What is our primary use case?
We're using it for our production server loads and for disaster recovery purposes. In terms of a hybrid-cloud environment, we use it for our database workloads. We have records management systems and dispatch systems which have critical databases which we run on these platforms.
How has it helped my organization?
Using the platforms along with server virtualization has made us so much more agile in bringing up environments for projects. We've been able to cut delivery times down drastically. Whereas in the past, if someone said they need a server it was going to take a week, now, we're able to do that in 30 minutes to an hour. That's one example of how the solution helps us to implement new business requirements more quickly. Having the virtualization layer over top means that now, when projects come up and they need servers, we can have those up and running within a day. In the past, it could have taken several weeks to procure the physical equipment and get it built and installed.
On a typical server build, it probably saves eight hours. In our environment, we could be building and tearing down dozens of servers a week so just do the math on that. It's hundreds of hours in savings.
When it comes to managing our IT landscape, in addition to the flexibility, maintenance activities have also been improved. Being able to maintain the hardware layer without actually impacting our users has been key for us.
Synergy also streamlines the work that our infrastructure teams have to do. They configure things once, upfront, and build deployment templates. That, along with good documentation, means any member of the team, with very little training, is able to deploy systems.
The development team is our customer. They have rapidly changing needs in terms of getting servers and environments set up quickly for them to be able to do tests; and then to be torn down afterward. The fact that it's so flexible and easy to do that speeds things up for them as well.
What is most valuable?
The flexibility to link them together and configure them gives us the ability to scale out easily, to add more compute resources as needed. With the nature of our business, we have so many projects on the go and constantly changing priorities. A lot of times we need to be able to make changes fairly quickly. The way that they're scalable and flexible means we can add additional servers in quickly. That's what is important for us. We're not spending a lot of time doing procurement and building of physical servers.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability has been great. We haven't had any major outages so far. We are still on some of the older BladeSystem c7000 enclosures. We're moving to Synergy although we've yet to move everything completely on to them. But so far, Synergy has been good and stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's a good platform. It gives us the scalability that we need.
How are customer service and technical support?
I haven't personally used technical support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Synergy was just the next logical step for us, as we lifecycle out our old infrastructure. We've been using HPE technologies for 15 to 20 years. The next logical step, as our older blade enclosures reached end-of-life, was to go to the Synergy platform. We work with our HPE sales team very closely. They're more like a strategic partner for us. When they make a recommendation we take it seriously.
How was the initial setup?
There was a certain level of complexity to this because this was the first time for our staff in using this platform. There was some complexity. There are different options for the interfaces for the staff. It's a little bit different than what they're used to doing on the onboard administrator for the other blade enclosure. It was a matter of getting to know the new features. They took their time to understand all the capabilities.
What about the implementation team?
We did it with HPE Consultant Services. Our experience with them is always good. Very thorough. They have local resources onsite who have good knowledge of the product. They're able to answer our questions. It's always been a good experience.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The price point is a little high. We were able to get a good deal on a promotion, to go with it. It would be nice to see the prices come down a little bit.
What other advice do I have?
My advice would be to set up a face-to-face meeting with the product experts from HPE. If you go through resellers or vendors that's fine, but make sure you have the HPE resources there. They know the product the best.
One of the lessons we've learned from using this solution is that you really need to take your time and learn the new features of these. There's so much. It's not just a simple blade enclosure and you plug your servers in and go. There are a lot of advanced features, with some of the composability stuff that we haven't even really scratched the surface of. The big lesson is to really learn the product and what it can do for you, because chances are it can do a lot more than what you initially think.