What is most valuable?
The CPG, Dynamic / Adaptive Optimization, the CLI, and more importantly the way it's licensed as you are not "tagged" and held hostage when you're at 1TB, and another, and another, and another. The licensing is a brilliant approach to the fiscal tourniquet of scalability! Oh.. I also like the service processor and how it's out of band and monitors the SAN, how it does the updates - neat little component.
How has it helped my organization?
Scaling and performance. Easy to add shelves, easy to move data around while everything is hot, move data from tier to tier, expanding a LUN, there are so many ways it's just amazing how much it's helped! The snapshot and sending them to different tiers by using the CPG makes life a bit easier!
What needs improvement?
Removing a LUN mapping from a single host is a bit odd, worse a single host in a host set, it needs 10G ports for IP based replication (needs to be 1 or 10G). Keep working on the SSMC and allow for GUI management to be cross platform.
For how long have I used the solution?
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
I have deployed several and found the SmartStart CD to be intermittent. Also, during the install when the SP locates the array, the network based multicast can't find the storage array and you have to go to console / serial cable. Not too big of a deal, but you then have to configure settings manually.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Never as of yet. It has been rock solid!
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We can't hit it hard enough yet. As I said adding shelves and drives all is pretty nice and straight forward.
How are customer service and technical support?
Early on, I had some strong opinions about the transition to more of HP support. I raised concerns, The HP team in Alpharetta, Ga lead by Brad Bates took significant steps, listened, and made adjustments. Buying a product is one thing, post-sale is what keeps customers coming back and maintains longevity. Technical Support
Thus far, pretty impressive. I met the actual teams of people and after the initial "hiccup", I had a chance to see the HP Lab, meet some of the people that enjoy what they do. It's important for everyone to understand that IT people work inverse hours and when we make changes it's evenings, weekends, and holidays. Senior level - tenured members of most companies are "off" while HP found a way to keep solid individuals available to be available.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Funny you ask - let's just say a "no named" array that had redundant controllers completely torched nearly every ESX datastore where it "gutted" the data inside of it, but left the shell. Yet, the support person on the phone called the update "successful on my end". Sure, the nodes made have updated, but the data was gone - you be the judge! I have used solutions from many, many storage vendors.
How was the initial setup?
Pretty straightforward - even though HP says "self installable" I highly recommend a qualified person with a great deal of understanding of virtualization, zoning, etc. Could a person with no experience using storage do this? Eh...maybe getting the array on-line, but I would not recommend it (nor would I for any vendor).
What about the implementation team?
Well, I am "that vendor team", but I am also a user as well. So, if I am allowed to rate my experience - 25 years of IT, nearly 15 years of storage - we can do pretty well!!
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
What other advice do I have?
Whether you are new to storage or advanced, this is the most amazing piece of hardware I have ever had my hands on, built, and used. The thought behind much of the detail of how it works just seems incredible. Think about this, you have drives that sit in multiple RAID arrays because of the CPGs and how the SAN is always moving chunklets around to keep hot spots from occurring. If I could meet the founders and shake their hand, I would love to and let them know thank you. Thank you for giving me the chance to have fun with my job and have access to such hardware. I would also thank HP for taking a datacenter class piece of hardware and re-aligning it to be competitive in any space - just brilliant!