I would say the ease of management and ease of support. Growth-wise, you can expand east, west, north, and south.
It integrates well with Cisco, NetApp, and VMware. They aren't pointing fingers. They just want to drive to a solution when we have an issue. We have VMware running on it. We have two FlexPods, one in each data center, running about 400 VMs between the two data centers. We run SQL, IAS, and some normal management VMs as well.
Improvements to My Organization
Training somebody on how to manage FlexPods is not real difficult. We can use someone who is more junior, to at least initially get up to speed with them. You can manage the storage well, as long as you do it with best practices. It is not a real difficult system to manage. I would say the latest release for NetApp has made that management even easier.
Room for Improvement
Before the ONTAP 9 release, NetApp was cumbersome and not easy to manage. NetApp as improved a lot in terms of simplicity with ONTAP 9. Pure Storage has made a lot of vendors step up their game on the simplicity side. ONTAP 9 has allowed for most tasks to be wizard-based and dashboards are now easy to read. Making improvements to the user-interface and management will help NetApp stay the leader in storage.
Use of Solution
We have been using this for four years.
There have been no problems at all with the stability. It's rock solid. I've never had any issues with down time with FlexPod.
I can scale it east/west. I've added arrays to the system, and I've added storage within those arrays over the last four years with zero downtime.
Customer Service and Technical Support
As with anything, I think that technical support is getting better to drive to a solution. There have been some struggles to drive to what is actually causing problems. Some of our additional applications that we've purchased, like SnapManager for SQL and some of those add-ons for NetApp, didn't really function properly. I'm trying to drive to a solution between the vendor and us. It kind of was a struggle with some of that. I would give technical support a rating of 9/10 for being on par with everything. There is some room for improvement.
When selecting a vendor, I would say my most important issue is not price. It would be scalability and knowing where the company's future roadmap is five years down the road. That's more of a concern to me. I want to make sure the company is still going be around in five years and has a vision, as far as where they want to go.
The initial setup was fairly straightforward. As long as you follow the diagram, it's not too hard to set up at all. It wasn't too complex.
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