What is most valuable?
It's considered a converged system, so one of the real interesting things about it, you can have mixed workloads. You can install web server, app server, databases, rack, all those things, so it's pretty much an open-ended environment where you can install pretty much anything that you want to install on it as it's x86.
How has it helped my organization?
One of the benefits, like I said, it's a converged system, so that I can install a web server and my entire EBS stock. I can have my app server, web server, my Oracle Database all on that one compute node, all on that compute stack, that is.
What needs improvement?
I think a tighter integration with external storage, the simplicity of having, let's say for example, EMC storage or Hitachi storage connected to PCA would have been a nice little added.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
While it scales, the base configuration is two nodes and it can go up to 25, I believe, so it can scale as you need to. As your business grows, as your compute requirements grow, you just add nodes as needed.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support's pretty good. Again, it's a fairly new product, but the OVM support team, the Linux team, as well as the traditional database support teams are all pretty good. We haven't had to tap into those guys too much but we know the times we did there were pretty good.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
This is really a good consolidation play. So typically customers would have 10, 15 servers out there, probably older and what PCA does is give them a platform for consolidation. So it really gives them an area to consolidate not only the web servers, app servers, but database servers too.
What about the implementation team?
Since it is a new product, there's a lot of new things we had to kind of learn, connectivity-wise, although it's based on Oracle Virtual Machine. So we knew that skill set before it came on so we had that a little bit going on. But some of the nuances of the new technology stack, the converged system, was something we had to adapt to and learn.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
The key, first and foremost, is again, you have to have CAPEX or OPEX or both. So if that's your main driver is cost reduction and CAPEX and OPEX is one of those, then this is a good avenue to go to too solve those problems.
Hyper-converged and converged systems are the new thing that's happening in the industry and PCA just falls right into that category. There's a lot of options for customers to look at besides PCA.
What other advice do I have?
Rating: since this is an early product, I think the good thing about it is it's moving up in the scale as opposed to moving flat. I'd probably give it a seven and a half and upwardly moving as it adopts to the industry standards.
My suggestion would be have a good organizational boundaries on how you're going to support this because it does tether around the borders of network, storage and database, so you have to have a good organizational definition of how you're going to support a configuration such as this.