We’re examining how one of the leaders in enterprise data storage, NetApp, stacks up against a competitor, Buurst and its core SoftNAS offering.
Buurst, a smaller competitor in this field, claims to bring significantly smaller costs in comparison to NetApp. Cost is only one consideration among many, so let’s dive in to see how these two storage providers compare:
Buurst’s SoftNAS is an enterprise-class, software-defined network attached storage (NAS), compatible with AWS, Azure, and VMware services. While NetApp features a broad suite of products, Buurst is mainly focused on its SoftNAS product. Its features include:
- L1 and L2 Cache: SoftNAS is optimized to use half of a system’s RAM as an L1 cache and can be configured to use NVMe or SSDs to increase performance.
- High Availability: The SoftNAS approach to achieving 99.999% availability involves a two-availability zone approach with data fully replicated into block storage across both zones.
- Lift and shift file transfer; platform independency; and support for iSCSI, CIFS/SMB, and NFS protocols.
- Claiming to have the lowest cost per unit of storage, and the lowest cost per performance when compared against NetApp.
NetApp is a provider for cloud storage, hybrid cloud, data storage, data protection, data management, enterprise applications, and other offerings, like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI). Some of their leading products include:
- FAS Storage Arrays: The company’s flagship storage products, each of which strike different balances between performance, capacity, and other demands of enterprise-class workloads. Highly scalable, with some clusters able to reach 176 PB in raw capacity
- ONTAP Data Management Software: Unix-based proprietary operating system that aims to provide a seamless management of data, regardless of its location in the cloud or on-premises. Deployed on many NetApp products, such as FAS arrays
- SolidFire All-Flash Storage: Private cloud all-flash units with dynamic scaling, automation, and API hooks
- StorageGRID: Software-defined object storage system, available as software only or for turnkey appliances within a hybrid or multicloud environment. Can be deployed as virtual machines or Docker containers
- E-Series Data Storage: Hybrid-flash storage systems, aiming for a middle ground between price and performance. Their largest array supports up to 180 concurrent drives, giving the system a total capacity of 2.16 PB
Buurst’s partner program gives its members standard benefits, including free product access, co-marketing opportunities, lead registration, free training, promotions, webinars, and sales tools. Some of its partners include major IT providers, such as Cancom, Aqueduct Technologies, and CDI.
NetApp runs a comparatively huge partner program, as expected from a company with its global size and reach. It has been recognized by Google as the Cloud Technology Partner of the Year. NetApp breaks its partner program into five paths:
- Global Systems Integrators: Focus on building skills and creating sales
- Solution Providers: Business growth through NetApp technologies and brand strength
- Service Providers: Accelerate solution deployment and reduce time to reach a positive ROI
- Cloud Partners: Integrate NetApp’s cloud suite into partner cloud offerings in public clouds, like Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud
- Alliance Partners: Accelerate innovation, expand market awareness, and grow sales with best-of-breed NetApp solutions.
SoftNAS is used by some of the biggest companies in the world.
Multinational oil field service contractor Halliburton processes huge volumes of geoscience data through its DecisionSpace 365 software, creating a significant demand for high-performance, low-cost storage solutions through AWS and Azure.
Through SoftNAS, Halliburton gained low-latency cloud storage at the petabyte scale, while also reducing its costs and data footprint by an estimated 80% through compression and deduplication. Halliburton also has customers using Linux and Windows, and SoftNAS has the versatility to operate within both environments.
A large trucking company faced a ransomware attack that could have been prevented with NetApp’s Cloud Insights service, which can detect the threat patterns that typically precede this sort of attack. Cloud Insights enabled the company to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize all their cloud-based applications and data.
Machine learning AI, along with behavior analytics, empowered the trucking company to detect anomalies in their data automatically, without the added costs of expanding the IT team or its budget. NetApp’s solution was hands-free, giving the trucking company a long-term solution without added service and support headaches.
While reviews for Buurst’s SoftNAS are hard to find on tech review sites like Gartner Peer Insights or PeerSpot, AWS Marketplace has several customer reviews for the product. SoftNAS receives close to a perfect 5 out of 5 star rating, with a few outliers.
Customers praise SoftNAS for its administrative GUI, ease of use, performance, and reliability. Customers also speak highly of SoftNAS’ service and support for being highly responsive to customer issues. The licensing models are priced reasonably, scaling with usage and needs, customers say.
On the other hand, some customers feel the GUI was fiddly, and the performance is not what was expected.
There are scarce few reviews of NetApp at AWS Marketplace, making direct comparisons there challenging. However, wherever one looks, NetApp is glowingly appraised.
One reviewer describes NetApp as a “pioneer in NAS and SAN converged solutions,” with products that are “robust, resilient, and agile.” The performance and ease of use of NetApp products are items of frequent praise, though some customers find NetApp solutions to be less turnkey than desirable. Overall, NetApp carries a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating at Gartner Peer Insights, similar to its share on other sites.
|Buurst||~5.0 at AWS Marketplace|
|NetApp||4.7/5 at Gartner Peer Insights|
Buurst most recently received an award for being a leading digital innovator, given by analyst firm Intellyx. Its SoftNAS product was awarded the Cloud Storage Software Product of the Year for 2015 from analyst Datacentre ICT. Previously, the company distinguished itself as providing the “No. 1 best-selling NAS in the cloud.”
NetApp has received many awards for its AI services and has been recognized as the 2021 Microsoft Customer Experience Partner of the Year. This was given in recognition of NetApp’s “outstanding solutions and services.”
They were also the winner of Gartner’s 2021 “Magic Quadrant Leader” award for primary storage, placing themselves at or near the top of Gartner’s rankings for server virtualization, VDI, containers, and cloud IT operations as part of Gartner’s 2021 “Critical Capabilities for Primary Storage” study.
Other notable awards include the 2020 Stratus Award for Cloud Computing and the IDC 2019 Leader in Scale-Out NAS award.
NetApp has consistently played strong in the enterprise storage market, with a well-recognized and highly praised portfolio of products and services. However, Buurst makes a bold claim that SoftNAS reduces up to 75% on storage expenses when compared directly against NetApp’s ONTAP. If true, the savings alone could be a decisive factor in choosing SoftNAS.