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Dell PowerMax NVMe Valuable Features

Paul Croteau - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Solution Architect at Rackspace

We use the solution's CloudIQ features for what we call fleet management. We manage hundreds of devices. We use this to make sure that all our arrays are properly communicating so we can see performance, storage capacities, etc. We can also generate reports on usage and performance. Our customers with dedicated solutions rely on CloudIQ for reports, but we also have a lot of homegrown internal tools which give us the same features so we don't use it as much as our customers, but we use it occasionally.

CloudIQ is definitely helpful for our customers who use it, but our teams are using internal tools that we've trusted for years. CloudIQ is very helpful for helping to manage storage for customers who need the tools but don't have their own.

In regards to efficiency and performance, we don't have escalations to the vendor at all because it works so well. These devices are a beast. Historically, before the PowerMax came out, we would sometimes experience storage performance bottlenecks because there were a lot of customers in the shared or multi-tenant environment. So, we have a lot of customers requesting a lot of data. We do things at an enterprise-level at scale. Therefore, we would see performance bottlenecks. The efficiency of the system has now just proven that it works phenomenally. It can allocate resources to different storage tiers, like a Gold, Silver, or Bronze tier. If Gold is busy, it can go and request resources from the Silver or Bronze layer as we have defined them. We no longer see performance issues because the system just runs really well and handles a lot of scaling in both directions. 

There is an underlying QoS-type functionality behind-the-scenes where we are providing storage with an SLA based on tiers (Gold, Silver, or Bronze tiers). For example, if the Gold tier does not hit its minimum required performance, the system will kick into a lesser quality of service. It will reach out to the other storage tiers and consume more bandwidth, if needed. However, in our experience, the system works so well that we don't actually have to use that feature. On the very rare occasions that we need to, we just go click a button in the background. The system works so well that we don't actually have to use the QoS capabilities.

It works great. We don't ever have to escalate to the vendor. PowerMax is really a game changer for us. Historically, we would have bottlenecks on older, spinning disk gear, but this NVMe technology is really solid. Now, it works phenomenally. Therefore, storage is not a problem for us. The performance that we are experiencing changes the customer's conversation from talking about I/O to response times or latency. We used to have to worry about disk and how quickly could your data go in and out. Now, things are so dang fast that we just want to know how quickly we can connect to it, so the latency is pretty cool. We don't have any issues with performance efficiency at all.

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Oluwatosin Obatoyinbo - PeerSpot reviewer
Enterprise Architect at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

We find the service level option to provision storage very valuable. The ability to define different service levels for storage groups helps us in prioritizing our workload at the infrastructure level.

We also find the compression technology of PowerMax very valuable. In some instances, depending on the kind of data that we have, we can attest to compression ratios of about 9:1, which is very valuable.

The NFS feature is also quite useful for us in our environment. We're able to deploy the NFS capabilities to resolve some of the use cases that we identify.

Its efficiency and performance have been remarkable. It could be because we've not been able to break the limits of what we have. The PowerMax 2000 that we have can do about a million IOPS or so if my memory serves me well. Our use case at the moment isn't stretching as much as that. So, for us, performance has been remarkable in terms of meeting expectations. It has been much better as compared to what we used to have. We see responses to application requests, especially database request queries, in microseconds, as advertised, and even that in some ways gave us a bit of a challenge because the applications couldn't cope with the speed of the response of the storage. So, it was new learning for the providers of the application. The performance has been remarkable. We've seen data within microseconds as advertised. In terms of the IOPS, we've not been able to fully exact the limits, but so far, so good. We are pretty comfortable with that. As we grow organically, we will see more performance and we will be able to drive, but in terms of compression and deduplication, we have received remarkable value.

In the last one year, we haven't had any issues with the availability of the platform, the storage, and the extension of our data. The encryption or data address feature is also there. Even though we've not fully utilized that, it's comforting to know that capability is available for us to explore. We've not had any storage level outage in terms of the data not being accessible within the agreed service. So far, so good.

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Storage Team Manager at a government with 10,001+ employees

What is most valuable to us is the fact that it has multiple engines, and each of those engines works in conjunction in a grid environment. That's important to us because we have so many different use cases. One example might be that a state trooper pulls someone over at 2 o'clock on Sunday morning and wants to go into the LEIN system, which is the law enforcement information network. He wants to see who this person is that he has pulled over and gather as much information as he can on that person. We can't predict when he's going to pull someone over, nor can we predict when backups are actually going to be taken against the volume that he's going to for that information. The PowerMax allows us to do backups of that volume at the same time that he is looking up the data he needs, and there's no impact on performance at all.

The performance is very good. Our predominant workloads are all less than 5 milliseconds and it's most common to have a sub-1-millisecond response time for our applications. In terms of efficiency, we've turned on compression and we're able to get as high as two-to-one compression on our workloads, on average. Some workloads can't compress and some can compress better, but on average, we're a little bit more than two-to-one.

The solution’s built-in QoS capabilities for providing workload congestion protection work pretty well because we actually don't even turn on the service level options. We leave it to the default settings and allow it to decide the performance. We don't enforce the Platinum, Gold, or Silver QoS levels. We just let the array handle it all, and it does so.

We also use VPLEX Metro, which is a separate service offering from Dell EMC. It does SRDF-like things, but it's really SRDF on steroids. Of course it copies data from one data center to the other, but with the VPLEX, not only does it copy it synchronously, but it also has coherent caching between both data centers. That means we are literally in an Active-Active mode. For instance, we can dynamically move a VMware host that is in one data center to another data center, and we're not just doing vMotion with the host. The data is already in there at the other data center as well. It's all seamless. We don't have to stop SRDF and remount it on another drive. It's already there.

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Buyer's Guide
Dell PowerMax NVMe
October 2022
Learn what your peers think about Dell PowerMax NVMe. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2022.
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Abdul-Salam - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Manager - System Analyst (Datacenter Infrastructure) at Sohar International

The most important feature is the performance, because we have four directors, all of them Active-Active. (PowerMax directors support multiple functions including front-end I/O modules).

It is highly available because it has multiple controllers. All of them are unlike some of the traditional storage arrays, where you assign certain LUNs to certain controllers. Here, everything is Active-Active. You don't assign a particular disk or LUN to a particular controller. All the controllers are servicing all of the LUNs. So from an availability point of view, we don't even know if a particular controller or director has failed. And all the spare part replacement, including controllers, can be done online while systems are working. We don't need to do it during off-peak hours. We can do so during normal working hours because the performance you get from the service, due to the other controllers, is enough to take care of any failed components.

There is also a Call Home facility configured, so the system can send out alerts to the Dell EMC support team. They can dispatch spare parts based on these alerts, so it is a fully integrated system.

Another valuable feature is the DR replication technology, which is based on the Dell EMC SRDF solution. It provides a very good level of near-real-time replication. It supports synchronous as well as asynchronous. When it comes to activating the DR, it is very easy.

Then there are the compression and deduplication which are always on. We get more than 4:1 capacity savings using them. The efficiency benefits from compression and deduplication are through a specialized hardware module within the storage itself, and that means there is no overhead to the compression and dedupe.

In addition, the solution supports IBM Power Systems, Solaris, VMware—almost everything is supported. That's important to us because we are using multiple hardware flavors including IBM Power Systems, SPARC machines, and HPE Onyx. All of these are different classes of machines, and we have different operating systems. We have Linux and Windows on physical and we have it running on VMware. Oracle virtualization is also supported. It supports a wide combination of specialized technologies and hardware.

And the built-in QoS capabilities enable you to drill down to any particular QoS levels and define the type of performance you'll have: diamond, platinum, or gold. The result is that different performance levels can be set for individual disks. Using the QoS functionality, we can vary the performance or prioritize it based on the criticality of the performance needs.

Another nice feature is the CloudIQ app. You can even monitor things using the app on your mobile. Every five minutes, the performance statistics and the system diagnosis data are sent to the cloud and you can access them sitting anywhere. You get these statistics at your fingertips.

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Vince Vitro - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr Solutions Architect at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

They're basically tanks. You could take a baseball bat to it, and it's still going to keep running and doing what it's supposed to do. We've had a couple of part failures, and you can pretty much replace any part on that thing at any time during the day in the middle of production without worrying about anything happening. Nobody notices. We even had to replace a memory card, so we had to take out a controller. There were two, so no one even realized what was going on. 

The availability is excellent. You can do anything to it, and it still runs. The uptime is a great feature, and the replication has been pretty solid. That's another important feature for us.

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Haseeb Sheikh - PeerSpot reviewer
Assistant Manager IT Infrastructure at ufone

The SRDF site-to-site replication for the volumes is the most important feature for us. That enables us to do site recovery and replication for our VMware infrastructure.

Along with that, the NVMe response time is very good. We used to have a VMAX 20K but we have just upgraded, and moved two or three generations ahead to PowerMax, and the response time is great. Because we are coming from a hybrid storage scenario, the performance of NVMe is a huge upgrade for us. The 0.4 millisecond response time means our application works great and we are seeing huge performance improvements in our VMware and physical environments.

Regarding data security, EMC has introduced CloudIQ solution with the PowerMax environment, and that enables live monitoring of the telemetry and security data array of the PowerMax. CloudIQ also has a feature called Cybersecurity. That monitors for security vulnerabilities or security events that are occurring on the array itself. That feature is very helpful. We have been able to do some vulnerability assessment tests on the array, which have helped us to resolve issues regarding data security and security vulnerabilities. We are not using the encryption feature of the PowerMax, because we didn't order the PowerMax configuration for it.

CloudIQ helps the environment and lets us manage the respective connected environments. A good feature in CloudIQ is the health score of each connected infrastructure. It gives you timely alerts and informs you when a health issue is occurring on the arrays and needs to be fixed. Those reports and health notices are also sent to Dell EMC support, which proactively monitors all the infrastructure and they will open service requests themselves.

In terms of efficiency, the compression we are currently receiving is 4.2x, which is very good efficiency. We are storing 435 terabytes of data in just 90 TB. In addition to what I mentioned about the NVMe performance, which is very good, we were achieving 150k IOPS on the VMAX, but on the PowerMax the same workload is hitting 300k-plus IOPS. That is sufficient for the workload and means the application is performing as required, according to the SLAs as defined on the PowerMax.

When it comes to workload congestion protection, we have not faced any congestion yet in our environment. We have some spikes on Friday evenings, but they are being handled by PowerMax dutifully. It can beautifully handle up to 400k IOPS, even though it is only designed for 300k IOPS. That is another illustration of its good performance.

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VP Global Markets, Global Head of Storage at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

Uptime and availability are first and foremost. The deduplication and compression capabilities are also excellent, allowing us to be very efficient with the physical hardware that we need to deploy on-prem in order to fulfill our requirements. It has given us excellent value for money without compromising performance.

The solution's snapshot capabilities and replication are very good features. Snapshots are allowing us to quickly build analytical models directly from production data. This gives us amazing insights into market trends and allows us to build more effective trading algorithms. Replication offers us unparalleled levels of resilience.

The management overall is excellent. Dell EMC continues to build on very solid foundations, which have been evolving for over two decades. 

The REST APIs are great.

The solution exposes excellent automation opportunities.

We have found the performance to be very good so far.

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Jeff Dao - PeerSpot reviewer
Infrastructure Lead at Umbra Ltd.
  • The cost of the entire solution
  • Their dedupe rates
  • Ease of use
  • Simplicity

Data availability is very high. Data security is also very good. There are a lot of encryption methods available.

We use the solution’s NVMe SCM storage tier feature. There is almost no overhead or management time involved. It was kind of set it and forget it.

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Solution Architect at Sybyl

It is a good, resilient product.  

The good thing that we have found is the enhanced data savings. For example, in an XtremIO, we were seeing the space savings was 1:4 or 1:3. With PowerMax, I have seen 10:1 and 12:1. This is something that has really come out as a distinctive feature and is helping us a lot.

The Unisphere GUI has been enhanced. A lot of options have been added to the GUI. Though, if somebody is planning to buy PowerMax, they should also have some associated training with that.

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Nikolay Muravev - PeerSpot reviewer
Lead System Administrator at Central Hospital of Civil Aviation

We value maximum system uptime because our projects are associated with a government customer. We have medical ERP, which is used throughout Russia, covering 8 time zones. If it fails, then we have big problems. Therefore, the stability of the system is important for us.We are using PowerMax and VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVols).

We use Power Pass, which is an additional software from Dell EMC, alongside multi-passing in our SAN network. This allows us to balance uploads and optical links of our SAN network.

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Ahmed Kamel - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Storage Systems Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 5,001-10,000 employees

This product provides NVMe scale-out capabilities, which is important to us because our performance and IOPS have improved. The administrators have felt better about our environment since we implemented PowerMax. The storage is much better, overall.

We use the NVMe CSM and it's a very powerful feature that makes our business stronger. The performance is improved, making everything faster.

The reporting functionality is very good.

The UI is very easy to use. We can add volumes and manage them easily.

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Product Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

Based on our experience with VMAX, there isn't any hardware failure or something like that in PowerMax. Performance-wise also, everything is fine. We haven't faced any performance issues or any hardware failure. Its performance is great as compared to VMAX. Its I/O per second rate is higher than the old model.

We can use it block-wise, and we can also use it at the file level. It is good for any environment.

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Senior BDM at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The deduplication of the solution is excellent and the compression is quite helpful. These are the most useful aspects of the solution for us.

The initial setup is quite straightforward.

Technical support has been excellent.

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Enterprise Architect at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees

Overall, the platform is easy to use. The performance has kept up with our workloads.

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Solution Administrator at Telcel

It is important that the product provides NVMe scale-out capabilities. We support many things with the product and we need to know what the architecture is. It makes things very simple for us.

The data security and availability are pretty good. We have many clients connecting to the box, which means security is very important. This is true when it comes to remote support. The compliance is very good.

The performance is very good on our servers. It's superior. And the QoS capabilities for providing work congestion protection are also important because about 99 percent of our servers are production servers.

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Senior Solutions Architect at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The most valuable aspects include the remote replication features. It allows us to protect our data using different data centers and replicate bi-directionally between our two main data centers.

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Pisey NAP - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior System Administrator at PRASAC Microfinance Institution Limited

We like the compression, dedupe, and I/O on the PowerMax. They are better than on the XtremIO.

Snapshots make it easy to deploy production, pre-production, and UAT environments. It is easy to snapshot and reverse snapshot to other environments, compared to other storage vendors.

In addition, we have a lot of users in our core system and the PowerMax performance is very good. The I/O performance is running fine; it's not an issue.

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Osman Sercan SADIKOGLU - PeerSpot reviewer
Storage and Backup System Architect at Turkiye Finans Participation Bank

The best feature is the protection - PowerMax NVMe is volume-based and replicates data, so it's very comfortable for us to use.

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Buyer's Guide
Dell PowerMax NVMe
October 2022
Learn what your peers think about Dell PowerMax NVMe. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2022.
635,987 professionals have used our research since 2012.