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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.

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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