HPE BladeSystem Review

Provides consolidation of hardware into single or more manageable components.

Valuable Features

BladeSystem provides consolidation of hardware into single or more manageable components. Everything from FlexFabric, Virtual Connect, being able to manage your environment holistically from a single pane of glass, in terms of vCenter, and blade integration. I think the other thing is with HP's OneView, having another standardized management console to be able to manipulate pretty much everything from a blade's infrastructure component point of view as well as networking. Anything in the HP product line, the infrastructure can be managed through OneView.

Improvements to My Organization

There's definitely great advantages in the efficiency of time savings, both from a personnel perspective as well as the ability to quickly deliver on new offerings.

Room for Improvement

At the time, we were trying to learn the technologies while we were setting up the data center, and that's why we used professional services. We ended up having to collectively learn on the fly in setting up some of the new features we had. This was three years ago when we set up two new data centers and moved our operation out of an outsourced line of business.

Stability Issues

It's been really stable, we haven't really seen any problems.

Scalability Issues

We've been expanding most of it, going with solid state storage has been the latest set of upgrades that we've done to it, and continuing to grow that. From a backup standpoint, we're also looking if we can start to use a lower tiered storage and use that to house all of the backups that we'll do, so we can get off using tapes as part of our whole strategy. We've got nine branch centers that ultimately are consolidating into the data center, so we're trying to fan those down into the data center and back them up.

Customer Service and Technical Support

In terms of the overall support, you're dealing with enterprise infrastructure related support personnel. If you're paying for enterprise level of support, and again, being such a foundation of your infrastructure, when there's issues they're usually critical, and the expectation is that you get immediate response. The experience that we've had is that sometimes you get right through to a qualified individual from to start, otherwise sometimes you have to play that escalation game, which in an emergency situation can be a little bit of a headache.

I would say sometimes it's hit or miss in terms of the kind of support you do get. Traditional hardware replacement, usually isn't a big deal. HP's remote support is really responsive in terms of hard drive failures, things of that nature. I find that the level of technicians that you get when you're calling in for any kind of technical support you may need, really does kind of vary. As an enterprise customer who's paying for enterprise level support, when you call, you call because you're in the middle of a catastrophe or you have an emergency situation that you're working through, so having to work through multiple tiers of technical individuals who may not have the necessary levels of strength, does not help the process.

Previous Solutions

We had HP Blades at the previous location, so we just bought the next generation of blades, but it was the same enclosure and some of it we did actually move across as we bought some initial hardware to seat things, and then as we freed up from our managed site we could then bring some of that technology across and continue to scale up in the new environment.

Initial Setup

We did use some technical support, like through the professional services. We actually found some good, and some not so good, in terms of the expertise that we had. They didn't know enough. When we came around to setting up our VMs with the network they had, we had some challenges. There was a bit of a learning curve on both organizations. Not all positive.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

I would say that the licensing model is probably the one biggest caveat I have. A lot of vendors provide a licensing model whereby you have to license the different functionality and feature sets that you want, but I think that for a lot of customers that's a bit of a stumbling block because you may not always be able to, upfront, understand or know exactly what you want to utilize, and have to make that additional investment later, when the dollars may not be there, is a little bit difficult.

Other Advice

If you're looking for a unified management interface where you can manage multiple products through a single pane of glass, like OneView for example, it might make sense. If you're heavily invested in the HP product line, again, it might make sense. But really in this day and age, computing is computing for the most part, so I think it really depends on what influences your purchasing decision, whether it's politics or technical merit.

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