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FlexPod Review
It’s all treated as one piece with regard to support.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature is that it’s all treated as one piece with regard to support. If you have any problem with it and you need to get through to either the Cisco team, or even some of the partners such as VMware and so on, it's one support case, so my team isn't hunting around for someone to actually figure out how to fix their problem.

Improvements to My Organization:

As I’ve mentioned, the simplicity is a benefit, as are the reference architectures.

Room for Improvement:

A couple things could be improved, for example, the interconnect switching. They need to be more flexible. If you already have an all-Cisco, all-certified solution, requiring you to buy the NetApp interchange switch is silly. It should all be one package. They've got to be more flexible on how they deal with that.

I'm looking for making it as simple as possible, leveraging as much as possible my existing infrastructure; not having weird, odd bits and baubles that are kind of added on.

Stability Issues:

It's been highly stable. We've been really happy. We've moved off of HP platform onto the Cisco server platform. We've been using NetApp, but it tends to be a more kind of integrated, overall solution.

Scalability Issues:

We’ve had no problems scaling it; we're just over 9 PB right now.

Previous Solutions:

As I’ve mentioned, we were previously using HP. We decided to switch because we had actually seen the FlexPod at a conference and at a number of other things. We were looking at the solution. At first, we had a specific application that we needed a closed-loop solution on. We tried it with that. When we saw it and liked it, that's when we decided to do a larger deployment with it.

We are working our way out of the C7000 line of BladeSystem infrastructure. We got in Gen 6, I think. We're at Gen 9 now. I just signed a PO for a bunch of Gen 9 gear. Those systems, where we've had them, have been rock solid and have lasted us the entire thing. The storage piece to HP was a little less convincing. Particularly since they are kind of leaning on 3PAR and their storage keeps changing. We weren't as convinced. We had a lot of NetApp and we just felt more comfortable staying with it. When we saw that NetApp had partnered with Cisco, it seemed like a one-shot kill; it seemed like a good idea.

Other Solutions Considered:

We’ve looked at a lot of different things. At the time, we were looking at what EMC and some other vendors could do. We were definitely looking at HP, around some of their server stuff and some of their server integrated storage server solutions. But, FlexPod is where we ended up.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is reliability. We're in banking, so we are looking for something that's going to be stable and secure.

Other Advice:

As long as it's within your budget, it's a great one-shot deal that allows you to really have an integrated platform that you can just build off of.

It's definitely an expensive solution, but it has been a really robust solution. We know what we get with it. We definitely like the vendors teaming up and having a more integrated solution.

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

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