What is NetApp HCI?

As I am in a new job, a few people have asked me what I do. When I say I am on the SolidFire HCI team at NetApp they are curious, usually about what is HCI.

This is how I explain it.

In the past, we had new server projects, new storage projects and new network projects.   I had done two of those myself many times. Expensive and complicated and HCI is about changing that.  Essentially, HCI is a box that can be in a few different sizes and roles, but is the new server, storage and network - all in that one box.

This means it is easy to add server or storage as necessary - just add another box. NetApp has options so you an have bigger or smaller processor / RAM and you an have dedicated storage or server (actually called compute now) boxes if that makes sense. I also like how if you are good with compute, but need storage you can add a storage box.

What is important is that other vendors can do some version of this too.  Why is the NetApp version different and in my experience much more cool?

This is what it looks like when looking at Compute.

It looks like vSphere hosts right?  That means you know how to look after them, and how to add outside storage or monitoring to them. That is important - already knowing how to do things, and not forcing you to change how you do things. Also note you can see the HCI model in the Model field.

Here is what storage looks like.

I am very impressed with the SolidFire storage.  Very clear and easy to work with the UI, and the policies are darn useful.

So to sum this up, NetApp HCI is the ability to easily scale up - or down, your compute and storage needs and yet it is open so you know how to do things already, and you can add to it as you need to.

Let me know if you have questions or comments.  As I have been only on the job a couple of weeks, I may tweak this as I learn. BTW, more info is here.


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2 thoughts on “What is NetApp HCI?

  1. Michael,
    do you also have experience with VxRail for comparison? Which compute hardware does solidfire use? Cisco only like FlexPods?

    1. Hi James,

      I have minimal experience with VXRail to compare. But with SolidFire in the mix, I think that makes NetApp HCI the best. The hardware in compute varies a little, one is Supermicro and I forget the other.


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