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FlexPod Review
Deploying hardware and solutions is easy. We can create capacity and resources on the fly.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable features are flexibility, high availability, and redundancy. It's the easiest way to deploy hardware. We use it with VMware. It's the easiest way to deploy solutions quickly and scale out.

In our environment, we are constantly expanding laterally. It allows us to create the capacity and the resources on the fly that we need to get our jobs done.

Improvements to My Organization:

It provides ease of control and a simplified architecture that allows us to copy a DR, expand, and grow. We have been able to triple our capacity with the same staffing level. We've been able to increase our space and increase our performance without ever increasing the need to hire more people and train them. Training has been our biggest difficulty.

Room for Improvement:

I would like to see an easier implementation, but I think that with newer versions of ONTAP and new versions of FlexPod, it's getting better.

It would be nice to have a single pane to manage all of it, but that's probably a pipe dream.

Stability Issues:

Every piece has its pluses on high availability and stability. NetApp is exceptional. DCS is perfect. I think it's a perfect marriage. We haven’t had any latency issues.

Scalability Issues:

There haven’t been any issues. Whenever we need to add capacity, we just add another chassis, fill out the chassis and blades, and then add another chassis if needed; or add storage as needed.

Technical Support:

They're awesome. I've only had one catastrophic hardware failure. It was resolved within an hour. That was years ago.

Other Solutions Considered:

We are existing NetApp and Cisco customers. It just seemed like a natural fit. We didn't really consider many other options. We had the basic infrastructure there to begin with, so it was just a very natural, cheap move for us. We already had FC in place. We were already doing many of the things that FlexPod was going towards.
Cost was probably the biggest factor.

Other Advice:

Plan for the worst. Hope for the best. Now that there is a clustered ONTAP, I can't see many other solutions being better. I know that everyone's going towards this hyperconvergence, but I think you still need to keep compute and storage separate. You never know where your growth is going to be.

Maybe I'm old school, but depending on your business model. We tend to grow storage more than compute at times; and other times more compute than storage, but it just depends on your particular needs. I like the separation.

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