compare performance levels to when we previously managed things ourselves, since we have grown significantly within the last five years and especially year-over-year. But we've probably seen an increase in performance of at least 100 to 200 percent. We've shifted workloads from SATAs all the way to SSDs. We've been able to go from a single GB to 10 GBs so performance-wise we're in a completely different arena. That being said, we've also doubled and tripled our event ingestion count. That has increased year-over-year with constant growth. So the performance demand has grown significantly. We're not only able to keep up with that but exceed that, year-over-year. We can scale resources, increase the network, decrease latency, increase the speed and the amount of CPUs and the amount of memory on those virtual private storage arrays, as well, as needed.

We've also been able to leverage some of the private compute. They're scaling up their compute so that you can actually spin up servers and instances closer to your storage, all within Zadara. That has been a tremendous benefit to us in increasing performance and reducing latency. I've been impressed with all of those features, and that capability is fairly new here. Staying cutting edge and providing additional services is something that's been very helpful to us as well.

In terms of data center footprint, we were able to take everything from our security operations center that was on-premises, and all of our co-lo's, and move all that into Zadara's management. That was definitely one of our primary objectives. They've been able to take over all the overhead that goes along with managing the backend infrastructure. It has been tremendously helpful in that regard.

Compared to us trying to do this ourselves, we've probably seen about 50 to 60 percent in cost savings over the last five years.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is its integration with other cloud solutions. We have a presence within Amazon EC2 and we leverage compute instances in there. Being able to integrate with compute, both locally within Zadara, as well as with other cloud vendors such as Amazon, is very helpful, while also being able to maintain extremely low latency between those connections. We have leveraged 10-Gig direct connections between them to be able to hook up the storage element within Zadara with the cloud platforms such as Amazon EC2. That is one of the primary technical driving factors.

The other large one is the partnership and the managed service offering from Zadara. That means they have a vested interest and are able to understand any issues or problems that we have. They are there to help identify and work through them and come to solutions for us. We have a unique workload, so problems that we may have to identify and work through could be unique to us. Other customers that are just looking to manage a smaller amount of data would not ever identify or have to work through the kinds of things we do. Having a partner that is interested in helping to work through those issues, and make recommendations based on their expertise, is very valuable to us.

Zadara's dedicated cores and memory provide us with a single-tenant experience. We are multi-tenant in that we manage multiple organizations and customers within our environment. We send all of that data to that single-tenant management aspect within Zadara. We have a couple of different virtual, private storage arrays, a couple of them in high-availability. The I/O engine type we're leveraging is the 2400s.

We also have disaster recovery set up on the other side of the U.S. for replication and remote mirroring. Being able to manage that within the platform allows us to add additional storage ourselves, to change the configuration of the VPSA to scale up or scale down, and to make any changes to meet budgetary needs. It truly allows us to manage things from a performance standpoint as well. We can also rely upon Zadara, as a managed-services provider, to manage those requests on our behalf. In the event that we needed to submit a ticket  and say, "Hey, can you add additional storage or volumes?" it's very helpful to have them leverage their time and expertise to perform that on our behalf.

It is also very important that Zadara provides drive options such as SSD, NL-SAS, and SSD cache, for our workload in particular. We require our data to not only be accessible, but to be fast. Typically, most stored data that is hotter or more active is pushed onto faster storage, something like flash cache. The flash cache we began with during our first year with Zadara worked pretty well initially. But our workload being a little unique, after that, the volume of data exceeded the kind of logic that can be used in that type of cache. It just looks at what data is most frequently accessed. Usually the "first in" is on that hot flash cache, and our workload was a little bit more random than that, so we weren't getting as much of the benefit from that flash cache. 

The fact that Zadara provides us with the ability to actually add a hybrid of both SSDs and SATA allows us to specifically designate what volumes and what data should be on those faster drives, while still taking into account budget constraints. That way, we can manage that hybrid and reduce the performance on some of the drives that are housing data that is really being stored long-term and not accessed. Having that hybrid capability has tremendously helped with the flexibility to manage our needs from a performance standpoint as well as a cost perspective.

As far as I know, they also have solid support for the major cloud vendors out there, in addition to some others that I hadn't heard of. But they certainly support Amazon EC2 and Google and Rackspace, among others. Those integrations are very important. Most organizations have some sort of a cloud presence today, whether they're hosting certain servers or compute instances or some other workload out in the cloud. Being able to integrate with the cloud and obtain data and store data, especially with all these next-generation threats and things like ransomware out there, is important. Having backups and storage locations that you can push data to, offsite, or integrate with, is definitely key.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see them be a little bit more proactive in terms of the patches and updates that are available. I would like to see more disclosure and information around what fixes or what enhancements are available within a patch, and help in coordinating and scheduling that. Right now, it's driven more by the customer in reaching out via a support ticket. It would help if they were more proactive in identifying what changes are available.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Zadara Storage Cloud for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, I'm satisfied with the stability. We have high-availability set up. We have multiple VPSAs that not only help distribute the load but, in the event that there's some sort of failover, the reaction has been just about instantaneous. There has been no event loss as a result of that. Everything has real-time monitoring and automatic failover occurs. I've been extremely satisfied with the failover capabilities within it, as well as being able to replicate storage volumes to different VPSAs or to move things around as necessary.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is excellent. We've had a terrific experience in terms of the speed at which they've been able to respond to inquiries from us, as well as their ability to work with us and identify any recommendations for issues or performance concerns that have come up. They've even been able to escalate to the engineering teams to provide recommendations. They've been very involved with us and very committed to ensuring that we would be, and have been, successful with them.

They've been able to check all the boxes that we've needed. We've been extremely satisfied with their customer support and involvement.

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

This was a new implementation. We did have some Synology NAS's that we were running many years ago, where we were managing our own volumes. We were managing our own disks and the SSD cache and the SATA or the SAS drives that were connected to them. Being able to scale on demand, and being able to get out of our security operation center, and not having to purchase hardware upfront, has drastically reduced the overhead that was required to maintain our information. We have also gained additional capabilities in terms of speed of replicating that information. This has been a tremendous help.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup process was straightforward. They jump on a phone call or a remote meeting with you to help walk you through and configure the environment. That process is about as simplified as you can get. Certainly, additional documentation is always helpful and they have documentation available. The support team is definitely available to answer any questions, even if they have to do with integrating with third-party cloud providers and setting up and configuring direct connects with Amazon EC2. They assisted us with recommendations on that to help ensure that all of those tunnels were built correctly.

We got things connected within a single day. It was about an hour of prep and another hour or hour and a half in a meeting to get it configured and hooked up. At that point, the data was spun up, we had access to it, and we began tuning configurations. It was a very quick process, probably an hour or two in total.

Our implementation was based on our core business requirements for setting up the access that our systems needed. Those were the primary driving factors. Zadara assisted in provisioning the environment and in configuring the connectivity. At that point, we were able to leverage our workload as needed to be able to access and store that information.

We have three people who work with Zadara, including me. One is a security engineer who has primarily been customizing some workloads on our side to be able to increase efficiency. He has worked on accessing some of those management features via an API. Our SOC manager is typically the one who would assist me in ensuring that things are configured properly, if we need to add storage or to monitor storage or increase the size of the VPSAs.

Having Zadara as that managed service provider has helped us in not having to retain additional staffing to help manage this. It's very easy and efficient for us to reach out with a support ticket to Zadara to ask them to make some type of change on our behalf. We have that down to between one to two people, with our SOC manager driving the majority of changes and making those requests to Zadara.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at other providers as well. I was impressed with Zadara from day one. I still remember to this day, filling out their online form when seeking additional information. We had a couple of specific business requirements at the time, around our workload requirements and we needed a single NFS mount point and a single volume that could retain a significant amount of data, but also grow substantially over the years. We had performance requirements for that. We put that request into their online form and my phone rang within about seven minutes of hitting that submit button.

Since then, the experience has been the same throughout, which is pretty hard when they had set the bar that high with that quick of a response. We've had similar experiences with them when we've opened support tickets, or we've had some sort of a technical question or some sort of urgent requests. We've been able to get a hold of them every single time. Their escalation points are available to us as well, but their support team and engineers are very efficient, very quick, and more than happy to provide their expertise and recommendations to us whenever necessary.

It's been quite some time since we went through the evaluation process, but the others were different NFS providers. We were looking for ones that integrated with Amazon. One might be called SoftNAS and there was another vendor out there that was at the top of the list when you searched for "NFS and Amazon". We also looked at how to manage things directly within Amazon itself. One of the factors that ruled out several providers was cost. They were way too expensive for the volume of data that we needed and the speed at which we needed to be able to manage it. There aren't a lot of providers that can do that.

What other advice do I have?

Be upfront with all of the specific requirements and needs that you're looking for, and really think about the future. Think about what growth is going to look like and what performance is going to look like; not just right now, but in a year, three years, five years, and 10 years from now. Zadara has a significant number of capabilities as well as services. 

Knowing your strategy when you build that environment, and knowing what that strategy could be for increasing the size of not only the volumes but also the virtual private storage arrays—knowing how easy that is—was something that was very beneficial for us. We knew that our workload was going to grow substantially every year, and even every month. Having that plan was truly helpful for us, not only because we knew what our storage requirements were going to be, but because we knew how we would be able to satisfy them with Zadara. How would we upgrade those VPSAs? What does that upgrade process look like? In our experience, we have been able to upgrade those very efficiently. And in almost all cases it resulted in no downtime. We were able to do most of those migrations and transitions behind the scenes. Knowing what those capabilities are, how that would work, and being able to have those conversations upfront, reduced a significant amount of the stress that would typically be associated with trying to manage the amount of data that we do.

They have support for multiple protocols. We primarily leverage NFS support. We've been very happy with the level of support with that. There are multiple versions that we've leveraged in testing to see what additional performance we can gain from going from NFS version 3 to 4 to 4.1. Zadara has been on the cutting edge with the availability of those additional versions and support for them. They offer CIFS as well as the iSCSI support but we typically don't leverage that.

The on-premises configuration is less important to us. One of our main, driving factors was getting away from on-premises equipment and the management and overhead costs associated with having to purchase that type of hardware. One of the benefits of working with the Zadara is that they handle all of those upfront costs and that they have the hardware and can scale on demand. Similarly we have typically moved away from co-lo facilities as well. Leveraging the disaster recovery by having multiple locations hosted by Zadara was a much greater driving factor for us.

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.
EO
CTO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Offers different tiers of storage, immutable object storage, and snapshot capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "A nice feature is the immutable object storage, which can be used in conjunction with Veeam."
  • "Cost-wise, because it's a pay-per-use model, it may ultimately end up costing us more in the long run than something we developed ourselves."

What is our primary use case?

We have several use cases for this product. Zadara provides the hardware and we build our services that are hosted on it.

They are responsible for building out the cloud hardware infrastructure and for us, it's a number of nodes and a number of disks attached to those nodes, with compute to manage everything. It also includes network infrastructure like switches for our data center.

They shipped all of the hardware to us, we installed it, and then we began to provide services with the support of Zadara. They share responsibility in management, providing the monitoring and management and the backend operations.

In some cases, we have just sold pure storage to our partners and customers. In other cases, what we provide is Infrastructure as a Service, which includes compute off of another platform that we have that isn't from Zadara, and the backend storage is with Zadara.

We also provide other services, including Backup as a Service. We provide the service with Veem as the backup solution. The backups are taken from the customer's environment and put onto Zadara storage in our data center.

We also offer disaster recovery as a service, where we provide the compute and the storage for disaster scenarios. A customer can spin up their entire environment on the VMs in our compute, and then their data is backed up and snapshotted into our storage on Zadara.

How has it helped my organization?

Having dedicated cores and memory absolutely provides us with a single-tenant experience. We have use cases in both categories, but we have customers who have a completely dedicated and private environment and it is particularly important for them. For example, if they are dealing with medical or patient data then they have a dedicated core and a dedicated disk, which is essentially their own private cloud.

It is important that we also have the flexibility for some of the lower-end services that we can have multi-tenant storage because not all of our clients require completely dedicated cores and disk space.

It is very important to us that Zadara provides various drive options because we're more of a niche cloud player, and we don't compete with Azure, AWS, or other large providers. We tend to have bespoke solutions, so having the different drive options gives us the flexibility we need to do that.

Zadara has improved our business with the main benefit being that we generate quite a bit of revenue every month from the services that we provide others, and I don't think that would have been possible without this product. What really attracted us to Zadara was the fact that they have the pay as you grow model.

As a new cloud provider, say three years ago, it would have been quite a large investment for us to take on. Not just in the hardware but also in the skills and the knowledge required to set up and operate it. Zadara was a key enabler for us to be able to enter the cloud business because if it wasn't for them, it would have taken us a lot longer. We would have had to invest in more people and as well in more hardware. As it is now, we are generating revenue and it gives us some credibility with our larger customer base.

Although we only use cloud storage services, Zadara is an agile solution that offers compute and networking, as well. This agility means that they are very quick at turning things around, which is key for us because we're able to implement solutions for customers quite quickly. Ultimately, we can start bringing in revenue for sales quite fast, as opposed to some of our traditional business. 

If you take fiber, for example, it could take up to three months to realize the value of the sale before it actually starts to build. Whereas with Zadara, it is so agile and so quick and easy to set up that even in a few days, we can turn a sale around into billing. This quick conversion from sale to revenue is also important for the business.

We didn't have a cloud before we had Zadara so, in that regard, it has increased our performance by 100%. In fact, we have been able to redeploy people and budgets to more strategic projects because it helped us to enter the cloud environment and to offer new services to our customers.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the different tiers of storage, as it allows us to do some nice bespoke things. Depending on what the customer wants to do, we can provide those three different tiers of storage. This is good because we can be competitive with the pricing so that we're not overselling the high-end storage every time.

A nice feature is the immutable object storage, which can be used in conjunction with Veeam. This was something that they brought out more than a year ago and is quite nice, in particular for our customers who are using our Backup as a Service. This is a USP that we have at the moment.

The ability to take almost instant snapshots is very attractive for us because we are able to expand. Currently, we have one cluster in our data center and we're going to build out a second multi-zone environment in another data center. The snapshots are attractive because we've got very high-speed, dark fiber between those two locations. It means that we can do almost real-time replication between Zadara centers, which will allow us to create some really nice solutions for our customers, particularly for disaster recovery.

It is important that Zadara supports multiple protocols, although, for some of our customers, it's completely over their heads. From the cloud engineers' perspective, it is very important because they are able to architect the solutions in the way that they wish. I wouldn't necessarily say that it is a key USP when we go to customers, however.

It is an advantage that this product integrates with all of the public cloud providers and private clouds, although it isn't the highest thing on our priority list.

What needs improvement?

It was a pity that Zadara didn't offer compute services three years ago because we had to invest in a completely different platform. It would have been nice to have the whole service from Zadara. While they have launched their offering now, it was just a bit too late because we had already made the investment.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zadara Storage Cloud for approximately three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise, it's very solid and we've had no issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have dozens of customers and I cannot easily estimate the scale of their usage. With respect to our organization, there are many people who use Zadara, and the roles are varied.

Starting from the front end, we have the salespeople that are out there trying to sell our cloud services, and supporting them are the solution architects. The solution architects will be deeper into the technology and they help to design solutions. For example, they scope out opportunities and gather requirements. Often, they interact with Zadara to ask questions and for help to design certain bespoke solutions.

Then, working backward, there are the senior cloud engineers and they would typically get deeper involved in the design of the customer's environment. They would also then do any of the complex builds.

There is also a team of what we call tier-two Net Apps. These are engineers that set up the customer's environment, in particular for the more standard configurations.

Finally, there is the NOC, who monitors the platform and takes any calls from customers if there were ever any issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Anytime we have any questions or we need support, they always have very senior people that are there and willing to help us.

The fact that the cloud services come with 24/7 management is something that's critical for us. For example, the team at Zadara has highlighted issues to us before we've noticed them or highlighted potential issues before they become issues. This gives us that confidence to backend our SLA to our customers on the service that we're getting from Zadara.

Having this level of support and their expertise has made it easier for our NOC, as well. While we have senior cloud engineers, we didn't need to train all of the lower-level engineers and then the NOC team to be experts in this product. If there's ever an issue with us, we have that support of Zadara in the background.

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

We did not have another similar solution before Zadara.

How was the initial setup?

I was not with the company when it was deployed, but through feedback from the people who were, my understanding is that the initial setup was very straightforward.

The deployment process took only a few days.

What about the implementation team?

Zadara worked with the team during the initial setup, and I can see it now as we're about to deploy another zone. They helped the team to define what it is that they actually need and really bring a lot of knowledge to us, helping to design the solution.

Zadara takes a lot of things into consideration, like the networking that's available, issues like latency, and what kind of environment it is going into. Then, they put together the design themselves, and then they sent over all the equipment to our data center. From there, they walked through everything with the engineers, including the physical setup, and they would have done all the testing and everything to make sure that it was all working sufficiently and before it was brought live.

What was our ROI?

Although it is difficult for me to estimate ROI, I can say that it's a pay as you grow model, so we haven't had to make a large investment in storage-related hardware. It means that anything that we have and anything that we paid Zadara for, we're making revenue from a customer.

To be clear, we will only implement storage for a customer once we have them. In this regard, given that we have had to invest very little, the return has been very large.

I can't say it saved us money because we didn't have this service before Zadara, but if we had to invest ourselves then it would have cost us a lot of money. Assuming that we would have broken even on the hardware by this point, three years later, when you consider the support and other factors, it would probably take a lot longer.

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

The pricing is relatively straightforward. There are a lot of different combinations and permutations and so on, but I think that's just more the nature of the business rather than something that is Zadara-specific.

It is a nice licensing model and it makes it quite simple because we just pay for what we use, and the bill that comes shows us exactly what customers are using what resources. It is very standard and straightforward.

Cost-wise, because it's a pay-per-use model, it may ultimately end up costing us more in the long run than something we developed ourselves.

What other advice do I have?

This solution can be configured for on-premises, co-location, and cloud, although the option is not as relevant to our use cases. We've never used the on-premise solution and most of the time, if we're speaking with customers, they say they want to move to the cloud. As such, our focus has been on the cloud, primarily. We've never tried to sell this as an on-premises solution, or as a data center solution as a standalone. We have always looked at it from the bigger picture, which is that we're selling services off of our cloud.

This is a product that I recommend, in particular for organizations that are just entering the cloud market. If we had been offering cloud solutions for years, or if we'd been in something similar, we might not have gone down this route because probably over time, it'll end up being more expensive for us because it is a pay-per-use model. This is in spite of having very good discounts from Zadara. Again, for anybody who's moving, and is quite new to this environment, this is a really good way to go and to start building up your knowledge with that support in the backend.

It is important to remember that this product would reduce the risk as well. Specifically, there would have been a certain risk for us in taking on this new product in this new service area, requiring us to invest very heavily in it. Instead, the risk for us was lowered quite significantly because we didn't have to make that initial investment.

We have proven that it was a good business decision because we are making healthy revenues from it, but we didn't know that three years ago. Overall, it is a relatively risk-free way of entering into this business.

In summary, Zadara is a good product and they're fairly on top of the storage game. We're very happy with them and we have no intention of moving to another provider.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
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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Mauro Razzetti
CEO at Momit Srl
Real User
You can cut and tailor the pricing model to meet your needs, independent of disk size

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

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. 

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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Nick Barron
Chief Technology Officer at Harbor Solution
Real User
Top 20
Flexible deployment and storage options, simple licensing model, and the support is good

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the flexibility in terms of deployment options."
  • "Some of the features are a little bit slow to come to market."

What is our primary use case?

We are running Zadara in three of our data centers.

We're a data protection organization so we back up a lot of customer's data. We use Zadara largely in one of three ways. This first is an Object storage platform in our data centers, the second is for Block storage, for a specific product that we have, and the third is for on-premise customer object storage. In the third case, when we're backing up a large amount of data from a customer's site, we put a local Zadara appliance on that customer's site as well.

How has it helped my organization?

Our initial application was probably the simplest one. We were sunsetting a product, but we needed to do some movement and we needed some additional storage, but we knew that what we needed was going to change within six months as we got rid of one product and brought in another. To handle this, we started deploying Block storage with Zadara, which we then changed to Object storage and effectively sent back the drives related to the Block storage as we did that migration. This meant that we did not have to invest in new technology or different platforms but rather, we could do it all on one platform and we can manage that migration very easily.

We use Zadara for most of our storage and it provides us with a single-tenant experience. We have a lot more customer environments running on it and although we don't use the compute services at the moment, we do use it for multi-tenant deployment for all of our storage.

I appreciate that they also offer compute services. Although we don't use it at the moment, it is something that we're looking at.

The fact that Zadara provides drive options such as SSD, NL-SAS, and SSD Cache is really useful for us. Much like in the way we can offer different deployments to our customers, having different drive sizes and different drive types means that we can mix and match, depending on customer requirements at the time they come in.

With available protocols including NFS, CIFS, and iSCSI, Zadara supports all of the main things that you'd want to support.

In terms of integration, Zadara supports all of the public and private clouds that we need it to. I'm not sure if it supports all of them on the market, but it works for everything that we require. This is something that is important to us because of the flexibility we have in that regardless of whether our customers are on-premises, in AWS, or otherwise, we can use Zadara storage to support that.

I would characterize Zadara's solution as elastic in all directions. There clearly are some limits to what technology can do, but from Zadara's perspective, it's very good.

With respect to performance, it was not a major factor for us so I don't know whether Zadara improved it or not. Flexibility around capacity is really the key aspect for us.

Zadara has not actually helped us to reduce our data center footprint but that's because we're adding a lot more customers. Instead, we are growing. It has helped us to redeploy people to more strategic projects. This is not so true with the budget, since it was factored in, but we do focus on more strategic projects.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the flexibility in terms of deployment options. For example, we typically use Block and Object storage types, but we've also used File storage in the past as well. It also gives you the ability to turn on different features, easily.

There's a simple cost model for everything. It's not like some more traditional storage vendors where we need to go and buy more hardware or pay for three years worth of software licensing, et cetera. We pay for what we use for the month we use it.

What needs improvement?

Some of the features are a little bit slow to come to market. For example, we've been talking about Object replication for some time, and it's now nearly available. I wouldn't really say that anything is in need of improvement, although it would be good if they could speed up development on some things.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Zadara Storage Cloud for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This acts as our primary object storage, so it is used pretty extensively. Stability-wise, we've not had any particular issues. We've had a few drive failures and other things that you would expect, but overall, no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have six people that work with Zadara directly. Our engineering team uses it for product development, our head of infrastructure runs the data center, and the infrastructure team works with it regularly.

How are customer service and technical support?

We're an organization that runs 24/7, so the fact that Zadara comes with 24/7 management is hugely beneficial to us. Particularly on the customer deployments, the fact that we don't have to worry about those environments, where traditionally we'd have to look after them, means that we can focus on running our core backup technology rather than worrying about the underlying storage.

Overall, the support has been very good, both during our initial deployment and post-deployment. We've had no issues that they were not able to resolve and we have no problems with them whatsoever. Our account team is based in the UK and the support team is in the US.

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

Prior to Zadara, we were using NetApp. We replaced it because it was very old, out of support, and Zadara gave us the ability to not invest in hardware that we weren't going to need.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and the deployment didn't take very long.

What about the implementation team?

Zadara largely took care of the deployment for us, so we didn't have to do anything. Our operations team coordinated the process with them.

When it first came in, we had it for one specific use case that was very easy. For that, we knew exactly how we were deploying it and it's evolved over time.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on our investment with Zadara storage, and it's because it has enabled us to deliver almost limitless capacity. As our business grows, we haven't had to have issues with forklift upgrades of storage, et cetera. It's enabled a very linear growth within our team and has meant that we haven't had to add any resources to the support team from our side to deal with that growth.

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

The pricing and licensing are very simple and the cost is predictable, although, like everything that you pay for as you use, you have to be mindful of what you're using. Much like the public cloud, if you leave stuff on there that you don't need, then the bill continues to grow. Outside of that, which isn't specific to Zadara, it is very good, very easy, and we have no concerns whatsoever.

Using Zadara has saved us CapEx and large upfront expenditure. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I had used Zadara for a number of years in a previous organization, so I knew what they were and we brought them off of the back of that.

What other advice do I have?

In summary, I think that this is an absolutely great product. It provides that mix of use and it also helps in these uncertain times, where if your capacity drops or, as in our case, it increases, then it has the ability to flex and scale with you.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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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