FlexPod Review
The main features are ease of deployment and reliability.

Valuable Features

Number one is the ease of deployment and number two is reliability of the solution. We are running electronic medical records applications and also document scanning, in addition to standard infrastructure type servers.

We are using Epic, OnBase, 3M, Nuance Transcription, and then infrastructure servers, BNS, Active Directory, SharePoint, and SQL Server. The performance is excellent.

Improvements to My Organization

Benefits for your organization are probably the reliability and the cost. We feel like it's a very cost-effective product, and the fact that it doesn't take a lot of people to support. We're very thinly staffed, so just those two things are really reliability and then cost.

Room for Improvement

I would like to see more scalability and possible cost reductions with the all-flash solution. I would like to see a focus on database optimization on the Intel platform. This could be with Windows, or HANA, or even cache, down the line, something with the Linux cache. I would like to get something that is optimized for those databases.

We have two camps now. We have to have a AIX camp and then we have an Intel camp. If we could just have it on the Intel platform, have FlexPod take it all, it would be easier to support.

Use of Solution

We have been using this going on four years.

Stability Issues

It is a very stable platform. I've had minimal downtime in the entire time we've used it.

Scalability Issues

Scalability has been very good. There really has not been an application, with the exception of the Epic Cache Database, that we haven't been able to use with this solution. Anything that we run on the Intel platform, on the UCS platform, we've been able to use in order to scale.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is excellent. They've been really good to work with. I think they work well with Cisco. We've never gone into like a finger pointing situation at all. We also use Cisco ONE, in which they'll take on the whole stack. It is very cohesive. We haven't always used that and we just started using it. That's an even better solution, in that it is only one call. Before, we would make two calls: One to NetApp and one to Cisco, and they would then work together. It wasn't a problem, but this just makes it easier from an escalation standpoint.

Initial Setup

I was involved in the initial selection process, purchasing, setup, and the whole thing. The setup was very simplistic, which is one of the reasons we went for it. We try to strive for simplicity in our shop because of our staffing situation and because we are non-profit organization. So reliability, efficiency, all those things really come into play. We're a 7/24/365 facility, so things just have to work.

Other Solutions Considered

We evaluated EMC, Pure Storage, Tintri, and Nimble. We decided to go with NetApp over the competitors because we did an executive briefing with them in San Jose.

We were really impressed with their road map and their direction. We developed more than just a vendor-customer relationship. It was more of a partnership. We felt we had a good relationship and that we could trust NetApp, and that the solution would work. It was really, in the end, the technology, the price, and the people.

Other Advice

I would definitely recommend FlexPod. The first thing I would say is just the simplicity and the standardization that you can put in place. You can do more with less. This packaged solution already works, so you don't have to figure it out and be your own integrator. This is the way to go.

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.

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