Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series Review

Very easy, convenient, and the performance is exceptional for virtual storage

What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco HyperFlex for two reasons:

  1. At one data center, it's used as our primary virtualization and storage platform. 
  2. At our other data center, it's used for VDI.

How has it helped my organization?

Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series has improved our organization. 

On the VDI side, because the storage is local to the HyperFlex, it was very easy and convenient. The performance is exceptional.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is that it's self-contained. At the data center, everything is in the virtualized section. It was easier to put that in there than build it, i.e. buy a stand, buy the computers, and get it all integrated with networking. 

With hyper-scale, we're able to go in very quickly and be able to get it up online.

What needs improvement?

Maybe a better version is required to gather all of the information to allow HyperFlex to bring everything online more rapidly.

The initial implementation workflow could be improved. There's a lot of information you need to gather. At the time we deployed it, approximately a year and a half ago, that there was a lot of information that we needed to gather. It wasn't explicitly called out to in the workflow as you were going through the screens. 

We had to know what we were doing. We read a lot of documentation to get all of that information.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. I found that with Cisco hardware in general, i.e. anything on the UCS or HyperFlex side.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. Thus far, I haven't had to scale it out. In talking with my engineer, I'm very comfortable that when the time comes, we will be able to.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been exceptional. We had some minor issues implementing it the first time. They were able to come in and help us out. We were up and running very quickly.

How was the initial setup?

With any new technology, you hope that it is straightforward, but you expect some complexity. That is also true for HyperFlex when it was first implemented. 

We were in between revisions and had some minor challenges. We overcame them very quickly.

When we were deploying it, it was between two revisions. It was between HyperFlex 2.5 and 3.0. There were some steps in the 3.0 version that weren't spelled out. 

The engineers came in and helped us with that and we were able to overcome those challenges.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a vendor team. We took some courses through Cisco. We had our engineers come out and assist us.

What was our ROI?

We haven't seen a specific ROI. We've seen some across the board in separate environments for the data center and the VDI environment. 

We haven't seen a return on the investment but the performance is something that we are very happy with overall.

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

It's roughly $30,000 per HyperFkex license, so that would be about $60,000 a year.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a couple of different types of solutions. Nutanix was the leading competitor with HyperFlex. We went with Cisco because of their years of experience with HyperFlex and the support we had previously.

What other advice do I have?

It was very straightforward using the technology platform. We were comfortable with it. In the VDI environment, we're a Cisco shop and HyperFlex did fit the need well.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate this product with an eight. Like any new product, it's constantly evolving. The evolution of the HyperFlex solution is a challenge.

I would recommend looking at the options when you go to implement it. Cisco's HyperFlex has a lot of different flavors. Make sure you pick the flavor for your specific implementation. 

VDI has a different set of requirements than a standard hypervisor environment. Know what your end state is going to be, then pick the equipment behind the scenes that fit your needs.

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