We’ve recently deployed NetApp HCI for a customer. The nodes that comprise the system are building blocks just like any HCI platform, and expansion is just as simple and modular.
This is a different take on HCI though, in that the storage and compute nodes are separate, and run different software. The compute nodes run VMware vSphere, and the storage nodes run NetApp ElementOS to form a SolidFire storage cluster.
This has the benefits of providing a continuation of the customer’s legacy vSphere environment which it replaces, and with which they are familiar. However, it also brings SolidFire storage and associated performance (SolidFire is all-flash). Management of the entire platform is managed from within the vSphere UI.
Furthermore, the customer is now able to guarantee storage performance for their VMs using SolidFire storage QoS, meaning that their critical workloads now run well no matter what else is occurring on the platform.
Overall performance is substantially improved over the legacy systems, with SQL operations running between 6 and 10 times faster than before. One critical operation that used to take over an hour is now completing in 10 minutes. This is a big win for the customer.
Finally, we have also been able to configure NetApp SnapMirror replication from the NetApp HCI cluster to a NetApp FAS system (running ONTAP) at a remote site for efficient and cost-effective offsite data protection. This cross-platform replication is part of the NetApp Data Fabric premise, and we’re looking forward to exploring more Data Fabric capabilities as the environment develops.