Research Library

NetApp HCI – Product Brief

Last updated September 5th, 2019 for general updates. Concise 5-page review of NetApp HCI. Covers highlights, use cases, potential, and strengths/weaknesses.

NetApp HCI is a turnkey, compute and storage solution based on software that runs the SolidFire scale-out all-flash arrays. Like other products in this space, the NetApp HCI pools physical storage capacity on each node, providing native iSCSI access for hosts connected to this virtual SAN. It runs on industry-standard Intel x86 server hardware and commodity storage devices, but has a disaggregated architecture that separates storage and compute resources into separate nodes, allowing for a more granular expansion than most other HCI solutions.

SolidFire has developed and marketed a line of enterprise-grade, scale-out, all-flash appliances for several years. The operating system for these SF Series appliances, called the “Element OS”, is the foundation for NetApp HCI.

NetApp HCI clusters contain a minimum of four storage and two compute nodes, but can expand up to 100 nodes in any combination. Storage nodes come in a single configuration with six SSDs, in three capacity points and compute nodes support dual CPUs with three core and memory configurations. Expansion nodes add 12 SSDs in roughly 1TB, 2TB or 4TB sizes for up to 46TB of additional capacity.

SolidFire’s “Helix” data protection scheme distributes two redundant copies of each data block across all nodes in the cluster, ensuring data resiliency and enabling non-disruptive upgrades. SolidFire provides native snapshot-based backup and restore functionality compatible with any object store or device that has an S3- or SWIFT-compatible API. SolidFire includes synchronous, asynchronous and snapshot replication options and the ability to pair a single cluster with up to four other clusters for failover protection.

NetApp HCI Product Brief Includes: 

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Usage and Deployment
  • EvaluScale Product Review Methodology
  • Evaluator Group Opinion

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