FlexPod Review

Makes everything easier to manage and migration into the cloud becomes seamless


What is our primary use case?

We have multiple use cases for it. Most of it is just based on the fact of its reliability and its performance. We have customers in the insurance industry, financial industry, retail and they mostly use it for compute and storage. 

How has it helped my organization?

FlexPod simplifies infrastructure from edge to core to cloud. Everything becomes easier. Everything is more collapsed. Everything is easier to manage and migration into the cloud becomes seamless.

With respect to FlexPod's unified support for the entire stack, it's always good to have a single pane of glass to work from. 

It has improved application performance. Anything that runs on instance nowadays is good. I suppose if you're going from spinning media to SSD you're guaranteed to see an improvement.

FlexPod has enabled our staff to be more efficient. Once it's working, it's working. There's not a lot of break-fix. It gives you time to be proactive and not necessarily reactive. I haven't come across a time when it's not working. We have the normal disk failures and hardware issues but everything is so redundant that it doesn't affect it. 

What is most valuable?

I see the most value in the UCS portion. I love Cisco UCS.

Its ability to scale seamlessly makes adding anything so much easier than having to run by separate new hardware from the get-go.

The validated design in the architecture is an ongoing debate. You don't need to buy FlexPod itself. You can borrow FlexPod based on the reference architecture. I wouldn't say that the validated design plays such a big role because you can just reference the architecture and technically have FlexPod as well.

At the moment, our customers don't use storage tiering to public cloud but there are plans for future use. 

What needs improvement?

Possibly the UCS could get a bit better. Other than that, overall I don't necessarily have any sorts of constraints or issues with it. It's done the job that it's been bought to do.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's never given me an issue. Stability is perfect. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't yet used their technical support. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite straightforward. As with anything nowadays, the workflows are just so good that it's easy to configure one thing and just move on to the other.

What was our ROI?

Initially, it might cost an arm and a leg but the return on investment is going to be worth it. It's going to be worth in the long run. So taking money upfront now to make make money over the long run just seems to make sense.

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

It has reduced our data center costs. Having everything in a single cabinet versus multiple cabinets can reduce your cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our customers also evaluated Dell ECM VxBlock. They chose NetApp because it's cheaper and during a POC it always performs and gives them what they want.

I have experience with Dell EMC, HP, and NetApp. NetApp is a bit more complicated to set up than everything else. Once it gets going, it's so much easier to manage than all the others. The others on the flip side are very easy to set up but then troubleshooting can be a bit tedious and complex at times.

What other advice do I have?

The advice that I would give to anybody considering FlexPod would be to just do it. It depends whether you know NetApp or not. If you don't know NetApp, when you get into NetApp it's a bit confusing based on storage, virtual machines and stuff that other storage vendors don't necessarily use. Do a lot of reading and researching.

I would rate it a nine out of ten. Not a ten because it's not like it hasn't broken. There have been issues, but it's not major issues. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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