Cisco UCS Director Review

Brings agility to our organization, allowing for better manageability and faster deployment


What is our primary use case?

We primarily use this solution for automation. In my team, we manage approximately one thousand UCS blades. As such, scalability is very important. We use UCS director for simplified deployment, where we can use a single pane of glass to view everything across our thirty-five to forty data centers that we have globally.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution provides us with what we need for scalability. When it comes to managing devices, if we had to log into each and every device, one by one to do whatever we need, then that is not scalable. We would require between fifty and a hundred engineers to do that, and I don't have that luxury. I only have about twenty engineers on my team.

UCS plays a role in our ability to be agile in our deployment. It gives us the ability to deploy in a short time period. Prior to using this solution we had to do a lot of manual work, so we had dependencies on several different teams for the network, storage, and whatnot. UCS director enables us to be more productive and more agile, and also more self-sufficient because we don't have to depend on anybody else.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are its ease of use and the deployment process. To get started, you have to understand your use case. Once you do, and you have the talent in-house who can manage it once deployed, it is fairly straightforward. We were able to easily bring all of the members of my team up to speed and get them using it, which is one of the major benefits.

What needs improvement?

The user interface could use improvement. UCS director tries to do just about everything, which means the user interface can get a bit cumbersome if you don't know what you're looking for or know where to find it. It can be really difficult. Simplifying the user interface would go a long way to making it more usable.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is a mature product and it has been fairly stable. Once in a while, we open a tech case with Cisco but generally speaking, it's been fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, we have not run into any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The few times we have had to use technical support they have been responsive.

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

Prior to this solution, we had a more manual process. We manage a lot of systems so the goal is always to simplify what we do. Moving to this solution gave us a more unified system.

How was the initial setup?

Once we got all of the requirements and understood our use case, the initial setup was fairly straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

The vendor that we work with, Presidio, assisted us with the implementation of this solution. They took in our requirements and looked at what the end goal should be, and they delivered what they promised. There were no surprises. 

What was our ROI?

I think that the ROI we have gotten so far makes it worth the cost of the solution.

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

The cost of this solution is significant.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

USC Director was the only product that we looked at because it was a Cisco environment that we were trying to manage. Our thinking was that a Cisco product would work better with Cisco systems.

What other advice do I have?

I am very happy with the product, and we will be pushing it to its limits as we go forward.

My management team likes the fact that we are now more agile. When we have new business, we no longer have to wait for weeks to get systems into production. It is now a matter of days, or sometimes hours, from the time we receive shipments at a data center to the time it's live in production. Without UCS director it wouldn't be possible.

As your environment grows, manageability becomes a problem. When you're trying to deploy rapidly, and your goal is to get to market as quickly as possible, you need to be agile. UCS Director allows us to be agile and deploy on all sorts of systems, both for VMware and for non-VMware systems. Anything that has to do with hardware, we can manage with UCS Director. It works well for our organization, so far.

Is this solution a fit for everybody? It depends on how large and how complex the environment is. If you are only managing ten systems then I wouldn't tell you to invest in Cisco UCS director because you're not going to get the same benefits that I'm getting from it. It just depends on the environment, the situation, and the size.

My advice for anybody who is implementing this solution is to recognize that sometimes you need outside help to understand what you're trying to do, in terms of your end goal. If you just jump into it, you might not realize the full investment. As long as you know what you're trying to get, and you're a fit, then I would recommend this solution. Outside of that, I wouldn't tell just anybody to try UCS Director because it's not for everybody.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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