The Netra Modular System is really cool because unlike all the other Oracle solutions, this is a system that is a lot more agile. It's a technology that's the basis of a converged infrastructure, but it's what we work on -- agile convergence. The Netra Modular system lets you do things you can't do with competing products. Competing technologies in convergence force you to use their hypervisor. They force you to use their OS. They force you to use their storage in its configuration. It's very cookie cutter. They're kind of one-size-fits-all and there's no flexibility. If you think it, when's the last time you bought your clothes one-size-fits-all? It just doesn't fit well. People have been doing that with convergence. So what's cool with the Netra Modular System is that it's not one-size-fits-all.
I can mix things in it in ways I can't mix on other systems, but when I use Enterprise Manager, I still have the advantages of a converged system. I still have a single pane of glass, but it doesn't do a lot of convergence, just maybe the network, the storage, and the operating system. With Netra and Enterprise Manager, I can start from the network in storage and go all the way up into the application tier. It's convergence throughout the whole stack.
Improvements to My Organization
There's a lot benefits with the Netra. First, since it is an agile system, I can mix hypervisors. For free, you're going to get Oracle VM, which is a great hypervisor, but some things don't run well when they're virtualized. They run really better on bare metal. If you need a two-node RAC cluster, and you're really pushing performance through it, you really often want that on bare metal. I can take two nodes of the Netra Modular System and put them as bare metal and run a bare metal OS on them and run them as my RAC cluster. I can't do that in other converged solutions.
Second, it's hypervisor agnostic to an extent. If my application needs a couple of nodes for VMware, I can take three, four, eight, however many nodes I want and make a VMware firm on the same frame, but I still have the same monitoring that I did with the hardware. Even with Enterprise Manager, it's extendable into VMware, where I can monitor even inside of VMware. I still have that converged advantage, that single pane of glass. That's, I think, it's big strength.
Room for Improvement
What I would love to see is better integration between Enterprise Manager and ES2 switches. That's the one area where the integration isn't as tight as we would like to see. I know that in the new version of Enterprise Manager that's not out yet we'll also get some better control of a bare metal. I'm looking forward to when that becomes available.
Use of Solution
We've had no issues deploying it.
I've been working with it a lot with a proof-of-concept, and it's been rock solid. What's been really cool is the High Availability in it. I had one point where I was working with the system, and we plugged Enterprise Manager into it, and we started monitoring it. We actually found one of the nodes was alerting. Apparently, the power cable wasn't plugged in. No one knew. It continued running, but we were able to detect that and quickly fix it with Enterprise Manager.
In regards to scalability, you really can't beat it. You can put a lot of nodes in a cabinet, and you can expand cabinets beyond that. I think technically they have a limit, but the reality is you could probably scale the system up to the size of the data center.
Customer Service and Technical Support
VERY good. The Product team directly gets involved if there are issues. You can;t beat that! Technical Support
I don't call tech support very often, but in this particular case I did have to call tech support for a problem I had with Enterprise Manager. The support was okay. They were finally able to come up with a workaround solution after opening up a defect with development.
It's been straightforward. It's not complex. It takes a lot of time, but it's not something that's going to take you a months to do. It's something you can set up within weeks. If you set it up using Oracle VM, once you get that core infrastructure up and running, which doesn't take a huge amount of time, you can start building application components deploying E-Business in an hour or two, deploying PeopleSoft really quick, and start taking advantage of the templates and rapidly deploy apps.
Other Solutions Considered
We looked at other technologies coming up with the solution, but, again, the uniqueness of the Netra is the ability to mix hypervisors and mix bare metal and even mix CPU architectures. You didn't have that with any other vendor.
Definitely take a look at it is my advice. This is technology that's not well-known. A lot of people don't know about the technology, and it really deserves a strong look. It solves a lot of problems of the data center going to a converged or even a hyper converged environment because it doesn't assume that one size fits all. If I need a hypervisor, I can virtualize it. If I need bare metal, I can run bare metal, but I still have all the advantages of that converged.