If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering FlexPod, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
Look at the end-to-end solution. Examine what the needs are. The solution is so flexible, and there are so many options. If you plan it well, you can plan a very cost effective cost-effective solution throughout the whole gamut of storage arrays available through NetApp. I would rate it a nine (out of 10) because there is always room for improvement. I can't be perfect. We don't use tiering to public cloud.
I would rate FlexPod as a 10 (out of 10).
I would give it an eight (out of 10). I always think there is room for improvement, especially with technology changing as much as it is.
There have been some improvements on the Cisco UCS side since we began using this solution. In the earlier days, it was more difficult to upgrade, and there was pain involved during the process. That has gotten a lot better over time. My advice to anybody who is researching this type of product is to consider their requirements. If their need is for a dense data center that is scalable, then this would be the choice because it scales easier than any other product I'm aware of. This is a good solution, but our experience hasn't been perfect. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
Definitely consider NetApp. I would rate the product as a 10 out of 10 because it is fantastic.
If configuration, unification, and standardization are the concern and if they are using it with Cisco as a network edge then I think it will be a good solution to go with FlexPod. I would rate it a seven out of ten. Not a ten because a seven means for me that it is more than a five. A 10 would mean that I don't have to do anything else to improve. Improvements could be ESXi installations at vCenter installation and all of that. I have this to do it. It is a solution, but it has stops at a certain point. It is not a complete solution.
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 government entity where we don't have the ability to just find money for things out of thin air, which a lot of commercials and the prices seem to do, we have very, very fixed budgets and so that's a frustrating process to go through. But the NetApp pricing's generally been pretty consistent. We generally have a four year replacement cycle. So the money that we allocate for replacements generally is pretty right on cue for what our capacity needs are.
If you're a Cisco, NetApp or VMware shop then go for it. I would rate FlexPod an eight out of ten. Not a perfect ten because it could use better integration on the network side between UCS and the switching layer. The fact that LACP is not supported on UCS blades isn't so great. It would be nice if it was.
The fact that FlexPod integrates with all major public clouds did not specifically influence our decision to go with it. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
The solutions that validate the designs for major enterprise apps is a nice thing to have because there are many components. For a single person or even for an entire IT department, it will be impossible to correlate software versions, hardware versions, firmware versions, and everything else. It's a huge matrix. The vendor has to provide the compatibility matrix, obviously and has to provide the complete vertical to give those numbers, per each component, for all software, and for the firmware. The customer can't figure it out by themselves. So, and that's the reason for the FlexPod, so they can buy and integrate everything together. We are not on the Cloud yet at all. I would say we'll be looking into it when it's time because I understand this is inevitable. So we understand the push on us into this territory, and I know it is all about the Cloud now. A few years ago it was completely different. Now, it is all Data Fabric Cloud, Azure, and Usenet. The product has decreased the unplanned downtime incidents in our organization. Even the incident I mentioned about the crashing virtual machines was identified and solved in one day. On a scale of one to ten where ten is the best, I would rate FlexPod as a ten. I love it all. I could give it an eleven. My advice to people considering the solution is simple: read the Cisco validated design, remember it, and use it. It is a must to have and must to know, and must to use.
We use Cisco validated designs but we don't do our own designs. Our decision to implement this solution was not influenced by the fact that it integrates with all of the major public clouds. FlexPod gives you the ability to manage the system in a simplified way. It gives you automation capability, which means a lot less manpower to manage it. Power and cooling requirements are lower. The total cost of ownership is lower. Finally, it just gives staff more freedom to do some of the other mundane day-to-day operations. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
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 doing other things like analyzing the data, mixture throughput, things like that when you don't have to worry about the hardware tripping you up. I think the integration improved application performance in our organization. The back end on the FlexPod with the 40 gig connections on the NetApp makes the DB admins life a whole lot easier with a lot less latency for them. And not only that, with the components, we can monitor it and see where they are being affected and then we can fix those issues for them without a lot of back-and-forths. I'm sure the solution has saved the organization money. Because it creates a smaller footprint you do not need as many servers. I don't know offhand how much power and storage and residual costs we saved. But the solution has decreased organization data center costs. The solutions have affected our operations with the opportunity to use things like All-flash, CI, Private and HyperCloud. I'd say that one of the biggest improvements was All-flash. Before we were still using mechanical drives and actually we did on the first generation of FlexPod. We are on our third generation. They did have mechanical drives in the first iteration. So for us to move to all-flash, which we have now, was a really good step up. On a scale of one to ten where ten is the best, I would rank the product against the competition as a ten. My advice to anyone considering this solution is that they really start out looking at their needs depending on the size of the company. The product is kind of expensive even from an entry-level standpoint. I know they have the edge systems for branches, but if you have a small to medium-size business you probably have to have a lot of data to make it worthwhile. I would say FlexPod would be the way to go if you are a larger business or one with large data volume.
Develop a relationship with a partner. Those resources for us have been invaluable. I would probably rate it about an eight (out of 10). That's just because it does meet the needs, but It's not perfect. Nothing is. There are some features or advertisements about what its capabilities are, but when dig into it or you get down the road, it's not exactly what it was advertised as. We are experimenting with the solution’s storage tiering to public cloud right now. We haven't really gotten too far into it, but that's something that we're actually looking to do.
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 easy disaster recovery. It gives us easy modular upgrades and extensions. Basically, everything we need.
Even though this is a fairly new product, it is very appropriate for business solutions, and not just your mom-and-pop shops. It scales rather well, and to me, the big thing is the rolling upgrade scenario as far as when it comes time to lifecycle your equipment. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
We do not use the solution’s storage tiering to the public cloud. We are not using the cloud at all for the moment. My advice for anybody who is implementing this solution is to engage some type of professional services just to set it up if they are unfamiliar with the technology. This is a solution that I recommend, and if you're already familiar with other similar technologies then it is pretty simple to put it together. We do not have the license for NDME yet, and we would like to see how much improvement it is over our current setup. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
Give it a shot. If you are experienced with other types of technologies already, it's pretty simple to put it together. I would rate the solution as an eight (out of 10).
I would rate it a solid eight out of ten. It's not perfect. Everything's already plugged in when you get it out of the box. Obviously there is a bit more configuration involved than a VCE where everything comes in and you're buying a box, essentially. But that's a pretty minor knock on it. It is a really solid solution. The pod flexibility along with the containerization of each pod is very nice.
I would rate the solution as an eight out of 10. I would suggest or recommend FlexPod for deployment if you are moving from a predefined converged infrastructure or validated design architecture. Though, you have to customize it based on your requirements. Right now, do not just jump in. Work with a partner to build out your requirements, then deploy it properly. Our data center is huge, so it has let us reduce some cost, but nothing significant.
I am looking forward to using the cloud enablement that they have been working on. In the last three years, I lost money that was budgeted for capital expenditures, meaning that I have had to give it back because I literally have nothing to buy. We do have operating expenses and we have the capability, but everything that we are doing is moving into Azure, using managed services and software as a service. This means that we've been reducing our hardware footprint significantly. Especially with the efficiencies that NetApp brings, we don't need as much storage space. My advice for anybody researching this solution is to evaluate your workloads. NetApp is definitely the way to go. I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
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.
My advice for anybody who is researching this type of solution is to consider their requirements. If they're looking for an on-premises solution, with everything integrated, then I would recommend FlexPod. This solution is good, but it is not perfect. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
I would rate the solution as an eight (out of 10). There is always room for improvement, but it's the best technology that I have used so far. Genuinely have an understanding of where you want to go. We've had issues before at other companies where people like a hardware. Don't look at the hardware. Instead, look at what you want to do, then work backwards. Right now, all of our needs are currently being met. I know we're going to move towards NVMe with the one data center once we update. However, that is pretty much the newest thing on the radar for me.
It is more complex than just basic storage systems. That's intimidating to some people but it works well for me because I've learned it, I know it, I've been using it for ten years and it's not a big deal to me. But it is intimidating to some people and if you push past that, and just learn it, it is worth it. Especially for the additional tools and the environment it allows you to utilize. I would rate it a nine out of ten. Not a ten because it could always be cheaper, it could always be faster.
The advice that I would give to anybody considering FlexPod would be to just do it. It depends whether you know NetApp or not. If you don't know NetApp, when you get into NetApp it's a bit confusing based on storage, virtual machines and stuff that other storage vendors don't necessarily use. Do a lot of reading and researching. I would rate it a nine out of ten. Not a ten because it's not like it hasn't broken. There have been issues, but it's not major issues.
I used the Gen4 FlexPod at a previous company and we are reselling Gen5 to a couple of other companies. All using 40 gigs. It would be tough to quantify how much is actually saved, but I know it is a significant reduction in the number of cables, number of switches, and number of servers that they have to use. On $1 million billing for materials, I'm guessing they're probably saving at least $25,000 to $30,000. Overall they see a bit of return on investment. We have talked about getting a hundred gig infrastructure so we can incorporate AI or machine learning, but they are not there yet. The efficiency of data protection and data management goes back to leveraging UCS director and UCSM. Just the ability to provision the environments quickly is significant. I would say that FlexPod simplifies IT operations for unifying data management. Our customer is not currently using any cloud right now. I personally have not used any cloud, but I know there are opportunities for some integrations. They are leveraging SnapMirror to replicate all their source data and their production data center over to DR, as well as test development. It is easier than a host-based copy. Keeping all the switching within the FlexPod environment instead of having to go up to the core all the time probably helps out. In terms of switches, cabling, the chassis — being able to fit eight servers in 6U obviously, helps out in terms of data center savings. The advice I would give to people considering this solution is to certainly leverage all the tools and applications that Cisco and NetApp have developed around the FlexPod solution. You could certainly buy things separately and piecemeal it together, but things like the CSA and the solutions support becomes a nightmare. When you get a nice certified FlexPod solution, all the tools come with it. It makes a big difference in the environment and usability. On a scale of one to ten where ten is the best, I would rate FlexPod as a nine or a ten. I love it. Again, there are obviously a lot of new HCI products that are coming out. But in terms of being able to manage it, I think that FlexPod is pretty solid as is.
I would rate it an eight out of ten. An eight because it's very reliable but there are some flaws which you need time to tackle them. There are some things that can be better. Better integration would make it a ten. I would recommend this solution to someone considering it because of the support it comes with and the high-performance. We can scale it up to a level which we will never reach.
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 installing new chassis or upgrades. Upgrades is a really big one. We find that the UCS shells are still quite power intensive. Maybe moving forward to the new releases of the blades that they have in their FlexPod deployment, we might be able to change a couple of blades to one blade because the power is exactly the same. They have the same quality of processing and memory. Right now, we find that it does take up a lot of space and power. Hopefully, in the future, once we do go through the upgrade process, pull out the old blades, and whatever we need to replace, we might do that. I would rate it a nine out of 10. Nothing is perfect. You always have that one percent where you say, "Aw, I wish it was doing this," but at the end of the day, it can't. You're always going to be a bit picky.
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.
I would rate it an eight (out of 10).
I would rate it a nine (out of 10). It is the better way for the customer to has less troubles and problems. You have one configuration and one compliance with two companies, Cisco and NetApp. I think this is the best way to make solutions.
The validated designs for major enterprise apps in our company are very important. It helps us in using a lot of Microsoft applications. FlexPod simplifies infrastructure from edge to core to cloud, and that is one of the main reasons we chose FlexPod. We want our environment to provide for users, power users, and service providers in several ways. That is why we developed this FlexPod solution. The solutions unified support for the entire stack is also very important. We analyze the way the support for our products is utilized. So we need to be with a solution that integrates with support for software along with the storage. Our team is more efficient since we started using the product as it has enabling them to spend time on tasks that drive our business forward. We don't have to spend time matching each resource to its use. The advice I would give to someone at another company who is researching FlexPod is that I would recommend that they go straight with FlexPod and not worry about it. On a scale from one to ten where ten is the best, I would rate FlexPod as a nine-out-of-ten.
I would rate it a nine out of ten.
My advice to someone considering this solution is to go for it. I would rate FlexPod a nine out of ten because this is definitely a huge improvement based on what we saw.
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.
My advice for anybody implementing this solution is to be prepared to learn about the solution. The converge solutions promise a lot of easier management, but there's still a lot of things that they need to know about. There are compromises, so they need to make sure they understand completely what they are getting into. There are definitely some areas where, as a whole, this solution could be better, but it's pretty good. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Using this product makes our life easy. I have learned a lot from this solution. When you touch a new technology, there is another new technology coming in. This resiliency of this solution helps. There is high availability, fault tolerance, disaster recovery, and it is easy to deploy. One of the solutions that we implemented was the joining of two data centers together. We used EVPN-VXLAN, and this was a great solution for them. I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
We have found the solution to be resilient in the way that everything is regarded. The solution reduces the time required to deploy a new application. There's a lot of different ways to deploy. Look into FlexPod because it makes things easier, especially for operations, i.e. to fix things and get things back up and running. On a scale from one to ten, I would rate this product a nine out of ten.
We have a single tenant application. The compute engine power and the cloud resources that we need for the application are more than sufficient with FlexPod. We don't have any issues with performance using the application. For now, it's exactly what we are looking for. Performance is one of the reasons that we went with FlexPod. From CSA, we have some product requirements. FlexPod has been more than enough for us to secure our sites and pass the audits. It's been very helpful. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this product a 10. There are some good products out there. FlexPod is in the top five for sure. Go with the best of breed product, it will make your life easier. I would highly recommend FlexPod.
My advice to anybody considering this product is to give it a close look because it's a great solution. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
This is a stable solution with good technical support. However, there is always room for improvement. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
The biggest lesson that I have learned, working with this solution, is that it's better to go with something that has been vetted, tested, and designed by people with knowledge, as opposed to trying to go on your own. This is why we chose a certified, validated design. This product has all of the big players behind it. Overall it works, and the reliability is top-shelf. I don't know what's better. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
This solution runs all of our mission-critical applications, and the cost benefits to using this solution are very good. It integrates well with other products, and in fact, the biggest lesson that I have learned from this solution is that integration is a good thing. Cisco and NetApp have done a good job. I have been hearing that NetApp will be taken over by Cisco. If this happens, and NetApp is integrated with all of the Cisco solutions, then it would be very good. Currently one of the weak points with Cisco is that they are not a storage company. It was similar in the case of Dell, who took over EMC. Overall, this is definitely a good product. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
I highly recommend this solution. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate this product an 8. Consolidation is possible. FlexPod doesn't compare to other products. Do many tryouts first. Try to just mimic different environments to get a different view of the platform.
This is a very stable product and we have had really good luck with it, so I would recommend it to a colleague at another company. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
The product is an eight out of ten. It's stable and we've had no issues. It is definitely worth considering as a solution depending on your particular needs.
The solution forces us to ACI to make quotas and we will do that. FlexPod supports both traditional and SCN reduced costs. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this product a seven. It's not perfect. I believe that FlexPod is the best solution.
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 with. You cannot break it. And like I said, as long as you have the right people who know the foundations, FlexPod is a very powerful data center foundation. I think one of the greatest things that we like about NetApp is the fabric OS and leverage that proprietary app to be able to make it self-aware of legacy storage, legacy compute, current compute and future compute. One of the cumbersome parts that we discovered is that there are claims that say something can be done, but it takes a lot of testing and trial and error and working with our ISP to ensure that these multi-cloud, multi tendencies and applications living in it all talk to each other. In other words, it's not going to run by itself. It will continue to take a group of highly sophisticated engineers and application folks to be able to make things work. FlexPod was built in collaboration with Cisco when they didn't have their own hyperconverged technology and when NetApp didn't have their own networking technology. The idea behind FlexPod was to build that converged and hyperconverged foundation to support it. The direction Cisco is moving in today leaves the partnership intact on that app for now, but with some of their hyperconverged solutions out there it may not stay that way. Competing HyperFlex technologies are extremely agile today, and if they continue to develop, possible partnerships with the likes of Oracle or Linux or Microsoft may be something to be reckoned with. There are no walls to technology. As long as you code out a certified solution to dynamically support your market strategy, that's all you needed. That's what I really learned from blind spots, and that's the reason why we moved in the direction that we did. Don't look at the price. It is more important to understand where your company is competitively in the market. If you're going FlexPod, it's going to be a journey and that FlexPod isn't going to make you money. But it's going to help you really find your company, or the next level, or the future of where you're going to be in terms of going into a market. You should not buy FlexPod because you want to be cool like other companies. It won't save you money. It is more important that it enables your organization to be more visionary and more technically dynamic.
I would say that it is a rock solid platform, the redundancy is awesome, and ease of management and the upgrade process is smooth and non-disruptive. Data center costs are a little bit more expensive with FlexPod, but you're paying for the redundancy and flexibility. I would rate this as a ten out of ten. It's been a solid solution for us.
My advice for anybody considering this solution is to do their homework. There are a lot of other solutions that do the same thing, but it depends on your use case. This is not the best fit for every situation. Overall, I think that this is a great product, but it is very hard to maintain. I would rate this solution a six out of ten.
It would be nice to have had this years ago when we first started out, instead of a hodgepodge of different storage and compute technologies within our data center. It'd be nice to just have the one and scale it out. I like the validated designs because they're fully baked, but they do take a while when there are upgrades that need to happen, for all the vendors to come together and certify their solutions in a matrix. I would rate FlexPod as a ten out of ten. It's innovative, easy, and reliable.
Know what you're getting into upfront, and make sure to train your staff appropriately before diving in and setting something up and then backfilling on your training. Go in with your eyes open and really understand the solution before you start turning the keys over to users and access. The CBD was very easy to follow. The validated design we followed to the letter, and we haven't had any problems with further integration. It's all gone well. I would give this solution an eight or nine out of ten: a very high score. It's been very stable. We've been running our dev environment off of it for three years now without any real hiccups or outages. The developers are certainly much more empowered and there's a lot less overhead on the networking people. It just works. The biggest lesson for me is probably that there is value in some of the larger marketing items. Not just marketing bullet points, but there are actual truth and experience that can back up what the marketing slides have sold us. It delivered to our expectations, I would say.
I would probably rate the product as a seven out of ten. The amount of time it saved us on the setup, maintaining the system and the fact that we haven't had to do a whole lot of troubleshooting with it makes it valuable. As far as people entertaining the solution, they should go look at their equipment, know what their pain points are and then get in touch with somebody at Cisco. Reach out to an account manager or see a demo. I know when we were first looking at it, an account manager came out to us and brought a systems engineer with him. We had the opportunity to see the solution and they went over the potential benefits in great detail. It was easy for us to see the gain that we would be getting by implementing the product. People need to do their own due diligence in researching new solutions. Exploring other solutions is important to determine which particular solution is the best fit. Once you get the possibilities down to two or three solution sets that may work for you, compare them rigorously before committing. One will probably stand out as the best be it because of budget, features, capabilities or application.
I would rate FlexPod as seven or eight out of ten. It's too early to say anything, but for now, my only concern is the limited integration with applications. The biggest lesson I learned was that from the automation point of view, this should be saving us time. When you’re doing it for the first time it’s not going to be very easy.
On a scale of one to ten, I rate this product as an eight. That is mostly because the cost is comparatively high for what it does. Storage I/O is pretty important for enhancing user experience and utility.
My advice for anybody who is considering this solution depends on what they're going with. If it is the converged infrastructure then the UCS is probably the way to go. If instead, they are going with the hyperconverged infrastructure, then I would suggest going with the HyperFlex solution. The biggest lesson that I have learned from this solution is the ease of actually setting it up and learning it. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
My advice for anybody considering this solution is to get in touch with an account manager at Cisco, then visit and see a demo. I know that when we were first looking at it, an account manager came out and brought a senior engineer with him. They saw the solution and went over it in great detail. It was easy for us to see the gain that we were getting from the product. I think that people still need to do their own due diligence and look at other solutions. Once you get those two or three solution sets and compare them, I think you'll see that this one is probably the best one out there. This solution is right there with leading-edge digital equipment. Overall, this is a good solution. It has saved us time on the setup, as well as maintaining the system, and we haven't had to do a whole lot of troubleshooting with it. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
This is a solution that I see mostly for large enterprises, on the side of cost. Smaller and medium-sized enterprises are usually not interested. Cost is the primary factor behind why I would not give this product a perfect rating. For anybody who is implementing this solution for a customer, my advice is to get what the requirements are in writing. That way, you have yourself covered once you actually buy the product. That's the requirements they gave you and it hasn't expanded beyond that. I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
If you want to have stability, then FlexPod is the easy way to go. Newer products may not be rated highly enough for large enterprise corporations to procure, i.e. it depends largely on the internal regulations in use for data center management. I would rate FlexPod with a 9/10 because this software successfully carried out its mission.
I would recommend NetApp. Organizations are going towards cloud environments. However, as we are doing customers' projects, we do not go for external cloud, we do it on our internal private cloud. Our priority is to respect the customer's data in the internal private cloud. We are using FlexPod with Managed Private Cloud. We are looking towards more advanced HCI deployments now, and we're looking forward to the AI, which will be in concert with Insight. Analytics with AI will be much more beneficial and we are already trying to adopt HCI. We are targeting now towards HCI because it is more converged towards compute, network and storage. We hope to gain more benefit using HCI, as well as AFF.
Know what your use case will be for and figure out whether you are going on-premise or want a hybrid solution. This will change what you need. If you are going to do some hybrid stuff, you may need to decide to create your own software to make the hybrid connection or you can use HCI. This may change the things you want to buy. We are trying to decide if we want to go to a private, hybrid or multi-cloud environment. We don't have any services to deploy VMs yet on the cloud.
It would be so wonderful to incorporate private hybrid and multi-cloud environments. And even rope in some of these cloud providers.
There are a lot option based on your workload. Think about the next five years: How will your business grow? Then, is FlexPod is the right way to go? In addition, what happens when there is a bug identified in one of the layer? Will you need to shut down the whole thing because just you encountered that one thing? Everything is perfect with the validate designs. However, they are not designed for large customers. They are designed for SMBs and small data centers. Multi-cloud environments can work well for some use cases, like expanding data centers. We do not use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud.
It is innovative when it comes to compute storage and networking because they are continuously updating the UCS infrastructure and continuously adding new FAS and AFF units into it. They're continuously updating the Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs), so there's definitely innovation which goes into it, almost on a daily basis. They continue to update the number of CVDs available, so it makes our life a lot easier on the sales delivery side. For on-premise solutions, it allows our customers to be able to move workloads in and out of the cloud. This allows for the hybrid model. It gives on-premise security, but if they have workloads that require cloud-based applications or containerized applications, then they can the capability of moving their workloads into the cloud. So, it's all about application overloading. There is a lot of information on www.flexpod.com. I recommend using that as a starting point. There are CVD links there too.
Try it. Nowadays, they will give you access online to check it out and see how it works. It is innovative because it integrates with different platforms. We have seen an 80 percent increase in application performance. FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud gives us what we need. We don't have any issues with it. We are planning to eventually go to the cloud. So, the multi-cloud capability being there in the future is exciting.
FlexPod is worth consideration. It's not necessarily something that you have to buy as a pod. You can buy the pieces individually, then get it classified. Anybody who is looking to consolidate physical into a virtual environment, it's great for that or any type of private hosting environment. It works really well. The validate designs and overall versatility are some of the reasons that we decided to go with FlexPod. It's all been prevalidated, and we know it will work, which is valuable for us. This solution is innovative when it comes to compute storage and networking. It comes back to the compatibility. Everything working from top to bottom has been great. Also, knowing the technology has been validated makes everything more streamlined. I'm part of the managed services team, and our current FlexPod is a private cloud. However, FlexPod gives you the opportunity to keep it private, but at the same time, you have the ability to go hybrid, making it public. So, it's very versatile. Despite our FlexPod being six to seven years old, it still works to this day. We do face some vulnerability issues that can only be fixed with a hardware refresh. Unfortunately, we went a different direction away from FlexPod. Everything had been great up until we had to do the tech refresh.
If you need to scale, storage and commute independently, then you want to go FlexPod. If you don't have that sort of need and want something simple and easy to throw up and use, despite some of its shortcomings, hyper-converged is probably the way to go. It really depends on how big you are and what you need. Versatility is great. However, in this day and age, it is probably more complex than it needs to be, especially on the Cisco side. I am not a huge Cisco lover. UCS is getting long in the tooth. It's great for what it is, but it is now overly complex compared to other solutions on the market. FlexPod was at one point on the bleeding edge. Now, I think the bleeding edge is hyperconverged, and I know Cisco and NetApp are looking into that independently. We use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud, which is great. I don't love the Cloud. It is a good space for second copy backups and maybe bursting into the cloud depending on what your application workload is like. However, I'm not a lover of the hybrid cloud model, or even going fully into the cloud, unless you are willing to undertake the paradigm of creating your applications and workload for it. Moving your legacy info into the cloud is expensive and a bad move.
It is definitely worth looking into, especially if you have lower-end components that do the exact same thing. It is innovative when it comes to compute, storage, and networking, because there are a lot of the storage efficiencies which allow us to keep a smaller footprint. We are not using FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud. While we don't do cloud yet, we might consider it in the future.
Go for it. Just buy it. It's simple and out-of-the-box. Set it and forget it. I haven't had time to look over the validated designs, but I have seen some in the past. I think that they are very helpful in getting a general idea and configuration guide to different products. Bundled with the right products, multi-cloud environments could be a good asset. With its flexibility, it would allow for movement of workloads into multiple environments, which would be a great benefit.
I would say, "Definitely consult FlexPod." I am saving time in my work and so are my colleagues. I would like to go with the hybrid environment. My tech is built to accommodate any application, independent of the stack where you are, whether it is on on-premise, AWS, Google, or Azure. This way you have ease of moving the application in and back, providing flexibility. However, I would stick with the hybrid as the best way to start with public clouds because of security.
Private cloud is good as long as it justifies the cost of putting your data in public clouds. If you're a financial client, you can't put all your financial data in a public cloud, as per government policies. However, if it's not critical data nor personal data of the customer, then it should be okay to put it on a public cloud as long as it justifies the price.
Trial it. See if you can get a demo to a trial system, then put some big workloads through it and see what performance you get. I like the validate designs. I like the way they are put together and give you an easy building block to configure and set the system up. The one negative is the interoperability matrix. This could cover a more wide range of partners. For example, we have upgraded the whole firmware across the stack, and looking at the matrix, everything looked green. However, something in Oracle would cause us an issue during the upgrade, then we would have to either rollback or sit with support. While support has been good with getting to the bottom of things, it would be nice to have more confidence when we are going into an upgrade that it will work. Today, it looks like the software design solutions will be able to support our move into the cloud much easier than I initially thought. We are only just starting that transformation now, but I see with Data ONTAP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP, it looks like we will be easily moving our data into the cloud and making better use of the compute that is up there rather than having to expand out in our data center. We have four or five weather events every year which cause a huge strain on our systems with customers logging in and working out whether they have power or not, or how long the power outages will last, and whilst that happens, our databases are getting absolutely hammered. Now, historically we've had to build our data center to be able to cope with those big workloads. It's only four or five days a year, so we are effectively wasting money when we don't need to. If we can burst out to the cloud, it would really help. I think it is innovative with this move to the cloud using ONTAP. With the whole NetApp product range being very similar in its look and feel in the cloud as it is on-prem, I feel comfortable that our engineers will be able to spin up and utilize it quite quickly. We don't use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud.
We have saved time with Snapshots, SnapMirrors, and backup and DR capabilities versus other platforms that we have looked at in the past. However, for new deployments, we have not saved, because we don't have any automation on top for deploying VMs or shares. It doesn't really seem to be part of the FlexPod platform. We don't use it for hybrid cloud, multi-cloud environments, or Managed Private Cloud. Everything that we are looking for feature-wise seems to be coming out in ONTAP or VMware releases.
If a colleague was looking at this or similar solutions, I would help them to understand what we've done with it for Epic and the success that we've had. I would share with them the examples of converged support as well as the stability that we've had. They are what has really made this a success story. Regarding private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, I love it. The idea of the state of Fabric. We haven't been able to leverage the public cloud portion of it yet, but the whole vision of the data movement is where we want to stay, so that we're ready for the cloud where we can do that. As for private, we're looking to bring up StorageGRID to be able to offload cold blocks on our AFF. That kind of a feature set is wonderful. We don't use FlexPod for managed private cloud. In terms of FlexPod being innovative when it comes to compute, storage and networking, it stays current. We're not five versions back because we're having to be conformed with other solutions. It seems like NetApp is doing a great job of making sure all their vendors are keeping things up to date. There have been some other than Day One-types of events that it's impossible to really get to. We're not waiting long for things to come up. As for improvement in application performance, we started with an All Flash Epic so we've had really wonderful sub-millisecond latencies from the get-go. We haven't experienced degraded performance.
The idea of validate designs is excellent.
Consider all your business needs. Go through the process and data mine before deciding on a solution. I like the validate designs. The versatility may seem restricting, but you need to be creative of it. You need to find ways to create and get it in. The flexibility is there, but you may have to think a little out of the box for it. Everyone has done private cloud. I see a lot of customers moving towards the hybrid model. Where you could do it in different ways. I've seen people have an infrastructure and service provider, then they realize quickly that it is not the solution for them and want to move back. However, it is not that easy. You have to pay going in and going out, as there is time and effort involved, as well as additional work. However, with FlexPod, it doesn't matter which cloud solution that you pick. You can move any which way. I am just starting a multi-cloud project that does this now. The flexibility of it is amazing. We don't use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud as we are very small. When I get involved in FlexPod project delivery, my life has been easy.
Go for it as a solution. I like the validated designs because we don't have to do more research on it. Research has already been done by trustworthy companies, like Cisco, NetApp, and VMware. They have provided us with the properly designed ones, which is less headache for us. We do not use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud, but maybe in the future.
This flexible is very good for private cloud solutions.
You won't regret it in the end, if you invest in FlexPod. My thoughts on the solution regarding private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environment are that I definitely think hybrid is the future, having a flexible infrastructure. That's where I like the FlexPod, it's more like hyperconverged. It has more layers of flexibility for moving workloads up to and back from the cloud. We currently don't use FlexPod for managed private cloud.
Go for it. It simplifies everything. It gives you a single place to go if you need support or if you need to expand. We don't have a true FlexPod.
Using FlexPod as one product, understand that you are putting yourself in the hands of three of the major technology leaders. You are not only getting a product, an appliance, but you are gaining experience. All these things work together to help you decide for today and tomorrow. If you want something really fast to deploy, you are going to use a Validated Design; everybody's compliance and all that is taken care of. But you can make a FlexPod-like build and you can later go certify it as a FlexPod design. Regarding private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, every solution is here to answer a problem. So the question is: What are the challenges? Based on those you can then use the proper solution. NetApp people usually tell us that the hybrid vision is the best, and I tend to agree with them. In terms of the solution being innovative for compute, it's very useful for the storage engineer. If there is a problem with the host, he can replace the base hardware and put the intelligence right back in the same box. In that way, every type has been kitted out, without anyone having to rebuild anything from scratch.
Take your time. It's no small undertaking to implement a converged platform or to shift to a different one. Typically, when you make the decision on a converged platform, you're making that decision for the next five to seven years. So take your time. Regarding the Validated Designs, I've set up VersaStacks as well as FlexPods and it's just like a recipe book or a cookbook. You follow the steps and it's pretty difficult to mess it up. The Validated Designs are great. They're a great reference guide to go back to if you're troubleshooting an issue later on as well. In terms of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, it's great to see because we have a large presence in Azure already. But it's native Azure. There was no tooling to tie it to our data center. Until now. So shifting things to the cloud volumes from Azure Blob Storage inserts a common framework, we can replicate data between the data centers and the cloud. It's great. As for managing private cloud, we use FlexPod for own internal hosting of our customers' data, so we ourselves operator our own private cloud. It's also innovative when it comes to compute, storage, and networking. You can use any number of Nexus lines, MDS. I've done setups with MDS 5000s. I've worked on systems from version 1 all the way to current, so I've seen quite a few iterations of it. I would rate FlexPod at eight out of ten overall. It's definitely a very complex system. We're definitely not making changes in it daily. There is a little bit of a learning curve for a junior admin.
The solution is trustworthy, and it has proven itself too. You get what you pay for. It's the oldest hyperconverged platform in our industry. There's something to be said for that. The solution works great for multi-cloud environments because you can segment the platform. FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud makes it easier to manage a large number of environments for a company. This makes it a bit more streamlined on management, deployment, and orchestration.
It is a good proof of concept.
It's reliable and scalable. I can sleep well at night and not have to get woken up at three in the morning because something went bump. The solution works. You can't go wrong with the platform. The validate designs and overall versatility are excellent. The people who did them, they did a good job. They were very thorough. The whole entire environment was well thought out, so it could scale up or out. Every component was selected properly. All the configurations for the environment are detailed, so you don't have to do any homework. You just plug it in and run it. We use FlexPod for Managed Private Cloud, and it is excellent. I haven't had any problems with it at all since I've deployed it, and I have continued to scale it out. I don't see it going anywhere. Hybrid cloud is where it is at, and I don't believe everybody can go into public cloud or multi-cloud entirely. I am looking forward to connecting hybrid cloud to my FlexPod environment.
The FlexPod solution is one of the easiest solutions to implement, maintain, and scale.
I would suggest doing a mini FlexPod PoC. That is probably the best way to kick the tires and find out what the product is all about. I have seen an improvement in application performance but I can't attribute that to the UCS or the FlexPod environment because I'm running on an SSD. It doesn't matter if it's FlexPod or not, it'll still run fast. I haven't really dealt with validated designs. I go to Cisco and grab the product line from there and just deploy according to that. I don't really deviate too much from the already-architected solutions. In terms of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, right now we're only doing private. Private is pretty much doing business as usual, nothing different about it. I haven't really looked into how we can take it to the cloud yet. We don't use FlexPod to manage private cloud. As for the solution being innovative when it comes to compute, storage, and networking, when UCS came on first, that technology was innovative. I haven't seen much innovation from them recently. I rate FlexPod at eight out of ten. They still have some room for improvement. As I said, the complexity is still pretty high. If they can get a handle on the complexity part I would give it a nine or ten.
Go with FlexPod as a solution. You shouldn't have any concerns. For our implementation, our customers are just private cloud. They are not going to public or hybrid now, but customers know that they able to do it. We use FlexPod with VMware vCloud. It is great. We use the plugins in VMware and all the validate solutions, which is awesome.
Go with the FlexPod. It's a very easy solution. There are dedicated minds behind it. You will notice an improvement. We save time and money with the solution but I don't know how to quantify them because we only have a few physical servers. Everything has been built into it so we haven't had to buy things. So we're not aware of what it would have cost us, by not going with it, because we went all-in on the FlexPod design. Similarly, regarding application performance improvements, I can't say because we went straight into the system. Regarding thoughts on the solution vis-a-vis private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, unfortunately, we can't move into a cloud other than private. We're starting to investigate how to do it. I don't know how much of a player it's going to be for us, due to our environment. If we deploy it out, it will be used for private cloud, but we don't do so currently. Realistically, I would rate it a nine out of ten. There's always room for improvement.
I would rate it as a nine out of 10, because every product has room for advancement. * It is a mature solution. * It has been pretested. * There is reference architectures for it. * It is easy to use. * It uses the best compute. * It uses the best storage. * It uses the best networking, which all works together in a proven solution.
I rate it as a 10 out of 10. I always have. I feel it is something special and unique. Not only do you get the best with the Cisco platform compute, but then I get NetApp for my storage, and it just works. It is reliable, and it has given me every aspect of what I am looking for to provide to my clients. My team of experts, as they come in and work on it, know that at the end of the day, they get to leave and go home to be with their families. It does not give them problems, and it is consistent beyond compare. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * We look for who the client is or who the vendor is. * What kind of reputation they have. * How they are perceived in the market. * How they treat us, and if they treat us like a partner. NetApp's a partner to us. There are a lot of vendors out there who come in and want to sell you something and leave. NetApp is here for the long haul. They are here to provide service, engage, and make sure that we are part of their community. I find when I have an issue that I can call on my sales rep and my technical rep, and also just reach out directly to NetApp for the support. They are going to be there for me, no matter what time of day or night, whatever is going on. Very rarely do I need it because they are so proactive in everything they do for us.
I would give it an eight or nine out of 10. I am not going to give anybody a 10, because you cannot achieve it. We are very happy with NetApp and Cisco, and our FlexPod solution. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Cisco and NetApp are best of breed. We just fell into this from years of using other products and vendors. At some point, you learn along the way that this company over here does a good job and I have heard good things, and this other company also does a good job. Then, these two companies find each other and you get a great solution.
I rate it as a nine and a half out of 10, because of all the additional visibility and the integration with our equipment, and how well it plays. DR has been tremendously easier. The most important criteria when selecting a vendor: It is a little of everything. Support is key because no network is the same. No protocols running across it are the same. You are going to run into weird issues, and talking to our virtualization guys, they are really happy with support. I see NetApp all the time on our campus.
It is a 10 out of 10 for us. We will go in and talk to a client about all things that they are trying to do, from cloud on. A significant percentage come to the conclusion that they want to run their most important stuff on FlexPod architecture. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: At first, businesses did not select a vendor. They thought, "Why wouldn't I just buy all this stuff myself and figure it out." Initially, five to six years ago, a lot of companies were organized differently. They had a networking team, a server team, and a storage team, which didn't even agree. We had to help them understand the value of coming together. As people start going in and start thinking, "Okay, I need service-like delivery. I need to compete with cloud, if I'm going to deliver an application in my company. How are other people are doing it?" So, they had to start figuring out how to consolidate. FlexPod is a converged infrastructure, and they had to use it. There are a few companies that are still a little disorganized, but most of them, even large companies, have come back and said, "I get it, this is why I need to do this."
I would have to rate it a nine, because 10 would be nirvana, where I would just press Next> Next> Next, then it is done. I know life is not that easy, but maybe someday it will be. As far as the technology that I am looking for, it is still at least two or three points above the next competitor. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: My relationship with NetApp goes back about six or seven years, maybe longer. My account executive was on point to make sure that what we were buying would not just sit on the shelf, and what we were buying was actually being used relevant to best practices. He came in on a quarterly basis with a scorecard and report card that would say, "Are we on point? Are we doing the right things that we should be doing? Are we paying attention to the right things?" That brought up a different sense and perception of what I think an account executive should be. The technical engineer who is supporting them as well facilitated a very successful relationship between NetApp and us. It became a very strategic relationship, almost like a partnership. I value that, and I never relied much on technical support because they were always on point before I needed to make a call outside to them.
I really can't fault them. I can't give them a 10 out of 10, because that seems over-the-top. It is not a revolutionary product, but it is a very good product. I would give it an eight out of 10, because it is easy to deploy, works well, the reps are good, and the support is great. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: The product works. Our vendor team is great. I love our account manager and our tech guy is great. It is a confident feeling.
I would rate it in the upper echelon of an eight or nine. I like the FlexPod product. Primarily going back to the NetApp resiliency, there is no workload that I would not put on the NetApp platform, whether it is the All Flash FAS, the spinning hybrid disk, etc. NetApp is paramount when it comes to high availability and resiliency. Then, on the UCS side, you are taking the leader in networking, bandwidth, and throughput, and basically building that backbone for compute infrastructure. The bandwidth and throughout that you get from it and the changes which we saw in my customer days going from the HPC 7000 series chassis, where we were constantly constrained for throughput and bandwidth. We were seeing 60 to 70 megabit throughput on huge ISO files, and you dump it over into UCS (same NetApp storage on the back-end), and you are seeing 200 to 400 megabits of throughput. It is just unparalleled. So, it is definitely the leader out there.
I would rate it about an eight out of 10. We have been very happy with the product. It has been very successful for us. We have a lot of customers who are thrilled with what we have done. As a VAR, it is easy for us to go through, manage, and maintain. That sort of middle of the road management piece would be a big part of it, and I would like to see more CVDs and more published designs around a multi-hypervisor approach within a single pod. This would be an improvement. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: We work as a VAR and MSP. The most important thing for us is the trust relationship with a vendor. Support and reliability are important, and not to be a stick-in-the-mud, but for the most part, every major vendor has support and reliability now. However, the relationship, being able to go through and build with a vendor, then the trust that you establish with a vendor for us is the most critical thing.
I would rate it close to a nine or 10, because of what the product looks like, the validated designs which are out there, and the support behind it. It's a great product. That is why we sell it. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: A combination of everything from best of breed, support, and if other customers who have used it have had good experiences with it.
I would give it a nine out of 10, simply because it has helped us change the way we do business: From being a receive, integrate, box up, ship out, unbox, and rerack. It has been fantastic and changed our business model. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: It is all of it. * Support * Reliability * Flexibility to adapt on the fly when we need to modify and install, then support certain circumstances. * Meet the needs which were not outlined in the original project. FlexPod has been fantastic.
I would rate it as a nine out of 10, because I rarely rate anything as a perfect. It does have issues. We have had bugs which have been released, even though they have been minor. As far as the configuration (going back to configuration issues), on the UCS side, sometimes it is difficult to set up. However, once you get it set up, it is easy to add additional compute to it.
Definitely go with FlexPod. It's a great solution, especially with - I keep bringing up NetApp - but NetApp is a great company to work with. They really take the lead. I think it's worthwhile. You'll take your server farm from 200, or however many you have, condense it into one virtual environment, with the backing of Cisco, with the backing of NetApp. I think it's a perfect solution. I would rate FlexPod a 10 out of 10, absolutely. The best.
My advice is to read the design guides, that is the most important thing. Also, work with an integrator wherever possible. I rate FlexPod an eight out of 10. If there was a simpler management pane, maybe a little bit more flexibility in terms of multiple hypervisors in a single deployment, I would rate it higher. But aside from those issues, we're very happy.
My advice is to reach out to people who have used it. It's a good solution and the proof is from the users who use it. I would rate it a nine, close to a 10 out of 10. The support is great. It's a validated solution. It's the best-of-breed of all the products that are in the FlexPod as well. It's just a great solution for us.
It doesn't really get simpler than the setup that we had, and the maintenance that we have had. I would tell colleagues that NetApp is the way to go.
The hardware has been rock solid so far. It has gone up easy. It runs well. We have not had issues with it. Pay attention to what you need upfront as you are building it. Know the workload that you are trying to solve with it. Make sure you are buying for performance, not just capacity. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: It is important that they care about the business that we do after sale. It is one thing to get a quote, obtain the parts, and make sure you have all the right things upfront. Your business is going to change the next day, especially for a business like us. We are in a multi-customer type of environment where somebody will have a new bright idea tomorrow. Therefore, we need to be adaptable. It is important to have a partnership with the people that we purchase from. Thus, ongoing modifications can continue to be part of the conversation, not just, "I sold you something. Let me know when it is time to renew your contract."
I would advise doing a proof of concept, see it first. Overall, I would rate FlexPod an eight out of 10. It's fast, solid, and it keeps improving, adding new features. The support is very good. There have even been times we didn't realize there was an issue and we have automatically received a replacement; all through "call home."
It's good, it's a very nice product. Very scalable.
Our primary criteria when selecting a vendor are to get support, a good solution, one that our customers are happy with. My advice would be, try it, buy it, see what you can do with it and get some experience with it. With that experience, you can better sell it to the customer.
It has a lot of big partner resources, which are consistently behind it, such as thousands of engineering hours and new CBDs coming out every year. It has both proven infrastructure which has been running for the eight-plus years, as well as being innovative. Every time Cisco comes out with a new Blade, Fabric Interconnects, or new switches, or NetApp comes out with new arrays, they are being integrated into the product that year as well as being integrated into the rest of the data conference suite. From that perspective, you are not really inventing anything; you are taking proven things and implementing them in a particularly efficient manner.
In terms of advice, I can only tell you about FlexPod, I don't have any other solution. I would say definitely go for it.
Do your research. It's good for our business case but maybe it doesn't fit your particular business needs, or maybe there's a better solution out there. In our circumstance, it fit our needs and has performed as advertised.
I rate FlexPod a seven out of 10. The reason behind that is, there is a lot of value in FlexPod, and FlexPod is incorporating a lot of the newer technologies, like ACI, into the design, rather than just keeping it an xOS, as an example.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: flexibility and licensing costs.
* Read the white paper solution online about the product. * Engage with the engineers. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Relationship is the key, so they respond better. We may need an onsite engineer to come and do an evaluation for us.
My top criteria when selecting a vendor are that they are easy to work with and have knowledgeable engineers on the other side. When I have questions, I want to be able to get them answered easily. Make sure to have FlexPod on the list. If you're looking at HPE or Dell EMC, put NetApp in there and take a look at them.
When considering a solution, look at it in total from purchase. Then, look at what is going on five years down the road. Do a comparison of expansion, ease of expansion, and everything else. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: reliability. We receive this now from the FlexPod solution.
It is a good solution compared to other products. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: It depends on the device - How much it carries, what the security is, etc.
Overall, as an entire package, it has everything that we need and support is very helpful when needed. It is still installed and working today problem free. Look at your needs and what you are looking to do. See what fits your needs better. There is not one solution or company that will be a fit all. The most important criteria when selecting a vendor: We look at everything as a whole package. As far as support, how long its been out on the market and what they offer. Support is probably the biggest, but for whatever product that we buy from a vendor, it needs to be solidified for a while and tested out on the market, aka tried-and-true.
Make sure you have your NetApp support up-to-date. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: reliability, support, and value for money.
Go through all the training, and make sure you understand all the systems. It is very different than a lot of the other systems. There are intricacies which are important to understand, especially with the duplication providers. Therefore, understanding all the challenges around it is important for long-term support. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: A vendor who cares about us as a customer. A vendor who is able to work through every issue, regardless of who is at fault, and solve the problem.
Our most important criteria when working with or selecting a vendor include their maturity in the market, their customer satisfaction, their NPS score, and their ability to be flexible as a partner to us I rate FlexPod highly because it was the first converged solution that was supported by all of the vendors at the same time, which is as flexible as it is, from a scalability and supportability perspective. My advice is to make sure you understand the business requirements and size it appropriately.
This is the best hyperconverged infrastructure. No need to be worried (or scared) on how these three solutions will sit in a box. Everything is prepackaged and rebuilt. It is seamless when you want to install or ship it. No complaints. Most important criteria when working with a vendor: We were concerned how these three partners, NetApp, Cisco, and VMware, would come together for network, storage, and compute. At the beginning, we were a little concerned. It has been four years now with no issues, and it is going well.
Do not be afraid of it. Roll your sleeves up, and get into it, as it is not that hard. Speak the language, and if you don't, call somebody.
We purchased through CDW. They were knowledgeable about the solution. They won the bid. It was very simple with us. We sent it out for a bid and they came back with the lowest cost on the response. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Cost is always important, but it is not our base. We look at performance, availability, overall usability, and simplicity.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Ease of use. * Support: Getting support from a gigantic organization that is ancient, like IBM, was a real challenge. We had some weird bugs that cropped up with IBM and their software which is developed for array replication, in conjunction with VMware. We do not have these issues with NetApp. It just works. Support and supportability are very high.
In terms of maintaining the same level of guidance, had we been working with one vendor as opposed to two vendors at the same time, they both have their own individual best practices and there are a lot of best practices out there. There isn't necessarily one that's really the best. I think that there is enough crossover between them that I don't know that it really makes a big difference. I rate FlexPod at eight out of 10 because there is always room for improvement, although there is nothing off the top of my head that I can specifically call out. Going back to the simplification of IT, everybody can always do more to really simplify things because we live at a time where so much of what we do is "a little bit of everything." As we go through the continued evolution there, that is really the biggest area that both NetApp and Cisco could really improve: to simplify management, to simplify the monitoring, and the maintenance. Also, bringing down that cost of entry as well and keeping the costs lower would help to us get it into more small to midsize businesses. FlexPod Express is a great product, but continue to bring down that cost of entry. My advice is "do it." It meets the needs of small to midsize business all the way up to the large enterprise that needs to scale in a massive fashion. It's a great product, it's a great solution, and we're really happy with it.
I have run four FlexPod environments, and they have all been phenomenal. They have all worked until you had to turn them off. That is why I like them. I can't imagine anybody not doing this today. But if nobody was doing this today, I would definitely push them to do it. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Reputability. They have to have a good name. That is the big. * Speed to deploy and getting the purchasing paperwork correct the first time: These are important things in our environment, because they just add to delays.
It is always best to test it, whether in a DevOps environment or do a demo, before actually going fully live. You need to make sure it behaves right in a new environment, because there is no environment that is exactly same as another. It might work on my environment, then you try it on yours and it does not work, then you will blame the product. However, the issue might not be with the product, it might be something else. So, it is very important to make sure that you test it, you do a POC on your environment, and watch its behavior. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: It is a partnership, more than a transactional relationship. You often find if you work for a massive, FMCG company, like AB InBev, that you will not find all the feature sets that you require as off the table products. What I want to see: * When you engage your customer and say, "This is what you are trying to go through. This is the direction we are trying to go through." * Often our customers want required feature sets, which will help our business going forward as well as keeping the vendor fulling aligned.
It is a complete solution.
Cisco NetApp products are a pretty die-hard.
I've recommended Flexpod a few times. Every one of them has been extremely happy with it. It's a solid workhorse, especially in shops like mine where we're in the small to mid-range and I don't have the people to sit there and just babysit something. I have too many things for them to do. This product is really good. I don't want to say it's a set-it-and-forget-it, but the daily, hands-on is so light. The visibility - even though I pick on the analytics - is decent. I can get my guys to manage it, but it also frees them up so I can get them working on other things, which is critical in this day and age.
I would rate FlexPod as a seven out of 10 because it has gone through a long journey in our organization and we have had pretty good support. The FlexPod environment still exists and, according to the roadmap, it will go to 2020. In terms of advice, this is all about converged and hyper-converged. If you are looking to convert your environment, then I would definitely suggest going with the FlexPod.