Within enterprise storage, the most popular categories on IT Central Station are all-flash arrays, hyper-converged infrastructure, and software defined storage (SDS) user reviews. Collectively, enterprise storage reviews have been viewed a total of 633,863 times, covering 80 different solutions.
Which of these solutions are trending in 2017? Which features do users discuss most, and which changes do they hope to see in the near future?
Here’s a small peak into 2017 user reviews for all the most popular enterprise storage solutions.
HPE 3PAR Flash Storage
Infrastre626 describes HPE 3PAR as “very reliable, flexible, scalable, stable, and is a high-performance storage solution that is easy to administer. It meets all the requirements we have for storage systems. We used to have HPE’s XP solution. That was a little bit too costly. We also had the EVA systems on the 3PARs and the mid-range suits our work very well.”
When asked to explain how 3PAR could improve, GlobalHe56d5 adds that currently, his financial services firm relies “on WORM, so some sort of WORM feature would be good. We have to use other platforms for that. It would be nice to have that on the table right here.”
NetApp All Flash FAS
Diegos Ramos finds NetApp All Flash FAS to be “very user-friendly. Someone in my position needs to be able to bring up and shutdown the system quickly, efficiently, and shut it down if there’s a power outage quickly and efficiently without having trouble. It also supports VMware, which is what we use; but we use the NetApp as our only filer.”
LeadStorageEng125 finds that “The product still uses the concept of decoupling hardware with multiple HA pairs where system resources like CPU/memory is bound to a single controller. This approach definitely helps keep the system more resilient and stable, but it makes the environment a little complex for the end user to decide where to place their application for best performance.”
Joel Sprague shares that “The built-in performance profiles have made tweaking settings for different uses (SQL log files, SQL data files, VMware Datastores, etc.) extremely simple. The built-in profiles are more than enough for most implementations, and if you need to create a custom performance profile, the process is simple and well documented.
The analytics available via Infosight (the online Nimble support portal) are extremely well written and useful too. In particular, I find the analytics extremely useful when tracking down causes of latency that occasionally crop up and affect processing.”
Joel Sprague also describes that “While I was not present for the sizing discussions, I believe there was some lack of discovery in selecting the model and features for my client. Even though the flash size on the array was doubled from Nimble’s initial recommendation, the SAN still has latency issues during the largest dataset imports, due to CPU limitations on the SAN model that presales had recommended for this client.
Brad Eley finds that “one of the best features of the VNX is the ability to combine drives of different types into a virtual storage pool. By combining small but fast flash drives, SAS drives, and high-capacity but slower NL-SAS drives, the VNX can intelligently move data to the different tiers of storage based on usage. This maximizes performance and investment by making sure commonly accessed data is stored in flash, while rarely-accessed data can be sent to the NL-SAS drives.
“There is no easy way to defrag a RAID group“, writes Larry Manno. “It would be nice to be able to reduce the size of a storage pool if the storage is not needed anymore.”
Listing Kaminario K2’s numerous valuable features, IT-3922 shares that “Standard-based monitoring means we aren’t locked in to using platform-specific or proprietary tooling to track and monitor our device performance. Built-in snapshot support gives us SAN-side functionality most other platforms would have had us license separately. Unexpectedly high compression ratios give us more capacity for our investment; again without a nickel-and-dime licensing model.”
IT-3922 also finds that “the front panel of the drive shelf doesn’t always seat firmly. Aside from that, we haven’t found any shortcomings in their platform to date.”
Emphasizing the “predictability” capabilities provided by Nutanix, banc writes:
“Thanks to data locality, a large portion of your IOs (all reads, can be 70% or more) are served from local disks and therefore only impact the local node. While writes will be replicated for data redundancy they will have second priority over local writes of the destination node(s). This gives you a high degree of predictability and you can plan with a certain amount of VMs per node and you can be confident that this will be reproducible when adding new nodes to the cluster.”
Room for Improvement
“Storage nodes are managed directly by the Nutanix cluster (hypervisor isn’t visible and no hypervisor license necessary)”, explains banc. “While this is going the right direction, larger storage nodes are needed to better support “cheap, big storage” use cases. For typical big data use-cases, today’s combined compute and storage nodes (plus optionally storage only nodes) are already a very good fit!”
FlexPod’s “most valuable features are flexibility, high availability, and redundancy”, writes SystemSt5522. It’s the easiest way to deploy hardware. We use it with VMware. It’s the easiest way to deploy solutions quickly and scale out. In our environment, we are constantly expanding laterally. It allows us to create the capacity and the resources on the fly that we need to get our jobs done.”
Room for Improvement
SystemSt5522 also adds that he “would like to see an easier implementation, but I think that with newer versions of ONTAP and new versions of FlexPod, it’s getting better. It would be nice to have a single pane to manage all of it, but that’s probably a pipe dream.”
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
VMware vSAN’s “Scalability and future upgrades are a piece of cake” states Harri Waltari. If you want more IOPS, then add disk groups and/or nodes on the fly. If you want to upgrade the hardware, then add new servers and retire the old ones. No service breaks at all.”
Room for Improvement
Solutiona357 writes that “Snapshot management is something that continues to improve with each release of vSAN. Earlier versions experienced performance degradation, but each version gets more and more efficient with snapshots. The new snapshot format, known as “vsanSparse” was introduced in vSAN 6.0, which replaced the traditional “VMFSsparse” formats which involved redo logs.”
Donald Lopez shares that “The overall speed/performance of the system is critically valuable for us and the analytical data is extremely helpful for minimizing troubleshooting time for any VMs experiencing issues.
This product was purchased for our MS Hyper-V 2012 R2 environment and allowed us to build out a clustered configuration that we have never been able to have due to previously unreliable equipment…Detailed reporting with the ability to see reports from the hypervisor are very helpful.”
In terms of how Tintri VMstore could improve, Mike Geller writes that “there are occasional bugs, but Tintri has been good about fixing them quickly. The bugs are mostly cosmetic; I’ve never had a bug impact end users or VMs.