Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series Review

A fast and easy deployment that allows secure access to our medical applications

What is our primary use case?

We are using this solution for our VDI. This is used to deliver our EMR and other medical and clinical applications to our residents and providers throughout the medical center.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the big benefits of using this solution is security. It allows us to authorize our residents to come in using their own personal devices to access any of our clinical applications and ensure that the PHI is secure and protected.

PHI is a major concern for us. Patient safety, patient security, and our data protection are the number one priorities for a lot of our solutions.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for us was the time to delivery. We had a short window of about three months to implement because we had in incoming residence group of about a thousand users that they wanted us to have VDI up and running for. We were told about it in March by our CIO, and by June 1st it was up and running.

What needs improvement?

One of the challenges we have with Cisco, in general, is the multiple management platforms for the UCS, and I would like to see it all under one umbrella. If we could have just a single pane of glass, where everything can be managed through that one app, rather than have multiple apps, it would be great. There are three apps that we currently have to integrate with.

I would like to see them broaden their processor options. We've had some challenges with Intel, and I'd like to see them look at other potential CPU providers.

For how long have I used the solution?

Eighteen months

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been excellent for us. We've been up and running on it for about eighteen months now, and we're in the process of expanding. We have a goal to have about six thousand users up and running by the end of this year.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this solution has been excellent. We've been able to add additional HyperFlex units on the fly, and it's been pretty seamless.

How are customer service and technical support?

So far, technical support has been very good. We've had a couple of challenges with some of the firmware updates we've had to do, and SMARTnet has been excellent at helping us to get through those.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to this, we were using Cisco B200 Blade Servers for our normal VMR infrastructure, and we when we wanted to implement VDI we wanted to go hyper-convergence. 

How was the initial setup?

The simplicity of the initial setup is one of the reasons why we picked this product. It is almost plug-and-play. It allowed us to install our first cluster of ten HyperFlex units, in each of our data centers, and within a couple of days, it was up and running. It was pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We worked with Cisco and our reseller for evaluating the product, but when it came to the implementation, my team was able to do it on their own.

What was our ROI?

I do not have a good handle on the ROI, except to give an example from our implementation. Had we been required to buy laptops for all of the incoming residents, at say $2,000 per student, then we're talking $200,000. This is something that we didn't have to spend because we could deliver a VDI solution that lets them use their own personal device.

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

One of the challenges we have with HyperFlex is that they have a subscription fee for the operating system that runs on it, and if I remember correctly, it costs approximately $15,000 USD per month.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at everybody including Dell, HP, Cisco, and Nutanix. As we ferried through them we were much more comfortable with the Cisco product line, and that's why we ended up choosing it. Their technical support is very good, they had a great implementation for their HyperFlex, and we already had knowledge and experience working with the Cisco Server Blades. Cisco also had a competitive price point.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is researching this solution is to have an understanding of the ROI. It is easy to jump in and see great technology, but you need to know what the long term cost is. One thing that we learned when we went into hyper-converged technology is the licensing costs that come with it. This is a yearly thing that you have to account for.

Overall, this solution was very easy for us to implement. Some of the challenges we're having are related to the management platform and the fact that we have to deal with multiple platforms at the moment. Once this is all consolidated, I would be happy to give a rating of ten.

Today, I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
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