FlexPod Review

Enables us to map a storage LUN onto an ESX cluster, but backup requirements need clarification

What is our primary use case?

I am working on a FlexPod environment, though it is not the exact FlexPod box from NetApp. Our environment is custom made, resembling FlexPod with UCS chassis, NetApp storage, and Cisco MDS. We have five HA pairs and a MetroCluster, along with Cisco MDS in front and Brocade as back-end switches (for MetroCluster).

What is most valuable?

It is a very well-thought-out solution with great virtualization. A good option we have is mapping a storage LUN onto an ESX cluster. That way, in case a particular ESX is down, it can migrate (using vMotion) to another host in the cluster, resulting in high-availability.

The ability to create vDisks on NFS exports is an added advantage. This is very helpful when we reach RDM limit.

What needs improvement?

Currently, the only issue we have is with our backup solution. We have SnapProtect from NetApp as our backup tool. While taking VM backups, SnapProtect’s requirements say that all VMDKs should be on the same datastore, but from the VMware perspective, all VMDKs should be spread out. This is an ambiguity that we have in our environment.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What other advice do I have?

The solution is really good but with 7-Mode I would rate it at seven out of 10. With NetApp  Cluster Mode the rating is higher.

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

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