Friday, February 19, 2016


SolidFire is a "make private cloud easy" solution primarily designed for service providers.  It's a "born in OpenStack" all-flash whitebox solution that aims to be stupid-easy to deploy and manage.

The goal for SolidFire is not to be the fastest, the most resilient, or the most features.  It aims to answer one question, best in class: "How do I easily deploy Storage as a Service?"  You can see this in their design choices:
  1. Because this is a product service providers sell, they're flash only, have required QOS policies, and skip all the management tools, leaving that to OpenStack.
  2. Because they use two copies of everything instead of RAID, they achieve node level resiliency and skip expensive hardware and software, using inline dedupe/compression to recover the space delta.  This also spreads performance requirements across the entire cluster.
  3. Because they expect you'll be deploying a single configuration thousands of times, they support only 1 protocol and have very limited configuration options.
  4. Because this is for a cloud, not a single-purpose, the cluster (up to 100 nodes) auto-grows when you add a new node and recovers quickly when you lose one.
A few technical details:
  • Platform today is Dell servers.  Now that Dell owns EMC, it'll probably convert to Cisco.
    • 10 drives per node
    • SF2405: 5-10TB and 50k IOPS
    • SF4805: 10-20TB and 50k IOPS
    • SF9605: 20-40TB and 50k IOPS
    • SF9010:  20-40TB and 75k IOPS
  • Features:
    • Inline dedupe and compression
    • For QOS you can set min, max, and burst limits.
    • Mix any node platform
    • You can hot remove nodes
    • iSCSI, FCP (with a gateway device)
    • native snapshot capability and can backup to any Amazon Web Services S3 or OpenStack SWIFT-compatible API. 
  • Under the hood:
    • Nodes are connected via 10GbE over your shared network.  Not a private intracluster network.
    • “All connections for a particular LUN presented to storage go back to the primary node for that LUN. IE: multipath doesn't help you weather a failover. They're dependent on long iSCSI timeouts to give them time to fail a node and redirect traffic.”
  • Performance and QOS:
  • Node Loss Demo:
SolidFire wins Gold in the Storage magazine/ 2015 products of the Year Storage Systems: All-Flash Systems category.

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