it_user330129 - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior IT Manager at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The reference architecture helps to standardize our computer stack. I think that a unified dashboard would be beneficial across all three components.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reference architecture, which helps to standardize our computer stack.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped us standardize what we get in terms of purchasing hardware, around VMware and Cisco, and the computing system.

What needs improvement?

I think that a unified dashboard would be beneficial across all three of the components to show you the status of all three components.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It’s extremely stable. Rock solid in our experience.

Buyer's Guide
FlexPod XCS
April 2024
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod XCS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2024.
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What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has been very scalable – our guys scale it across six sites right now.

How are customer service and support?

Good, the relationship between the three companies has been very good. It is not a case where one vendor dumps you off on the other; all companies involved have good information about the other companies involved in the product.

What about the implementation team?

For our setup and deployment we put together a solution using all three components, and then they came out with the reference architecture so we standardized the system.

What other advice do I have?

Peer reviews are very important because you want to know what experiences other people are having.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user330147 - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr Sys Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
With our VMs and Hyper-Vs, it allows us to stand up a cluster easier and ensures consistency between clusters. The orchestration and automation, however, could be better.

Valuable Features

I would say the service profiles of UCS for the compute aspect, cluster Data ONTAP, and NDO.

Improvements to My Organization

I would say that we have about 700 VMs and I think 30 HyperV’s, so we can stand up a cluster much easier, and it ensures consistency between our clusters.

Room for Improvement

I think that the orchestration and automation could be better. I think there are tools out there for it, we just don’t have them deployed. It’s an area that I think our organization could do better at.

Stability Issues

The stability of the solution has been very good; it's very stable.

Scalability Issues

I would say that its very scalable, as it meets and exceeds our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I’m more on the storage side and NetApp is excellent. Cisco, whom I dealt with in my last job, I found them to be quite good.

Initial Setup

I would say the setup was fairly straightforward but I’ve been working with FlexPod for about five years so my perspective may be a bit skewed.

Other Advice

I would say that you should at least consider it. Although it does require some cross-team collaboration, how you work together and combine things depends on your political and cultural relationships within your team. It can be a cross-domain kind of experience.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
FlexPod XCS
April 2024
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod XCS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2024.
768,066 professionals have used our research since 2012.
PeerSpot user
Technology Planner at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We can scale each component differently and separately, but configurability for adding components could be easier.

Valuable Features

  • Reference architecture is very useful so we know how to plug it in
  • We can scale each component differently and separately
  • Each component is best of breed, and better than the competition

Improvements to My Organization

Originally, we already had many components, and we never combined it as reference architecture before. It was easy for the company to learn. Also, the different components can be scaled differently. We can put it in different sizes and make each component a different size easily.

Room for Improvement

Simplification of configurations. Easy instructions/configurability for adding components and expansion. It loses points because it could get simpler.

Stability Issues

Excellent stability. We were already pretty stable with separate components, but now we’re more stable.

Scalability Issues

Fantastic scalability. You can scale each component separately, which is very useful.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Good tech support. One throat-to-choke option is nice, but we also have alternate sources of information.

Initial Setup

Pretty straightforward. We used professional services for the first configuration, and for expansions we did it ourselves with no problems.

Other Advice

Make sure you have expertise in Cisco and NetApp components so you can operationally ace it over, because even though it’s a reference architecture, you have to know about each component. Have in-house expertise, otherwise, it’s the best of the products out there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
MSP
A very stable, simple turnkey solution which is pretty scalable
Pros and Cons
  • "The virtual environment is a lot more efficient than physical boxes."
  • "The product is very stable and it does what it needs to do."
  • "There is a lot of documentation that has to be reviewed before you go through an upgrade. It is not as straightforward as some other solutions."

What is our primary use case?

It is where we keep our production network: all our main controllers, accounting applications, and our file servers. They are running on FlexPod.

How has it helped my organization?

The virtual environment is a lot more efficient than physical boxes. It allows us to move stuff around a lot, adding resources and removing resources with minimal disruption.

What is most valuable?

It is a simple turnkey solution.

When we purchased it, we had to configure everything. However, everything was already there. We just cabled it up and started to build the virtual machines (VMs).

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is been pretty stable. We have had it running for over five years now, and have had minimal problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is pretty scalable. It has allowed us to add more stuff very easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is amazing. The NetApp support is really good. We had some problems with the storage, so we contacted them. They jumped right in and were able to take care of the issue quickly.

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

The solution was already implemented when I arrived at the company.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the initial setup, but sometimes I am involved with upgrades which are challenging. This is because there is a lot of documentation that has to be reviewed before you go through an upgrade. It is not as straightforward as some other solutions. However, the product is very stable and it does what it needs to do.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have your NetApp support up-to-date.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: reliability, support, and value for money.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
PeerSpot user
it_user748320 - PeerSpot reviewer
Team Lead at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
Eliminates our having to contact multiple OEMs for any issues that might arise

What is most valuable?

  • It's ready to use, just plug and play
  • It's easy to manage
  • Single administration console

How has it helped my organization?

One of the benefits of the solution is management. We do not need to contact multiple vendor OEMs for any VMware issues, NetApp issues, or Cisco UCS issues. We can conduct it all with a single point of reference.

What needs improvement?

One feature we would like to see is SSD with the Cisco UCS Mini already available.

Also, integration with the other OEMs. Right now it is their intent that we could integrate with the EMC and the Hitachi, but still there are a few more OEMs out there, customs.

For how long have I used the solution?

About three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, it's good. We have many more than 50 customers that are using a solution with this platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable up to whatever you need. We can integrate it up to 160 servers.

How is customer service and technical support?

It's good. We can always get to the right person for help.

How was the initial setup?

We have been involved in the initial setup many times for many customers, from day one.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PeerSpot user
it_user692433 - PeerSpot reviewer
Systems Admin with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
We use it for VMware, Hyper-V, and XenServer.

What is most valuable?

We are running mostly virtualizations. We use it for VMware, Hyper-V, and XenServer. On top of that, we use it for some Microsoft, Linux, Oracle SQL, and web development.

How has it helped my organization?

It's just a nice simple solution. There is a single number to call for support. If you call and say that you have a FlexPod, they will usually include the VMware or UCS pieces for you. You don't have to call Cisco or VMware directly. You can just call your FlexPod help center, and if they know it's a FlexPod, they'll help you with NetApp questions. They will also help you with VMware and Cisco UCS questions.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a single upgrade download, so you could download an upgrade that would upgrade the NetApps that would have all the parts. Right now, you have to go and download the VMware upgrade pieces from the Cisco website. You have to download the Cisco stuff from their site, and then download the NetApp stuff from their website. It would be helpful if they had a single download area for the versions that work together. I can't think of anything else to improve. They support all the protocols: SCOE and NFS.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are no issues at all with stability. Everything is redundant. The Cisco UCS platform is rock solid. The switches are rock solid. You have Nexus switches that are redundant in power and in usability. The NetApps are all rock solid because they have dual controllers. You are running cluster modes so you have lift migration and you have storage failover. There's really no downtime because everything is virtualized and everything is redundant.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great. All three parts are real scalable. If you want to add more things to your VMware, you just add the ESXi host. To add to more to the UCS, you just add more blades. To add more to the NetApp, you just put more controllers or shelves under the cluster. The scalability is the same with all three products.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is awesome. We own a FlexPod, and so do my customers. They've seen a lot of stuff. They've worked with all three vendors. You don't have to call the other vendors, and they usually will bring in resources as needed.

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

We look at reports out there, and see who is up and to the right. I think that Pure Storage was leading the charge on SSD for a while, but the all-flash FAS has really been awesome.

The ability to do better deduplication is what the differentiation is right now. Who is doing the best deduplication and who is doing the best compression? Right now, the all-flash FAS with 9.2 is pretty awesome on deduplication and compression.

What other advice do I have?

Go look for somebody who is doing it and has been doing it for a while. The FlexPods have been shown to be reliable. They work with two of the best vendors. Cicso: For the compute and for the networking, you can't get better. VMware: For the virtualization. They just work great together. There are other converge solutions out there like EMC, but I think that these are the three agnostic ones. EMC obviously owns a piece of VMware, so it's hard to know what parts they want to play. Maybe Pure Storage is the other agnostic, but I believe that NetApp, right now, is doing the best converged FlexPod design in the FlexPod space.

There was a lot of documentation around it, in terms of what works with what. Customers know that if they upgrade their NetApp to version 9, they know what versions of UCS they need to upgrade to and what versions of VMware will work with that.

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.
PeerSpot user
it_user330300 - PeerSpot reviewer
IT - Server Operations at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The cabling feature simplifies my environment and works quickly, and scaling requires only adding a chassis.

Valuable Features

Ease of cabling is the most valuable feature of the solution. Service profiles are also easy to use.

Improvements to My Organization

I would say that the cabling helps me, and it simplifies the environment for me and it is very fast.

Room for Improvement

There is nothing I can think of at this time.

Use of Solution

We have been using it about a year and a half.

Stability Issues

It's very stable, no issues with it so far.

Scalability Issues

Awesome – adding a chassis is very easy.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I haven’t had to use them yet which is actually a good sign.

Initial Setup

Straightforward because the documentation was great.

Other Advice

I would say that flexibility is the most important factor we look at, and also, for us, the worldwide availability is very important.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user330906 - PeerSpot reviewer
Pre-Sales Technician at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
It’s a proven architecture that works with tools for virtualization or private cloud environments, though it could be cheaper in Brazil.

Valuable Features

  • Management of solution
  • Integration between technologies
  • Single support for all technologies involved

Improvements to My Organization

It's easy to deploy and easy to scale when you need. It’s a proven architecture that works with tools for virtualization or private cloud environment. When you need to scale you just buy another rack or hardware to put in data center and can manage centrally. You don’t need to do much configuration to get it working.

Room for Improvement

The price, but nothing from a technical perspective.

Stability Issues

It's got very good stability. Its UCS platform is outstanding because it combines with Cisco network with good hardware.

Scalability Issues

You just add racks as needed.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I haven't had to use it.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

They need to make the platform a little cheaper in Brazil.

Other Advice

Make sure you have infrastructure, as it needs to have a good datacenter infrastructure otherwise you won’t use 100% of solution.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're NetApp partners.
PeerSpot user
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Updated: April 2024
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Buyer's Guide
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