FlexPod Room for Improvement

Aaron Hibbard
Senior Systems Engineer at a transportation company with 501-1,000 employees
There are a few nuances. There is always something which bug you. It always seems like we run into the bugs. It is usually just a simple code update or something like that. There is always room for little tweaks and little improvements to make life easier. A few things, the E-Series is stupidly, simple. However, the FAS in it, with all its flexibility and scalability, it is much more complex and could be simplified. We had not upgraded to the most recent release of ONTAP (and some of the other newer tools). The newer version that we are in right now went from an Clustered ONTAP 8.2 to an 8.3. In the 8.3, some of the stuff disappeared. It is there, but it is not intuitive to navigate to, like the IO Statistics, etc. I hear this will be fixed in the next versions, but we have yet to see it. It would be great to see some form of interoperability between the FAS units and the E-Series, specifically for replication, even if it is just one more replication from a FAS to an E-Series. That would be amazing. View full review »
DataCente1bb
Data Center Manager at a consultancy with 5,001-10,000 employees
We have had a bit of struggle on the support side. I am not looking into the next iterations of it yet, because we are still standing up some parts of what we have now. I would like to see the partnership with NetApp and Cisco continue. We have been a NetApp shop for a long time. We have seen partner agreements between NetApp and tech companies fall apart over time. They were with Hitachi for a while, then 3Par for a while, and so on. However, we have a lot vested in Cisco and NetApp now. We would like to see the Flexpod service agreement strengthen as we continue to benefit on the customer side. We like NetApp and Cisco. I do not want to have to figure out how to make either of them work once they have decided to part ways. Therefore, it is important to us that they hold together. View full review »
Darin Zook
Service Delivery Architect at Premiercomm
In terms of a future release, I don't know that there is anything that I would specifically ask for. I'm happy with it and I like to see how they continue to evolve it. As the industry as a whole is moving more toward the simplification of IT, that is something where both Cisco and NetApp could look to improve further. Just simplifying the day to day management, the day to day issues that arise, and building more intuitiveness into the interfaces would help. Especially from our customers' perspective, thinking about it from their shoes, a lot of them are wearing a lot of hats. Having things built into monitoring tools that actually provide suggested workarounds or suggested resolutions; continued improvement there is going to go a long way. View full review »
Matt Banks
Senior Engineer at Energysolutions
Upgrades are always scary because you just don't know. Nobody has six or seven different systems sitting around that you can test on before you go into production data. My complaints are all ticky-tacky, not from a "vision" perspective. If VSC worked properly. It's for disaster recovery. If you have storage networks that are identical across datacenters then it doesn't work for picking off SnapMirrors. That's not a FlexPod thing so much as just a NetApp product thing and they're aware of my issue with that. Some of the things have not been incredibly intuitive, but once I figured them out they work. That's a matter of their engineers think differently than my mind works. For some, that's a Mac versus Windows thing right there. Windows makes perfect sense for some people and Macs make perfect sense for other people and it doesn't mean one's better than the other. It's just some people like different things. One of the things that has been less than intuitive is how UCS views storage when you're implementing something new. Some of the 9X ONTAP stuff is just different. It's not less intuitive, it's just different now, and I think I've actually kind of adapted to that. When it's complex there's no easy way to do it, that's why it's complex. But for the most part, they made pretty complex things rather intuitive, so I'm okay with that. It's just different than my mind would think out of the box. View full review »
Phillip Hice
Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
I usually give everything a nine, because there's potentially something better out there that I haven't come across yet. Nine says there isn't anything better, and I hesitate to give anybody top marks across the board on anything. In terms of the feature set, I can't really think of anything right now. I am looking for changes in architectural and reference designs, which makes more information available to make sure deployments go well. I would like to see improvements in the documentation. I understanding how things are coming together and a lot of that is from the UCS side. I have been working with NetApp and working with fast devices for a while. I have been getting up to speed on the UCS pieces on the FlexPod. Some of those elements were a little bit different than the standard approach and with a new product line for Cisco. It is not just about networking, but also revolves around the compute. Most of that just requires additional documentation and a better explanation of how the management interfaces work. The UCS director is nice, now that we've got an overlying umbrella that can manage multiple pod environments. Other than that, most of the benefits are really more customer driven. I do architecture design and deployments, and I hand off the infrastructure. It goes from there to the customer. View full review »
Casey Riffel
Lead of the Server and Storage Team at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
One of the things that I've wanted would be availability of a health status, similar to Active IQ from my converged platform, on an app. I have dashboards so I can see the health of the system when I'm in the office, but when I'm not in the office I can't. View full review »
ManagerO2057
Manager of Network Services at a legal firm with 501-1,000 employees
Validate designs are hard. They don't validate all of the available options. We don't generally end up in a validated configuration. We did on our initial install when they first rolled out the FlexPod platform. Over time, we've done upgrades, and we don't necessarily fit into a validated design anymore. We would like them to improve the validate designs. It is hard to stay in a supported config with the software and firmware versions of the platform. It's always a concern to ensure things not only work well, but they work at all. If we run into incompatibility inside of the NetApp, Cisco, or VMware versions, it can cause real issues. They should continue to educate and support their Tier 1 support, so we have better, faster resolutions. As the years have gone by, we haven't quite received as good resolution at Tier 1 as we used to. Occasionally, scheduling techs onsite is problematic. There are some gaps in the handoff between the call-in support to on-site support. It would be nice if this was cleaned up, so we didn't have to be quite as involved with verifying techs will be on site or ensuring that techs onsite receive all the information. View full review »
SystemsIc84d
Systems Infrastructure at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
That's pretty tricky, because for what we have and for what we use it for, it's actually pretty perfect, to be quite honest. Even when we brought the finished product to our customer, there were really no complaints. They were happy with just having HA, "Hey, if something goes down, we don't lose services." That was their biggest concern. Outside of that they really don't have any complaints at all. It wouldn't be more FlexPod as a whole, I think for me it would be more NetApp. What I mean by that is, we are a company that likes to do SnapMirrors all over the place, and the customer is always asking when we set up a SnapMirror, "How long does it take or how long do you have left?" And when you've been dealing with NetApp you have to manually do some calculations, make an educated guess. So if there was something like a progress bar for a SnapMirror, so a customer could say, "Hey, what's the percentage?" and I answer, "It's 57%," versus saying, "I think, well, by the size of this volume and the speed of the link..." and that kind of stuff. A progress bar would probably solve all that because they'd like to know, how much more time do we have when we're doing this SnapMirror. I think that would be pretty cool. View full review »
Capacity532c
Capacity Manager at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
There are too many management products: System Insight Manager, Oakum, etc. There are a lot of them and you have to know which one to use at which time. Whereas, with competitors, they have a single pane of glass view which has everything in it. View full review »
Chris Newman
IT Architect at Broncos football club
ACI is coming and we're going be working with that. The ability to get that implemented within the VMware, Net App, and Cisco environments, so we can have a little better mobility between our different sites would be helpful. I think right now, that's probably a little complicated for us. Other than that, we've just recently moved to flash for our VMs and everything is pretty solid for us and it is working well. I am referring to how can we improve our NetApp/Cisco/VMware Flexpod installation. Cisco’s ACI is something we are looking into to see if we create even more flexibility with the networking and security of our Flexpod between our sites and our virtual server infrastructure. View full review »
Mark Reboli
Network/Telecom/IT Security Manager at a university with 201-500 employees
I'd like to see a little more on the provisioning and the replication piece. I've defaulted to Veeam as our vehicle for backup. I'd like to see more insight and more analytics. I'm going to pick on Cisco: Their products are great and they do a great job. But, especially in this day and age with the college dealing with the EU and GDPR and a lot of other issues, I really need the analytics; that's what really helps me to sell me the solution. It's a cost. Whatever I can do from an analytics side that helps me deal with different things, will only help. GDPR and the EU's requirements are more security based, but there are also some data components buried in there regarding how you are handling the data. How are you storing it? For some of those pieces, I really need a good solution. I don't want to say analytics is lacking, I just want more analytics. View full review »
Jason Batt
Senior Data Storage Administrator at Denver Health
At the beginning, there was a little bit of confusion among the support folks on how to open up tickets with the others. There needs to be a little more helping of the partners to make sure that they are able to handle opening tickets with the other vendors. View full review »
SeniorSye569
Senior systems engineer at Redondo beach
I would like to see, perhaps, an interface that's a little more intuitive than the existing one. I think that goes to being more familiarity with other systems. I came from an ICE environment, and it sets you in your ways mentality. When it comes to NetApp, you have to forget about some of the things you've done in the past, in order to kind of get yourself past it. I wish that the interface was perhaps a little more cognizant. There are people coming from environments where ease of use isn't quite there. It almost sounds terrible, but I think that they could probably make everything a little bit easier to use, where the interface was maybe just a hair bit easier to understand and comprehend exactly where you are in the steps. But, again, you're talking to somebody who may be coming at it from being brand new to a storage environment. View full review »
Kent Christiansen
Practice Director at Datalink
It is always improving. We went from the first FlexPods, then to All Flash. We are actually sitting here with Cisco at Cisco Live talking about some of the new features in UCS that are coming out and be integrated. So, there is exciting stuff that we probably can't even talk about. Better ways to make it simpler to operate. If it is easy for you to set up, it doesn't matter if the customer doesn't have to do it, and they are enabling us to provide those seamless services, cloud-like services and cloud-like experiences. A lot of stuff is still happening, even though it is an eight year-old product. View full review »
Brian Foulks
System Engineer at Missile Defense Agency
I would like them to integrate the NVIDIA GRID into the system, so we could easily deploy certain solutions with the FlexPod. View full review »
Aaron Kimball
Solutions Architect at GDT - General Datatech
I would like to see programmability into a SaaS-based offering, as I know Cisco's going in a lot of directions with their Intersight application. I would like to know how that will integrate into converged infrastructure onsite, where it can either be the Intersight application running on the FlexPod or a SaaS-based offering on the cloud. Then, how would they maybe integrate some of the NetApp features into Intersight? This is the next step that I want to see taken with the product. View full review »
CloudEngf0aa
Cloud Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
I would think more cloud integration, a lot more flexibility with adapting to different things. Not saying that it does not already. I'm just trying to see if I could do a lot more things with it, in regards to AWS and Azure. A lot more flow. The mission that NetApp has with the whole fabric, if they can do a lot more with it within the FlexPod, that would be good. They're working on it. Nothing bad to say about it. That's where they're going with it. Not necessarily with, say, with cloud sync, with cloud ONTAP, with the fabric pools and all that. I guess I want to see other customers do a lot more cool stuff with it, so that I can do it. That's pretty much how I do it. We look at other people, see what they've done, proven, and then we say, "Okay. Let's do it. Let them jump off the cliff first before we go." I'm thinking vendor agnostic, right? Where instead of having to build your FlexPod, here's your Cisco, here's your Nexus, here's your storage and all that, maybe Cisco can buy out NetApp and then they just have this one big box. Or the other way around. NetApp buys Cisco and then there's just this one box and everything's right on it. You have this big chassis with blades and you just swap everything out. Technically, you could do that with UCS already. View full review »
Obi Vellore
Senior Project Consultant at DynTek
All the cabling can be scary when you first see it. It looks complex. We want always more speed, capacity, fluidity, and growth that we can easily integrate. View full review »
Steve Utter
Senior Cloud Systems Engineer at Alarm.Com
There are certain things that are just hard to do on a physical infrastructure, like for instance you need to make petabytes of data available at high speed. That's really hard to do in private data centers. I'm not really sure how they could do that without making direct links between them, or something. They can try, but I think really the hardware just needs to get better. I don't know there's a lot they can do about that, other than just let time pass. They already do a great job. There's just certain things that are made better for the cloud as opposed to a private data center, and I'm not sure they can really fix those until the hardware gets better. They're already doing things that I would like, especially on the Cisco side. They needed to do a better job of allowing API access, and they've done that. So has NetApp, actually. There's a lot of services we would like to put through a software manager, and that was a problem like five to six years ago. Nowadays, it's getting a lot better and as they add more to it, it's just getting better every year. View full review »
Brad Mastin
Senior It Analyst at a energy/utilities company
I'm not really sure, to be honest. A lot of what it's doing today is exactly what we need, so I'm focusing on some other things at this point around our database environment and things like that. Everything that I've seen right now from a FlexPod perspective is very good. I think they can always improve, whether it's dedupe or compression, those algorithms; and flash through better SSDs. I guess faster is not really there with an SSD now, but I think anything that makes it smaller, better cooling, less power, those kinds of things. Help in the datacenter. View full review »
Craig Mcdonnell
Director of Integration Services at Charter Communications, Inc.
I would like to see more interoperability within FlexPods. This comes into more of how we grow from multiple domains to a massive domain. That would be fun to see in the future. View full review »
Craig Belics
Senior product manager at Century Link
The CVD process requires additional development and validation from each of the vendors involved, which does not allow us to be at the cutting edge of technology. For instance, I'm currently waiting for the next generation of the FlexPod to come out that has the flash integration. As with any platform, scale is always the biggest thing. I would like to see some improvements in terms of scale especially in the way Netapp handles production SAP workloads. I made a reference to not being able to leverage flash today as an example, an additional example of this would be the fact in the current iteration of the CVD we are following, from the ESX side, we are limited to vSphere 5.5 and from an OS perspective we are limited to RHEL 6.7, and not able to move up to RHEL 7.2. In both cases this is due to the fact it hasn’t been fully validated from the vendor testing in their labs. From a SAP DB/application support standpoint, this limits our ability to provide some of the recent releases of SAP software like HANA 2.0 for instance as it requires the latest RHEL version (7.2) and ESX (6.x) to run in production. While this is in the vendor’s roadmap to wrap up this year, I’m dependent on vendor lab testing as opposed to having our teams certify via our existing Agile methodology to ensure we can always provide the latest and greatest technologies to our customer base. View full review »
Will Bashlor
Manager of IT Services at a comms service provider
There were several different management consoles that we had to deal with: UCS, VMware, and separate ESXi installations. Maybe one interface console where we could manage everything from might be a little easier. View full review »
Derek Van Den Bosch
Admin at Tower International
* Stability * Backward and forward compatibility with bios and firmware This is one of the key features because I can now associate a firmware REV to a given profile which I may need. I might have to have a particular one because the applications won't work with something different. If I can't float that from piece of hardware to piece of hardware, then it defeats the purpose of use. Thus, it is one of its key and unique features. If it defeats that, then it makes your HPE's just as valuable. Also, the interface is a little convoluted. There are some additional features, like being able to name devices. Right now, the first one plugged in is Device 1, then Device 2. So, you have to be very particular on how you build out your environment, because with everything floating around, it's very important for you to know where that device is in a rack if you're dealing with remote hands and eyes. I need to tell someone that they need to go to rack J19, this RU, but I can't tell that by looking through the software. I can put notes, but it'd be really nice to kind of go, "This enclosure is ... " Some grid location in datacenter. So when you go to there, you can quickly understand where it is in the datacenter, therefore being able to rely on remote hands and eyes, because an LED light is just not enough when you're talking about rows and rows of these. View full review »
it_user527280
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
We really like the all-flash arrays and the solid-state drives. We’d really like to see, not so much from NetApp but from our perspective, going more towards the SolidFire and doing some metro clusters with NetApp. View full review »
Tony-Coppin
Solutions Architect
For me, it's the integration with things that are not part of an ONTAP solution. It is simple management platform that I can manage my NetApp from an ONTAP perspective to the E-Series, to a StorageGRID, to a SolidFire environment in one management layout. That would be the one thing I would want the ability to do. View full review »
Conrad Madewell
TSE at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
I look forward to seeing some of the innovations that they come out with for the FlexPod solution. It has been one of those products that I do not criticize it too much. I just look forward to seeing what else is there and the new thing that they are going to come out with. So far, I have been happy with what I have beem seeing. However, for a lot of our customers, the complexity of FlexPod can be a little overwhelming. When I talk to the customers and they stop speaking technically, they start speaking emotionally, that is when I realize, "We need to get back to talking to them about what FlexPod is." It is a term and a partnership. If there is something wrong on the NetApp side. Let us focus on that. I have noticed a lot of customers, they will kick it over the fence. It is FlexPod; it is that mystery animal. The room for improvement is to better present it to those users, so they will not have to be afraid of it. Once they realize, "This is actually a good product." They will turn around on it and stop trying to run away. View full review »
Julie Gutierrez
Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
I would like more orchestration and networking in-between the VMs, the virtualization layer for networking. I would like to see better tools for this. For example, the VM to VM networking needs to be better. View full review »
RajSingh
Senior Storage Engineer at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Compared with other converged solutions, there are better support systems, but you pay for the premium. But outside the support systems, they know what they're doing, and the resolution time is much better, because I've dealt with the other systems as well. Maybe in the future, they could include the HCI solution into the mix. Maybe the newer solutions, like the ONTAP Fabric Pool or ONTAP Select, as well down the line could be added. That would be nice. View full review »
Martin Hoeg
System Engineer at Jones Walker Llp
The CLI part of it is still evolving enough that commands that you expect to do something become deprecated and you want to take their place and you have to keep up with the code base. In this code base you do this, and in this code base you do this, and in this code base you do that. But for the most part its good and, let's be honest, everything changes. Automatic tiering would be good to have. My biggest thing is I would love to see a native SMB or NFS front end to an optic store on the AFF and FAS platforms. Right now you want me to go out and buy a front end for it that creates an optic store on it and gives me the SMB interface. I would love to see that as a native part of the SBM. It doesn't have to be the end all be all; it doesn't have to be this hyper-scale thing but just the fact that I have it, so I can dip my toe in it, and I can get something that kind of works, that would be epic; that is my main thing. The other big annoyance I have with Net App is the fragmentation of all the software. I have SnapManager, I have this, I have that, and they're all slightly different. They all look slightly different. They all come in different VMs. Some are OBAs, some are installed on Windows, some have weird requirements like, "No, no, no, it has to run on this version of Windows." It would be nice to just have all of that in one giant application and then just turn on and off different features based on license keys. That would make things easier. View full review »
Isaac Ojeda
Subject Matter Expert at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
The ability to manage the templates across sites. We would like to easily take out the configuration of one FlexPod and copy it over, just making minor changes. There is a way to do it, but it's clumsy. There is a bit of a learning curve for a new person in understanding FlexPod and going through each of section of making a template for SAN, hardware, networking, etc. The flow isn't very good. The software should be more geared to a top-flow design versus a bottom-up. I would also like them to improve some integration on the HCI part. View full review »
Joseph Wherritt
Network infrastructure manager at Iberia Bank
I don't really have a great answer, other than a more scalable switched environment. That is what the Nexus 9K is going to provide for us. Nothing's perfect, so I guess we had some growing pains early on. Some of it was teaching our staff how to deal with the new technologies, how to use it, and how to troubleshoot it. It wasn't perfect in that sense, but the product itself, it was very good. It was complex to train people in with it. It was a newer technology for our resources, so it did take some time to get them up to speed. View full review »
it_user527184
Solution Architect at Thin Technologies
From its prime competitor, seeing some sort of an architecture around cloud built into the solution would be great, whether that's UCS Director or vRealize Automation, something that's got a validated architecture that's ready to go for that solution would be useful. View full review »
Executivc4c1
Executive Director Of IT at a university
In terms of features for a future release, that's more for my engineers to answer rather than me. For me, right now, no complaints. My big thing is getting the complaints - they come to me - and since we went to this system, we've had no complaints. View full review »
Darin Zook
Service Delivery Architect at Premiercomm
The evolution and the simplicity of IT seem to be this culture shift that we have had in IT over the last few years: the simplification. Many people are out there carrying multiple things on their shoulders. They are basically an engineer wearing a bunch of hats. The continued simplification will be a continued battle and evolution for both Cisco and NetApp, especially on the FlexPod product. View full review »
Niharika Singh
Storage Admin at Tats Consultancy Services
We're not exactly with FlexPod, but we have NFS shares and all. Somehow, if we can dig into the end user who is using that share, and who is populating how much data into that. I don't know, maybe it's already there, but to all the people I've talked with, I haven't heard about it. So if that can be included, that would be good. We have some tools like OCI's and all. So if we can find from there, who is the end person who's using the share - and sometimes they over utilize it - and if you can find out who, to that level, if we can dig down, that'll be good for the administration point of view. The performance could be improved. Because it's over network, I don't know if they have to improve something on the NetApp end, because over the network it slows down when it's compared to the fiber channel network. If they can, that would be wonderful. View full review »
John Barrow
Chief Technologist at Datalink, a division of Insight
I do not have a lot to comment on here. The next evolution of what we are doing is going to be disaster recovery and business continuity between the US and Canada. In six months, I could give you a different answer. View full review »
Tariq Ejaz
Systems Manager at Marcum Technology
I would like to see them reduce the complexity, that would be my number one request. Right now, doing simple things is pretty complex. You have so many options. It might be better if it was more wizard-driven, as opposed to going through five hundred dials. It's not very easy or intuitive. View full review »
Sreenivas H
IT Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
We would like something like a FlexPod Express; we want a smaller version for small offices. At the moment, we have medium and larger offices, plus data centers, but we are also looking for something for smaller offices. A smaller, customizable, express solution, which would fulfill our local, small office needs. I want to use the expansion to its fullest extent, scaling by deploying 10 to 15 virtual missions in a given FlexPod. Right now, all my virtual missions are approximately five or less, which does not appear to be utilizing the product fully. I want to have scalability in any situation, even during major outages. View full review »
SrStorEng65465
Senior Storage Engineer at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
We have experienced issues with patching. When there are Cisco releases, there are some vulnerabilities, i.e., security vulnerabilities. We are as a financial company and need to be on top patching. As a company, we cannot have continuous downtime to do patching, which is a challenge that we have faced. Another issues is that Cisco lists some patching, but NetApp is not certified for it, or vice versa. It's very difficult to keep up-to-date all our levels. Then, we slowly started spinning up our own versions of Cisco separately from NetApp and NetApp separate from Cisco. This has worked well for us. View full review »
Steve Breaz
It Specialist at US EPA
It honestly does everything I need it to do at this point. So for me, for my organization, what we do, I don't need anything else other than for them to keep making it so I can keep buying the newer blades and the newer parts as they come out. The management interface of the UCS part of it is a little bit clunky. It uses Java, so when we're managing it, if I have a computer that doesn't have Java on it or has the wrong version of Java on it, there's some iterations that have to happen to get into the manager of it. That is annoying, albeit really not impactful to the service, it's just my annoyance getting into managing it. But once I'm there it's OK. So if anything, maybe the management is a little bit clunky. View full review »
Parker Harger
Systems Admin with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to see a single upgrade download, so you could download an upgrade that would upgrade the NetApps that would have all the parts. Right now, you have to go and download the VMware upgrade pieces from the Cisco website. You have to download the Cisco stuff from their site, and then download the NetApp stuff from their website. It would be helpful if they had a single download area for the versions that work together. I can't think of anything else to improve. They support all the protocols: SCOE and NFS. View full review »
SeniorSteee7
Senior Storage Engineer at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
The validate designs and overall versatility can be very complex. Because when you try to do automation, there are many bits and pieces tied together. Sometimes, automation gets a little tricky for provisioning. We would like simplicity in the automation. We would also like better management of cases. For example, if you open a FlexPod case, it's not always straightforward. It would be nice to have centralized resource to open FlexPod cases and ease up management of our cases. I would like more support on the next level transition to hybrid cloud. View full review »
Thomas Armentani
Network operations at Marine forces
I don't think we've embraced the current solution fully, so we're I think two OSs behind right now. I probably don't have an answer for that yet until we start getting the new solutions, the new OSs out. I think they're going in the right direction. They have a virtual OS, they have different ways that we could maybe embrace different storage, but they're still maintaining the front-end. They are going forward with it and we just have to start looking at it with a little more detail. View full review »
PaulHolt
Exec director of enterprise it services
I would like to see more scalability and possible cost reductions with the all-flash solution. I would like to see a focus on database optimization on the Intel platform. This could be with Windows, or HANA, or even cache, down the line, something with the Linux cache. I would like to get something that is optimized for those databases. We have two camps now. We have to have a AIX camp and then we have an Intel camp. If we could just have it on the Intel platform, have FlexPod take it all, it would be easier to support. View full review »
Gage Parker
Systems Engineer at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like them to simplify the UCS configuration. I appreciate that they have about a billion options and a million switches that you can mess with, but this creates a lot of confusion sometimes. I feel like you almost need a Master's course to figure out what you're doing with UCS. View full review »
Dan Scullen
Senior Systems Engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton
Make it easier to refresh hardware. We got to the point where we couldn't fix vulnerabilities without refreshing the hardware, then that became a little too expensive for us to do. We would like FlexPod to have in its roadmap: Keeping the hardware refreshed. It should be a little less expensive, not having all of the pieces go end of life at the same time. View full review »
Alok Tripathi
It Managed Services Provider at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
The biggest problem we have seen is, we were using the vStorage which comes with the NetApp environment, a kind of fiber connect. We were missing fibre channel connectivity and we got lots of I/O errors. This is the one big problem we have faced with FlexPod. I would like to see more orchestration tools in FlexPod because we virtually end up with integrating the v-orchestration tool within FlexPod. I would like to see something like that included within FlexPod. We don't see the much DR capability within the FlexPod so for that, we have to maintain our own DR capability with DSRM. View full review »
Steve Cooksey
Senior Systems Architect at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
I'm excited to see the SolidFire FlexPod. I think that's going to bring a lot more business opportunities. I think you're going to be able to scale your workloads inside of it. Just integrated, at a lower cost, I think will be great. The FlexPod, with the UC chassis and the NetApp storage is perfect for us, we had no trouble. The FlexPod SF, the SolidFire, it's just a newer generation. I'm not sure what they could improve on. The SolidFire, I don't think it is going to natively support SnapMirror. It uses its own replication, I think, but I know it's in the roadmap. They're talking by the end of this year, that it will come out. You can have AMP servers, in the FlexPods, you can have it join an ESX cluster. So you have that GUI. I think someday you'll see a single pane of glass for management, that would be the best thing for it. View full review »
Eric Kutyla
Senior Systems Administrator at Bell Canada
They could improve the Cisco technical support. View full review »
Alan-Crouch
Senior IT Manager at Vocera
I would like to see drag and drop connectivity to Azure and Amazon. View full review »
Troy Brick Margelofsky
Solutions Architect Team Lead at CDW
Both NetApp and Cisco need to do improvements in their day-to-day operations management upgrades, and they are working on it. A piece where FlexPod has come up short in the past and an area for them to improve upon: single pane of glass management and single pane of glass upgrade process. It gets a tricky, because there are two different companies and two different partnerships. You do not buy it as a single product; you buy it all at once, and deploy it. View full review »
SeniorSy9c19
Senior Systems engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
I can't think of any improvements, because we're so specialized in our environment. I think maybe going to a full solid state would be beneficial. I don't know how beneficial it would be for us in the power industry, because a lot of our equipment in the field is maybe 20-30 years old. We're interfacing with a lot of older devices. We're using the Fabric Interconnect back to our Nexus chassis, so I don't know if we can go up to 40GB. It's probably just having more speed, but we're limited by our connections out to the field anyway. Speed would be the area where we would like to see room for improvement. View full review »
SeniorSy566a
Senior systems admin
It could always be better. View full review »
ClydeGamboa
Director of technology with 10,001+ employees
It probably already is in the product now, but at the time, we didn't have a really great SSD shelf that you can just plug and play in there. I know it is present today, but that was the only feature we were looking for at the time. There are probably some nuances in how the network and those types of things work. Maybe it could have more templates. Other than that, it's a great product. View full review »
Infrastr4edd
Infrastructure Manager at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees
Performance management: NetApp has some tools that you can purchase to do performance management, or you can go with another vendor and buy a product which does the same thing. It would be nice if there was more of these features with the product, not add-ons. View full review »
SystemsEd439
Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
There's no interface I can go and see that it works properly or sometimes it's hard to explain to people. Right now you're told to just email or call support and say, "We're a FlexPod customer." It would be nice if there was a number to call or an email address. I would like to see more involvement with cloud integrating and to be kept more in the loop and up to date. They don't want to take ownership of their bad firmware levels. I would also like to feel more support. NetApp has been pretty good, for the most part, but Cisco has more work to do. I've had very good experience with NetApp. Instead of having to call three different areas and saying, "I'm a FlexPod customer." It would be nice if it could be just one that gets routed. I know it would require three large companies to work together, but that's what would make this product a ten. They could definitely use with making it more user-friendly. View full review »
Armond Stansel
Director of IT at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
A single pane of glass to manage all of the components. As you know, FlexPod has multiple components from Cisco, to Vmware, to NetApp. I would like to have a single pane of glass from which you could monitor.a View full review »
John Nevis
Scada supervisor at Brook fields renewable power
Right now I can't think of any, because we're so specialized in our environment. I think maybe going to a full solid-state would be beneficial. I don't know how beneficial it would be for us in the power industry, because a lot of our equipment in the field is maybe 20-30 years old. We are interfacing with a lot of older devices. We're using the Fabric Interconnect back to our Nexus chassis, so I don't know if we can go up to 40GB yet. It's probably just added more speed, but we're limited by our connections out to the field anyway. View full review »
Rodrigo Moncao
Storage Engineer Manager at Servix informatics
I would like them to scale more to rack unit servers instead of blade servers. View full review »
DevinChappell
Solution Architect at Charter telecom
There needs to be a discussion around the management plane of things. The driving message has been tied altogether with UCS Director. UCS Director is a great product. It is relatively affordable for what it delivers. However, for a lot of the upper/mid-level market, it is probably a little bit of overkill in terms of the day-to-day administration, and even the initial configuration to get it up and running. If there was more of a condensed version, like offering managed services on top of it, that is how we get around it for some of our more simple-minded customers. If there was some sort of middle of the road approach to management, it would probably be an improvement. View full review »
David_Harrison
Snr Technical Solutions Architect at World Wide Technology
Anything can be improved. As ACI grows and storage grows (and changes), this is how FlexPods can evolve. They can include the new networking and new virtualization of storage and data center interconnectivity with the networking side of it. FlexPods can evolve and grow by connecting pods together. View full review »
ManagerO6505
Manager Of Network Administrator at a K-12 educational company or school with 201-500 employees
We have had some technical issues around the Java UI, but nothing major. View full review »
SeniorIn5f65
Senior Infrastructure Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
With the next solution, if there is a virtual Flex part where we can deploy it to private clouds or in public clouds rather tying up the hardware, it would reduce costs and complexity. Then, we could do a lot more automation. View full review »
Jason Lewin
Infrastructure manager
I really like what it does now. I don't really have any complaints. They plan to give it the ability to add more flash storage in a hybrid shelf. We don't have the need or the capital for an all-flash cache, so we got a hybrid one that's limited to how many flash caches you can have on there. View full review »
Drew Breece
System Analyst at ONEOK, Inc.
They should cram more space in there and find a way to compress things more; dedupe better. View full review »
Mike Rife
Network engineer at Capital one
I guess in time, you could probably use larger processors, and reduce the footprint of the system and increase throughput on it, so we can have higher-end models. I believe we do have the highest-end models. I know we have Enterprise. I think it actually has Enterprise written on the stamp itself. We have a lot of them, which means that they can probably compete with better processors. View full review »
Chris Noel
Network manager
I was looking at the SF, because we were looking at doing some of the SolidFire stuff. Now, with FlexPod, I know we're at the point where it's about time for us to upgrade, so we are looking into that. NetApp is solid. On the storage side of things, of course, it can always be a little simpler, but that's why we were looking at SolidFire, just to take it a little bit more out of needing a storage engineer to be able to do anything. We would like to just make things a little bit easier for our administrators. View full review »
BryantDawson
Datacenter manager at Defenders
Before the ONTAP 9 release, NetApp was cumbersome and not easy to manage. NetApp as improved a lot in terms of simplicity with ONTAP 9. Pure Storage has made a lot of vendors step up their game on the simplicity side. ONTAP 9 has allowed for most tasks to be wizard-based and dashboards are now easy to read. Making improvements to the user-interface and management will help NetApp stay the leader in storage. View full review »
SeniorNe910e
Senior network administrator
I know that there's a lot of features that area already out. We are the DOD, and we are two steps behind. We know of a lot of features that we're excited to move to, but we can't yet. In terms of improvement, I would focus on cost. It can be a little bit expensive. The features are great. We know of things that are in the newer releases, and they will be great once we get access to them. This includes solid state drives that will speed up our connectivity. View full review »
Devin Chappell
Solutions Architect at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
I'd like to see a little bit simpler management pane. Using UCS Director to front everything is good and UCS Director is a good product and it's priced well for what it does, but for a lot of that upper mid-market, it's probably a little bit of overkill for what they need. They just want a nice, simply portal to go through and see what's going on. So if there was something that was middle of the road, it would be well received. 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 »
it_user527259
Director Of IT Infrastructure at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Add more automation into the Cisco UCS firmware upgrade process to make it more streamlined than it is today. View full review »
Mark Caukill
Senior Lecturer at Nelson Marlborough Institute Of Technology
They could improve on the small stuff, like fixing and replacing broken cables. I am looking forward to playing around with the hyper-converged infrastructure, but that'll be on the next upgrade. View full review »
SystemsA52a9
Systems Administrator at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
* We would like FlexPod to have more power, though it is not lacking in power now. * The old design of FlexPod made it difficult to remove old hardware and add new servers. * We would like them to have better features to integrate with the cloud. View full review »
StorageA5733
Storage Administrator at HDR
We would like to have more monitoring and reporting, because today some of the reporting, and if you purchase it separately is expensive. We use OnCommand Unified Manager today, which is great, but we are looking for more of that. View full review »
DavidAdams
Storage Engineer at a financial services firm
Maybe some of the graphical interfaces could be a little more user-friendly from the Cisco side of things. I'm interested to see how the Converged System Manager comes out. It allows you to see all the components in a single graphical interface. Right now, we have to go to a couple different ones to see everything. We can execute scripts in the background against everything, but it would be nice to see a picture. That way we can give that to the executives, and say "Here, check out this cool thing we have." They probably don't understand it all. View full review »
SeniorSy9b41
Senior systems manager at a transportation company with 201-500 employees
It would be nice to have more of a single pane of glass from a management standpoint. As it is now, we can manage the virtual machines and the storage from one, but then we start getting it, okay, now we have to manage another component, we have to go to another area. The third component, we have to go to another one. It would be nice just to have one central management component for the whole FlexPod solution. We also had some issues with some performance initially, under our first system; then once we did an upgrade, we haven't had any issues since. New model would have higher rating. View full review »
Taran Nasseth
Data Center Engineer at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
It does a really good job of what it is marketed to do. It is not as easy as a hyperconverged solution, but you are going to have a hard time finding that anywhere, where you can just plugin and run a deployment app. I do not know if they could make it work with a deployment app, but it was easy enough already, so no improvement is necessary. View full review »
Calin Chiorean
Senior network arcitect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
The price is something that we are still working on. At some point, it's a bit more expensive than the solution that we had before, as far as I know. View full review »
AssocVpacfd
Associate VP at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Our environment does not always require this solution, so we are not reaping the optimal ROI. View full review »
ClientEx81d1
Client Executive at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like NetApp to continue to improve all of the things that they are doing in the cloud. They should continue to invest in it, make it seamless, and easy to deploy. View full review »
Bryon Fowler
Principal Analyst at Muscogee Creek Nation Casinos
I would like to see a little bit more monitoring. OnCommand Unified Manager is great. It just kind of gives you a really good high-level overview. So, I would like to see a little more detail. View full review »
Evan Wheatley
Solution Architect at Charter
I was speaking to some product managers at NetApp yesterday, which is good. There are apparently some new products coming around the whole FlexPod side of things with regards to auditing, to ensure everything is configured correctly. It's basically a "delta" if there have been any changes. It's important to us, from a support perspective, to know if there have been changes and what impact they have actually had. View full review »
Jegan Chinnu
Storage Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
We would like to see a new design that comes with more productivity or graphics. Currently, the vendors, like HPE and Dell EMC along with NetApp, all have very similar products. We want more diversification. View full review »
David-Smith
Group Leader at a consultancy
Easier integration from the beginning, which they have put improvements in as far as setting it up. It was just a large learning curve for us at first. View full review »
Kevin Henderson
Information Security Engineer at a aerospace/defense firm with 10,001+ employees
More flash is going to be the biggest thing for us. We use a lot of SaaS currently, but flash is the way to go. View full review »
SystemsEeff6
Systems Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
If there were going to be any improvements, they should probably be UI improvements, overall. It can get a little kludgy sometimes when trying to figure out what to do. But, other than that, from what I'm using right now, it seems to be okay. There's a learning curve associated with it. View full review »
Cory Zwick
Server Engineer at Amtrust Financials
I know there are other versions of FlexPods beyond what we use. I've only dealt with basically the Cisco NetApp VMware version. I can't think of any other features that I would need. It's always nice if it's cheaper. We've been locked into all this. We could save money and go with HyperV but then you have other issues. There are always things you can do to save money but you have to ask yourself if it's worth it. View full review »
Alex Pop
Network Systems Specialist at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The new one that we are purchasing is going to have solid state drives. So, obviously, more speed is always a good thing. View full review »
Operatio235c
Operations Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
We would like to have faster components. View full review »
Christian Jansen
Technical Operations Manager at Dyncorp
It is hard to think of any additional features. It has everything that we need to reach it in some of the worst circumstances given the limitations on the size of the rack and the stack. The product is very well done. View full review »
Spencer Carson
System Analyst at ONEOK, Inc.
This question doesn't really pertain to me. I know the virtualization guys love the FlexPod, and we do too. It is the visibility into it is nice, and it interacts with our Cisco data center well. View full review »
Virtuali7246
Virtualization Architect at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
They already have some products or interfaces that leverage APIs, like Cisco UCS Director, and this is a good starting point. However, I would like to have something for smaller organizations where they could just plugin configurations, and everything is done for them. They should have an easier user interface to get it up and running. View full review »
StorageA8d03
Storage Administrator at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Usability: It's a little bit convoluted. It'd be nice if they had it pretty straightforward. If it was a straightforward out-of-the-box configuration and could operate out of the box, that would be nice. Ease to work with. View full review »
Darrell Monroe
Infrastructure Engineer at a energy/utilities company
The FlexPod backplane operates at 40GB (at least ours does). Maybe move it up to 100GB and see what the next phase is for a 100GB. View full review »
Sun Hyung Choi
Storage Consultant at Long View Systems
They've just recently announced the SolidFire integration, which I think is pretty cool. We don't have any experience with that yet, but I'd like to see more details come out of that. I don't think any solution is perfect, there are always little squeaky wheels that can be tuned, but the product works very well. It's not a perfect solution because, obviously, it doesn't always fit everybody, there are unique requirements that people have. View full review »
Trevor Choo
Network Engineer at a real estate/law firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to see a better price point. Otherwise, we are pretty much set with the product and the features. View full review »
Mohammad Farhad Hussain
Consultant
I would like to see the data fabric of the entire system because. The government is looking to deploy a government cloud solution. We want a data fabric which needs to be managed, for the entire cloud environment. In this regard, if we use storage on our premises for our cloud infrastructure, along with some other vendor like Azure or AWS. We are wondering how all this data will be synchronized and if we can get a common solution and common input. That is the next challenge, not only for me, but for all of the members of the team. View full review »
SrSysEng0e3f
Senior Systems Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
There have been issues upgrading the firmware. View full review »
SeniorSy4bfc
Senior Systems Architect at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Tighter integration with CISCO. View full review »
Evan Wheatley
Solution Architect at Charter
According to the product managers, there are some new products coming which will address some of our concerns around portability and compliance. View full review »
SeniorSy9b41
Senior systems manager at a transportation company with 201-500 employees
They could improve their technical support team. Unified management would be really nice, having one a single pane of glass to manage everything do with the solution. View full review »
it_user298266
Team Leader – Storage & Security at CoreLogic RP Data
As a point solution, it does absolutely what it should. I'm not sure it needs any more. Make it cheaper. View full review »
Enterpri3e9a
Enterprise systems engineer
I'm happy with the solution as it is. View full review »
NetworkE9bca
Network Engineer III at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
We would like to have a single pane of glass available for it. It is something that the management in the business would like to have. View full review »
ChrisBarnes
Lead Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
I think they are working on it, but I would like to be able to log into a portal and see the end-to-end solution and understand where it stands, from a supportability perspective. Something like that has been there, in one form or another over the years, but I believe that they're working to make it something that's more well-supported going forward. View full review »
Technica3f50
Technical Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to see better operations, a single pane of glass to manage and monitor the entire design across VMware, Cisco, etc. I would also like the upgrade process to be a little smoother. View full review »
ITInfras45bf
It Infrastructure Manager at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Surprise me with something I haven't thought of. Maybe it's out-of-the-box and can configure itself. Something that's beyond the simplicity that I already think is there. Abstract away some of the technical details of setting it up, so you don't need the experience of an engineer to come in and do the work. View full review »
Ola Solaru
Enterprise Solution Architect at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
For the next release, because I know that we are using Pure Storage, what I want to see is the GUI interfaces on this UCS monitor. View full review »
Steven Bellamy
Manager Infrastructure Services at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
We've had a few technical problems, if those weren't present, then it would probably be perfect. View full review »
SeniorSyc704
Senior Systems Administrator at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
We really haven't had any issues or problems out of it. We do feel with the whole FlexPod solution that we were actually sold more than we needed as far as extra parts. We just did a lift in shift of one of our FlexPods to a new datacenter, and instead of using the 5000 series switch, we went straight for the 7000. We didn't really need the 5000 series switches in the first place. View full review »
Krishna Ramanath
Network Engineer at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
We would like more security features. View full review »
Jan Willem Varossieau
Consultant Technical at Vosko
I can't really say anything about improvements right now because we are relatively new to this product. It is implemented for the functionality and it delivers the functionality. Right now, it does everything we want. View full review »
ITManage4154
IT Manager with 201-500 employees
The downside is that the administration is a little bit complex. Also, don't use the NetApp team to implement it. I did so previously, and it was not the best experience of my life. It is a drawback that you need to use the NetApp team to implement it. It's not easy to work with them and not every technical specialist is a specialist. View full review »
Principa76ba
Principal engineer at a media company with 10,001+ employees
I do not like the NetApp licensing fees. They are exorbitant. That could become a turn-off to other companies. There are a lot of other streamlined and better solutions out there for a lower price. View full review »
Bdm690c
Bdm at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
I know about NetApp, not Cisco. So I don't know what's going on in the next release. But for NetApp, I expect with 9.3 coming out, a lot of features, more improvement of the data usage. The memory, that you can enable flash to even increase your performance. So this will SCM. View full review »
SystemsE14a1
Systems engineer lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Perhaps a unified management for all of the elements within the infrastructure, like a console. I would like to see something that is open-source that can be used to manage or compute networking storage in a single panel. I'm sure that something like that exists right now, so that would be a plus. Something that consolidated the deployment of firmware or software, in other words, more of an orchestration tool and that would take care of it all. View full review »
SeniorStce12
Senior Storage Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Currently, the only issue we have is with our backup solution. We have SnapProtect from NetApp as our backup tool. While taking VM backups, SnapProtect’s requirements say that all VMDKs should be on the same datastore, but from the VMware perspective, all VMDKs should be spread out. This is an ambiguity that we have in our environment. View full review »
TeamLead8692
Team Lead at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
One feature we would like to see is SSD with the Cisco UCS Mini already available. Also, integration with the other OEMs. Right now it is their intent that we could integrate with the EMC and the Hitachi, but still there are a few more OEMs out there, customs. View full review »
it_user319338
Director of Innovation at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
At the moment I do not find any functionality that could improve, other than perhaps the automation interface. View full review »
StorageOaa98
Storage Operator at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
I'm currently drowning in features. So maybe a simplification would be better. Fewer features. View full review »
SystemsA3715
Systems Administrator at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
I would like to see synchronous replication and easier automation in the next release. View full review »
ServerArca33
Server Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
When we initially installed it, the automation piece really wasn't available. Maybe in a future release, if automation was built into the product that would be good. View full review »
it_user252573
Information Technology Architect and Business Consultant
FlexPod was born to be used like building-block elements, to create large EDP premises. If used to create a single FlexPod CED, optional operational collaterals (backup, management, etc.) are missing, both in docs and in design. View full review »
it_user318444
Advisory Engineer at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Better integration with other vendors that are involved in the FlexPod solution, like Cisco. View full review »
Principafb5b
Principal Storage Engineer at Digital River
I think it could be a little bit more flexible and if they found a way to implement more of a supported cloud solution to it, I think that could help a lot. Then there's things like AltaVault which, if there was a way to have that as a shipped feature with it, could be useful as well. View full review »
Nashon Kondiwa
PMO Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Compatibility issues with replication. The Oracle table formats were not working and storage replications did not work as well, until we had to introduce other components to make it work. This is a good solution, but only if its on both the DR and DC for replication compatibility. View full review »
Ali Tadir
Managing Partner at Nextgen
* Some of the define features could use improvement. * It needs more power. View full review »
Infrastrc9a6
Infrastructure Architect at a financial services firm
Make it cheaper. View full review »
Abhishek Sarthi
Associate at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
* Support for multiple vendors' hardware * Support for SAN with Cisco 9000 switches * Automated deployment and configuration with respect to CVD View full review »
Aron Campbell
Private Cloud Infrastructure Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Newer platform reference architectures take a long time to harden and be publicly available. View full review »

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