IBM FlashSystem Review

A scalable, stable solution that offers very good performance


What is most valuable?

The performance of the All-Flash System is very good. There is more enhanced performance and data production in the solution, which I appreciate.

What needs improvement?

They should reduce the cost of the solution and offer smaller storage sizes to target small to medium-sized businesses.

The solution is not easy to implement. It takes a lot of time to study the product and it's a little complicated in general.

The solution should offer integration with the cloud on the next upgrade. It might already be there but we have not integrated that, or gone for that upgrade. It would mean we could keep a copy of our data in the secured cloud, whether it's Amazon or Azure. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for almost three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, stability is fine. It's been almost three years now and it's working perfectly well. I don't have any hardware issues or any other performance issues. I've had only good feedback about the system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable, although it's very expensive. In maybe another three or four years we'll be adding more storage space and hard disk flashes to the existing system. Right now, we have between 500-600 end users on the application.

How are customer service and technical support?

When you buy IBM products you subscribe to the technical support as well, so as long as the technical support and subscription are valid, they will support you. We took a five-year support subscription; we have two more years of the product subscription left. As long as the support and subscription are there, they are happy because if there is any technical issue or some format upgrade, IBM is there to support you.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We previously used DDN storage. 

We switched because IBM has got a good reputation and they gave us a better price. From a technical and reputational standpoint, IBM was superior.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a little complicated, especially the storage part of the implementation. The solution itself is complicated as well. 

There are multiple applications which require better performance as well as space. Both were a big issue. Some features were expensive, but we had to meet the storage requirement as well as the performance for these and had to design a solution to meet these two requirements. 

It was an implementation handled in phases, so it took about four to five months to deploy the complete solution.

We went phase by phase and then we did a performance analysis at the end of each phase to make sure that the storage performance was not going down and we were getting the best performance out of the bots. After every phase we had and throughout each phase, we had multiple performance and penetration tests as well; this was all mandatory.

We had about five people helping with the implementation. For maintenance, as long as you have an experienced person or team, you only need one or two people. 

What about the implementation team?

We had IBM's main partners do the deployment. IBM was also involved in the implementation. 

They were very professional and experienced in these complicated implementations. It was was a very good experience because they knew what they were doing.

What was our ROI?

We are seeing an ROI. We are getting better performance and all the applications are working fine. Our users are happy, but performance is the key. The All-Flash System was chosen specifically for performance and we are getting that.

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

In our case, we calculated the storage capacity and performance we would need for five years and we bought the product outright. After five years we might have to scale the product, but then we will need to invest in the upgrade. Right now I'm not paying anything because everything from support to subscription was paid upfront. Their upgrades are free as well, so we are getting new features for the product, from the website.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn't evaluate another solution before choosing IBM.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model of the solution.

In terms of advice, I would give to others, I would say that you need to have the proper training for the solution. You need to train your staff on this product because it's not a straightforward implementation or a straightforward product, so you need to have some knowledge about the storage and how it works. Then plan and size your infrastructure prior to your deployment. We planned for five years in advance, and we are happy with the solution because we did our homework prior to implementation. 

I would rate this solution 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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