Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series Review

Requires fewer resources, such as just a single storage person, to manage it


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to deploy all our production and documents. We have deployed Hyper-V on top of HyperFlex and the majority of our operation is on Hyper-V. Major workloads are our e-commerce website and applications that are hosted on it. We have deployed database servers and document management systems and a couple of app and web servers.

How has it helped my organization?

There is no specific storage person required for this solution. There are some slight cost advantages when you need fewer resources to manage it.

What is most valuable?

The fact that it's hyperconverged is what is most valuable about this solution. There is no specific feature which I can name because we have only been using it for a very short time. We just started using it.

What needs improvement?

It needs improvements in terms of I/O. Sometimes I have felt it is slightly slow while we are trying to provision VMs or access VMs. They should concentrate on that issue. At the same, time L2 switches are bundled in HyperFlex. If they make that the L3 switch, that would enhance the performance slightly better.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We deployed a couple of MySQL database servers and some portals which are connected and hosted outside on the internet and the deployment is still going well. So far it is stable and working fine. The deployment is still going on, the migration of further applications is happening.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling, currently, is four nodes. Our plan is to add a couple of nodes next year.

How are customer service and technical support?

So far, the technical support has been good, although we haven't faced many issues. While installing there were a couple of issues, otherwise everything has been fine and working normally.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

This is the first hyperconverged solution we have used. We changed to HyperFlex because new requirements came in. Instead of moving towards a conventional infrastructure, we felt it was the time for us to look at, and to be involved with, the current trend in the market. These are the factors which made us look at this type of option.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. After deploying the hardware, the engineer configured the HyperFlex software. On top of that, they gave us dashboard access where I could start deploying Hyper-V on those hosts and start provisioning VMs.

The deployment took a week. One person came from our Cisco partner. He understood our setup and planned what kind of support was required from our side. After providing the required information to him he started deploying the HyperFlex boxes.

It takes one person to maintain it after deployment. In our case he is a Windows administrator.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented by a Cisco partner from whom we got HyperFlex. Our experience with them has been good so far.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We negotiated with Cisco and we got some price benefit from that.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at ScaleIO from Dell EMC and we also looked at Nutanix. We looked at those two options seriously. Finally, we settled on HyperFlex and we went with it. 

The one thing we clearly saw was that this was that this was what we need. ScaleIO was more a type of software-defined storage, but the hardware which is underlying it is not really tested or already satisfactory for optimized performance. HyperFlex is something that is designed to be hyperconverged and tested thoroughly, and was satisfactory for these operations. This was the decision-making point for us to go with the HyperFlex.

What other advice do I have?

Go ahead and do it. It's a good product. Somebody with a similar environment and a similar experience should go ahead. But check thoroughly that fits your organization.

Our administration strategy is that one guy will be managing the complete dashboard. We are planning to see if there is automation where I can provide this through a DevOps tool. That's something I am looking at.

There is one main entity using it in our company. Our plan is to deploy this software to all other existing infrastructure as well. Within six months we should be fully implemented and deployed.

I rate the solution at eight out of ten because of the brand reliability in the market. They are the most trusted brand in the IT industry.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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