Improvements to My Organization
We had four ESX hosts and a big storage rack. We needed to replace it really quickly. It's all VMware stuff and it involved moving it over. The unit came in. Our lead architect spent an hour with it, figured out a couple IP addresses that it needed to have, and it was up and running in four hours. He was able to migrate all the workloads off the old equipment in three days. From the time it came into the building, it took three days. Everything was moved over.
He was moving things slowly at first, moving non-critical things during the day. Then once we saw it was non-impact, he just moved the rest of it. That old equipment was ready to go just like that. This is a C250, which doesn't have the back up and all the extra features that SimpliVity has, but if they're delivering that kind of functionality in the same way that they delivered the C250, then that'd be great.
The most valuable feature was its time to delivery.
Room for Improvement
I'm guessing that the next release will be the SimpliVity stack. I don't know. It seems like they've got a lot of features packed in there. There's nothing that comes to mind in terms of improvement. It has worked pretty well. We've had to do a power cycle to bring it all the way down, bring it back up for power outages, A/C shut-downs of our DC office, but it hasn't presented a problem.
Stability is really good. I guess there's not much else to say. We've been running it for a year and a half. We bought it near the beginning of its offering to meet a specific challenge. We were a little bit nervous at first. We looked at Nutanix. We looked at some other hyper-converged units. We saw the HPE offering as a value proposition for us. It's worked out pretty well. We have decided to set that as a standard for our remote and branch offices. In fact, we just ordered another one for our San Francisco office to replace their equipment.
Scalability is a question that we have. We only have four node units and we were wondering if it makes sense. Where's the inflection point here? Will we actually implement that in our data center? Do we want a standard composable system, or would we do a bunch of nodes? At this point, we have a bunch of SimpliVity nodes versus blades plus Nimble Storage.
That's a decision that we're going to be looking at in the next two years. I'm very interested to see testimonies of how it scales. I just came from the Red Bull presentation, and it looks like they had a similar amount of VMs and storage, and they moved everything to six nodes of SimpliVity. That's very encouraging.
Customer Service and Technical Support
We haven’t needed to use technical support.
We decided on HPE because it was at the right price point. There's a certain brand confidence that we had with it. All of our other equipment worked with HPE. We had a good a good partner and it was at the right price point.
We knew it was time to look for a new product because we were doing a renovation in our DC office, which is our main office. We were moving a large amount of equipment to a new co-location in Ashburn, which is outside of Washington, DC. We still needed to maintain a significant amount of compute and storage on premises. As part of the renovation, we were losing our 400-square-foot computer room, and it was going down to maybe 150 square feet. We had to significantly reduce our rack space. In essence, we had to reduce two and a half racks down to two. That was one of the drivers. We wanted to reduce the amount of power, the number of UPS units, and the cooling. This solution hit all of those targets.
When I first went to get the product, it was a little bit of sticking my neck out, taking a little bit of a risk. For someone who's very risk-averse, that was my first step out. Looking back after a year and a half, I really think that it was the right decision.
It has made my job easier. As we're thinking about San Francisco, we had a month to try to figure out, "How are we going to move all this equipment?" We decided, let's get a new hyper-converged unit and move everything over. Then we'll leave the old equipment. We don't need to pay for the transportation costs of that old equipment. We can decommission it and send it back early, because it was on lease.
I was not directly involved in the initial setup, but I was watching it. He finished it an hour or two. From what he said, it was pretty straightforward.
Other Solutions Considered
We looked at Nutanix. We looked at some other hyper-converged units.
Make sure that you order the right connectors to connect to your existing storage to move everything. Make sure that you have that inter-connect to move all your data off of your old legacy equipment.
I just know that it works. If you find a good partner that gives you a PoC unit, I'm sure that they'll find that it's quick to get up and running.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.