FlexPod Review
The defined architecture means you know you're going to be using best practices.

Valuable Features

The most valuable feature is the defined architecture, so you know you're going to be using best practices. That's key and important to us. We use the segmented layer 2 architecture that we got from a design on FlexPod, and that's helped a lot.

Improvements to My Organization

As opposed to just applying something like a NAS with systems, I don't know that this product necessarily does improve the way I work. We haven't changed a lot of our practices. We follow best practices, generally, anyway. We haven't engaged; we haven't had an issue where we've needed to engage Cisco and NetApp together. I think that would be a benefit if we had an issue or we needed to get everybody involved.

Room for Improvement

I’d like to see cloud features, for sure, and auto-scaling type things would be good. Automation is important, and that will be more important going forward.

I don't know what they would need to do to earn a better rating from me. I know that, when we do block workloads on NetApp, fiber channels specifically, it hits the filer pretty heavy. I don't know why that is. We're going away from fiber channel anyway.

Stability Issues

It’s stable.

Scalability Issues

It is very flexible and very scalable. We've grown our cluster, so we haven't had a problem.

Customer Service and Technical Support

For tier 1 cases and system down type of issues, NetApp support is very good; for OFFTAP, not good. I've provided that information to them many times. Their OFFTAP support is not the best.

Previous Solutions

We were doing a technical refresh of our systems and of our storage. That's where we combined that to use a FlexPod-type architecture, to do both of those things and make sure that we're aligned with best practices.

Initial Setup

Determining the architecture was complex, because you need to make sure that you know what your requirements are. Then, once you've designed it, initial setup was straightforward.

Other Solutions Considered

We looked at other vendors. We keep our eyes open all the time.

The replication was why we chose NetApp, SnapVault. Not a lot of storage vendors do block-based replication with being able to maintain a different set of snapshots on the secondary and the primary. Everybody does SnapMirror, or does a mirror of some type, but SnapMirror XDP or SnapVault is something that NetApp has that most storage vendors don't have.

In general, global- and enterprise-level support is the most important criteria when I’m looking to work with a vendor.

Other Advice

Spend the time up front to architect it, get the details, and make sure your plan is solid.

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

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