FlexPod Review

Streamlines deployment - I can deploy a new UCS server within minutes

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is virtualization. Most of our virtualized environment runs on FlexPod.

How has it helped my organization?

Once you set up the underlying infrastructure, it's very quick to add more capacity or add more compute or networking.

We have also definitely saved time for new service deployments, on the order of many weeks - two months, three months.

What is most valuable?

Ease of deployment. Once I deploy the chassis and I have the back-end storage, configuring more UCS servers is very quick. I can deploy a new UCS server within minutes.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see them reduce the complexity, that would be my number one request. Right now, doing simple things is pretty complex. You have so many options. It might be better if it was more wizard-driven, as opposed to going through five hundred dials. It's not very easy or intuitive.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's stable. We haven't had any issues. We have it deployed for multiple customers and they have all been very stable.

We have found the solution to be resilient. We test it. Before we turned over the product to the customer we did a lot of testing. No single point of failure. VMware, UCS, NetApp, we pulled cables, we did failovers, everything was seamless. Very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have a customer that has five chassis and it scales very well. It is very easy to scale up and wide.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had any issues, I've called Cisco, NetApp, VMware. It's been pretty good.

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

We switched to FlexPod because of cost. The cost of our previous solution was too high. I couldn't scale out as easily as I wanted to.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is complex. They don't follow the norms. You expect certain things to be a certain way but once you start deploying you go, "Ah-ha." I found three or four "ah-ha" moments or "gotchas." It wasn't very straightforward. I had to do some digging to find out the right way to deploy it.

What was our ROI?

I'm not the one who would capture ROI figures, but I'm sure we have seen ROI.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Nutanix, SimpliVity, and Vblock. We went with FlexPod because I think NetApp is a better product for the back-end storage. The other two are the same.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest doing a mini FlexPod PoC. That is probably the best way to kick the tires and find out what the product is all about.

I have seen an improvement in application performance but I can't attribute that to the UCS or the FlexPod environment because I'm running on an SSD. It doesn't matter if it's FlexPod or not, it'll still run fast.

I haven't really dealt with validated designs. I go to Cisco and grab the product line from there and just deploy according to that. I don't really deviate too much from the already-architected solutions.

In terms of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, right now we're only doing private. Private is pretty much doing business as usual, nothing different about it. I haven't really looked into how we can take it to the cloud yet. We don't use FlexPod to manage private cloud.

As for the solution being innovative when it comes to compute, storage, and networking, when UCS came on first, that technology was innovative. I haven't seen much innovation from them recently.

I rate FlexPod at eight out of ten. They still have some room for improvement. As I said, the complexity is still pretty high. If they can get a handle on the complexity part I would give it a nine or ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.

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