It's an integrated system with a single throat to choke for support. It's one phone call and if we believe it to be a Cisco problem, we call Cisco tech. If it turns out that it becomes a NetApp problem, then Cisco tech will engage the NetApp folks for support. It's a single phone call. We don't have to hang up and call the other and get into a finger pointing game. It is a time saver.
Improvements to My Organization:
We have a lot of home-baked bank applications. We also use PointShop, so we run a lot of Microsoft boxed applications as well.
We're a VMware shop. We are a 98% plus virtualized in our environment. I appreciate the consistency in which it works. It stores data very efficiently. Those of us on the network side provide the path to get to it. We also provide the accesses, and it saves us a great amount of time because of that single feature of a single phone call.
It's been a very sturdy system. It's been a very reliable system and we've had no really great outages over the last six years related to the FlexPod environment. It saves us a lot of money, time, and resources.
Room for Improvement:
I don't really have a great answer, other than a more scalable switched environment. That is what the Nexus 9K is going to provide for us. Nothing's perfect, so I guess we had some growing pains early on.
Some of it was teaching our staff how to deal with the new technologies, how to use it, and how to troubleshoot it. It wasn't perfect in that sense, but the product itself, it was very good.
It was complex to train people in with it. It was a newer technology for our resources, so it did take some time to get them up to speed.
There has been no downtime in six year, related to the actually filer, UCS compute, or switchback involved in the FlexPod.
It's scaled very well for us. We were able to add filers as we needed more storage. We were able to scale out on the existing 5K Nexus environment that we had.
So over the last six years, it's scaled well enough for us to acquire banks at the rate of about four or five banks per year. Now, in 2017, we continue to acquire banks and we're going to move our FlexPods into core locations. So we're going to buy new FlexPods and continue to scale and buy banks off of those.
We deal mostly with the Cisco technical support, but we make a single phone call, we're directed to FlexPod representatives who help to support the FlexPod environment or the NetApp environment, if you will. That has been very good.
We also have a resource from NetApps, specifically, who is a liaison for us to support and that resource is on call for us 24/7. That's been a great help as well.
The initial setup went very well. We provided the information about configurations that we would have liked to have seen. At the end of the day, after four or five meetings, we provided that information. FlexPod then showed up in a crate, ready to be powered on in the data center and start to switch data.
Other Solutions Considered:
We did a bake-off between the VCE and the FlexPod. We did look at the Dell solution back then, it did come down to VCE and FlexPod.
FlexPod won out for two reasons.
- The resource that manages my data center was historically a NetApp guy. He liked that app and was comfortable with it, and that's what I think the deciding factor was.
To summarize, the comfort level with NetApp and the price.
I would tell them my story, about six years ago buying the FlexPod and how we purchased banks and scaled through it seamlessly. I have never had any downtime, and I feel like the support has been what has been advertised. I would certainly suggest buying that environment.
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