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FlexPod Review
I can migrate my profiles if I have a problem with one. I have firmware upgrade issues.


Valuable Features

I love the ability to migrate my profiles if I have a problem with one. It's worked out great for us: system dies, have it back up on 20 minutes, no problem. Unfortunately, that has happened once.

Improvements to My Organization

It just gave us everything in one box. There isn’t any, run over here and configure this, run over here and configure this; it's all in one, nice, neat little rack. It's just one interface, which is always nice.

Room for Improvement

I would love to see the single interface for managing everything end to end. That would be ideal.

Also, simply the interface a little bit. There are a lot of places to go to get things configured and it's easy to get lost: Did I remember to do this piece over here before I did this piece? Then there's this piece on the other side. There are just a lot of moving parts that I think could be simplified, or wizard-driven; to say, you have all of these together.

Stability Issues

Stability and scalability are fantastic. I’ve never had any issues with stability or scalability.

I've had lots of issues with firmware upgrades. I'm locked on an unsupported firmware because I have three production servers that, if I upgrade the firmware on them, I lose those servers. The solution from Microsoft, NetApp, and Cisco is to rebuild those servers on updated firmware. That's not an option.

I’m locked where I’m at. I can't go to 2016. I just barely squeaked into 2012 R2, I'm locked where I'm at now until we refresh our SQL environment. Then, it's however fast I can get my dev team to get off that old SQL environment. The last SQL refresh took me 10 years. We had the new environment in there but they say something like, "Well, we’ve got this legacy app, we can't move it just yet."

To get a perfect rating, they would need to fix these issues, without rebuilding my environment.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Generally, technical support is good. When you call in, as long as you give them a clear issue, you're going to get a good answer. Don't call in and just say it's broken.

Previous Solutions

We needed faster networking. We use it primarily for our virtual servers, for migrations. To get 10 Gig into our data center, we had to run cables all the way across the building to our networking area. The more cables you're running, that pipe's only so big. We ran a couple of cables to the FlexPod, plugged it in, and all of a sudden, I've got 40 Gig to move data back and forth in the rack. I don't ever have to leave it, so that was our primary reason for bringing it in.

ROI

It’s pricey, but provides a high return on investment.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

It was a little spendy, but you get what you pay for, though. It's rock solid, other than my firmware issue. Other than that, I plugged it in, and other than checking on it once a month to make sure that there are no alerts, I leave it alone. That's fantastic.

Other Solutions Considered

We did not look at any other vendors; we are a Cisco/NetApp/Microsoft shop. It was clear-cut for us.

In general, when we do look for a vendor, the important criteria are reputation, stability and price, obviously. Also, how easily can I talk to them? We've had vendors come in and they've completely bombed on their initial interviews. It's like, "Sorry, guys. You had that one shot to make that first impression and you did it poorly."

Other Advice

Check the interop matrix and check it carefully. Make sure that everything's going to work across the line.

Another thing: Once I've got my FlexPod in place and NetApp knows I've got a NetApp 8040 – they know I have these models – have it pull the interop matrix for me. You know all my parts. Why do I have to hunt it down?

For other customers: Just make sure you do your homework on it. Make sure it's actually going to give you what you need and have fun with it.

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

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