HPE SimpliVity Review

The HyperGuarantee is unique and the accelerator card is the primary IP with the product

What is our primary use case?

As a service integrator we have recommended and implemented SimpliVity for numerous use cases but the product is particularly suited for ROBO and VDI use cases. We are looking at SImpliVity as a solution for Tier 2 and some Tier 1 apps in DC.

How has it helped my organization?

Our clients have been very happy with the data efficiency features (OmniCube accelerator card) and the HPE/SimpliVity HyperGuarantee, which is unique. For one of our clients who needed backup capability but did not want to invest in a dedicated backup tool, SimpliVity's native backup with app consistency came in handy. When you do this across more than 80 sites, the savings is significant and the WAN bandwidth efficiency is impressive.

What is most valuable?

  1. Simple management
  2. HyperGuarantee
  3. Accelerator card
  4. Globally federated architecture 

The simple management comes in handy since a standard VMware admin can manage it. The HyperGuarantee is unique and the accelerator card is the primary IP with the product. The 4KB based dedupe and optimization are definitely helpful as observed by our clients. The globally federated architecture means that the backup across sites does not consume precious MPLS bandwidth, which is cool.

What needs improvement?

  1. For SimpliVity to become a true DC solution, the limit of 32 nodes needs to be investigated. While this may not be a significant deterrent, it brings into question the underlying architecture.
  2. HPE support is still not aware/trained on SimpliVity, and this is beginning to show.
  3. While SimpliVity was a pioneer of cloud connect capability, they have simply not exploited it.
  4. SimpliVity has little to no integrations. It may have APIs, etc., but there are very few signed on integrations in place. This is necessary to build a solutions ecosystem.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues. The product has been performing well. No problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product initially had a limitation of 12 nodes in a federation, which has been increased to 32. Keep this in the back of your mind, particularly when looking at the number of nodes in a single stack.

How are customer service and technical support?

SimpliVity (before HPE) was pretty darn good. While it has been a while since HPE acquired SimpliVity, there is a lack of understanding/awareness about the product. In short, it took me time to actually make them understand they had a product named SimpliVity, which as you can imagine does not instill a great deal of confidence.

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

Being vendor agnostic, we are not partial to any solution or product. Where we have deployed SimpliVity we have not faced issues. In short, no switching.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation is straightforward when you follow the deployment guide. Stick to the default settings as they work for most setups. If you have the option of having multiple 10Gbps NIC cards, you can explore the option of having a NIC dedicated for storage.

What about the implementation team?

In house. 

What was our ROI?

  • Simpler operations
  • No more monolithic SANs
  • No SAN switches and having a native backup is pretty cool.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In terms of setup, there are some gotchas and caveats, particularly when discussing stretched clusters. Rapid DR also pretty much goes the same way. Otherwise the process is pretty straightforward. Upgrades were a problem but have been addressed to a large extent. The biggest concern is around support and HPE's apparent lack of knowledgeable people.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Nutanix, VxRail and HyperFlex. Nutanix comes into almost all discussions and is a leader. The only area of concern is the expense as it adds up. VxRail is definitely the number one contender when discussing ROBO use cases but SimpliVity's DVE with its accelerator card is a strong option, particularly from the point of not needing additional hardware to address add-on requirements. SimpliVity also brings capacity savings.

What other advice do I have?

Have a look at multiple solutions before making up your mind. Remember to take a top down approach and start with the app layer first. Your workload decides the infrastructure, not the other way around. Also, for most use cases, look to see if you can use all-flash as the price point, as it has come down significantly. However ridiculous as this may seem, read the guides and manuals carefully before implementation as they do have points that need to be looked at. If you do not believe me, you will end up going back to the same document anyway, which you want to avoid.

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