FlexPod Review

Makes it easy to grow our data center, but the management tools need to keep improving

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is VMware hosting. We use it primarily in the core data center, and that’s where it has worked best for us.

Our applications for payroll, HR, and anything that is mission-critical runs on some form of Flex device. We run a lot of different workloads and a lot of different VMs on this platform.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped to make more things consistent within our organization.

In terms of staff productivity, we manage more and more with less and less people.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it works and is compatible with all of the existing platforms that we use.

The validated designs are good in that they provide a kind of known quantity.

I’m not sure that it’s overly innovative. It’s a little more traditional than the hyper converge-type option and things like that, but it works.

What needs improvement?

On the NetApp side, there are definitely things to improve in terms of software updates.

There are a lot of complex, moving parts, and as each revision comes along they get easier to manage it all, but there are a lot of moving parts. Things are not as simple as they market them. Until you learn how to use them all, it is a bit of a challenge. The more than they can consolidate and drive that administration down, the easier it will come. That is the biggest thing for me.

I would like to see more SaaS-based management tools. I think that this is where they are headed with Active IQ and Intersight. A lot of the traditional tools have been on-premise hosted, and that's another thing for us to manage. Essentially, to manage things that we are already managing. So, I'd rather see the SaaS-based tools become the standard.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is very good. This is a resilient solution. It’s very redundant in terms of capability between the plain infrastructure and the storage. We really haven’t had any issues with that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. It allows us to grow most computing and storage resources independently. It allows us to add what's needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had really good technical support across the board. This solution has simplified our support experience. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution was straightforward. Granted, the reseller did most of the work.

What about the implementation team?

We used a reseller to assist with our implementation. They made it easy.

What was our ROI?

I don’t know that it has reduced costs, but it hasn’t incurred any higher costs. It’s probably reduced costs in the fact that as things improve they get smaller.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody implementing this solution is to be prepared to learn about the solution. The converge solutions promise a lot of easier management, but there's still a lot of things that they need to know about. There are compromises, so they need to make sure they understand completely what they are getting into.

There are definitely some areas where, as a whole, this solution could be better, but it's pretty good.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

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