What is our primary use case?
We have a FlexPod in our lab. I have implemented or deployed FlexPod for many customers.
Most of the use case that I have seen is to either adjust on size or if the customer is modernizing their current infrastructure and does not want to go the traditional route, wanting to have some type of convergence. The customer is usually be more comfortable with a flexible solution because there's a lot of choice and scale.
Depending on the customer needs, I've delivered extremely large and complex to very simple solutions. The most attractive thing for customers is how good the consolidation is. Sometimes, if they had a previous infrastructure of five or six racks, we can then bring them down to a rack or even half a rack. This is mind-blowing to them as their performance is increased tenfold and their infrastructure has shrunk. The power consumption shrinks and the management is simple.
How has it helped my organization?
We are a smaller operation in terms of our infrastructure needs. FlexPod provides very small footprint. We can have it in our offices without bothering with extra cooling, as it is a small unit.
Once you have FlexPod installed and customers start using it, they love it. They realize that they can now wrap API around it and can deploy something which would've taken them a couple of days or a week in a few minutes to an hour. When IT people see these metrics, they are very happy.
What is most valuable?
It's just a single pane of glass. Everybody loves that from the first time they see it.
Our customers see the value of multi-cloud environments and the unlimited amount of growth that they provide.
From the customer standpoint, FlexPod is easier to buy, provision, and have it deployed.
It is innovative in the sense of how all the different pieces are brought together, then it feels like it's a single fabric. It is actual fabric, which is innovative too.
What needs improvement?
All the cabling can be scary when you first see it. It looks complex.
We want always more speed, capacity, fluidity, and growth that we can easily integrate.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's extremely stable. This goes to show how much work and attention to detail is in these products from NetApp and Cisco.
The solution is resilient. It is very simple for patching or anything because FlexPod is a solution made to fit all the different companies in the big picture. Upgrades trickle down to all different parts of the product. This avoids patching problems at the part level.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's amazingly scalable. It just works. It can expand to large MetroClusters and keep expanding.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is very simple. You have one number to call. The support team will do whatever needs to be done, then your case is resolved.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We've worked with Cisco for a long time. So, we ended up deploying most of our solutions with them, which were similar, even before there was FlexPod.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is complex because it has to be done in a certain way.
What about the implementation team?
We do the deployment for our customers. We also do the implementation for other resellers.
What was our ROI?
I have saved time on new service deployments. I've done deployments in under a week, and if it's a cloud-based deployment, it's even faster.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Sometimes you may end up spending a little more to get it in the first place, but you gain it back in terms of infrastructure upgrade costs and troubleshooting costs. The solution also lasts a surprisingly long time.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We weren't considering anyone else because our customers were happy with Cisco's previous solutions.
What other advice do I have?
Consider all your business needs. Go through the process and data mine before deciding on a solution.
I like the validate designs. The versatility may seem restricting, but you need to be creative of it. You need to find ways to create and get it in. The flexibility is there, but you may have to think a little out of the box for it.
Everyone has done private cloud. I see a lot of customers moving towards the hybrid model. Where you could do it in different ways. I've seen people have an infrastructure and service provider, then they realize quickly that it is not the solution for them and want to move back. However, it is not that easy. You have to pay going in and going out, as there is time and effort involved, as well as additional work. However, with FlexPod, it doesn't matter which cloud solution that you pick. You can move any which way. I am just starting a multi-cloud project that does this now. The flexibility of it is amazing.
We don't use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud as we are very small.
When I get involved in FlexPod project delivery, my life has been easy.