I'm on the network side, so I don't have to deal with the NetApp side too much. However, I am on the network side and I really love the fact that I can just swap out blades as fast as I can. We have the M4s in our FlexPod. I personally love it. We are running VMware. We are running a standard data center with domain controllers, Exchange, and primarily Microsoft products.
Improvements to My Organization:
The main improvement is speed. If you need to troubleshoot or if anything goes wrong, you can swap it out extremely fast. It will rebuild itself and you are up and running in hours at most.
Room for Improvement:
I know that there's a lot of features that area already out. We are the DOD, and we are two steps behind. We know of a lot of features that we're excited to move to, but we can't yet. In terms of improvement, I would focus on cost. It can be a little bit expensive.
The features are great. We know of things that are in the newer releases, and they will be great once we get access to them. This includes solid state drives that will speed up our connectivity.
We've had very few stability problems with it. It's been a very great product for us. Maybe one of these days we can move over to the new and improved SF.
We had to grow and we've added blades. We upgraded our NetApp appliances in it. So we have grown as the organization required. It has been simple to scale up.
We have NetApp support that covers us for anything that we need. We do have a very talented engineer that runs it on our side, so he doesn't have too many challenges. On the Cisco side, the UCF side, which is my domain, we go directly to Cisco and they help us with any issues we ever have. They are knowledgeable and helpful.
Other Solutions Considered:
We evaluated IBM, they had a blade solution. We evaluated Dell and looked at the FX2s and their VRTX for some of our smaller sites. We decided to go with NetApp over Dell, because it all worked together so easily. Dell had a pretty good product and there is no denying that. However, FlexPod is just all-in-one. It has got a best-practice design built around it so there's no "Hey, does this NIC work in this scenario?" You don't have to worry about that with FlexPod.
Give it a shot. Call your vendors and just get it. They'll demo it for you, so use that. It is important to demo everything first, because there is a lot of money on the line just for a "I guess this might work out for us.”
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.