FlexPod Review
For anyone who needs the flexibility of moving around profiles from physical device to physical device, it really adds an additional layer of virtualization


Valuable Features

The valuable features of the product used to be the memory footprint, but technology has come up. Now it's being able to build the profiles so you can move around your firmware, bios revs, your worldwide name, and your Mac addresses from physical planes.

For anyone who needs the flexibility of moving around profiles from physical device to physical device, it really adds an additional layer of virtualization, much like you move a guest from a VMware host to a VMware host. Now, you can move that VMware host from physical box to physical box. It gives you all that flexibility, if your company demands that. It's priceless.

Improvements to My Organization

It hasn't. Most of the implementations that I've seen don't take advantage of its features. Where I work now it's been more costly to implement it. That's not because it's a bad product by any means. It's a great product, but we're not using the key features that are exclusive to it. Therefore, we could just have a whole bunch of Dell servers flying around for our implementation for where I work today.

Room for Improvement

  • Stability
  • Backward and forward compatibility with bios and firmware

This is one of the key features because I can now associate a firmware REV to a given profile which I may need. I might have to have a particular one because the applications won't work with something different. If I can't float that from piece of hardware to piece of hardware, then it defeats the purpose of use. Thus, it is one of its key and unique features. If it defeats that, then it makes your HPE's just as valuable.

Also, the interface is a little convoluted. There are some additional features, like being able to name devices. Right now, the first one plugged in is Device 1, then Device 2. So, you have to be very particular on how you build out your environment, because with everything floating around, it's very important for you to know where that device is in a rack if you're dealing with remote hands and eyes. I need to tell someone that they need to go to rack J19, this RU, but I can't tell that by looking through the software. I can put notes, but it'd be really nice to kind of go, "This enclosure is ... " Some grid location in datacenter. So when you go to there, you can quickly understand where it is in the datacenter, therefore being able to rely on remote hands and eyes, because an LED light is just not enough when you're talking about rows and rows of these.

Use of Solution

My current company has used this solution prior to when I started. I have been working with it for two years.

At a previous company, I used it back in the mid-2000s when Cisco first started coming out with UCS. My previous company evaluated it then and implemented it with EMC along with NetApp to backup storage.

Stability Issues

It's pretty good. One of the challenges that we've run into is firmware issues. Which is kind of odd, because this was one of its selling features. Now, I can move my firmware to firmware, in case whatever application, or whatever OS application configuration you're running on it, requires a particular REV. However, they don't float around from physical device to physical device. It's all-in-family. So, if you get a mixed family or generation, you can't float that around. This defeats the purpose and we've run into that a lot of times.

Scalability Issues

It's great. I've done analysis and I came from a HPE centric mindset. We brought in UCS, and from a scale and price perspective there's a sweet point where UCS definitely has an advantage. Also, I'd add the additional advantage is throughput.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I don't use them, because someone else works with tech support in our organization.

I worked with Tech Support initially when we were evaluating and building out our designs

Initial Setup

Where I previously worked, I built about three or four different pods in different configurations converting an EMC FlexPod to a NetApp FlexPod, then to an EMC FlexPod.

The initial setup was straightforward if you do your planning correct. It's pretty easy as far as plug and play goes.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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