Lenovo Flex System Review

We can now create machines easily without waiting to provide more hardware


What is our primary use case?

We use the Lenovo Flex System to make virtual machines on VMware for all our frontend applications. We use it to virtualize our frontend or all our Microsoft applications, in addition to our Linux applications.

How has it helped my organization?

This system has improved our organization but it was also because of VMware and the visualization itself.

The performance is better now than what we had before, which was very old. We can now create machines easily without waiting to provide more hardware. This is the main virtualization advantage, but we also have a virtualization advantage on Flex because it's stable.

What is most valuable?

The stability and speed are always good. The processor is good and it's still working with our loads.

What needs improvement?

The user interface needs improvement because they have an application from which we have to manage the whole system and all of the infrastructure. This application is not working at our premises because of some problem with the hardware itself. So although we brought it with our systems, and we used it to manage all the systems: the storage, the switches, and everything, nevertheless we have to support every part alone and enter the interface in one-by-one. I think we need a more powerful management application that could help us in that regard.

We look forward to management software that will help us manage everything from one screen and include notifications of any hardware problems so we can respond before the problem happens.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been very good so far. When we started we had many problems with the hardware but it was because of the power. When they changed the module of power and they adjusted the configuration of this power part, it worked well and we haven't had any downtime from then until now. For almost four months, there's been no downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this solution is huge. Even if you want to add nodes, it's easy to add it and we considered this in a way that could help us. We could work on it for five years with the extendability.

We bought more memory, more storage, but now we are expanding our storage and if it works, we will buy Oracle hardware, for our Oracle VRP and this hardware will work on the Lenovo storage.

We have 500 distributed users because we are a great company and we have many locations. We have about eight buildings and our users use this application. User roles start from top management to managers and directors and normal team leaders. All types of users use this application and they are quite happy with it.

For internal maintenance, we have two engineers and they do all the support. We do not handle hardware support ourselves. We open tickets with Lenovo because we have the three-year maintenance with them and if we have any problem we can open a ticket. It has to support VMware itself and the connections between everything. The backups are also done; they manage the whole infrastructure.

Our system is currently being used every day, 24-7, because we are working 24-7. We have some users that are working days and others nights. We will expand our storage because we used to have a local new product and it will use our storage. We will buy only new hard disks to be connected to the new hardware.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good and they respond very quickly. Sometimes we have needed to follow up but they are good and even the global support was helpful. They came themselves to investigate the processor problem we had.

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

We previously used the Blade system stackable server from Sun, which is now Oracle. We also used HP but it was an old system. It worked well also but we switched to newer technology. It's good to have a technology evaluation from time to time and we have to cooperate. We also needed more speed and resources. That's why we switched to Lenovo. Usually, we don't buy without making a complete evaluation, technical and financial. Taking into consideration the technical takes 80% of the evaluation and 20% for the financial. The evaluation was done between Dell EMC, Lenovo, NEC, and Cisco. In the end, for our solution, Lenovo was the highest percentage. It took about 92% for the technical and financial spot whereas the others, they were 88, 85 and 84 percent.

Lenovo was the one that fulfilled most of our criteria.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. They did the removal and installation by themselves, but it was very easy and it didn't take time.

What about the implementation team?

Our deployment took nearly two days between hardware installation and the deployment itself of the VMware, as well as to finalize all our VMs. So it took about two days for deployment, all-in-all.

When we started the deployment of Lenovo Flex, we started with the hardware itself, then the switches, then the storage and the Lenovo tech library. We did almost one after another and finished within one day.

This was done by Kolaly. We had a good experience with them. 

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

We have the whole maintenance for three years, starting the deployment. We also have the VMware license for three years and I think we have another license to buy.

There are no additional costs besides licensing.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is to get the three years maintenance and to follow up with Lenovo International, in addition to Lenovo Cairo. We call our partner in Egypt and they have complete support from Lenovo.

I would rate the overall product as eight of ten. It's stable, it works well, and we have had no problem with it for a long time. The missing two points are because when we started we had some issues which are now solved but it took some time to resolve.

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