FlexPod Review

Simplifies infrastructure from edge to core and has high performance that saves us time


What is our primary use case?

We're using a FlexPod cluster with Cisco UCS and NetApp AFF. It's a four-node cluster. We use FlexPod for everything in our company. We're a financial company.

How has it helped my organization?

Our previous solution used to take 24 hours and now we're down to seven hours. It has really good performance. 

It simplifies infrastructure from edge to core but not to the cloud. We have five people running operations and they are quite busy. But for the scale of VMs for the customers, we need to have at least two more men to deal with infrastructure.

We just got AFF so we've got all flash on the environment now. This really speeds things up from something like eight milliseconds for I/O latency to under one millisecond which is great.

FlexPod has definitely made our staff more efficient, enabling them to spend time on tasks. We're going more into automation now and we don't have to build all the VMs by hand. We automate this.

It has also improved application performance by around 50%. We're getting back more scale. I'm very happy with the performance of the database now. It has also decreased our data center's costs. We don't use so many racks anymore. We compressed all the stuff and we have a higher compute and more IOPs in the smaller racks.

What is most valuable?

Support of the firmware is the most valuable feature. The solutions' validated designs for major enterprise apps in our organization is very important. It ensures our ERP system runs smoothly on those machines.

We don't use the storage tiering to the public cloud.

What needs improvement?

FlexPod has not decreased the unplanned downtime incidents in our company. There was a problem with the back-end configuration and we had a downtime of three hours. We encounter more downtime on procedural tasks we have to do than on technical tasks.

In the next release, I would like to have a better monitoring option in which I can see the full stack and can then decide which steps to take.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of the stability, once it's up and running, it runs really smoothly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is excellent. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. It would be better if some P2 cases would be looked at from P1 guys as well, to give more experience to these orders. Last time we had four weeks on a P2 case, which wasn't very good. We have a task force and within three days, we managed to get through the problem. So this could have been resolved actually two weeks before.

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

We chose NetApp because we've used them before and we trust them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. We are implementing ACI as well, application centric infrastructure and this is complex to the network. We are pushing a virtualization layer on to the network which is really complex.

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator who was great.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Dell EMC and NetApp but Dell EMC was expensive. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. An eight because it's very reliable but there are some flaws which you need time to tackle them. There are some things that can be better. Better integration would make it a ten. 

I would recommend this solution to someone considering it because of the support it comes with and the high-performance. We can scale it up to a level which we will never reach.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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