The most valuable features are the service profiles and the temporary profiles that are available if you lose one of your servers. You can move the service template from one server to another. That's an advantage, as you can set it and there's not a lot you have to do. It minimizes the time you spend on administration. It is easy to use and to get support. There's a 1-800 number to get support from Cisco and they are helpful.
Improvements to My Organization:
My admin team doesn't have to spend a lot of time trying to provision servers. Provisioning servers used to take hours, and now it takes up to five minutes.
In addition to that, it helps us with the automation. We use other tools that comply with FlexPod, such as Cisco UCS Director, to help us with workflow automation. That saves us a lot of time and money. My engineers can focus on running new stuff or trying to work on what matters most. They can work on applications more, rather than troubleshooting.
Room for Improvement:
I would to see a little bit more in the FlexPod interface.
This solution is very stable. We haven't had any issues with it so far. It’s been running in our environment for the last three years without a single problem. The upgrade is easy, and there are a lot of tools available when you're planning to do an upgrade. Tools are available by the vendors to tell you which version you need to use for the different FlexPod components.
From the name "FlexPod", you know that it's very flexible. You can scale up or scale out if you need more computes, if you have blade servers, or if you need more storage. You just add additional shelves and then you have extra storage. If you need more virtualization, you just add more licenses, and you can accommodate more VMware ESX.
Before I got to this company, I worked at another company where we had one FlexPod device. We decided to deploy another FlexPod device. After I left that company, I went to another company and adopted the VCE solution. I got exposed to both of them and I was able to judge which solution was going to be best and meet the company’s needs.
That company had an aged infrastructure that was obsolete. We had to do an infrastructure face lift. It was easy for me, as I was exposed to both VCE and FlexPod.
It made more sense to go with FlexPod. I already had expertise on how to use it, NetApp storage, and VMware. I didn't have to spend a lot of time training my team how to deploy a solution when we already had prior experience on how to use it.
In addition to that, the cost was good compared to other products.
Other Solutions Considered:
Like VCE, OpenStack was a determining factor because it was going to take us a lot of time to deploy it. Rather than spending three months to deploy OpenStack, it was going to take us a year to get the solution up and running.
The other solution we looked was Hitachi VSP. At the time, VSP was new on the market and didn't have a validated design by Cisco, EMC, or any of the other vendors. It wasn't adopted widely in the market. I did not feel comfortable going with that. FlexPod was more adopted and in use.
If you are looking into a new storage solution, look at the return on investment, what your requirements are, what types of workloads you need to use, and pick the best storage solution for you.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Jan 15 2017