HPE Synergy Review

Increased capacity has allowed us to implement the Blue-Green Deployment methodology

What is our primary use case?

We're using Synergy primarily as a replacement for our C7000 Blade servers, which are going out-of-life.

We use VMware ESX across all of our Synergy nodes. On top of that, we have a mixture of workloads from web servers, application servers, and Microsoft SQL databases.

How has it helped my organization?

Using this solution has allowed me to devote more time to other tasks since the administration is so easy.

Our business needs are somewhat static, so we do not often have to implement new business requirements. However, when we have had to spin things up quickly, we were able to do that in this environment.

This solution has greatly increased the efficiency of our IT infrastructure teams. We have fewer administrators working on the infrastructure, and we’ve now been able to transition a number of those people into DevOps roles.

This solution has decreased our deployment time, although I cannot give exact figures. I can say that we’ve been able to implement the Blue-Green Methodology as a result of the increased capacity that we have in the Synergy environment.

Using Synergy has reduced our cost of operations because it allows more dense placement of the virtual machines than our previous solution.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are the ease of management and the integration with OneView. The ease that we can allocate servers during busy times helps us to manage our IT landscape.

What needs improvement?

A faster Composer module would be a good inclusion for the next release of this solution.

I would like to see an increased variety of uplink options in the Virtual Connects.

The inclusion of these features would allow us to more easily grow our network infrastructure and accommodate future growth.

There are improvements that can be made in the area of OneView integrations and firmware, with respect to how the proper firmware versions are matched to the OneView installation that you have. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution has been quite stable for us, so far. There have been a number of updates and the product is still going through a maturity cycle, so I expect that the stability will continue.

For the most part, our developers are not aware of the underlying infrastructure on which they're doing the work, but that’s probably a good thing because if they were aware then it may be for bad reasons. We’ve had a lot of success with continuous uptime on these boxes, so it’s not really noticed by our developers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

One of the reasons that we purchased Synergy is that it's easily scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been a bit of a mixed bag. When we've had issues, we've called in and sometimes it's taken a while to get to a resolution. Generally, I would say that I'm satisfied with technical support.

We have used the HPE PointNext services, and they are very knowledgeable engineers.

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

We were using C7000 Enclosures and some Rack Mount servers. Our existing C7000 Blade Chassis Enclosure was performing well, but it is going end-of-support so we needed something new. We did an evaluation of Synergy and we found that it fit our needs.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used a value-added reseller and hired the HPE installation services to come with the solution. They assisted us with setting it up, and the experience was quite good.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI, although I do not have datapoints that I can share.

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

We pay for licensing on the fibre channel uplinks, on the Virtual Connect, which is an add-on. This is in addition to the VMware and Microsoft licensing for the operating systems.

Our IT infrastructure costs have not been affected by this solution. Most of our infrastructure surrounding and supporting Synergy was already purchased prior to it being set up.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not look outside of HPE, as we're exclusively an HPE shop on the compute side. We looked at the available offerings and wanted to make sure that they fit our needs through a proof of concept.

What other advice do I have?

Synergy is definitely a solution that I would recommend for forward-thinking IT shops.

The biggest lesson that I have learned is to make sure that you do all of the available training sessions on the new technology.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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