FlexPod Review

Condensed our data center footprint significantly, and virtualization gives us redundancy on all our boxes

What is our primary use case?

What we wanted to do with the FlexPod solution was get VMware, our NetApp, and Cisco solutions, all in one. Also, to be able to take all of our physical servers and move them into a virtual environment, which we were able to accomplish.

How has it helped my organization?

It took a server room where we had 280 servers and another with 180 and condensed them from 15 racks down to three racks. It's helping us in the data center with all our environmentals: we're talking about heat, air conditioning, our FM200s, all of that. It brought all of those down, so we're saving money there. Plus, we're saving money in support because we're condensing it all down. In addition, we're getting the ability of VMware, which is virtualization, so now we have redundancy on all of our boxes, instead of them being physical.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable things is the support. The reason for the FlexPod was that we didn't want solutions where everybody was pointing the finger at each other, blaming each other. With this solution, NetApp really takes control and really wraps its support around the whole solution. It gives us the ability to call one place and to get support and get the product up and running, smoothly.

What needs improvement?

In terms of features for a future release, that's more for my engineers to answer rather than me. For me, right now, no complaints. My big thing is getting the complaints - they come to me - and since we went to this system, we've had no complaints.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had it up now for about two years and we haven't had a problem with it yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have already scaled it. In the last two years, we've already extended out with more hard drive space, with more memory, with more processing power. No problems whatsoever.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is absolutely up to par. I even like their automation support. This morning, I got an email saying that one of our drives had a problem, and they were going to replace the drive. They send it to us and then they show us how to put it in.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using all standalone solutions. We had Dell standalones, we had HPE standalones, etc. The problem with the standalones was, if one box went down, whatever application was on it went down too.

When this whole age of virtualization came out, I made the choice that we needed to go that way, for a couple of reason. We have a slim IT department, our resources are valuable, and this allows us to put resources in other places and not have to worry about the technology.

What I like, when choosing a vendor is when they bring solutions to the table, and then they go through with those solutions.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved personally in the initial setup but my staff was. It was very simple. We got on with NetApp, we got the Cisco guys together, we got our VM guys together. NetApp really took the lead and just pushed us through. So it was a very simple setup.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had all of the options, but not as a FlexPod, rather as separate solutions. We were looking at VM, we were looking at HPE, and this solution brought it all together in a nice little package for us.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely go with FlexPod. It's a great solution, especially with - I keep bringing up NetApp - but NetApp is a great company to work with. They really take the lead. I think it's worthwhile. You'll take your server farm from 200, or however many you have, condense it into one virtual environment, with the backing of Cisco, with the backing of NetApp. I think it's a perfect solution.

I would rate FlexPod a 10 out of 10, absolutely. The best.

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

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