FlexPod Overview

FlexPod is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Converged Infrastructure tools. It is most often compared to Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series: FlexPod vs Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series

What is FlexPod?

The FlexPod platform, developed by NetApp and Cisco, is a flexible, converged infrastructure solution that delivers prevalidated storage, networking, and server technologies. It’s designed to increase IT responsiveness to business demands while reducing your overall cost of computing. Think maximum uptime, minimal risk

FlexPod Buyer's Guide

Download the FlexPod Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

FlexPod Customers

University of Sao Paulo, WD-40, The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group

FlexPod Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about FlexPod pricing:
  • "It is not going to save you money, but that is not the point. The opportunity to stay competitive in the marketplace is not a cost."
  • "The footprint in the data center is quite large, especially when you scale out. Maybe find some hardware in the future, where if a new blade comes out, then Cisco can say, "Look, we'll buy those blades back off you, and we'll give you this blade for X amount of money." A buyback scheme would be good for hardware, and even NetApp as well. Something like a buyback scheme for blades and stuff moving forward would be good, because I know that they're going to put more power into them. E.g., replacing four blades might equal one blade, which would be awesome, but we are still going to have those four blades around. Maybe having something where it will give you this much money for these blades so we can upgrade. That would be perfect."
  • "The product is kind of expensive even from an entry-level standpoint. I would say FlexPod would be the way to go if you are a larger business or one with large data volume."
  • "Everything is purchased, so we do not do any leasing with this product."
  • "The total cost of ownership with this solution is good."
  • "The solution has saved our customers' organization in terms of CapEx. E.g., with the cloud availability, it's turned into sort of a hybrid CapEx/OpEx model."

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TT
User at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
MSP
The agility reduces the number of hours that it takes to construct a physical or virtual data center

What is our primary use case?

The purpose of FlexPod is for a converged infrastructure that provides compute or networking storage and helps launch applications more easily and dynamically.

Pros and Cons

  • "It reduces the time required to dynamically provide applications to our end users and developers."
  • "It takes a very sophisticated group of people to run and maintain NetApp and Cisco products."

What other advice do I have?

I would probably give this solution a seven-and-a-half or an eight out of ten. It isn't higher because I know that if I were to look at a very dynamic data-center solution, there are organizations who can do it a lot more agile, more quickly, or in a more user-friendly way. It takes a very sophisticated group of people to run and maintain NetApp and Cisco. It's not just a box you put in a server. You scale it out and you log onto a graphical user interface and you manage it. When it is running, it's a very, very powerful foundation that no other hyperconverged solution out there can compete…
SC
Cloud Service Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Highly scalable solution that has been very stable

What is our primary use case?

It's a tenant environment. We sell it off to customers who need an environment, depending on the scale of their company, where there might be a couple of servers or 100 to 200 servers. We are our own cloud provider. We use VMware vCloud Director because we provide that to our customers. For UCS, we are on version 6.2. For NetApp, we are on 9.5.

Pros and Cons

  • "The guides that we use to install FlexPods are always up-to-date. This is really helpful, especially if there is a new product with NetApp moving so far forward and Cisco as well. For them to join together and update a centralized document for the install process, it is really good. It helps us understand if there are features from the first version that we installed while upgrading that we need to implement. Those are in the document. So, we find that document useful and helpful when moving forward."
  • "It would be nice to have something like an automated, upgrade solution The tasks needed to upgrade the hardware within FlexPod are still quite behind compared to some of its other aspects. That's more on the Cisco side."

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely support integrating FlexPod within a company, depending on their requirements. Even if it wasn't a a full, flexible deployment, just having a smaller deployment of the UCS Mini with a smaller NetApp for a customer, it is so scalable. You can do it for a smaller customer to an enterprise customer. I would fully support them implementing this into a data center based on their requirements. The solution has made our staff more efficient, enabling them to spend time on tasks that drive our business forward, but there's still a lot of manual overhead that needs to be done. We're…
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
501,151 professionals have used our research since 2012.
CK
Data Center Engineer at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
A reliable, versatile solution that offers great value and proven performance

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for backing up and storing banking and financial data. It is especially important for protecting data mirroring between multiple data centers using a hybrid cloud type approach. We have our own cases for what we use but we do like the input we get from the manufacturers and their suggestions on how we should deploy things.

Pros and Cons

  • "A valuable feature of the FlexPod solution is that it is all one architecture and I can call one number and get support for Cisco and NetApp without having to jump through open TAC (Technical Assistance Center) cases and do multiple things to get issues addressed."
  • "The upgrade process needs to be improved and it would be nice to manage everything from a single pane of glass."

What other advice do I have?

We have found that the solution simplifies infrastructure from edge to core to cloud — although we have not really implemented the cloud yet. The solution has made our staff more efficient and enables them to spend more time driving the business forward. It's primarily what we do. We don't really have other tasks. But as far as not having to worry about daily maintenance on the network very much — it just works. I'm not messing with it every day and trying to get something to work right. It is set up, it is configured, We have got our policies in place and you pretty much roll. We can focus on…
SP
Senior IT Analyst at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Used to replace failing hardware and provide storage for small remote sites

What is our primary use case?

It is mostly for small remote sites. The WAN link isn't good enough for them to come to the enterprise site at this time. So, we do a lot of file shares, VMs, etc. It's to run the local business. Our FlexPods are NetApp FASs, Cisco UCS, and Cisco switches. That's our version of a FlexPod. We call them ROBOs (remote office/branch office). We have about a hundred throughout the world that we deploy in different regions. For us personally, I do the NetApp side of it. We're running NetApp version 9.5P6. That is the lowest version that we run in our ROBO environment. While the deployment model is… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has decreased the unplanned downtime incidents in our organization by 25 to 30 percent."
  • "I had one problem at the site where I had an aggregate that would not shrink after I had deleted some stuff. It took a few tries to get the right guy on the call. We do have a NetApp SAM with our company, and it really took getting to him to get the solution fixed."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate the solution a solid nine (out of 10). The solution has been good for us. Nothing is perfect. That is why I wouldn't give it a ten. However, everything that we have done with it has been spot on. We've had very little problems with it. We're able to integrate it really well. I would recommend going for this solution.
IT Manager at Capgemini
Real User
Top 20
Enables us to have shorter maintenance windows, instant backups, and instant recovery which also minimizes the number of alerts

What is our primary use case?

We are using it internally for one of our departments to provide the platform in which our employees are working to support our customers.

Pros and Cons

  • "For us as an IT department, it helped us a lot. Before we implemented FlexPod, we were using different solutions all based on a virtual infrastructure. On VMware, before implementing FlexPod, we had a lot of problems doing backups with disaster recovery. After integrating it, it enabled us to have shorter maintenance windows, instant backups, instant recovery, which also minimized the number of alerts that we get from the application team and from the employees who were working on the application that something is not working."
  • "The upgrades should be improved. We would like to have the ability to do unified upgrades of the whole infrastructure from beginning to end."

What other advice do I have?

We did the research. We went through different vendors when choosing a FlexPod solution. For us at that time, and today, it is the best solution on the market when it comes to converged infrastructure. It has a really easy implementation, which gives you a lot of flexibility with the server profiles, which gives you easy disaster recovery with snapshot technology. If you are looking into such technology, have a look at FlexPod and you'll see that it will suit your needs. I would rate it a ten out of ten. It gives us all the capabilities that we need. It gives us good performance. It gives us…
RB
Cloud Engineer at a manufacturing company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Easy to set up and maintain, increased our uptime, and improved application performance

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is virtualization. We run both VMware and Hyper-V. We currently have an AFF8040 that is running with Cisco UCS in our FlexPod solution. We have a four-node cluster, where we have the AFF but we also have a second cluster with spinning disks. It's nice to have them clustered because I can move my high-performance workloads over onto the SSD, easily. If we have things that we determine aren't taking advantage of the SSD, I can volume migrate it back to the spinning disk and not waste high-performance capacity on workloads that aren't utilizing the speed of… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "NetApp is always coming up with features that I want before I know that I want them."
  • "The only support call that we have had in six years was related to an ONTAP upgrade, where one of the controllers didn't patch properly."

What other advice do I have?

We are a very lean organization, so this solution has not necessarily made our staff more efficient. If we were not already that way then we wouldn't get anything done. My advice to anybody who is researching this type of solution is to make sure that you include FlexPod and be sure to consider the costs in the evaluation. I cannot imagine a situation where the total cost of ownership is not comparable. This is a solution that makes my life easier and I can always count on it being up. For me, that is the most important thing. I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
SK
Sr Systems Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Reliable, easy to manage and has decreased the footprint in our data centers

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for all of our data storage and so primarily VMware virtualization. We run over 95% of all of our computers running on VMware.

Pros and Cons

  • "We initially started out with siloed clusters and now we've been able to cluster everything together so that we have multiple nodes in our clusters. We have multiples on different data in different data centers. We've able to do replication between data centers. That's been very beneficial for us as we look to derive a mature DR model."
  • "Something that we struggle with because we're a relatively small scale organization and the administrative effort is spread across so many different pieces of infrastructure, it would be nice to have a set of tools that enables us to get a little bit more information out of our system."

What other advice do I have?

We've been highly supportive of FlexPod and we continue to be highly supportive. We've had a lot of go-arounds with the peers and other state and local government organizations and we've had some people abandon what they've done and go the same route that we've gone. We feel that's a bit of a success story for us because we believe in the product. I would rate it a solid eight out of ten. Not a ten because there's always budgetary issues. Specifically related to the Cisco side of things, we've seen very, very strong fluctuations in some of the pricing of the hardware and being a local…
JJ
Principal Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
MSP
Shrinks your footprint in a data center and allows for easy cloud interaction, migration, and deployment

What is our primary use case?

Over the last year, we've implemented several solutions with FlexPod. We implemented whatever the latest version is. I know we just put one in that was the latest version in a New Jersey school. Our customers are using on-premise. It's all on premise, but we have implemented solutions that are more hybrid where they are deploying a model where they want their app dev groups to be able to deploy resources much easier to an on-premise infrastructure, as compared to an AWS subscription. Generally, it's a mix between Azure and AWS. That's what we're seeing from customers overall.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution’s unified support for the entire stack provides one stop shopping."
  • "I would like more support for different platforms, possibly different database platforms. I don't know if it supports Oracle today, but that would be a big improvement."

What other advice do I have?

The product improves over time, it's definitely helped in all-flash CI, private and hybrid cloud deployment, secure-multi-tenancy, end-to-end NVMW, and cloud storage tiering. We are talking to customers about the solution’s storage tiering to public cloud, but we haven't implemented anything yet. I would rate them a nine (out of 10). I don't think anybody rates a 10, but FlexPod is close.
See 51 more FlexPod Reviews