Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series Review

Offers the ability to individually upgrade specific parts of the product and is easy to manage


What is our primary use case?

The primary use we have for this product is to act as a server and for storage.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it is easy to manage.

Another valuable feature is the fact that you can individually upgrade the specific parts of the product. Compared to other products like SimpliVity, or Nutanix you have to upgrade the whole node if you want to expand memory or storage. In HyperFlex, you can actually upgrade at will. If you want to upgrade your memory cloud, you upgrade it. So that is a big advantage I've seen from any hyper-convergence product. VxRail or Nutanix and products like that are not as flexible and that is the biggest reason we chose this solution.

What needs improvement?

I think the product can improve dramatically in the area of deduplication. With deduplication as it is, you have 30 or 40% of the storage that can't be used because the deduplication is not efficient enough. I hope they fix that problem.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution has never been a problem. I would say it is excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think the scalability of the solution is excellent. Because you can upgrade individual pieces without upgrading a whole node. The problem for other solutions is that if you want a hard drive or you want additional storage or you want memory, you have to make a bigger investment in hardware and time. So, scalability's excellent.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our experience with Cisco support and products is always very good.

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

Through conferences and other research, we became aware that there were products which would serve our needs better. Previously, we needed a dedicated storage person to do storage, a dedicated BMR (Bare Metal Restore) person to do BMR. Now, one person can do both because you spend a lot less time with either. So that is the reason we looked at hyper-convergence and this product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward compared to categorical peers. If you compare it with other products, it's straightforward. But when you consider hyper-convergence itself, it is not straightforward. I am technical and I have technical team, otherwise it might have been hard. But for our cumulative experience and looking at implementing products like Nutanix — or some other similar products — it's straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used Cisco themselves as the vendor. They were very good at implementing the solution.

What was our ROI?

Return on investment is really immediate and substantial. In a traditional EMC storage environment, we needed to assign a full-time person to maintain storage. With this solution, our ROI is allowing one full-time person to maintain more because it is easier. You can say, basically, that you're gaining a full-time person to do something else for the same cost.

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

My advice about the product is simply that it's not cheap. If you have budget limitations it is best to look elsewhere.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did consider other products like Dell EMC VxRail, Nutanix, and another company.

We had EMC VNX storage, BMR and such. Hyper-convergence made more sense. The big thing for us was being able to easily manage the product.

What other advice do I have?

I can safely rate this product as an eight out of ten. This is because it's scalable and you can upgrade it as if you are upgrading a server. In any other solution with hyper-convergence, you can't do that, so you've got to buy a node part to upgrade memory. 

Anyone considering this solution should define their requirements. It's not a solution for everybody. If you're using a lot of storage, hyper-convergence might not be good for you. We don't have a lot of storage, so it is a functional and desirable solution for us. If you have much greater storage needs, it may not be a good solution.

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