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Dell Unity XT vs IBM FlashSystem comparison

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Q&A Highlights
Question: When it comes to performance and pricing, what is the biggest difference between Dell EMC Unity and IBM FlashSystem?
Answer: EMC's Unity is not comparable to the performance of an IBM FlashSystem option, but it is fairly close in performance profile to the just released Storewize V5100 model 424. If you provide the initial amount of storage you are going to purchase and your expected capacity growth rate, plus any workoad/performance info you have on hand, and we will give you a very quick TCO and performance comparison.i
Featured Review
Buyer's Guide
Dell Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Dell Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
598,116 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The high performance is very valuable, as well as the enterprise reliability features.""We have been able to consolidate storage into Pavilion. Pavilions are our only SANs because it is a bring your own disk solution. When new drives come out, we are able to take out half of the drives in the system, put in new drives, move our VMs over to the new drives, take the other drives out, and populate those with new drives. Then, we are suddenly twice as dense as we were before. NVMe flash is only going to get denser and cheaper so we can make use of that every couple of years by just throwing newer disks into it at a fraction of the cost of a new SAN.""There's lots of flexibility in how we use the resources while also maintaining a small footprint."

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"We're able to access it from just about anywhere, as long as we have access to a browser. That feature is really neat because sometimes we will go to a different data center or a different site, and if we need to access it to see a LUN or to see any type of storage, we can do that. That's one of the big takeaways with Unity.""This solution is easy to work with and easy to maintain.""The setup and installation procedures are easy.""The most valuable feature is the dynamic cache of this product. It is very important. We have the physical cache and we can boost this cache using disks. All the products are mainly flash now and this is one of the main characteristics which our customers like.""The solution overall has high performance.""I have found Dell EMC Unity XT to be stable.""It is definitely one of the most robust, solid, well-performing products that I have dealt with. It is set it and forget it, which is pretty amazing.""The most valuable feature is the fast cache with functionality rewrite."

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"I like most of the features. Its speed, performance, and availability are valuable. We are implementing the data reduction technology the most.""It's very easy to manage.""IBM FlashSystem is a powerful effective storage solution. Additionally, it is user-friendly, anyone can use it.""The most valuable feature is reliability.""The price-performance ratio is most valuable.""The performance of IBM FlashSystem is very good. The new technology and high throughput have given us more confidence in the solution. The management of the system has improved and we can control the monitoring system alerts and multiple FlashSystems with the Enterprise Cloud Edition, which is free. The migration of recently stored data to a new flash is much easier. You can move your data because you can utilize it externally.""We've found the solution to be very stable so far.""Over the years, it has become increasingly user-friendly."

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Cons
"The rail system that Pavilion uses to mount up into a standard Dell or APC cabinet extends further back than normal rails, and they cover up the zero PDU slot. So, I don't like the rail system that comes with the device. That is my biggest complaint.""I would like to see the management layer improved.""In our current configuration, we can only run the line controllers in high availability, active-standby mode, whereas we would like to see active-active implemented."

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"I would like it to be a little bit easier to contact support. We can contact support, but we have to go through a phone tree. We get routed to different places. I might call support to say that I need a drive replaced and get transferred to three different groups before I get to the group I actually need.""Scalability of this solution could be improved.""One area of improvement is replication. We are also using Oracle virtual machines, and when you are using systems from other vendors, the process of replicating from Unity through OLVM is more laborious than when we were using VPLEX.""They can certainly improve in terms of monitoring.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say the deduplication part, because for large deduplications, you need an extra appliance to do it in order to avoid having problems in performance. I think that could be improved, because everything should be included in the product, not with an appliance from the outside.""The initial installation is straightforward and took approximately one hour. However, the full process was not as simple as IBM.""The reporting should be better. In other systems, you can create many different kinds of reports but this is not the case with Dell.""We do a lot of VMware. It only integrates with VMware in one way, which is virtual volumes. I don't really have any visibility on anything else. From VMware, I can't look into Unity. From Unity, I can't look into VMware unless I am using virtual volumes, where they integrate together happily, but we are not using that. I would like better integration for non-virtual volume VMware use."

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"The customer's expectations are what they get on the cloud, they're expecting even in the on-premises deployments, going forward.""The GUI for monitoring performance metrics could provide better visibility. For example, it doesn't let me segregate the IOPS per volume.""There could be some extra features added.""The solution is not easy to use and could improve.""The data reduction pool feature sucks and is not recommended for use with heavy workloads.""The support could improve by allowing you to speak to someone when you call rather than them calling you back. However, once we do have contact with one of their technicians they are excellent.""The product needs to improve their scalability.""The price is very costly."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "This is hardware. They have a singular array that you can populate with your own disk, or you can buy the disks through them. For controllers, you pay for the components inside of the SAN, but there is only one chassis that they work with."
  • "The licensing fees are very reasonable."
  • More Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of Dell EMC Unity XT is higher compared to other solutions. The price should be less expensive."
  • "Pricing for this product is manageable, though slightly higher than comparable products."
  • "The solution is very expensive."
  • "The solution is very expensive."
  • "This solution is a good price for what you get."
  • "Here is our major complaint with pricing. Dell EMC comes to us and gives us a price. We are like, "Well, this doesn't even compare to what we got on the last project." We say, "No, you should bring it down to this level." Then, they come back again and we are sort of in the middle again. I am like, You already sold us other stuff at a better price. We are not going to just say, 'Yes,' because we are out of time.""
  • "I liked the price point when we purchased it."
  • "We looked at HPE Nimble but the price of the Unity XT was very good compared to the competition."
  • More Dell Unity XT Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The integration is already included in the license cost of IBM FlashSystem. The integration is very easy. You get the IBM storage core with all software, firmware, and upgrades. EMC provides the features in the box, but they are not free for customers. There is a licensing cost for features. We have yearly licensing, but IBM has also provided a new option where you pay as you go. They provide a big box, and I pay, for example, for 10 terabytes. If I exceed 10 terabytes, IBM will charge for the new storage after 10 terabytes. It is a good opportunity in the market for using the storage as a cloud and paying as you go."
  • "They've been much more aggressive in the last five, six years than they were before that."
  • "This is an expensive product and if the price were reduced it would be better."
  • "Among IBM, Dell EMC, and Pure Storage, IBM is the cheapest. The price is also based on our location, the size of our entity, and our regular annual purchases from them. We are a very big IBM customer, so we normally get very high discounts. We are not a big customer of Pure Storage. We don't buy that much from Pure Storage per year. Everything is included in the price. There is no extra license for different functions."
  • "Its price is very good."
  • "I find the pricing of the solution to be very reasonable."
  • "You purchase it as a bundle and the price is comparable."
  • "The solution requires a license and could be less expensive."
  • More IBM FlashSystem Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Miriam Tover
    BobWhitcombe - PeerSpot reviewerBobWhitcombe
    MSP

    As with any engineered solution, it depends on your needs.  


    However, the bottom line is that for their target markets Dell EMC Unity will generally have a better price at parity performance over IBM's FlashSystem.  


    Both are focused on All-Flash arrays and Dell EMC Unity is where I start with VMWare. If I have a dedicated IBM DB2 application, I would lean toward the IBM FlashSystem. 


    The problem in the VMWare environment is that IBM has done a poor job prioritizing this area and has several I/O bottlenecks and interface driver issues. I expect future resolution, but does that happen before current platforms evolve?

    reviewer1243038 - PeerSpot reviewerreviewer1243038 (CEO/co-founder at a tech services company with 1-10 employees)
    Real User

    Depends what you're expecting. Full compatibility with VMware environment - DellEMC only, IBM FS has problems with iSCSI connections to vsphere 7.02 - it's not supported (FS5200 and vsphere 7.02 server with Intel cards - doesn't work fast (10Gbe - 300MB/s instead of 1,1-1,2 GB/s), no solution for now from IBM and VMware (08/2021). Integration - DellEMC and VMware are one company - everything goes smoothly. Space reclamation didn't work well on IBM systems when connected to vsphere (vsphere 6.5 and V7000 models). When using Microsoft virtualization - no difference - it's more complex to start system but when properly configured - it runs well (fast). But of both of them I would choose HPE systems,:-) (Nimble or Primera):-)

    Questions from the Community
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    Top Answer: 
    Dell EMC PowerStore is a unified storage platform that has the added benefit of being scalable. The automated management… more »
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    As with any engineered solution, it depends on your needs.   However, the bottom line is that for their target markets… more »
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    Using this solution has meant that I do not need to look for different partners to provide me with solutions like a… more »
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    IBM FlashSystem is a stable solution.
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    I price of IBM FlashSystem is reasonable and competitive.
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    The generic functionality of IBM FlashSystem, IBM always dismisses using file share or sharing protocols inside their… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Pavilion HFA
    EMC Unity, Dell EMC Unity
    IBM Storwize
    Learn More
    Overview

    Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform

    The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform™ dramatically accelerates what organizations achieve by delivering universally unmatched storage performance, in an incredibly compact solution while reducing data center costs and complexity. Unrivaled flexibility for multiple data types and protocols, along with broad ecosystem integration, ensure that every customer has choice and control.

    What is the Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform

    The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform is comprised of the Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array™ and Pavilion HyperOS™. The Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array leverages a unique, switch-based architecture to create a multi-controller solution that delivers an unmatched combination of high performance, ultra-low latency, and storage density. Pavilion HyperOS is a powerful, purpose-built storage operating system designed to unlock the power of the multi-controller Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array, which delivers scalability and flexibility that no other solution can offer.

    Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform Data Sheet

    Download the Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform data sheet. Updated: December 2020

    Dell EMC Unity XT is one of the best all-flash storage arrays on the market today. Dell EMC Unity XT arrays are designed for performance, optimized for efficiency, and built for a multi-cloud world. In addition, they support digital transformation, enabling businesses to reach the full potential of their data capital quickly and easily. Dell EMC Unity’s All-Flash and Hybrid Flash storage platforms provide the performance, efficiency, enterprise-class software, and virtualization integrations required for running a wide range of virtualized applications.

    Dell EMC Unity XT Features

    Dell EMC Unity XT has many valuable key features, including:

    • Unified storage flexibility: With Dell EMC Unity XT you can consolidate separate storage platforms into a single Unity XT unified storage system via a simple and intuitive (HTML5) management GUI that also connects you to CloudIQ.

    • All-inclusive data protection: Dell EMC Unity XT offers a reliable way to protect application data with all-inclusive data protection services, including snapshots, data-at-rest drive encryption, replication, thin clones, and dynamic pools.

    • Software-defined solutions: Dell EMC Unity XT provides software-defined storage and HA for on-prem and in the cloud solutions.

    • Multi-cloud alignment: With Dell EMC Unity XT you have the ability to build and manage an effective data-first multi-cloud strategy. It allows you to consolidate public and private cloud resources that align with your business goals.

    • Metro node: This feature enables automated business continuity with zero RPO and RTO. It also provides greater flexibility through multi-platform support and replication to any array and has zero performance impact on the storage array.

    • Scalable file system: Dell EMC Unity XT is built with a robust 256TBu file system. The UFS64 file system includes up to 256 independent VMDK clones, 16 thin clones, space efficient snapshots with a simple space reclaim and low IO impact, file system shrink that can reclaim free blocks, simplified Quotas for User, and much more.

    • DevOps integrations: Dell EMC Unity XT supports the Container Storage Interface (CSI) plugin to run Kubernetes workloads.

    Dell EMC Unity XT Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using Dell EMC Unity XT include:

    • High-speed data access
    • Low latency
    • Dual-active controller architecture
    • Multi-cloud
    • Intuitive user interface
    • Cost efficient
    • Solid performance

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Dell EMC Unity XT users.

    A Systems Engineering Manager at a manufacturing company says, "It is definitely one of the most robust, solid, well-performing products that I have dealt with. It is set it and forget it, which is pretty amazing." He also mentions, “We can do both block and file storage on one unit without purchasing a separate device.”

    Peter S., Senior Technical Specialist at a healthcare company, states, “The most valuable feature is reliability. At the end of the day, it just runs. This solution is easy to work with and easy to maintain.”

    PeerSpot user Melvin T., Senior Systems Engineer at Prosperity Bank, explains that the solution is “easy to use and we can add LUNs or space without interruption to end-users. We're able to access it from just about anywhere, as long as we have access to a browser. That feature is really neat because sometimes we will go to a different data center or a different site, and if we need to access it to see a LUN or to see any type of storage, we can do that. That's one of the big takeaways with Unity."

    IBM FlashSystem products are enterprise computer data storage systems that store data on flash memory chips. Unlike storage systems that use standard solid-state drives, IBM FlashSystem products incorporate custom hardware based on technology from the 2012 acquisition of Texas Memory Systems. This hardware provides performance, reliability, and efficiency benefits versus competitive offerings.

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    Learn more about Dell Unity XT
    Learn more about IBM FlashSystem
    Sample Customers
    Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), Statistics Netherlands (CBS)
    Draper, Rio Grande Pacific, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
    Celero, Friedhelm Loh Group, Clarks, Mingkang Natregro Health Food Group, Sofia, Etisalat Fights Fraud, UF Health Shands Hospital, Generali, Elecon Engineering Company Limited, Ventiv , Technology, CPFL Energia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., SciQuest, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Paddy Power, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Interconnect Services, Severstal IP-Only AB, PVU Group GmbH
    Top Industries
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company26%
    Comms Service Provider24%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Government6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm19%
    Healthcare Company17%
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Energy/Utilities Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider28%
    Computer Software Company28%
    Government6%
    Manufacturing Company5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm30%
    Government11%
    Healthcare Company9%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider31%
    Computer Software Company26%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    Government5%
    Company Size
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business64%
    Midsize Enterprise7%
    Large Enterprise29%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise49%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise61%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business35%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise50%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business25%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise49%
    Buyer's Guide
    Dell Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Dell Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    598,116 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Dell Unity XT is ranked 2nd in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 29 reviews while IBM FlashSystem is ranked 8th in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 32 reviews. Dell Unity XT is rated 8.4, while IBM FlashSystem is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Dell Unity XT writes "We can do both block and file storage on one unit without purchasing a separate device". On the other hand, the top reviewer of IBM FlashSystem writes "Reliable and easy to configure with simple data migration capabilities ". Dell Unity XT is most compared with Dell PowerStore, NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS), HPE Nimble Storage, HPE 3PAR StoreServ and Dell PowerMax NVMe, whereas IBM FlashSystem is most compared with Dell PowerStore, Pure Storage FlashArray, HPE Nimble Storage, NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) and HPE StorageWorks MSA. See our Dell Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem report.

    See our list of best All-Flash Storage Arrays vendors.

    We monitor all All-Flash Storage Arrays reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.