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FlexPod Review
It reduces the complexity of cabling and helps us create new designs.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is that FlexClone and all the components are integrated into one single rack. The FlexPod in itself helps us in reducing the complexity of cabling and also creating new designs, because they're all validated by Cisco, NetApp and VMware. That's the best part of it.

Improvements to My Organization:

We have a validated design from these major vendors and we use all of them; we being the cloud service providers. We can use this as a platform to focus in our business while we have a validated design. We don't have to invest time in designing an infrastructure.

Room for Improvement:

I would like to see end-to-end automation that would enable service providers to get the infrastructure with faster provisioning, decommissioning, or even performance analysis; end-to-end includes compute, network, storage and applications.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are accessibility, product quality, and support.

Stability Issues:

Stability is pretty good. As a service provider, it has met all of our requirements, but we are interested to see more compatibility with the compute and the virtualization partners like, for example, with Oracle. That's a very great, vast area, where there seems to be two worlds: Oracle on one side; and VMware, NetApp, Cisco, and all of them, on the other. They have to come together to integrate and provide more compatible solutions.

With us being Oracle service providers for Oracle databases and applications, it's a niche area, and FlexPod still isn't there.

Scalability Issues:

NetApp with cDOT is a scalable, performing solution for us, so it has been awesome.

Technical Support:

NetApp support has been really great; parts arriving on time and getting to talk to the engineers. We have had several situations where we had services down but we could engage the critical case team, which is superior support within NetApp. We could arrive at proper solutions and get the services back.

Previous Solutions:

We were previously using HPE 3PAR and then we migrated to NetApp. It wasn’t that HPE 3PAR did not serve the purpose, but NetApp having the validated design helped us to arrive at the solution even faster. We know that they have a strong engineering team. It is not that NetApp would just buy other companies and add to their portfolio, but because of their strong engineering team, they invest in their own research and bring out products. It also reflects in the support, when in need.

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was straightforward. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, we have a virtualized platform like Oracle VM. We don't have a straightforward FlexPod validated design for that, but we could use the compatibility matrix and with support from NetApp and Cisco, we could build a platform.

Other Solutions Considered:

We were actually considering SolidFire but they eventually were bought by NetApp. Otherwise, we are even now considering Oracle engineered platforms such as PCA and Exadata.

We eventually chose NetApp because of the ease of administration and faster provisioning. It again depends on how NetApp would scale to fit into Oracle and Oracle virtualization platforms. That would be a decision point to continue with NetApp.

Other Advice:

Evaluate multiple products. It all depends on how the product would actually fit into your use case. NetApp FlexPod fits well into our use case, so I definitely encourage you to evaluate NetApp and SolidFire.

It has been part of our success so far. I would give it a perfect rating if it fit into all the virtualization platforms that I’ve mentioned.

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

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