Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series Review

Does a good job of combining both software and hardware and enables us to backup user data easily

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for VDI, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, for our community college.

How has it helped my organization?

It ultimately provides a virtual desktop so that we can backup user data a lot more easily. In the past, it was all a straight desktop computer so if your desktop dies, all your data would die as well.

In terms of it being flexible for various projects, it does seem to lend itself to other applications, for example, our VMware, as well as servers that we may want to bring up under the HyperFlex solution so we may go in that direction sometime in the future.

It has the potential of actually being a six million dollar impact to the college because it replaces people's computers. Until we start to transfer users over to it we really won't know how much of that six million dollars is savings for us.

I don't know if it's lowered the deployment time per se because we really haven't gotten to the point where we added shelves or added servers to it. We're expecting for that to be a simple process given what Cisco claims it will do. Ultimately we're expecting no downtime for that.

What is most valuable?

The integration between the storage and the server applications is the most valuable feature of this solution. It cuts down on the necessity to buy a secondary storage system. It saves money in the long-run. 

What needs improvement?

We would like to have the ability to not have to reboot while doing updates. Being able to work through updates with as minimal amount of impact to users.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great but ultimately we've noticed the updates and upgrades take a bit of an impact on the solution. More so, having to reboot the solution and having to restart it. While it is stable, rebooting it for updates isn't always convenient. Ultimately, just like any organization, we would do that on off hours whether it be weekends, nights, or whatnot. But that costs money because you have to have staff on weekends, nights and whatever overtime they have to account for.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is just as they predicted. It combined the frontend servers with the backend storage. While it is a little cumbersome to learn, it is scalable to be able to add more shelves if I need more memory or additional servers very easily. It does scale nicely.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm pretty neutral about technical support right now given that we're still setting up the solution to some degree. The support is great, as long as there is a maintenance contract in place. But because the overall solution is still rather new, using knowledge base or just generic knowledge base out on the internet is not as prevalent as I would like.

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

We are a Dell shop. We looked at HP but ultimately because of the features that Cisco brought with the HyperFlex solution, we felt that that was a superior product to everyone else.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We simply wanted to understand how the two worked together given that the claim is that it's supposed to be easy to combine both storage and servers.

What about the implementation team?

We used a consultant for the deployment that Cisco suggested. Because the solution is rather new to us the scenario was pleasant. They knew what they were doing but I felt like the knowledge transfer could have been a lot better.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a high eight or nine out of ten because of the features and functions that it comes with that the competitors really can't do just yet. The advantage I think so far has been that Cisco developed the entire solution from scratch as opposed to other solution providers like HP and Dell who are still trying to reinvent existing solutions.

I think it's a viable solution if you have a need to cut down on your overall implementation costs on hardware. This does a good job of combining both software and hardware.

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