FlexPod Review
It is preconfigured and validated by NetApp and Cisco.

Valuable Features

The most valuable features are the validation by NetApp and Cisco, that it is preconfigured and preconfirmed, the flexibility and the ease of deployment.

Improvements to My Organization

It can spin up sites quicker and faster and in production, so it cuts the lead times and results in more production.

Room for Improvement

It's always the same: upgrade and expandability into the future; maybe a little more forethought on that versus having to have outages when you're going over to the next feature. For instance, a smooth transition, because changing from 7-mode to cluster-mode is a little clunky and then you add on to that. But, I know, that's technology.

They've done an excellent job going into cluster with version 9 and the later versions of 8. Everything's more GUI, so you have a choice of doing command line or doing GUI, whichever works better for you at the time. I thought that was an excellent change for them versus just being command line.

Nothing's perfect. Everything can improve. Just because I haven't thought of it or haven't hit it, it doesn't mean it's not out there.

Stability Issues

It's pretty stable. It depends on bugs that are found. For the most part, it's been very stable for us.

Scalability Issues

It’s very scalable. We've been able to connect different sites and add them on where we've need to grow and then shrink down and move things; I like that a lot.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We just used technical support to do firmware upgrade. It was very favorable. It was a professional, concise, quick, to-the-point answer. I enjoyed actually engaging them.

Previous Solutions

I was a recommender of FlexPod. The decision to go with it was made by management.

I've previously used the Vblock solution. I've used the HP solutions as well. EMC is overly complicated, disparate systems kind of lopped together, and I don't like their management interface that much. HP has a pretty strong solution as well. The FlexPod is a bit more integrated, consolidated and easier to deploy. Between the two, I would choose NetApp. If I didn't have a choice, HP would probably be my second.

The HP solutions are a little complex. Support is not as swift as with the NetApp FlexPod solution. The advantages of HP are similar to NetApp: it's one-stop-shop, one SKU, one deployment, a prevalidated system.

The Vblock is okay with EMC on it. Having that solution where you can get one SKU and scale it out, if you choose to go EMC, is good, but that's about it .

Initial Setup

We do deployments all the time. I was involved in the last one. We deployed FlexPod for one of our locations. The documentation and validation for it was very simple and easy to use, as compared to some other products that I've deployed.

I think it was easier, in addition to experiencing it before, because of the way the instructions come in, the support, the setup of how you actually physically assemble and connect the components, and the ease of management definitely put it ahead of other solutions.

Other Advice

FlexPod is definitely easy to deploy and go with. If I had to recommend it, I would definitely recommend the NetApp FlexPod solution.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is that their product works. That's the most important thing. Then second is customer service and getting to solution. I hate a lot of side talk, empty promises – nothing becomes of it – just to get the sale. Really, make sure the product works and then you get the support that you need and not chatter.

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

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