FlexPod Room for Improvement

Business Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
If we look at data center solutions, any of those solutions are only as good as the people that put it together. If there's a way for us to take a hyperconverged technology or converged technology — like FlexPod — and use it with artificial intelligence, that allows the engineer who is building it to infuse the deployment with intelligence. Turning it on, the necessary steps — done correctly — eliminate human error. If something is in error or not within compliance to confines of what that particular architecture should be like, intelligence lets that engineer know that an object is out of policy. For example, if you implement SAP and Oracle, the Oracle database goes through this way; if you partition it out to this number of lines or a particular number of virtual machines, the recommendation may be different to achieve the maximum efficiency. If the solution does that, it helps enable and accelerate deployment. Every organization out there has its own challenges. Whether you're an automobile manufacturer, or a cloud solution provider, or a managed service provider, or even application software provider working for social networking where the only thing they need to do is support people, all that is important is when they login to that particular application. They need to have that effort fit the user experience. The collaboration between Cisco and NetApp can learn to provide that. Millennials today are very intelligent people when it comes to social media, but they're not hands-on with applications or as CLI (command-line interface) as some of the older engineers. The millennial comes in and they look at something and they get it. Okay, as long as that's valid, it is okay. The smarter thing is that something is put into FlexPod to be sure potential errors are covered. The client will tell you what they want to do. Well, whatever that is — they can be selling hamburgers, make pizzas, or fly an airplane. If we make a machine dynamic, it allows professionals to go to market and set their strategy a lot better. View full review »
Cloud Service Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
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. For the NetApp side, the upgrade process is quite simple. It's been simplified. So, that's something that could be looked at. It has gone to HTML5, but it's still quite a bit bland. It still seems a bit like there were some features in the Java version that are quite hard to get into in the HTML5 version of UCS Manager, where you go to a profile and you need to drag it in. You can't move the box across. All the boxes are different sizes. If you have a lot of names, then you can't move it across, which is quite annoying when you're trying to do it. I would like more with the integration pieces, e.g., more with the REST APIs to be able to access it remotely. 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. With the upgrading, making that a little bit more streamlined and a bit easier to do, so it doesn't require as many man hours to do. I would like prerequisites for an upgrade. View full review »
Data Center Engineer at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
The real improvement I could see on the FlexPod side is it falls on the NetApp components. The upgrades that they had to go through from 7-Mode to CDOT (Clustered Data OnTap) did not make for a good transition. I'm pretty sure they learned the lesson from that because you basically had to stand up a side-by-side system, copy your data over, upgrade your stuff and move your data back. No one wants to do that and it is a nightmare. It would also be nice if you could manage everything through a single pane of glass — but that won't happen. With a single pane, we could look at everything at once in the UCS (Cisco's Unified Computing System) components as well as VMware and the NetApp components. It would be good to be able to do that without having to navigate into four different web pages. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
456,495 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Zbyszek Sitarek
IT Manager at Capgemini
In the next release, it would be really good to have some kind of unified update manager or something, which would allow us to update the whole infrastructure from beginning to end. All together like VMware, NetApp to go with Cisco, so that you don't have to do it separately in upgrading the NetApp, separately everything to UCS infrastructure then going with VMware. Something that will allow us to do it together in some integrated manner. The upgrades should be improved. We would like to have the ability to do unified upgrades of the whole infrastructure from beginning to end. View full review »
Cloud Engineer at a manufacturing company with 5,001-10,000 employees
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. View full review »
Sr Systems Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
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. Right now we're in the process of looking at OCI. We have free trial licenses for a two year period and we're investing quite a bit of time into writing reports and allowing it to tell us more information about our systems because we don't have a lot of time and we don't have a lot of sexy tools out there to give us information. We're going to go through this exercise with OCI, but at some point, that tool's going to go away and we may not have the funding to keep it on-premises. There are metrics and there's information in the system that a normal consumer like ourselves, a smaller organization, would probably not be privy to that information. It would be nice if some of those reporting capabilities were available just as a part of the ordinary suite of software that people buy. View full review »
J. Kelly
Principal Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
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. As the product matures, being able to support the things that customers are really looking at. FlexPod is supporting more containerizations, and that's a step in the right direction. View full review »
Systems Engineer at First Ontario Credit Union
Mainly, the interface needs improvement. I'm not a big fan of UCS Manager, sometimes. I believe they released the new one, and it seems like in every version something changes and something else doesn't work. When they switched to HTML5, I believe we had issues in version 3.2. They fixed it in the next version. The amount of work to upgrade a system for change control is tedious to have issues every time. I would recommend more regression testing, then testing the different browsers in that. View full review »
Senior Storage Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to see the FlexPod infrastructure get updated more often. Things like the firmware, the software packages, and the compatibility matrix have to update more often and seem to lag in development. We are kind of dragging on this. Because we were not performing all those updates more often, we are kind of delayed a few years. For example, we are using the FlexPod for the Call Center and Call Center has specific versions of their software. Cisco has recommended that we use NetApp version 91 as the final version for the Call Center software. We can not go beyond 91 and 91 is a two-year-old OS. There have 96 out already and will probably be presenting 97 in a few days. So we are literally lagging behind by years. View full review »
Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
There is a history of issues with hardware availability. For example, we'll buy an array or a filer with a particular configuration and particular size of drive, sizing it appropriately. Then, as we grow, they're like, "Oh, you can always get more." Then when you go to get more, that model or type of disk is no longer available. It becomes this big process to try to figure out what we need to get, how it'll work, and how that'll integrate into the system. That could be simpler. They could do a bit more to guarantee the availability of parts. Obviously, not being the largest storage vendor, I know they can't sometimes control what the hardware vendors do. However, a bit more transparency and communication about this would be helpful. View full review »
Solutions Architect at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
In the next generation, I'd just like to see bigger, faster, and better. I think that's partly there. Just shove more memory in them, throw a faster proxy in them, use 100 gig infrastructure. Having more hundred gig ports and AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup/Modeling Language) workloads would be very nice. View full review »
Director of Data Center Operations at Barry University
We have had some problems with SnapSuite and the replication functionality. View full review »
John Capobianco
Senior IT Planner Integrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
I'd like to see some more Ansible integration for automation purposes. We automate everything else with Ansible, so it would be great if we could automate our FlexPod with Ansible as well. We could probably see a little bit more training as well. View full review »
Infrastructure Engineer at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
We would like to see the automation improved because there has been a learning curve having to create the workflows. They're looking at other automation tools, including one from Red Hat called Ansible. View full review »
Senior Client Executive at Sirius
There is always room for improvement. I believe we can do hot swaps on the fly. On the release upgrades, if there was a way to do a release on the fly, that would really be cool because it does take some downtime. It takes restarting. It is more of a software thing. Customers hate doing releases. An area for improvement would be on Level 2 and 3 support when there is a release issue. View full review »
Solution Architect at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
I would like to be able to pull in a file to specify a configuration upfront, rather than go through a lot of screens. There is a lot of manual effort there, and that is one place that mistakes can happen. In the SolidFire interface, if you use the GUI, you have to create one run at a time, or one device at a time, which is something that needs to be fixed. Having to do that is ludicrous. View full review »
Ahmed Jehanzeb
Infrastructure Engineer at Suntrust Bank
I would like to see more cloud-centric modules that are specific to applications and more software-based solutions. That's all that is missing. View full review »
Engineer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The majority of the time, if we need more storage, then we need to work with customizing the NetApp deployment. Right now, we just do a generic deployment, then wherever we have a need for storage, we have to move some application out of the next FlexPod deployment. One thing is to customize based on the requirements, but the requirements change so frequently, they are absolutely obsolete in six months. I would like to see more artificial intelligence and machine language baked into the environment on the healthcare side. Right now, a lot of people are not leveraging AI, but we are in the insurance business and would like more flexibility by offering AI as a feature set into the healthcare environment. View full review »
Jose MarianoCampelo
Project Leader Infrastructures Architecture at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
In the next releases of FlexPod, I would like it more integrated with some other HCI solutions. We are currently struggling with what to do for a solution moving forward. We can either continue with FlexPod or go directly to a different HCI solution. We have attended this conference to ask questions and to understand the differences between available products. We have found that FlexPod is already planning to move closer to having more features like NetApp HCI features than we thought, and that would be awesome. View full review »
Justin Wasden
Director of Datacenter with 51-200 employees
As we do much of the Tier-I support ourselves, and thus don't normally need it, there is time wasted in moving up to the next level. View full review »
Network Engineering Manager at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
There are not really any additional features that I could think of that are not available already. As technology is enhanced, that may change. View full review »
Senior Systems Engineer at a government with 201-500 employees
Hyper-V is not as well supported by NetApp and Cisco as VMware is, which is something that should be improved. View full review »
Senior Storage Engineer at U.S. Bancorp
In terms of what needs improvement, nothing jumps out at me. It is meeting our requirements and so I'm pretty happy with the way it is right now. It would be helpful if they sold a pre-boxed option so that you can buy a rack and everything's already there, everything's connected. View full review »
JasonDe Plessis
Platforms Engineer at Logicalis
Possibly the UCS could get a bit better. Other than that, overall I don't necessarily have any sorts of constraints or issues with it. It's done the job that it's been bought to do. View full review »
Senior System Administrator at Bell Canada
If they could reduce some of the complexity at the system manager level for ONTAP. I find it gives a lot of flexibility. You can do as much or as little as you want. But to be able to do as little as you want, you do have to do a lot. So, if they could bring that down to a more manageable effort level, that would be nice and simplify it a bit. View full review »
Team Lead at Grenke Digital gmbh
FlexPod has not decreased the unplanned downtime incidents in our company. There was a problem with the back-end configuration and we had a downtime of three hours. We encounter more downtime on procedural tasks we have to do than on technical tasks. In the next release, I would like to have a better monitoring option in which I can see the full stack and can then decide which steps to take. View full review »
Francis Shin
Solutions Architect at SHI International Corp.
The biggest thing that I would like to see is more cost-effective FlexPod solutions. I would also like to see more available configurations of FlexPods. View full review »
Architect at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
It would be very helpful if the upgrades for Cisco, VMware, and NetApp could be bundled together and performed at the same time. Currently, if I need to upgrade NetApp or VMware then I have to request a service outage. If all three were bundled together then it would be very easy. Every time Cisco introduces a new product like the M3, M4, or M5 blades, I have to build a new cluster because the CPU chipset is different. It cannot be accommodated within the existing cluster, necessitating having to build a new one, which causes me to invest more money. View full review »
Sr Storage Engineer at a wholesaler/distributor with 10,001+ employees
It hasn't saved us CapEx. View full review »
Sr Platform Manager at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
On the NetApp side, there are definitely things to improve in terms of software updates. There are a lot of complex, moving parts, and as each revision comes along they get easier to manage it all, but there are a lot of moving parts. Things are not as simple as they market them. Until you learn how to use them all, it is a bit of a challenge. The more than they can consolidate and drive that administration down, the easier it will come. That is the biggest thing for me. I would like to see more SaaS-based management tools. I think that this is where they are headed with Active IQ and Intersight. A lot of the traditional tools have been on-premise hosted, and that's another thing for us to manage. Essentially, to manage things that we are already managing. So, I'd rather see the SaaS-based tools become the standard. View full review »
Sales Analyst at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
It is not easy to implement. The networking configurations with UCS need improvement. View full review »
Senior Systems Engineer at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
It would be nice to have a simpler setup, and we could achieve that with UCS Central, but just the licensing for that is out of our scope from a cost perspective. The initial learning curve is pretty steep. View full review »
Principal Infrastructure Engineer at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
I would like to see more of a centralized support model because we have all the FlexPod components and we hand build them. So, if we have issues with one particular stack, we're talking to individual vendors, e.g., for UCS, I have to call Cisco, and for storage, I have to call NetApp. View full review »
Technical Consultant at Venn IT solutions
I would like to see a more centralized support model. View full review »
Alex Tsui
Senior Solution Engineer at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
FlexPod is a very mature product. It's a CI product with converged Netapp FAS storage and Stateless UCS compute for modern-day infrastructure. In terms of stability, FlexPod is the best in the industry. Installation with FlexPod is a bit complex, but it can be upgraded easily. I think Flexpod is phasing out, but it is still the right solution. Installation with FlexPod is a bit complex, but it can be upgraded easily. I think Flexpod is phasing out, but it is still the right solution. View full review »
Senior IT Infrastructure Specialist at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
There were a lot of elemental failures, like RAM or blades. Hardware stability needs improvement. We replaced a lot of RAM this past year. We had to replace the complete blade once after extensive troubleshooting. Any given time, we have approximately one blade down within the entire infrastructure, unfortunately. View full review »
Adel Saeed
Sr Network Solution Engineer at InterVision Systems Technologies
There are too many drivers and software combined all together, and we need to have compatibility between all of them. View full review »
Senior Systems Engineer at First Ontario Credit Union
This is an expensive solution. View full review »
IT Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
It hasn't changed the application performance in our company but obviously the new hardware gives it the performance increase. Overall nothing more changed. I would like to have the installation of the top virtualization on its own rather than doing it through the admin. For example, if FlexPod is configured after the configuration of the host, the ESXi is installed also, but it should be part of it rather than doing it as a separate system. View full review »
Darrell Monroe
Infrastructure Engineer at TechnipFMC
The procedure for contacting technical support could be simplified. View full review »
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The FlexPod service and support could be improved. The integration of the different storage equipment could be improved because NetApp is the biggest piece and it seems to be well covered, but not so much on the Cisco side. View full review »
Senior Systems Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
The GPU based VDA solutions could use improvement. View full review »
Director IT at a insurance company with 201-500 employees
I would like to see more storage-related features. This solution has not reduced our capital expenditures. View full review »
System Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
One touch upgrades would be nice. View full review »
CTO at ForceOne
FlexPod can improve with a single control management interface to manage all aspects and components of the solution. View full review »
Thomas Lynch
Network Engineer at DHS USCIS
The graphical interface could be made easier to use and more intuitive. The solution’s ability to manage from edge to core, to cloud, to supporting modern data and compute requirements isn't very good. It manages itself, and it has components to help orchestrate itself across the entire network, which is good. However, not necessarily to the edge. View full review »
IT Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
This solution is very hard to maintain and keep up. It would like the system to have better usability, where somebody who is less of an expert can still perform the basic functions. In general, simplify the system. View full review »
Network Administrator at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Cisco should work closely with other vendors to ensure that their specialized hardware can be integrated. View full review »
Systems Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The solution has not reduced our data center costs. View full review »
Network Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
There are times where we have had issues with technical support. View full review »
Network Engineer at a legal firm with 501-1,000 employees
It would be helpful to have more flexibility for adding other components. It is always better to have more possibilities. View full review »
Mohit Mittal
AGM at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
I would be interested to see more integration with other applications. View full review »
Taylor Brown
Cloud Infrastructure Engineer at Payments Canada
No really good opportunities for product improvement come to mind. For our organization, it does what we need it to do. View full review »
Practice Lead at Bedroc
As a solution, it isn't really very innovative. It could have better support for portals. View full review »
Network Engineer at a government with 10,001+ employees
In the digital future, I would like to see included more code compatibility. The storage should be more mobile. We should be able to move it from place to place. FlexPod needs more support on ML/AI networks. View full review »
Director at HCL Technologies
The main area that this solution has room for improvement is in Cisco support. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
456,495 professionals have used our research since 2012.