FlexPod Valuable Features
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.
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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.View full review »
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.View full review »
Site Reliability Engineer 2 at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
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.View full review »
Senior Infrastructure Analyst at a legal firm with 201-500 employees
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.View full review »
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.View full review »
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.View full review »