What is most valuable?
The quality of the build is the “be-all and end-all” in my eyes. I like the fact that it's indestructible. We've had servers for a long time. Most companies have servers that last for only three years and then they replace them. We've had servers for seven or eight years. The only reason we get rid of them is because the newer models are out. There is nothing wrong with them.
I'm old school. When I look at servers, it has to have an HPE brand. I don't like Fujitsu. I've used them and I don't like them. I don't particularly like Dell.
HPE works out of the box. There's no poshness or no stupid laws and regulations. You just choose what you want and it just works.
How has it helped my organization?
It's compatible with servers and other HP equipment we use in the schools. I don't have any issues with compatibility. If I need drivers for specific products, they are there online. I don't have to run around all over the place looking for equivalent drivers or equivalent bits of software. In my job in education, I have found that HPE has support for all technology. It's a one-stop-shop.
What needs improvement?
I would like to be able to interact with touchscreen smart boards. It comes with iPads and Apple devices. I'd like to interact wirelessly with smart boards. I found Apple a little bit better for that. That's why schools are buying a lot of iPads at the moment. I buy HPE laptops for the teachers and stuff like that, but to make it interactive, it has to be physically plugged into devices to get it to work. Once they're connected, it works great. Schools are going on iPads now where they can connect wirelessly.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I've been doing this for 20 years and I've only had one HPE server die during that time. The motherboard failed. I just rang HPE and an HPE engineer came out and fixed it within 24 hours. I can't find a fault with this product at all.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
You can scale it. We don't scale it as such. We buy a product to suit our needs, and we've never needed to enhance it after we bought it out of the box. What we normally do is look at the specifications, see what that job entails, and build a server to those specifications. We look at a two or a three-year growth expectancy. That's one of the jobs I basically do.
How is customer service and technical support?
I've used HPE technical support, and it is phenomenal. I had one issue once where I couldn't get the installation to start. It was a starting pack, which HPE has since built into your machines. Back then, it was a new product, Version 2, that I had never used. I just rang up and said, "How do you get this to kick in? Where's the CD? Where's this, where's that?" It worked really well. The fault was just in my knowledge. I didn't have that sort of range.
With the new version, you just press a key and it kicks in.
How was the initial setup?
The setup is for single-layer network. We have servers on the main cover, and then it satellites out to individual premises in schools that go over the fiber link, and the group policies then travel from the main cover down to the satellite sites.
What other advice do I have?
This solution has average security, but only for education purposes. We have standard encryption.
We inquire about the newest product that is coming out, and then we look at the cost-efficiency for how much it's capable of doing for what we need. If it's too big of a jump, then we will opt-out of that option, and look for an everyday solution. We're talking about primary and secondary skills. We haven't got thousands and thousands of pounds to pay for them.
I've used HPE in the past. I know it works out of the box. I won't change since it works. If you want cheap, then you get cheap. If you want good quality that lasts you forever, then you buy HPE. You pay for what you have.
Keep up the good work.