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FlexPod is #1 ranked solution in top Converged Infrastructure tools. PeerSpot users give FlexPod an average rating of 8 out of 10. FlexPod is most commonly compared to Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series: FlexPod vs Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series. FlexPod is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 73% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 27% of all views.
FlexPod Buyer's Guide

Download the FlexPod Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is FlexPod?

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

FlexPod Customers

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

FlexPod Video

FlexPod Pricing Advice

What users are saying about FlexPod pricing:
  • "In terms of the cost, the last bill I saw was about $3.5 million, from the latest contract. That might have been for a five-year contract."
  • "It's expensive, but when you pay for enterprise support and enterprise products, you have to pay the big bucks."
  • FlexPod Reviews

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    Adriano-Simao - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT System Integrator at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    The flexibility, operational efficiency, and scalability of the solution are good
    Pros and Cons
    • "It reduced the total cost of ownership."
    • "They need to improve the user interface to make it easier to work in this environment. The older version is poor."

    What is our primary use case?

    We started to move from rack-mounted servers and we needed to make a virtualized environment. One of the requirements for virtualizing all our bare metal infrastructure was to move to a solution with components such as VMware and central storage. We started to look for the environments and were seeking out which was the best version with the possible solution that was in the market and we found NetApp FlexPod, one of the most flexible and easy to use, ready-to-market solutions. We chose NetApp FlexPod due to its flexibility and ease.

    What is most valuable?

    The solution is flexible. It's very easy to implement together with the Cisco UTF firewall. We have a computing environment based on the Cisco UTF firewall for computing. The storage we have is the NetApp 3200 series. The virtualized technology is VMware. Together, these three components are very easy and flexible to implement. I am not familiar with the new technology from NetApp, and therefore am unsure of the latest in terms of FlexPod's native integration with hyper-scalers. Most of the solutions that run now, run on top of the FAS drive or FAC drive. This will improve more and will gain a new level of performance for the new kinds of solutions and technology that are coming out. We still use FlexPod as a parallel environment. It is a very nice technology. We don't have any pains with this environment yet. That's why we still run this in parallel as we didn't finish the switchover to the new technology. We use FlexPod's pre-validated architectures. At the time that we designed the solution, it was based on pre-validated architecture, and we had support from the company that we worked with in order to re-validate the solution. With this integration, we needed some support from a specialized technician. Since we used pre-validated architecture, it was simple to improve. We were able to download and implement this solution with no effort. We did this ourselves. We feel confident that we did something that is custom. The time to market is also fast with pre-validated architecture. We know that if we follow the rules we will get business as soon as possible. The flexibility, operational efficiency, and scalability of the solution altogether are good. We have two main sites. With this user-friendly environment, we can make both sites replicate each other. When we talk about business continuity, it's easy. We can take the key indicators and our implementation is ready and works as we need it to. There’s also flexibility to scale in. We ran out of capacity after five years and we could scale it in within one or two months and get back to business with confidence. The solution has helped shift capital and resources to other IT initiatives or projects that had previously taken a backseat due to budget constraints. This is not due to the supplier. Rather, it's due to the kind of organization that we are. We are a nonprofit organization. What can we do is create a government license that provides us with designated suppliers, in this case, NetApp. A special government license can be created with a low price or some other agreement in order to reduce the budget. The solution helped reduce troubleshooting time on architecture configurations. It's very easy to understand that we follow a pre-validated design when we have good implementation. It's very easy to solve any issues that may arise. We only have to compare what happened before to what happens now and what has changed during that period. Of course, if this is beyond our skills, it's very easy to ask for support to help. It is difficult to say how much time was saved as we didn't face any outage problems. We didn't face any downtime problems throughout the years. Compared to what we had before, it was not a centralized storage environment. Centralizing changed a lot as we came from a decentralized storage environment to a centralized storage environment and we used a converged technology in this environment. On one technology, it can run on a schedule, it can run cyber channels and it can run any kind of block operation protocols or even file operation protocols for storing the files or the data. When you are in this kind of environment, you reduce a lot. It's one environment where you can do three or four connections to the storage. Then, you can use any kind of environment with the same solution. We also reduced our total cost of ownership and simplified operations with the solution's flexible consumption. This is a bundle which is made of three environments, the virtualization and the computing nodes we used with Cisco and the centralized storage with the NetApp, this reduced a lot of space. It reduced the total cost of ownership. It comes from a different platform and different architecture, and one needs to have more than three or four skills to support their environment. With the bundled environment, we only need one. It's very easy to support this kind of situation. It would be quite difficult to understand the amount of money saved. As a government organization, we use our partners. Most of the time, when we implement change for new technology, we need to coordinate as people are not adept to change easily. They need to be trained. This is another cost we have to account for and pay for. With this product, however, we had no difficulty in maintaining the same team. They transferred over from the old environment to the new one. We saved right there. I ran two data centers. Each data center had no less than one hundred rack-mounted servers. When we consolidated, we reduced our support costs, space costs, and energy consumption costs. Money is saved across all those variables.

    What needs improvement?

    The big problem now is that all of the technology is reaching its end of life and we didn't refresh anything at the right moment. Now, we are moving to a new solution. During these 10 years, it was very nice to work with NetApp, Cisco, and VMware together, especially with NetApp storage. We didn't have any problems during this time. I could count only three or four times that we asked for support and this was only to change hard drives that were blocking something. It's been issue-free. NetApp needs to improve the user interface to make it easier to work in this environment. The older version is poor. However, I'm not sure what they are doing to upgrade the look and feel of the newer version. NetApp needs to talk to the clients and see what the clients want out of the cloud solutions in order to move more effectively into the cloud environment. It would be ideal if customers could go to a dashboard. They need to sell not only the infrastructure but also the service and both need to be impressive. That's why NetApp should talk to clients as much as possible. The closer they are to them, the more understanding they will have in terms of what a customer wants.  If the solution offered more workshops and presentations, it could be helpful to lure clients.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using the solution since 2010.
    Buyer's Guide
    FlexPod
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about FlexPod. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,229 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    How are customer service and support?

    It's quite difficult to understand the tech support in this kind of environment. The three components that make up this bundle that we created in 2010, composed of VMware, Cisco, and NetApp, make it quite difficult. I cannot understand what kind of error it is if I don't understand where it comes from. I need to figure out if this is a VMware, Cisco, or NetApp problem. I suggest creating a team inside NetApp, Cisco, or maybe VMware, and this team should have the skills to support the companies that support this kind of solution. This will be good as you will reduce the amount of time that you need to solve the problems. Right now, when we call NetApp, NetApp support does not understand what the solution needs and calls Cisco to ask for support. There needs to be some sort of contract or strategy that is better for the client, where the three are integrated together. That being said, I've never had problems with NetApp, even in these situations. I know a tech professional who was able to guide me through the support process. The contact that I had with NetApp had information that can be found in the web guide. I never had any issues when I needed to get support from NetApp during this period. I've been mostly very happy with them.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We're transitioning to another solution right now. The main problem is that we don't have support anymore from NetApp due to the fact that the solutions we designed are end-of-life. We need to design a new solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    The solution is very easy to implement. 

    What other advice do I have?

    We started with ONTAP, version 7.0. We have NetApp’s 3200 storage series and that is what we use now. It's still version 7.0, with the live firmware. We are a government company. When we design a new solution, we cannot point to the technology that we want to use. It's against the government's rules. We need to design a general solution with the main points that we want to cover, and the main points that we want to remain. We will sometimes have to choose between several technologies and several offers that we find on the market. That's why most of the time it's difficult to keep the same technology for long. I'd rate the solution ten out of ten. It is a very flexible solution. Its support, usability, and even the scalability of it has been great.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    FlexPod Architect
    Real User
    Great for mission-critical workloads, very resilient, and reduces data center costs
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution's granular scalability and broad application support helps us to meet the needs of diverse workloads."
    • "We’ve seen an improvement in application performance."
    • "Since 2018 or 2019, maybe due to COVID and the chipsets, my DIMMs are dying left and right."

    How has it helped my organization?

    The way FlexPod has set up our servers has helped our organization. Their OS is on Netapp.

    We’ve seen an improvement in application performance. I don't know the percentage off the top of my head, however, after migrating a lot of data from physical servers to virtual servers and putting them on there, it's just amazing.

    It increased staff productivity. I was running most of the locations alone. With this solution, I was able to help take care of other problems instead. We ran it and didn't have any problems.

    The solution streamlines our IT admin. For the most part, once I get the system set up and put in, adding the VLAN is very easy. Then, users are just adding in VMs. It goes smoothly. I just had to set the solution up and let it run.

    What is most valuable?

    Regarding the solution's private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, it works well if the communication stays up. The solution’s infrastructure enables us to run demanding and mission-critical workloads.

    The solution's ability to manage from edge to core, to cloud, and support their data and computer requirements is pretty good.

    The solution is innovative when it comes to computing, storage, and networking. Once it comes together, it's pretty easy to manage. The only action I’ve got to really do is manage everything from my cores or from my distributed switches.

    The solution's granular scalability and broad application support helps us meet the needs of diverse workloads. For instance, two years ago, I had a client that was in a building. They had seventeen floors, and I was able to diverse each one of the floors, which were different companies inside FlexPod, and manage it using VCF or VMware. They had their own clusters and it was easy to manage.

    This solution is very resilient. For the most part, since about 2018, my servers have had no problems. I still have servers that have been up for years without any issues.

    The solution reduces the time required to deploy a new application in some ways. UCS itself is just a hardware platform. VMware is actually where that question is more tied to. 

    The solution reduced data center costs. At one of my locations, we had about twenty-four racks full of physical servers. I ended up migrating everything to virtual platforms and putting it inside. It was a decrease of 68% in the total cost of energy. That included the A/C units always running and the power being used for the servers themselves. 

    The solution has saved us money. I wouldn't even know how much precisely. I would say $100,000, however, that's likely really low.

    What needs improvement?

    I have seventy-six B200 servers. If a server goes down, I have a lot of problems. I’ve also been having random DIMM errors. 

    Their DIMMs have been terrible recently. This is a new product that I got about a year ago. My DIMMs are dying left and right and server blades are not being able to function. However, with that being said, when those go down, I have a set of spares that I can put in, and everything works without a hitch, with no problem.

    I've had problems with the remote data centers going down due to the connection dropping, and they were not aware that the communication is down. When a link went down previously, the systems didn't know. It then fixed itself. As long as the connections stay up, it works. If the connection fails, it won't.

    In my experience with the validated designs, I've always had to go inside and adjust them. I understand that some of them are a base, however, some customers believe that they are 100% proof, and they try to implement it. Then I get called in to correct the errors and correct some of the layouts to include some of the newer features.

    Since 2018 or 2019, maybe due to COVID and the chipsets, my DIMMs are dying left and right. That's the only problem I have. My boards are fine. The servers are working fine. 

    A feature I would like to have in the next release is an application desktop that talks to it, so I don't have to go to the web GUI as much. Besides that,  it's pretty bulletproof. I use UCS over HP and Dell, nine times out of ten.

    I'd like to see a little bit more versatility with the C220s and the C240s, to see the expansion ports on those servers grow. Besides that, everything has been pretty amazing.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using the solution since 2012.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In the past, stability was 100%. Recently, it's been terrible due to the DIMMs.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's greatly scalable. It just relies on what FIs you have for your interconnects.

    How are customer service and support?

    In terms of support, I call in when there's a bug. I’ve had problems with the memory as well. I had a server that was DOA, and it came down to the fact that we didn't even know what the problem was. That took almost a year to resolve. Then, with the DIMMs, it's taken me about two months due to the testing they want to do. That said, in 2018 it was phenomenal.

    Technical support needs a little bit of work when it comes to hardware. In terms of software, they're not too bad.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Neutral

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I used HP and Dell. I was having a lot of problems with HP and Dell was getting expensive. I had a little extra cash to buy the UCS when it first came out. There was a little bit of a learning curve, however, once I got that down, it worked well. I'm a big supporter of Cisco.

    How was the initial setup?

    Currently, we're using the 4.2.1 with M5 servers, B200 M5s. This is my third one, as far as the firmware updates, and driver push-outs.

    The initial requirements for getting it up and running are very complex. There's a lot of note keying, and all of that had to come into play. We had to have a good foundation of server networking. It's not something anyone can just throw a user into and say, "Here's a gear," and set it up.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen an ROI.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    In terms of the cost, the last bill I saw was about $3.5 million from the latest contract. That might have been for a five-year contract. That was with the licensing for the ports for the FIs, along with the tax support and the software assurance with Cisco tech.

    What other advice do I have?

    We have not used the solution to integrate advanced cloud services. I’m working on a VCF project currently. I have not used Intersight, Active IQ, or CSA yet. That's actually on my to-do list for my current project.

    At this point in time, we do not use this solution to power any AI machine learning applications.

    UCS is more network-driven than it is server-driven, which is what Dell and HP, drive on. Once we set up the basic server parts, the rest of it is network base. It is a mind changer. When I handed it off to server admins, they were worried about a lot of issues that they used to deal with on a Dell, HP, or even IBM. They don't have to worry about that with the UCS.

    I'd advise new users to understand where they’re putting their ports and know which ones are going to be fiber channel ports, FIs, and make sure they have a distributed switch and are not connected directly to the core switches, the 7Ks or 9Ks. I've seen people take down their whole environment when somebody added a VLAN or added a network for the UCS network that was already on the core. It took the whole thing down.

    I'd rate the solution ten out of ten. If the DIMM problems were removed, by far the solution deserves a perfect ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Buyer's Guide
    FlexPod
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about FlexPod. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,229 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Neil Bembridge - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT Infrastructure Manager at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Interoperability among the vendors' devices is a key for us, along with the ability to call one vendor for support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution’s validated designs for major enterprise apps are also extremely important in our organization. We don't always have time to research products and solutions ourselves. By going with a validated design, we're assured that it's the latest and greatest. It's supported by the three major vendors that we deal with."
    • "I'd like them to bring back the GUI for NetApp ONTAP. They changed the interface in version 9.8, and it's not great. In 9.9 they've tried to bring it back a little bit, but it's still not great."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have high-IO SQL workloads. We have over 200 SQL Servers for our flagship platform so we definitely need compute, storage, network, all of that in one, that's going to perform under pressure.

    We're using AFF A700s, which at the time we got them, were the latest and greatest of all-flash storage. The Cisco UCS portion that we're using are M5s and M4s. They were top of the line when they were released, as well. 

    We're looking for low-latency and high-compute, and that's what FlexPod gives us.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have an overnight production run. We take a bunch of files from some of our clients and mash them around and throw them into the databases, and then processes them in SQL. We've been able to reduce that run-time, just by upgrading the UCS portion, by 20 percent in the past year.

    We've implemented a lot of initiatives over the past five years, but bringing in SSD was the big one. Then we added more controllers and updated UCS hardware. Those are all steps that have enhanced our application performance. This year, we also adopted SnapCenter, which is a NetApp product, and that has increased the reliability and efficiency of our backups as well.

    UCS has also reduced our data center costs. We had HP machines, which took up the better part of 2 racks. Bringing all that into a UCS chassis, with the FlexPod solution, has reduced power use and it has reduced physical footprint and has cleaned up our racks. We have easily saved over 50 percent physical space. 

    What is most valuable?

    One of the most valuable features is the interoperability between the devices, between the Cisco, NetApp, and VMware. That's always nice. 

    The supportability is also good, the fact that we can call one vendor and they'll help us. We don't need to call our vendor, Softchoice. We could call NetApp and/or Cisco and/or VMware, and they would all help us. We wouldn't be pushed away to the sides. They're not going around blaming people. The solution is sold as-is and it's supported by the three parties. They have to support it, and that's nice.

    The solution’s validated designs for major enterprise apps are also extremely important in our organization. We don't always have time to research products and solutions ourselves. By going with a validated design, we're assured that it's the latest and greatest. It's supported by the three major vendors that we deal with. That's not really something we could find with other vendors, although, to be fair, we haven't looked around.

    What needs improvement?

    I'd like them to bring back the GUI for NetApp ONTAP. They changed the interface in version 9.8, and it's not great. In 9.9 they've tried to make it better, but its still as useful as 9.7 and before. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using FlexPod for about eight years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's extremely stable.

    The way that we have NetApp built, with HA, it provides redundant workloads. The storage failover is pretty transparent, so when there is an outage, none of our workloads is affected. It's proven and tested. They throw the term "non-disruptive" around a lot, and it actually is non-disruptive. Obviously, I was hesitant when I read that, and I wanted to test it for myself. But I've personally been involved in some of the storage work that's been done over the past two years, and I can agree that when NetApp says it's non-disruptive, it is, in fact, not-disruptive.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Over the years we've expanded our FlexPod, our NetApp nodes, from four to six.

    It's scalable. If we need capacity, if we need to scale up we can purchase new blades and have more powerful CPU and RAM. If we need to scale out and have more space, it's pretty flexible. Whether we need to do storage, compute, or network, they are all components that we can just purchase and hook in.

    How are customer service and support?

    NetApp has definitely been there for us. They're a good partner of ours. We also use our third-party vendor called Softchoice. They're our primary support guys and we go to them first, and then they will open a ticket with Cisco or NetApp or VMware, if necessary. When it comes to NetApp, when we have needed help their support has helped us. The unified support for the entire stack is extremely important. The fact that we can just call one vendor and get support on it is a huge bonus.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    NetApp has been with our organization since before I started working here, although back then it wouldn't have been a FlexPod solution. It would have been a piecemeal solution of HP and NetApp.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It's expensive, but when you want entreprise services and support you pay for what you get. 

    What other advice do I have?

    We still require the proper skills and the proper people in place to manage it. It's still a network. It's still storage. It's still virtualization. I wouldn't consider it a small-office type of solution. It's definitely a data center or enterprise-level solution. But it is a little bit simpler than if we were to piece together the solution ourselves with other vendors. If we were to get an HP and build ourselves a NAS, for example, or even if we would get something that's not supported the way that our FlexPod solution is, it could be more complicated.

    I don't think the solution has saved our organization in terms of capital expenditures because we do upgrades, either because we need space or because we need compute, every year. But I wouldn't say that's a bad thing either. It's not like we have drastic spending. It's a matter of trending. If the business is doing well and the application and the platform are doing well because we're onboarding more clients, we need more compute and storage.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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    Site Reliability Engineer 2 at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    You only need to go to a single vendor for support
    Pros and Cons
    • "If the network or site is down, you just need to go to a single vendor. You don't have to open up multiple cases with each vendor to get things done. That is one of the financial benefits of this solution."
    • "They just announced that they are going to move it along with Intersight from Cisco. That can be a private or public cloud, which is one of the areas where it can grow more and has a lot of potential."

    What is our primary use case?

    I have been working with FlexPod for a while now. I recently shifted my job and have been working with a solution included in FlexPod. Most customer use cases that I have seen are either using it as a database management system or for a VDI solution.

    There are a lot of points for configuration.

    We are using a private cloud with Azure, but the newer versions integrate with Cisco Intersight.

    How has it helped my organization?

    You get data privacy with it. 

    The solution helps to optimize our operations with insight gained from Intersight Active IQ or CSA.

    What is most valuable?

    The integration part of things is the most valuable feature. You are getting a whole set of things under one roof and rack. There is support for everything, which is one of the cool things.

    The designs are pretty good. Cisco, NetApp, or the OS vendor keep on updating them, which is one of the good points. They will send out a new document about a design refreshment. Everything integrates perfectly with Cisco's new chassis and NetApp version 9.9.

    The different modules perfectly integrate with each other because of the Cisco UCS part. For a single chassis, you might have eight plates powering up. Then, there is Nexus, which integrates with your FIS pretty smoothly. For the storage part of it, some solutions have MDSS, and some don't. However, getting them configured is pretty much a few clicks.

    I like the continuous CI/CD upgrade cycle with this solution.

    What needs improvement?

    They just announced that they are going to move it along with Intersight from Cisco. That can be a private or public cloud, which is one of the areas where it can grow more and has a lot of potential.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using it for somewhere around three to four years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is resilient.

    It has become easier to monitor and automate processes using the solution.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We get everything under one roof instead of just modulating parts.

    It is scalable. I have seen the solution used on multi-site environments. I have also seen somewhere around 2,000 to 2,500 people using it on a single site. In other use cases, I have seen it being used in smaller environments, where the data capacity is assigned. Something that I discovered myself, the data relevancy needs to be really good.

    How are customer service and support?

    If the network or site is down, you just need to go to a single vendor. You don't have to open up multiple cases with each vendor to get things done. That is one of the financial benefits of this solution.

    The technical support is pretty good. Rather than running to different vendors, you can open up a case with any of the vendors, who will then communicate with each other to get things resolved. So, customers can go to different vendors for a single issue. From my perspective, if a case is being opened with Cisco, I have seen their people working with VMware to get things resolved. 

    I would rate the customer support somewhere between 7.5 and 8 out of 10.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have not previously used another solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    If you use the design document, everything is pretty straightforward. The racking and stacking are pretty easy, in regards to the physical stuff. Cisco and ONTAP are pretty simple to configure if you follow the proper design.

    You just need to do a couple of clicks for your UCS. The same goes for Nexus. It depends upon the configuration, but it is pretty easy to deploy. Once that is done, it is just how you want to use your storage, which is the only contribution that you need to do because everything else is taken care of. 

    What about the implementation team?

    It takes a maximum of two or three people to deploy the solution, e.g., someone to do the physical work and another person to configure everything. 

    Once the physical work is done, the configuration part comes in. That is when your switches and UCS integrate with each other. I have done the configuration on Nexus and UCS parts, where I definitely needed help.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI through IOPS and network latency. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I did not really evaluate other options before choosing Flexpod because it is a leading product in the market for converged use cases.

    The private cloud environment is one of the major selling points for it.

    Usually, people move to a different solution when it comes to getting a hybrid cloud solution, e.g., a CA solution or HyperFlex. This is where I have seen it get a bit distorted.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would highly recommend it for core and multi-cloud solutions.

    The way that they are making the progress, it will still be a relevant solution going forward. Where there is a need for big data, this solution can be considered.

    I would rate this solution around 7.6 out of 10.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Senior Infrastructure Analyst at a legal firm with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Provides unified support for the entire stack, allows us to confidently run everything, and brings efficiency
    Pros and Cons
    • "Integration is most valuable. This is a reference architecture. So, we don't have to design something from scratch and figure out how it is going to work."
    • "We would like one-click upgrades."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have FlexPod Mini for the primary data center.

    How has it helped my organization?

    FlexPod's validated designs for major enterprise apps in our company are important because there is stability. There are zero downtimes and high availability. There is good support for the systems that you can run on the platform. FlexPod is a validated architecture, and basically, the spectrum of what's supported is pretty wide. So, you can run pretty much everything without thinking twice about it.

    It provides unified support for the entire stack. For example, if you have an upgrade or a new version on NetApp, there is a compatible version for the Nexus switch, and there is a compatible version of VMware and/or Cisco UCS firmware. Instead of upgrading piece by piece or guessing what is going to work with what and whether there are any bugs, for an upgrade, you can follow the chain and what has actually been validated. It reduces a lot of overhead for the team.

    It has made our staff more efficient, enabling them to spend time on tasks that drive our business forward. Instead of designing or trying to follow the lifecycle of each piece of equipment, by working with a unified stack, we do it once, instead of doing it five times for five different pieces.

    It has definitely improved application performance in our company, but I don't have a baseline.

    What is most valuable?

    Integration is most valuable. This is a reference architecture. So, we don't have to design something from scratch and figure out how it is going to work. 

    What needs improvement?

    We would like one-click upgrades.

    NetApp released a new version with a new interface. For somebody who has been used to the old interface, it's a change. It is taking time to adjust to the new interface, and it would be nice to have some of the old features in it.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We are very positive about it. It has been a great experience. We've actually refreshed the hardware which indicates that it is working and is stable. We are satisfied with it, and we're just continuing with this.

    How are customer service and support?

    Our experience is positive. We've refreshed it. We've purchased additional NetApp, which speaks of the positive experience. I would rate it a nine out of 10.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    This was our first experience with it. Before this, we'd buy hardware, storage products, and networking products, and we tried to integrate them. Whatever surprises we got, we dealt with them. With a validated architecture, there's a little bit more confidence that whatever you're putting in place has been validated, and then you got two major names, NetApp and Cisco, behind you.

    How was the initial setup?

    In technology, I'm afraid there's really not much that's straightforward.

    What about the implementation team?

    We have some skills to do some of the tasks, but for implementations, we usually go for integrators. The experience with the integrator was great, and the time was basically within an acceptable timeline. The project timeline did not extend, and from that perspective, the implementation was straightforward. You can have some expectations for start and finish.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We worked with our integrators to look at the available solutions and follow the market trend based on our requirements, and this one checked most of the boxes. At the time, instead of NetApp, there was HP storage or HP servers with HP storage. Based on the previous experience and experience with the staff, integrator's feedback, and market popularity, the choice was Cisco/NetApp.

    What other advice do I have?

    If anyone is just going from a conventional SAN to VMware Hypervisor, it is the most reliable option moving forward. Following technology trends, if you're moving from a conventional server to SAN and you would like to integrate from encryption to SAN-to-SAN replication to any features—ranging from security, ransomware protection, and DR—this solution covers it.

    It simplifies infrastructure from edge to core, but I don't know if it also simplifies from core to cloud. 

    We are not yet using FlexPod's storage tiering to a public cloud. We also haven't fully adopted most of the innovations, such as all-flash CI, private and hybrid cloud deployment, secure-multi-tenancy, end-to-end NVMe, cloud storage tiering, but we are getting there in terms of whatever trends are there in the market within cloud integration, flash, and NVMe. It is improving our infrastructure, and we will be there. We are currently in the process of adopting some of these.

    It has only theoretically decreased our company's data center costs in terms of floor space, power, or cooling. That's because when we went into FlexPod in a data center, we were migrating from one data center to another. At the moment, they still coexist. We are still in transition. So, in terms of cooling and power, we are still cooling and consuming power in both locations. Until we completely go off one of the data centers and move some of the workloads to the cloud, practically, there won't be any reduction in the data center costs. 

    I would rate it a nine out of 10.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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    Ricardo Perazzolo - PeerSpot reviewer
    Service Delivery Director at VORTEX TI
    Reseller
    Top 20
    Great Converged solution high scalable and true data management.
    Pros and Cons
    • "The feature I have found most valuable is data protection."
    • "Areas for improvement would be the support for the engineering team, who seem to have no clue when you open a case, the communication with and recognition of resellers, and the documentation, with could be more detailed."

    What is our primary use case?

    My primary use case is for private cloud, database servers, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

    How has it helped my organization?

    It allows us to deploy and fly fast quickly.

    What is most valuable?

    The feature I have found most valuable is data protection architecture as a whole. Integrating applications like Oracle, SQL, VMWare is a key differentiator. Operations are elementary and consistent. You realize this when you have to scale, and all the management keeps the same way.

    What needs improvement?

    Areas for improvement would be the integrated support task force with all vendors, the communication with and recognition program for resellers, at scale documentation I believe it would be more detailed (Graphs and Projections @ latency/IOPs/Throughput). I would like to see more integration with the public cloud in the next release.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using FlexPod for ten+ years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This solution is surprisingly performative and high available. In addition, all components are fully redundant.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This solution is highly scalable. Because of the nature of flexibility on a solution, we can customize any component, which is great. Still, when we get off the documentation (cause is too flexible), we have to double attention to the limits of individual components.

    How are customer service and support?

    The technical support for this solution is fine. However, there is some room for improvement, especially when the cases involve the ecosystems. For example, the support team could have a unified war room.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    How was the initial setup?

    For the initial customer or engineer, installing for the first time, this product sometimes is challenging to set up. For more senior customers who have automated scripts, it's much easier. Deployment takes a few hours, perhaps around half a day.

    What other advice do I have?

    When the operations matter, you definitely have to look at FlexPod. I see Flexpod as a singular competitor for two reasons, once you scale the solution as you need and the operations and administrator's effort keep the same. The flexibility allows you to scale just the necessity you need with no waste of investments. I would rate this solution as ten out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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    Aklilu Shifera - PeerSpot reviewer
    Systems Engineer at Symbol Technologies PLC
    MSP
    Top 5Leaderboard
    It's the primary solution we recommend for clients who need high availability
    Pros and Cons
    • "FlexPod is the primary solution we recommend for clients with high-availability server requirements. Our clients find FlexPod's management helpful. You can manage everything via plugins."
    • "As the technology grows, we're looking to upgrade our storage systems to something faster, and we're hoping to improve our servers with next-generation technology. So we want to enhance our server infrastructure and explore server virtualization with VMware. That's the improvement that our clients are demanding."

    What is our primary use case?

    We've deployed a couple of projects for universities. They have been using FlexPod for a VDI solution as well as their file systems and servers. We usually use cheaper firewalls to secure the solution. We mostly use Cisco, which is higher power as well. 

    What is most valuable?

    FlexPod is the primary solution we recommend for clients with high-availability server requirements. Our clients find FlexPod's management helpful. You can manage everything via plugins. 

    What needs improvement?

    As the technology grows, we're looking to upgrade our storage systems to something faster, and we're hoping to improve our servers with next-generation technology. So we want to enhance our server infrastructure and explore server virtualization with VMware. That's the improvement that our clients are demanding. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been in this business for a few years, but I joined this company five years ago. I've been working with FlexPod since I started at the company. My first task was implementing a storage system using FlexPod for some university clients.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    FlexPod is highly scalable. The advantage FlexPod has over some other solutions is that you can scale independently using multi-servers. If you want the scale up the storage, you can create a number of disks.

    How are customer service and support?

    We usually provide frontline support for our clients. But if something is beyond our knowledge, we get support from the vendors.

    How was the initial setup?

    Installing FlexPod isn't complex if you follow the implementation guide that the vendor provides. We partner with major vendors like Cisco, NetApp, and VMware, so we have extensive implementation support to help us with migrating the solution. Our first deployment took about nine weeks. Implementation requires only two or three engineers, and we use a third-party provider for the security part. In total, it's a maximum of five people. 

    What was our ROI?

    The return on investment is very high for FlexPod implementations.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate FlexPod eight out of 10. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Updated: July 2022
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