NetApp Completes SolidFire Buy

Posted on February 03, 2016 By Pedro Hernandez

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In December, NetApp announced it was acquiring Boulder, Colo.-based flash-storage provider SolidFire in a transaction valued at $870 million. Now, it's a done deal.

In a brief press statement, the enterprise data storage systems maker announced it had completed the acquisition of SolidFire on Feb. 2. Revealing what attracted NetApp to the all-flash storage company, the company noted that SolidFire's technology "combines the performance and economics of all-flash storage with a webscale architecture that radically simplifies data center operations and enables rapid deployments of new applications."

As expected, SolidFire's know-how will live on in future storage products from NetApp, particularly those targeted at cloud companies. "Over time, SolidFire products will be incorporated into NetApp's Data Fabric strategy, delivering seamless data management across flash, disk and cloud resources."

SolidFire is no stranger to cloud storage. Nearly three years ago, the company teamed with CloudSigma to launch an all-SSD public cloud storage service.

A blog post from Dave Hitz, co-founder of NetApp, provided further details about how SolidFire's flash storage architecture slots into his company's portfolio, which includes the company's own EF-Series or AFF (All Flash FAS) arrays.

"I think of EF as being like one of those racing cars built from aluminum tubes," Hitz wrote. "It's an exaggeration to say that EF has no windshield or doors, but you get the idea: it is super-fast and optimized for price-performance. By contrast, ONTAP has broad application integration and a rich set of enterprise-class data services."

There is some overlap between the products offered by the newly-integrated company, he admitted. "All three [EF-Series, AFF and SolidFire] can run Oracle databases wonderfully. But they have very different design centers: bare-metal speed, simple cloud-like scale, and powerful data services."

To help understand the reasoning behind the deal, Hitz noted that SolidFire clusters can support up to 100 nodes, "each of which is a standard x86 system (1U rackmount with 10 internal SSDs). The entire cluster is a single pool of performance and capacity. SolidFire automatically handles all data placement, data protection, and performance."

Cloud service providers or enterprises looking to adopt cloud-influenced infrastructures can just add nodes without the management and configuration overhead typically associated with adding storage, argued Hitz. "In a few minutes, SolidFire automatically rebalances the data in your existing LUNs across the new nodes. If you have too much capacity or performance, it's just as easy to pull nodes out."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


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