Scalability is, to me, the most valuable feature, as it's easily scalable out or up. If we need hardware we buy it, and if we need more storage we can buy that separately. The profile/policy-driven profiles and initial config can take a while, but once it's done deploying, a new server is done very rapidly.
Room for Improvement
The UCS firmware code upgrade can totally stall- it’s a brick. Cisco support has been able to help us, but this can be better. They've destroyed equipment and I have lost a few days of deployment.
It’s an expensive product for sure. It’s a Ferrari price for a Ferrari. Not perfect but a very good solution.
It’s super stable, especially after the v2.2 release, which has been awesome in terms of bug fixes and feature sets. It’s very reliable.
Outward scalability is incredible. I did a customer site to help expand their development (a university in New York) and I helped them scale. They started with a large deployment, and now they have expanded out within a short time. They are experiencing awesome scalability from the NetApp model.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Technical support is amazing, that’s the reason people buy it. Otherwise you have to buy separate contracts. Cisco and NetApp work so well together, and it's unheard of for hardware vendors to do that.
You have to do due diligence to configure the settings correctly.
Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing
Don’t let the price point scare you away because what you’re gaining is not only scalability, but a product that is easily manageable.
You have the functionality that UCS brings, and that NetApp bring, in terms of their replication and backup products. It's got great potential. Don’t set it up by yourself, pay the professionals, as if it's deployed incorrectly, it can create giant headaches.