Adriano-Simao - PeerSpot reviewer
Chief Technology Officer at Triana Business Solutions Lda
Real User
Top 10Leaderboard
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 XCS
May 2024
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod XCS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2024.
771,740 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.
PeerSpot user
Senior Systems Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Simplifies infrastructure from edge to port to cloud and is easily set up
Pros and Cons
  • "It simplifies infrastructure from edge to port to cloud. It proves that deployment is easy and straightforward. There isn't any need to do extra work."
  • "The GPU based VDA solutions could use improvement."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is for VDI.

How has it helped my organization?

We have offices across the globe in some 20 to 22 countries and there was a time when people from Singapore needed access because they experience similar issues as we do. When we implemented this solution, all 250 VDI sessions seamlessly were accessed over the internet. That's the benchmark.

It simplifies infrastructure from edge to port to cloud. It proves that deployment is easy and straightforward. There isn't any need to do extra work. 

We are definitely getting good progress and good improvement from them. It has decreased our data center costs by around 8 to 10 percent. 

FlexPod has improved our application performance by 40%.

What is most valuable?

With FlexPod, Cisco UCS compute-wise accessing is much faster.

FlexPod's validated designs for major enterprise apps are really important because we can go with our SAP HANA solution, our Hadoop solutions, our HP solutions, and our Media solutions. A vendor-specific solution is always preferred.

In terms of unified support for the entire stack, UCS hardware-wise is much faster. The storage and NetApp are good. We use Cisco switches and the connectivity and other aspects have improved. 

What needs improvement?

The GPU based VDA solutions could use improvement.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We don't have any issues with stability. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We can scale up whenever we want.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. I would give them a ten out of ten. 

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

We used to do it by ourselves but we got a really good intro and demo for this product. We got a strong marketing push from NetApp. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It's all built at the factory and it came put together as a rack. Everything was straightforward. 

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator and the process was seamless. They took all of our requirements and from there it was straightforward. 90% of the process was done at the factory. We only had 10% to do and it was done within hours. 

What was our ROI?

We haven't seen ROI yet. 

What other advice do I have?

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. 

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.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
FlexPod XCS
May 2024
Learn what your peers think about FlexPod XCS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2024.
771,740 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Senior System Administrator at Bell Canada
Real User
Improves our business by giving us rapid support and rapid response to incidents
Pros and Cons
  • "The validated design is really important for us because it gives us a model on which to base our architecture and continued support for all firmware upgrades. It also provides consistency throughout the environment."
  • "If they could reduce some of the complexity at the system manager level for ONTAP. I find it gives a lot of flexibility. You can do as much or as little as you want. But to be able to do as little as you want, you do have to do a lot. So, if they could bring that down to a more manageable effort level, that would be nice and simplify it a bit."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case that we have is we like the support model of the FlexPod. We like it being converged with NetApp storage, Cisco, UCS, and VMware. We like having a single point of contact phone number for all support inquiries. These are some of the main selling features that we enjoy about FlexPod.

How has it helped my organization?

The validated design is really important for us because it gives us a model on which to base our architecture and continued support for all firmware upgrades. It also provides consistency throughout the environment.

FlexPod is making our staff more efficient. They don't have to spend as much time validating infrastructures and designs because that has been already taken care of out-of-the-box. The support model makes it a lot more efficient in the case of incidents.

What is most valuable?

The unified support is the most valuable feature. What I really enjoy about FlexPod is the support model. You have a single point of contact number for all troubleshooting issues and the vendor that you call takes ownership of the case. It goes with the NetApp validated designs, which are based on Cisco, which is really interesting.

The features of FlexPod that have had an impact on us are the new additions that we have made with the all-flash arrays: added performance, and flexibility management. These are very nice features. 

What needs improvement?

If they could reduce some of the complexity at the system manager level for ONTAP. I find it gives a lot of flexibility. You can do as much or as little as you want. But to be able to do as little as you want, you do have to do a lot. So, if they could bring that down to a more manageable effort level, that would be nice and simplify it a bit.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been awesome. No outages to report throughout the whole stack since we implemented the whole Flexspot solution. So, it's been really stable, which is nice. 

FlexPod has reduced the downtime in our environment because of the fact that we have a validated design and all the firmware is up-to-date, validated, and matched up across the entire platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We will see if it can scale, because it's still fairly new.

How are customer service and technical support?

FlexPod is improving our business by giving us rapid support and rapid response to incidents.

The FlexPod unified support was really important for us in a case where we contacted one of the associated vendors. They redirected the case, taking charge of it, and really speeding up the process of troubleshooting with the other associated vendors, who are included with FlexPod

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was was very well coordinated between NetApp and us. It was very smooth and very painless. 

What about the implementation team?

We leveraged NetApp services to come and install the solution in this case. It went very well.

What was our ROI?

FlexPod has saved data center costs, due to the fact that we reduced our footprint for storage in a big way. We went from three complete racks down to a 2U storage array for more than 300 terabytes of storage. 

We immediately saw a return on investment due to the fact that replacing our legacy storage arrays with the new AFFs reduced the footprint and maintenance costs. Overall, we saw an almost immediate ROI.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The short list was a essentially Dell EMC and NetApp. We chose NetApp because of this FlexPod support model.

What other advice do I have?

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Network Engineer at DHS USCIS
Real User
Fast and flexible, but the user interface needs to be more intuitive
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution has given us a great deal of on-site storage that we didn't have before."
  • "The graphical interface could be made easier to use and more intuitive."

What is our primary use case?

We use FlexPod for our on-premise file solution. Its infrastructure enables us to run demanding or mission-critical workloads.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has given us a great deal of on-site storage that we didn't have before.

The solution’s granular scalability or broad application support helps us meet the needs of diverse workloads.

We have seen an improvement in application performance. Although I don't know what the baseline was so I cannot tell how much it has improved.

It has enabled us to reduce data center costs and to save money.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are that it's flexible and it's fast. The validates designs have been generally quite good and it is innovative. 

It has streamlined our IT admin.

What needs improvement?

The graphical interface could be made easier to use and more intuitive.

The solution’s ability to manage from edge to core, to cloud, to supporting modern data and compute requirements isn't very good. It manages itself, and it has components to help orchestrate itself across the entire network, which is good. However, not necessarily to the edge.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Once this solution is up and running and configured, it is very stable and resilient. s

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is quite scalable. You add more and they work better together.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for this solution is improving.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is fairly complex. We have a complex environment.

This solution has reduced deployment time. 

What about the implementation team?

Initially, we had somebody to provide us assistance with this solution. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This solution was implemented before I joined the company.

What other advice do I have?

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Sr Platform Manager at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Makes it easy to grow our data center, but the management tools need to keep improving
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution has helped to make more things consistent within our organization."
  • "On the NetApp side, there are definitely things to improve in terms of software updates."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is VMware hosting. We use it primarily in the core data center, and that’s where it has worked best for us.

Our applications for payroll, HR, and anything that is mission-critical runs on some form of Flex device. We run a lot of different workloads and a lot of different VMs on this platform.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped to make more things consistent within our organization.

In terms of staff productivity, we manage more and more with less and less people.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it works and is compatible with all of the existing platforms that we use.

The validated designs are good in that they provide a kind of known quantity.

I’m not sure that it’s overly innovative. It’s a little more traditional than the hyper converge-type option and things like that, but it works.

What needs improvement?

On the NetApp side, there are definitely things to improve in terms of software updates.

There are a lot of complex, moving parts, and as each revision comes along they get easier to manage it all, but there are a lot of moving parts. Things are not as simple as they market them. Until you learn how to use them all, it is a bit of a challenge. The more than they can consolidate and drive that administration down, the easier it will come. That is the biggest thing for me.

I would like to see more SaaS-based management tools. I think that this is where they are headed with Active IQ and Intersight. A lot of the traditional tools have been on-premise hosted, and that's another thing for us to manage. Essentially, to manage things that we are already managing. So, I'd rather see the SaaS-based tools become the standard.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is very good. This is a resilient solution. It’s very redundant in terms of capability between the plain infrastructure and the storage. We really haven’t had any issues with that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. It allows us to grow most computing and storage resources independently. It allows us to add what's needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had really good technical support across the board. This solution has simplified our support experience. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution was straightforward. Granted, the reseller did most of the work.

What about the implementation team?

We used a reseller to assist with our implementation. They made it easy.

What was our ROI?

I don’t know that it has reduced costs, but it hasn’t incurred any higher costs. It’s probably reduced costs in the fact that as things improve they get smaller.

What other advice do I have?

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.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Solutions Architect at GDT - General Datatech
Real User
Our time from customer interest to time of deployment has shrunk a lot
Pros and Cons
  • "Our time from customer interest to time of deployment has shrunk a lot."
  • "It's all converged into one consolidated platform, which works well together."
  • "I would like to see programmability into a SaaS-based offering, as I know Cisco's going in a lot of directions with their Intersight application."

What is our primary use case?

We have a customer who is looking for a converged infrastructure to deploy multi-cloud solutions for on-premise solutions.

Our customers use FlexPod today. Our impressions of it are great. It fits our customer's demands. We like the way that it integrates into their environments. Being that Netapp and Cisco have partnered together on it, along with VMware, and Microsoft, there is a good relationship with all of those companies working together.

How has it helped my organization?

We can get designs built quickly and into the customer's doors; essentially, our time from customer interest to time of deployment has shrunk a lot. Not only that, FlexPod does a stellar job being able to run workloads.

What is most valuable?

  • Its flexibility
  • The continuous innovation
  • All the thought that goes into the product.
  • The backing teams who are behind it.

It's all converged into one consolidated platform, which works well together.

The validate designs are great. They are a reference point that you can provide to the customer base to convey what the designs look like as a whole. You can go in, reference how components work together as a whole, what firmware versions you need to run, and what those configurations need to look like. They are helpful in time to deliver to customers.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see programmability into a SaaS-based offering, as I know Cisco's going in a lot of directions with their Intersight application. I would like to know how that will integrate into converged infrastructure onsite, where it can either be the Intersight application running on the FlexPod or a SaaS-based offering on the cloud. Then, how would they maybe integrate some of the NetApp features into Intersight? This is the next step that I want to see taken with the product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a stable environment. The solution is resilient. There is a redundancy that is built inside of the platform, even down to the power. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can grow within the environment or you can scale to a different pod architecture. It allows for easy scaling. You can scale within or outside of it. So, it's resilient and scalable, which makes it a great platform.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. 

  1. The technical support will do handoff support between the multiple vendors which the customer is working with that. 
  2. They have a support level which takes the Level 1 calls. The customer calls into it, and it's a single reach number. The customer has the capability to call in and have the solution or trouble ticket worked on or look into.
  3. For partners, they have a support model which allows us to take a Level 1 support call and help the customers out as well. 

There are three support levels that FlexPod works within, which is great.

How was the initial setup?

Once you have a plan, it's around 80 percent planning and 20 percent execution. As long as you follow the CVDs and understand what information is going into them, collecting all the information upfront. 

What about the implementation team?

We are the integrator and do the deployments of the solution.

What was our ROI?

It has saved us hundreds of man-hours by using this converged infrastructure.

From our customer's perspective, they're not spending much time on troubleshooting, resolutions, etc. They have a solid platform which allows them to run applications, workloads, and have their business running at a top level.

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

Because of the way they slice things up, you have FlexPod Express, FlexPod Datacenter, and FlexPod Select, which allows you to go small, medium, and large with multiple locations.

  • If you have ROBO locations, you can go to Express.
  • If you're looking at a converged infrastructure, you can use FlexPod Datacenter.
  • You can use FlexPod Select if you need to have that pocketed application which needs top-notch performance.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We work with multiple vendors being a channel partner. We work with all different types: HPE, Dell EMC, and Cisco. We love working with them. Their teams are awesome to work with, and it only makes sense since Cisco's partnered with Netapp. There's not a big stretch in an alliance thing. They have a great partnership together, so there are not competing in the same space, especially when it comes to converged infrastructure.

What other advice do I have?

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.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
PeerSpot user
it_user330123 - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Systems Administrator at Plexus Corp.
Real User
We like the streamlined integration for our data centers, although setup misconfigurations can cause outages.

Valuable Features

The most valuable feature has been the single stream of support. We no longer have to go between vendors to see where the problem lies, so we avoid finger pointing, etc.

Also, we like the streamlined integration for our data centers. As we deploy new sites, or refresh hardware, we know what specifications we are installing ahead of time.

Room for Improvement

I think that new developments in what each vendor offers that makes the overall system easier to configure and manage could be better. Customers could be more aware of what to plan for in the future to be able to scale and grow. It depends what the technologies and protocols are in the environment.

Stability Issues

It's been very stable, we have not had many outages, and if we have, there has been a misconfiguration during setup. However, once it's fully deployed, it's been smooth.

Scalability Issues

The scalability has been great, whether it's VMware, or if you need more blades, or storage that needs to grow is also easy to expand. We went through a storage expansion, but we built the network portion a bit bigger so it was ready for the expansion. We had physical ports available, it's things like that.

Customer Service and Technical Support

The support has been good. We’ve had issues that once we got to the bottom of the specific issue there were struggles with the individual vendors, but overall once they analyze the problem, we are pointed in the right direction.

Initial Setup

The initial setup was a learning curve, but once we got the hang of it, it wasn't too bad.

Other Advice

It’s not perfect, nothing is, but it’s very good. I would say that it’s definitely worth the investment just for the ease of implementation and the pre-qualified support packages that are included. You know that the architecture and the implementation/environment will be supported by all vendors involved.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Director of Board at a training & coaching company with 51-200 employees
Real User
It allows you to get the old compute storage and the network switch in one box, so you'll have a tiny cloud in the box
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of FlexPod is that it allows you to get the old compute storage and the network switch or the fabric of the network in one box. You can use pods to have a tiny cloud in the box, which is one of its best features."
  • "FlexPod will do very well on the average app, but there's room for improvement in performance and the data center side."

What is our primary use case?

FlexPod is a converged infrastructure consolidating the data center and server forms and providing a new contract. It's used primarily for reducing virtual machines, so FlexPod is used for consolidation, optimization, and rationalization purposes.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of FlexPod is that it allows you to get the old compute storage and the network switch or the fabric of the network in one box. You can use pods to have a tiny cloud in the box, which is one of the best features of FlexPod.

In FlexPod, I also found the utilization and virtualization of resources better because, typically, you'll buy and trigger a scroll of physical servers and virtual servers, so with FlexPod, the process becomes more disciplined.

What needs improvement?

As FlexPod is more of a consolidator, it gives you a compute, a network, and storage in a single box. While that's cool, when transforming a data center from what it is today into what it needs to be tomorrow, you must also pay attention to resiliency, security, and performance. FlexPod will do very well on the average app, but there's room for improvement in performance and the data center side, which should be optimized, but that's not a focus of Cisco.

Cisco is a network company that's transitioning to provide a converged infrastructure solution, which means it wants to be more than just a network and provide network storage and computing, so obviously, you don't become a highly performant entity overnight in the database space, which is what Cisco needs to do. Cisco can do that well because it supports open-source databases within the converged infrastructure it delivers to the client, but there's always a handicap in that area.

There's room for improvement in the setup and configuration of FlexPod as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using FlexPod in 2017, and the last time I used it was in January 2022.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of FlexPod depends on what you are putting in there. The client I used the solution for was coming off a mainframe he had for many years, so the question he asked me was, "Can FlexPod deliver the same performance, scalability, reliability, and resilience that the old legacy system gave the company?" The answer is yes, so, to that extent, FlexPod is stable, but this question becomes a bit more around nuance because it depends on what you are loading. For example, if you use it for the banking industry and try to drive high-performance, high-scale applications, FlexPod may not be as reliable.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for FlexPod is not straightforward, but it's relative, meaning you need the talent to set it up. It has a two-layer setup and configuration. One is the infrastructure layer, and the second is the provisioning of the application layer.

For example, simply setting up the box is not enough. You need to set it up and configure the box for it to be an environment. That environment could be for testing, development, or production, and you want a controlled mechanism to do that. Even if the physical entity is ready, you still have to fire up some virtual machines. For example, if you have clients with VMware hypervisors and others, you need a tool to do that, such as a VMware tool if you're working with VMware products.

This is not necessarily a Cisco issue, so I'm not saying that the process for setting up FlexPod is too complicated. Cisco is trying to provide you with a tiny cloud data center in a box, and it's converging all the infrastructure into a single box, which means you must make that box work for you by firing up VMs, and then loading the proper application on top of that, whether you built it or you bought it. There's a lot of complexity on that level that Cisco can work on or can partner to optimize, so it's less painful for the end user or customer.

What other advice do I have?

I'm using the Cisco product, FlexPod.

I can recommend FlexPod to others if it's used correctly or for the right purpose. You get into trouble if you use a tool for the wrong purpose.

For what I was using FlexPod for, which was for a client that didn't have a lot of volume and stress in terms of the applications, I'm rating the solution as eight out of ten. However, if FlexPod will be used for highly transactional, high-volume applications, it's a four out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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