FlexPod Review
Everything is built with doubles and has double paths, so it's highly redundant


What is most valuable?

The ease at which it scales and its redundancy factors. It's extremely redundant and easy-to-scale.

The software integration, the APIs, are really good. Because everything is going to such a hybrid world, it's better to push things through software than it is to do it manually. The more that they're making the commands the same in your cloud solution versus your private solution is great. It's making our lives a lot easier.

How has it helped my organization?

It's very quick. It's very fast. Because it's so highly-scalable and redundant, it's easy to buy new products and scale up quickly onto business demands and needs.

As far as data center technologies or blueprints, it's pretty high up there. But FlexPod has the ability to grow with your company and it has the ability to provide many solutions, and we have yet to find a problem that we haven't been able to solve with our infrastructure. It's been great.

What needs improvement?

There are certain things that are just hard to do on a physical infrastructure, like for instance you need to make petabytes of data available at high speed. That's really hard to do in private data centers. I'm not really sure how they could do that without making direct links between them, or something.

They can try, but I think really the hardware just needs to get better. I don't know there's a lot they can do about that, other than just let time pass. They already do a great job. There's just certain things that are made better for the cloud as opposed to a private data center, and I'm not sure they can really fix those until the hardware gets better.

They're already doing things that I would like, especially on the Cisco side. They needed to do a better job of allowing API access, and they've done that. So has NetApp, actually. There's a lot of services we would like to put through a software manager, and that was a problem like five to six years ago. Nowadays, it's getting a lot better and as they add more to it, it's just getting better every year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. Everything is built with redundancy in mind. Everything is built with doubles and has double paths, so it's highly redundant, constantly. It's one of the main reasons we picked it, to be honest.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have used Cisco and NetApp's support.

NetApp has been great. They're always quick to respond. The best thing about NetApp, is they are willing to work with other companies quite quickly. Some other companies have a difficult time. They're like, "Oh, it's this person's fault," but NetApp is willing to work together often.

Cisco is a bit tougher. They have more products and more features to troubleshoot, so sometimes the tech support doesn't work quite as well as NetApp's, but it's not bad. It's better than Microsoft's.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. As with most pieces of technology, you can make it as complex as you want. However, they give you the tools and the resources to be able to make it complex without it taking a ton of man hours.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

"Don't undersell some of the features that FlexPod provides to you." A lot of people will see the price tag on like, Dell's chassis systems or the EMC and they're like, "Oh, this is great," but they don't realize the things that they're giving up in the manageability of using a FlexPod, and the redundancy built into FlexPod. If your company really needs to be up 100% of the time, and you need to do a private data center, I don't know if I could realistically actually recommend another blueprint.

What other advice do I have?

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

Reliability is a big one; being able to be depend on it. Also, giving you features without getting too complex about it. The best example I can give is NetApp versus EMC. NetApp, you buy ONTAP. When you buy ONTAP, you have everything that ONTAP gives you. It gives you the tons of features that come in the box. For EMC, each single one of those things is another thing I have to buy. It's 29 or 30 packets or software updates I have to buy from EMC. I really appreciate that NetApp just bundles it together and says, "Here's what we do. Here's what it is. Here's the tools."

I appreciate that they do that. They also do a great job of updating it, unlike with EMC, you have to buy and piecemeal things together. You're like, "Oh, I needed this feature." They're like, "Well, you've got to buy that new thing." I don't need to do that with ONTAP. I just buy it and it's all there.

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

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