What is our primary use case?
Regarding our use cases of Dell EMC SC Series, from a core perspective, we are going to phase out Oracle and move to SAP HANA. Oracle was part of our SAP legacy architecture, so we are migrating it to HANA. From a business perspective, we have a couple of Microsoft SQL-based applications that are using the SQL database and which we have for on-the-go users. Our core business is running on SAP and then, from a legacy structure, we have a bit of Microsoft SQL and the rest is on Microsoft.
The technology was declared end of sale last year, so we switched to the newer PowerStore, but we still have the SC Series working and functioning in test and dev. If I'm not mistaken, we got the updated code as well. Our agreement is extended, but we don't plan to continue with it because we've already shifted the workload onto PowerStore.
This solution is deployed on-prem.
What is most valuable?
One of the most valuable features is the capability to switch between all-flash to hybrid, which have have actually done for one of our arrays. We started with the hybrid, with the limited if I'm not mistaken, and then over a period of time, we swapped all the hybrids with the SSDs. This was one of the big features because it gave us the capability to not stick with just one kind of media.
Secondly, since it has sorted clustering, we were able to bring in the newer boxes and have it all clustered together. These were the two main features that we really looked into, which benefited our use case from an expansion/growth perspective. Another valuable feature is the ease of management.
What needs improvement?
What I understand is that this is a 13 year old architecture, so it has lived its life and they're phasing it out. Honestly, we were initially struggling with the integration with VMware (but it was fixed with the VMware 6.5) and, then, it was around a 10GB network. At that time, it had the longevity to go to 100GB as well. It got us thinking about, when we go into the containerized architecture, what do we need to do to fix the infrastructure?
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution since 2013.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The performance was staggering and it was more than what we paid for. We were able to bring a lot of juice out from the SC Series. It took us some time, but we were able to get a higher performance once we understood the technology.
The SC Series was very low maintenance, which was one thing that we liked. We had Phone Home enabled, so we were getting all the patches from Dell. They were also able to help us from a drive failure perspective. Nothing went wrong with it—it was a good experience, which is why we are still sticking with Dell.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The scalability was one of our main purchasing decision data points. We wanted the architecture, which is highly clustered, and which gave us the scale up and scale out altogether. It was good. We never intended to go beyond 500 to 600 terabytes, but from a scalability perspective, it really proved its worth.
How are customer service and support?
We are happy with Dell's technical support, which is one of the reasons why we stuck with Dell when the SC Series was coming to end of life. We explored other vendors as well, but we are comfortable with Dell.
On a scale from one to five, I would rate them a five. When we were in the midst of rolling out our containerized app for our mobile users, we had an issue. It was our own application issue and had nothing to do with them, but they came forward with a lot of APIs. From a data perspective, they even got one of their engineers to work and to support our application team. From a hardware perspective, they were able to come in and help us on our application, which is why I rate them a five.
How was the initial setup?
From an acquisition perspective, it was very straightforward. From an implementation perspective, we had a little difficulty because it was a newer technology. From our admin perspective, it was not something that they were equipped with, so initially we had hiccups. However, I believe that this is fair for every new technology.
The automation part wasn't there, so we had hoped that we could automate it back in when we were acquiring it. We felt that this would've made our life easier, but we only came to realize this when we migrated our workloads from SC to the newer generation of PowerStore—it provided all the automation and everything that was missing on day one from an SC Series.
If I were to rate the initial setup on a scale from one to five, I'd put it at a four, from a technology perspective. From an internal perspective, I would rate us a three, but the shortcomings were on our end, in terms of internal skill building. The DSM, Dell Storage Manager, really came in handy, but we didn't know how to best leverage it.
What about the implementation team?
For the deployment, we actually got the partner to come in and work with our team. We also leveraged Dell, but it was mainly from a documentation perspective. We didn't have any issues where we had to go and seek support or help, but it was our internal staff which slowed us down, not the platform or the product itself.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The SC Series was priced fairly. I wouldn't call it either expensive or cheap because we had a very tight budget, so if they were able to fit in that type of budget, they met our expectations.
What other advice do I have?
I rate the SC Series a 10 out of 10 because it was a lifesaver. One of the use cases that we had, where we found it really gave us an edge, was back in 2015. There was a compliance requirement where we had to roll out a lot of old logs and data. We had it sitting on the old 2TB SATA drive, the slowest drive possible. We always worried about how we were going to get the data since we were using all-flash and archiving on the slowest 2TB drives, but when the stacking came, it really gave us all the data without any purchase—the tiering feature really shone at that time. So, that is one of the reasons why we trust and love this product.
If the SC Series was still in use, I would honestly recommend it to others, at any given time. When we moved out from business critical workloads, away from SC Series, we did a lot of crazy testing. It gave us the capability to get a lot of performance out and it was very flexible. If it was still there, we would still be buying more of it.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.