FlexPod Review

Runs all of our mission-critical applications, and the cost benefits are obvious

What is our primary use case?

We use the FlexPod solution for all of our VMware workloads.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to using this solution, we had a legacy VMware environment and there were a lot of problems. Comparing to that time, we can really see the cost benefits of using FlexPod.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it integrates with NetApp, as well as the Cisco B200 M4 and M5 Blades. It is a fully integrated system.

The Validated Designs are very good because they act as a reference to see whether we have done things properly.

What needs improvement?

It would be very helpful if the upgrades for Cisco, VMware, and NetApp could be bundled together and performed at the same time. Currently, if I need to upgrade NetApp or VMware then I have to request a service outage. If all three were bundled together then it would be very easy.

Every time Cisco introduces a new product like the M3, M4, or M5 blades, I have to build a new cluster because the CPU chipset is different. It cannot be accommodated within the existing cluster, necessitating having to build a new one, which causes me to invest more money.

For how long have I used the solution?

Almost four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is very good.

The two partners, Cisco and NetApp, have both been in the market for a long time. Stability-wise we don't have any issues, but if we do then we will call technical support.

It is very resilient. The resiliency is obvious.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are no issues in terms of scalability with this solution. If I want to grow the compute resources or Azure separately then I can do it. Or, if I want to add a fabric internet switch then I will just buy it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. I would rate it ten out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The setup of FlexPod is straightforward because all of the components are there.

What about the implementation team?

We use a qualified reseller for all our Cisco procurements.

What was our ROI?

I can say that we are getting a good return on investment at this point.

We have saved approximately twenty to thirty percent by using this solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay approximately $1,400 USD in total for between five-thousand and ten-thousand ports. 

Apart from FlexPod fees, I have the VMware annual license cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated solutions from HP, Cisco, and IBM before choosing this solution.

What other advice do I have?

This solution runs all of our mission-critical applications, and the cost benefits to using this solution are very good. It integrates well with other products, and in fact, the biggest lesson that I have learned from this solution is that integration is a good thing. Cisco and NetApp have done a good job.

I have been hearing that NetApp will be taken over by Cisco. If this happens, and NetApp is integrated with all of the Cisco solutions, then it would be very good. Currently one of the weak points with Cisco is that they are not a storage company. It was similar in the case of Dell, who took over EMC.

Overall, this is definitely a good product.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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