This solution is our primary storage for all workloads.
It has good replication and integration with VMware.
Download the Dell Unity XT Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022
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:
Dell EMC Unity XT Benefits
Some of the benefits of using Dell EMC Unity XT include:
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."
Dell Unity XT was previously known as EMC Unity, Dell EMC Unity.
Draper, Rio Grande Pacific, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
This solution is our primary storage for all workloads.
It has good replication and integration with VMware.
This solution makes it easy to manage storage, provision new workloads, and scale-up.
The most valuable feature is the easy management with a great GUI. We can do a lot from there.
This solution would be improved with the addition of flexible raid volumes.
This is a very stable platform, so far zero issues.
We use this solution for remote sites with greater than 20TB & less than 100TB in block storage requirements. We utilize Dell EMC Unity 350f for ESX hosts and some CIFS & NFS NAS needs. We also use these arrays for DR needs to help control cost for primary block storage needs.
The Unity Arrays are easy to deploy and maintain. The All-Flash models are intuitive and easy to work with, in addition to providing high IOPS with low latency to support Business Critical applications. Because of the newer features and performance, it's easy to maintain and support remotely.
The All-Flash models are pretty fast for the vast majority of our remote workloads.
Encryption (data at rest - DAR) is easy to implement and has very little performance overhead.
CloudIQ SaaS is also a nice touch and is available for free. You can remotely monitor the health and performance of the arrays online or via a mobile app.
We would like to see the concept of Storage Groups brought back to this product line. Manually assigning new LUNs & removing LUNs at sites with a few ESX hosts in a cluster is fairly easy and straightforward, but when you have large clusters with twenty to thirty hosts, this becomes a burden. Because of this, we have limited the use of Unity systems in our larger data centers.
Between two and three years.
It is for a customer who does virtualization.
We use replication for disaster recovery (DR), making our DR process much easier.
Price and performance are its most valuable features.
It streamlines processes.
I haven't seen the roadmap for this solution.
It has met our overall performance expectations. The solution runs as we need it to, without any issues. It hasn't failed.
We haven't tried scaling yet.
The technical support is good.
We had performance issues with our previous product, which is why we started to search for a new solution when we did a reorganization. We decided on this solution because of the performance that we receive from the solution.
The initial setup is straightforward: Just connect, plug in everything, then do the configuration wizard.
We are integrators.
Our CAPEX was close to $42,000 and operating costs are below $1000.
We also evaluated HPE and Lenovo.
The product has met all our expectations.
Take a closer look at the price per gigabyte and the performance that you are getting with the solution.
The primary use case is storage.
The solution helps us be more competitive in the market against our competitors.
We use replication.
It has reduced complexity.
It is missing some features, like deduplication.
It is pretty stable.
It can scale.
The technical support is good.
The initial setup has straightforward and complex pieces, such as, the integration.
We have seen ROI
We don't use the cloud options.
This was for our SAN storage. Pretty much everything runs on this: databases, servers, etc.
We have resolved IT challenges with this solution. It sped up our environment. We went from spinning disk to all-flash, which reduced our footprint.
The software is very easy to use.
We would like to see the synchronous replication process included in the next release. Not having this downgraded our performance by 65 percent. This really needs to be improved.
It is very stable.
It is very scalable.
The technical support is really good. I can open up a chat support session with them, then they can either resolve it or turn it into a ticket.
We previously had the VNX5700, which was seven years old. It was at end-of-life, and we had maxed out its capacity.
The initial setup was straightforward for the most part. Because we can do synchronous replication between the two sites, this made the setup challenging for this piece. They did not know how to set this up initially. We ended up having to do bidirectional synchronous replication.
We used Data Blue (previously LPS), as our integrator, to do the installation for our deployment. They worked with our onsite Dell EMC representatives.
Our costs are roughly $200,000 a year.
We narrowed it down to Hitachi and Dell EMC. We put it out to bid and Dell EMC won.
Overall, it is good product.
If you are doing asynchronous replication, this is a great solution. If you are looking for a synchronous replication solution, I would recommend PowerMax.
The primary use case is NAS.
We use it for its quality and NAS.
It has good performance.
The solution is extremely functional for the price that we pay for it. It is worth the investment.
The application's administration needs improvement and become better. It previously was better.
It is not stable enough.
Dell EMC has good technical support. We haven't had to use it for this product, but we have use it for other products and not had any problems.
The initial setup and migration were straightforward.
The cost of it is good for us.
We purchased a five-year warranty.
We picked Unity, as it is a mature, established solution.
Research the other products that Dell EMC offers, as there is a wide variety.
Our primary use case is for our data center and hypervisor cluster.
We can get almost real-time response times.
We are just getting ready to leverage Cloud Tier.
Deduplication is the biggest thing for our company.
It is easy to use.
Compression is making a difference towards the amount of hardware that we need to purchase.
We love our snapshots and the CloudIQ function is great.
I don't think we are really pushing our Unity, which we have discussed with Dell EMC.
I would like them to continue to build on the solution and expand on the functionality, like replication.
Our hypervisor cluster has 13 nodes. We have some file level and front-end services.
We leverage the iSCSI and Fibre Channel functionalities for scalability.
Dell EMC technical support is pretty quick.
We use it for both file and block in a converged system, supporting a VMware environment and virtualization. VMware is the primary use case.
We have deployed it at remote locations; in a converged platform it really helps. We don't have to have two different storage system which helps to minimize the footprint.
It is a platform that we have standardized on for remote sites which enables us to have engineers and admins who are trained on and knowledgeable about the platform across the board. That enables them to support those sites, which is super-beneficial for us because we can do more with less.
The ability to mix and match SSDs with flash, and spinning disk in there as well, really allows us to meet our performance requirements.
Overall, the most valuable thing for our use case is the flexibility to have multiple-protocol support.
We'd like to see a cheaper version of an all-flash array in that footprint.
It's very stable. We haven't had any major issues with downtime.
It scales very well. It's built into the model line which allows you to scale as necessary. You can choose the model you need to scale with your needs.
Dell EMC's tech support is awesome. We've used both onsite help and remote phone support and I have nothing but great things to say about them.
The setup was really straightforward. We have a long history of using the Dell EMC product line so we are very familiar with the platforms and how they work. This was just the next evolution.
I give the solution an eight out of ten because it meets our use case very well. But it's an eight because nothing is perfect. There is always room for improvement, whether that be in the UI or something else.
We are using it mostly for VMware and Wintel. It is also for applications, like SQL, which need to be used on multiple different operating system, such as Windows, Linux, and sometimes Citrix. We use it with virtualized infrastructure.
We use QoS and snapshots features, which I like.
Unity provides a complete storage solution for VMware on a Wintel Windows box for various applications, such as SQL or Patron Databases. It is seamless, and it sits there providing all the storage and connectivity, so we can forget about it. Unity takes care of itself, solving all the basic needs of a robust infrastructure.
It is easy to deploy. That is the best feature that I like, because I used to fly into locations to install a Unity. We used to have an expense of $5,000 on the product. Now, I just send whomever is onsite over there locally with the initialization information in a text file. Then, they can put it in a USB drive, come back, and it's deployed. Afterwards, I can remotely access it, saving us $5,000 every time. It is not very expensive, so the value added is you get big bang for your buck.
If I can connect to my Unity through my iPad or my cellphone to check everything is okay and view the information via a dashboard.
I would like to have secure mobile connectivity going forward. This would help me be more proactive.
It is pretty stable. I like the stability, because everything works like it should. We made it all redundant. So, we don't have anything to worry about.
We are so virtual that we have two of us managing the whole infrastructure. Everything is taken care of and highly available. Nothing is vulnerable at all. Everything is good. There have been no issues at all, so far.
We have 30 to 40 Unities out there in the field. We don't even scratch the full capabilities of the Unity. We are at about 20 to 30 percent utilization. It is just provisioned so well that we are sitting at 90 percent performance level. We have it well-provisioned so we don't need to worry about performance for the next five years.
It is quite scalable. If you want to add on, you can add on easily. We have a 25-slot enclosure and are probably at 15 right now. If we purchase a big company, need to scale up, we can easily scale up.
If there's any issues with a hard drive or any other hardware components, Dell EMC is contacted, then they will call us back to schedule to get into the data center to replace something. This is all virtual. Support is not a problem, because it's automatically taken care of. Only thing we have to do is to give them access to the data center to go do what they need to do to fix it proactively.
The local account team and system engineer are the best part of working with Dell EMC.
Everything is becoming virtual. Then, cloud transformation is being considered right now. Everybody is going over there. We want to evaluate everything, and if the cloud solution is good for us, we'll go there. Everything will be in the cloud.
We have different models of VNX and we have Unity. We use them for file sharing and for block serving in non-production systems.
We don't have a dedicated application running on Unity, but we are using it and file sharing to run multiple systems, but it is not the core. It's used by a lot of applications, but we use it to share files between different applications on different platforms.
We have multiple systems, a heterogeneous environment with Unix and Windows. It's not easy to share multiple files through different platforms. Unity solves this issue.
Also, replication gives us high-availability, and thus quick recovery, and snapshots give us faster recovery within the box, in case there are problems within the box itself.
The valuable features of Unity include:
It's not complicated. Any beginner can work with this environment.
It is not an enterprise-level solution, it's for mid-range companies, but it includes a lot of features like compression and encryption.
If you compare it with VMAX, where we communicate with the box through Solutions Enabler and there are a lot of commands and a lot of flexibility, the command line for Unity needs to enhanced.
We cannot compare the stability with VMAX or PowerMax, but so far, so good.
The scalability is okay, it's fine. It's not powerful though. We have another product that is more scalable than Unity. It needs to be able to scale out, like the Isilon system and other systems.
Dell EMC has one of the best support organizations, worldwide. We have multiple vendors, but Dell EMC is one of the best. Regardless of whether it's Unity, VMAX, etc., it's fine. We have had very special support from Dell EMC.
We have a good relationship with multiple vendors, but especially with Dell EMC, which is one of the big players. Our main storage is Dell EMC for many reasons. We got Unity because we are happy with the support and with products like VMAX and Isilon. We didn't want to change the technology we are going with.
I was involved in the initial setup with my engineers. It was straightforward. Most products from Dell EMC are straightforward to set up.
We use the Unity to back-end our VMware virtual stack. We run VMware vSphere on it. It's a hypervisor, and that is what we are required to run all our VMs for both Horizon and our internal services.
We were having significant latency with our old storage arrays. With Unity's flexibility of block and file storage, we were able to start with file storage, then plan eventually moving to block storage. So, it has sped up our entire architecture.
Speed and ease of use of the interface are its most valuable features.
The Unity interface is much more advanced than some of the older ones that we had, or that I've experienced. It has made deployment, configuration, and maintenance a lot simpler.
For private cloud, it works very well.
There were a couple features that came out a little later than we originally believed, but they did come pretty much on time and met our schedule.
Like any other storage array, SAN, or NAS, it is very reliable. We haven't had any issues with it.
We know that we can add another whole tray or two of disks if we need to. We started with a high-density to begin with, but we knew we had significant space to expand when we needed it.
It has exceeded our performance expectations. We were expecting an improvement, but we were expecting to eventually in the short term come close to hitting capacity on it, and we haven't. Performance-wise, it's held up very well.
The support that we get for Dell EMC storage has been fantastic.
We were previously using NetApp, and we were at the limit of our old equipment. We were running older file storage, which was causing us a bunch of latency issues, and the Unity solved most of those problems.
The initial setup is not so straightforward if you don't have experience with storage arrays.
We used a Dell EMC consultant for the deployment. The experience was good.
The return on the investment was simply speeding up our entire vSphere stack, which allowed our developers and engineers to get their workloads done faster and simpler. We were experiencing VM snapshot times of 45 minutes to two or three hours, and it shrunk it down to under five minutes.
Based on the cost and performance the we needed, Unity was the best price. NetApp was not being price competitive.
If you're looking for a cost-effective, easy to use solution, which has scalability on a small-to-medium deployment, Unity is a very good solution for this.
We are planning to use replication very soon, and we do use snapshots.
We've been very happy.
We are using the All-Flash storage for block and file use cases. All of our corporate file shares and all of our VMware infrastructure items for manager service platforms are running off of Unity.
We are running a hosted collaboration: video, voice, and all types of online collaboration solutions for our customers. We have been doing it for years and just needed to migrate to the next level.
It has improved the utilization of our own internal resources and performance across our managed service platform, meeting our customers SLAs.
Unity has reduced the complexity and improved productivity tenfold compared to what it used to be.
Our tech team is small and very busy, so it is about ease of use. The Unity came in, and its very easy to use and expand. We can expand one drive at a time, which has been a cost effective for us along with ease of performance.
A lot of the Unisphere interfaces are greatly improved in terms of monitoring capabilities, alerting, and ease of use. Setting up the storage and the file system are all just a few clicks away.
There are a lot of cloud options. We make use CloudIQ, which is a nice dashboard for our managed service side of the company to easily review what is going on with the health of things. There are a number of other cloud features, but we don't make use of them today.
The dedupe and compression ratios on the Unity are not quite where we want them. We are getting better data efficiencies on the VNX than we are on the new Unity. We found this a bit interesting. We would like to see improvement there.
We noticed in the last release of code that there were some inefficiencies around getting our data efficiency up in terms of dedupe and compression.
I don't hear from any of my tech team. We put it in, and it has been stable. We have been through three patch cycles. Junior resources are taking care of it with no issues. Once we show them how it works, very little training is needed to get them up to speed.
We were running it on VNX previously, so it was easy to migrate over to Unity. We went from a hybrid solution to All-Flash.
We were able to downsize the storage utilization and dedupe with compression, then go with a smaller array, increase our performance, and ease of use.
We worked with pretty much all of the major array manufacturers, and I can put my junior resources on it and not worry about them provisioning extra storage, scaling it, and adding to it. I don't hear from them anymore with, "How do I do this?", "Is this correct?", or "I broke it."
I would rate the product an eight out of ten, which is higher than I would rate other arrays in the mid-range space.
It's our primary storage. It is just for VMWare with a lot of Fail Over clusters.
For our mission critical applications, we run SQL, Oracle, Fail Over server clusters, VMWare, and databases. We use it for our primary VMWare environments, with a VPLEX, just for failover and performance. We use it for Windows Plus! because you need shared storage. In addition, we use it for healthcare systems.
We only use it for block storage. We don't use any other features. We have a VPLEX for applications.
Unity is supporting the organization, but it's not improving it. It's just hosting the applications.
Simplicity: It is ease to use. It performs. It's easy to provision, and It's stable.
I would like better monitoring capabilities: more historical data with more insight into the performance for the database. We now use a separate tool for it. Therefore, it would be nice if we could have that straight from the tool.
The stability is good. We are very happy with the Unity.
It does what it says it does. It performs, so you never have performance problems with it.
It scales, but then you have to buy additional stuff. So, if we need it, we can scale it. That is not the issue. However, we don't need it to scale further, because when I scaled it down, there are multiple platforms that we will move off the Unity to a hyper-converged or Isilon solution. Scalability isn't that important.
The technical support is good.
It's quite straightforward. It's deciding some IP addresses and building a storage pool, then you're off.
We always buy it with implementation services. However, we did the implementation ourselves.
With the large Unity that we bought, it has saved us about one and a half rack space. That's our return on investment on our flash array. We also need less Fibre Channel connectivity.
We had VPLEX, and it's a good merge with Unity. So, we didn't look very much further.
We also looked at HPE and Hitachi. We went with Dell EMC since we are a Dell EMC house.
It does what it needs to do that is the reason why we bought it.
We are not interested in the cloud option.
We use it for our primary storage platform. All of our primary VMs run off of it.
We went from two boxes that were 8U down to a 2U box. Dell EMC Unity XT reduced the electricity we were using just by making that one change.
On a performance level, with SQL querying, it would take 60 seconds. That doesn't sound like a long time, but when people are staring at a spinning icon they can get outraged. This solution has cut it down to about 22 seconds for a query, so it's a lot faster. The difference was astronomical. We were using an EqualLogic, a hybrid array which had spinning disk and SSD, and the Unity just blew it out of the water.
When it comes to provisioning and management, when you compare Unity to EqualLogic, it's night and day. The EqualLogic wasn't nearly as flexible as Unity is. Once we saw what the Unity was capable of, there was no going back to the EqualLogic at all.
It gives me flexibility with its ability to replicate to itself and the ability to use the Dell EMC Cloud as an option. That's always sitting there and waiting if we need it.
I like the fact that it comes with a cloud option out-of-the-box. Just purchasing it gave us an unlimited amount of storage. It allows us to dip our toes in without a major commitment. With AWS or Azure, you're locked in and you're using up the contract and you're always worried that you'll spend a lot more. The use case for us would be disaster recovery or cold storage.
We use our VMware Site Recovery Manager and we use the device to replicate all of those hot VMs over to our DR site. We've actually tested it and it takes 19 seconds for us to get a virtual machine up and running, in the event of a disaster, because of the replication between the two systems.
What I'd like to see is a little more detail on the networking side. I can go into where it's showing me the replication, but when I go into the network it just gives me broad-based information. I don't know which replication job is actually feeding it. I have to go in and rely on other apps. But I'm thinking, "It's on there. It should be able to tell me this is the one that's eating up the bandwidth."
We've had no issues with the Unity. We haven't had a failed drive yet.
We haven't had to scale it out. We're going to scale it out next year.
We went from a spinning drive array because we needed something faster. We moved our analytic server over to it and the Unity was able to overcome the bottleneck that the previous storage had caused.
Also, EqualLogic went end-of-life, they weren't going to support it anymore. That was our initial driver. But we found we could fix some other issues with the move to Unity.
The initial setup was pretty straightforward, or at least we thought it would be. We have some complex stuff that we do on our network which caused some issues with it. That didn't make it a standard, out-of-the-box setup. Had we had a less complex network, it would have been a lot simpler to put it in.
We used a reseller and our experience was fine. It was not the first time we had actually worked with that reseller. We ended up having to engage with the Dell EMC people to get everything set up right. It wasn't the smoothest of introductions.
We looked at all-in-one, hyperconverged storage. We decided not to go that route simply because we've made such a huge investment on the networking side. If we had gone the hyperconverged route we would pretty much have had to rip all that out.
Then we looked at Pure. In the end, we'd been partners with Dell EMC for so long that it didn't make sense to venture out into some unknown when we were talking about the main platform which we were going to build all our VMs off of.
Find out your needs before you look at your options. Everyone's going to tell you theirs is the best but you need to know what you need going in, and what kind of performance level you need. If they're not willing to do a PoC then don't do it. If they're not willing to put their product out there and compare it with another product, then don't even consider them.
I would give it an eight out of ten. It has some deduplication to try to reduce some of the overlap that VMs, by nature, have. But I feel that could be better to try to save on storage. Also, better reclaimed-space management on it would be nice. Reclaimed space on virtual systems can be a pain to manage sometimes.
We use it for our converged infrastructure in our VxBlock.
We put all our applications on it since it is our back-end storage. We have just one storage area that we dump everything on and scrape for all of our mixed workload use.
It is a streamlined single giant storage area. It is all fast, so we can throw all of our mixed workloads at it. It just simplifies the deployment of things because we don't have to sit there and think about where we want to put stuff or what needs what.
Speed and flexibility are the most valuable features.
It has great mixed work load use, which is nice because we keep growing things for our VxBlock.
It's great on power consumption, as there is no spinning disk.
It's super-fast, and you can't go wrong with that. It's helped us across the board to standardize on something very simple.
We use all the data service features and click all the options.
As the solution continues to grow and gain more traction, things will come up that will just continue to deepen the integration between VMware, vCenter, and all those other components. Anything in the divisibility there and additional tools is always great.
It is super stable. I haven't had any issues with it.
The scalability is great. We haven't hit any issues with scaling at this point.
Thankfully, we haven't had to deal with technical support yet.
We were standing up a new data center, so it was easier to standardized on one storage subsystem. We had been using VNXe and XtremIO with a mix of other Dell EMC products. It was just nice for this mixed workload use to have a single solution in Unity.
The initial setup was super straightforward. I pointed it where I wanted it to go, and they put it there.
We used VCE for the deployment, and they were great.
It is a brand new data center, so we haven't quite seen the ROI yet. Just from an overall power and heating usage, it costs substantially less than some of our existing solutions.
We only had EMC on our shortlist.
It is lightning fast, low on power and heat, and has a small footprint with great performance.
If you don't know your mixed use case, or what you're going to do with it, it's a nice mixed use storage subsystem. It easily integrates with great visibility. It is very easy to maintain and operate. It is just a nice platform, especially if you're setting yourself in a new direction and you don't quite know what you're doing.
Right now, Unity is a backup target.
The IT challenge we resolved with this solution was having a backup target. With Unity we've got DDVE, or Data Domain Virtual Edition loaded. It was an array that was not being used for anything in particular and we had a need for the data domain capacity, so we're using it as a backup target under DDVE.
The Unity platform is really easy to use. When it comes to provisioning and management, it has reduced complexity and improved productivity. The ease of the UI means it's not a very complicated system to manage.
For me, the most valuable feature is the ease of management. It's a fairly easy system to manage compared to PowerMax or VMAX.
In other use cases for which we used that particular Unity box, before it landed up being what it is now, the data service feature we used most was snapshots. Snapshots made it easy to roll back to a point in time.
We plan to buy Unity again in the next 12 months and we'll have to see what the next generation of Unity brings to us. But so far, there are no additional features needed.
There's always room for improvement with the UI. That can be a little cumbersome at times.
The stability is good.
The scalability is also good.
We haven't had to call technical support. It has been a pretty solid product.
The initial setup was straightforward. It's an easy piece of equipment to manage.
We are enterprise-level and buy directly from Dell EMC.
Our shortlist had IBM XIV Gen2. We landed on Unity because we had familiarity with the product. Unity has its roots in VNX and we had a number of VNX arrays.
Unity is solid and there is not anything to be afraid of in purchasing it. I would recommend it.
Ours is not a very complicated use case and the performance has been adequate for what we've tasked it to do.
I give the Unity a ten out of ten for two reasons:
We use it for data storage, for file.
When it comes to provisioning and management, the solution has reduced complexity because we combined several systems down into one. We're utilizing that technology to see what we have available for file, instead of multiple technologies, and trying to converge all of that together to understand what our capacity management meets are.
Also, Unity's are more easily administrated, so we need fewer people to do the administration. We have less overhead because of that.
We do replication and snapshotting. We're using that as a backup technology to leverage snapshotting.
We went to the PowerMax because of the needs that we have for the business. We're doing true enterprise-level storage. So we went from Unity to PowerMax to give us that tier that we were looking for.
It's stable. It works well.
We had a lot of different solutions. They were all piecemeal'ed. We have manufacturing sites in 80 countries and every site did their own thing until corporate brought it back in. That's when we started to go with Unity. And now we're making the transition to PowerMax.
We use Dell EMC because they're the premier player.
We used one of our premier partners to implement it.
My advice is to take this solution. It does what it tells you it's going to do.
Instead of using multiple types of backup or file storage, we were trying to combine all of that into Unity. Now we're trying to refresh that again and go with the newer technology, the enterprise-level storage. Unity met our overall performance expectations for what it is, and then we obviously needed the enterprise level, so we're going with the PowerMax now.
I would rate Unity at eight out of ten. Any application or product has room for improvement. I don't see anything out there that's a ten. Unity is functional for what it needs to be.
We use it for replacing legacy storage. It's just a one-for-one.
This is primarily for storage and the data aspect of it.
Dell EMC Unity XT keeps us up and running. That is the big thing.
I don't have any complaints from the customers or end users, who are using this solution. It's up and running with no worries.
We are very fond of the scalability. We are using the Unity 300, which has a limitation. However, if we needed more, we could go to the Unity 400, 500 or 600. We could go down the series until we get the one that meets the size that we need. It has very impressive scalability.
We're not cloud ready yet, but we like the option for the expandability.
We have Dell EMC engineers helping us out and doing some over the shoulder training. They are working with our customer right now doing data migration over to Unities from the legacy Oracle stuff. While they're doing this, they're showing people how the Unities work and the ins and outs of the software interface.
It's been a really beneficial relationship. We work a lot with Dell EMC, because they are very accommodating. Our Dell EMC representative does what our team doesn't have the capability of doing yet, because they don't have exposure to the product. I look forward to seeing how it works out.
Our experience recently, with newer products, has been that once they're installed, we haven't had to worry about them. If there has been an issue, like we pulled something out of a box, it's replaced within a matter of days. It's really quick.
We really push Dell EMC with our customers because of the customer support. It's been very flexible. We always need a lot of data on the stuff that's purchased because we have people buying it on behalf of the customer. They are very good on the customer support acquisition side to provide that data. Also, the technical support that we get is fabulous.
We replaced our legacy storage, which was Oracle. We couldn't afford the maintenance agreement for it any longer. We saved millions of dollars by not going back with Oracle.
This solution has meet our overall performance expectations. We were going for form fit function. We had to meet certain guidelines. We couldn't put anything in bigger. Physically, we couldn't put in any additional capabilities. We had to meet the existing network connectivity without modifying the other systems. The versatility of the product, with the optional PCI inputs allowed us to get that. We are able to scale it up or down, for actual storage, to meet the capacity that we need. We're using it in two cases where we're doing a form fit function. One for replacement, then another for overall modernization of the same systems. We're able to take the same product and scale it up to almost three times its size with very little effort.
The initial setup was fairly straightforward. We had a technician helping with migration because of the legacy aspect of the servers, and what they were connecting to. Once the the over the shoulder training is done, the process is fairly straightforward.
We used a reseller and had a consultant. The consultant had worked for Dell EMC and went to work for a consulting company. He is now back to work at Dell EMC. He actually recommended the product based on his knowledge of our program. He flushed the whole system out, as far as the build. Regarding the flexibility of the product, we have other programs within our larger branch which are starting to take on and use the Unities for storage.
The benefit that we have seen is in uptime.
While it has a good price to start, they could always make it cheaper.
We bought extended warranties out of the box because our customer has a bad habit of managing warranties. The service for the small things that we have had are always handled very quickly.
We were on old Oracle storage and are still on some old Oracle storage.
There are lots of options for storage solutions, but our technical and customer support team's experience with Dell EMC makes it a no-brainer for us.
I hate to speak bad of folks, but we can't even get HPE to return our phone calls, in most cases.
Do the due diligence and look at the details: the specs of the product and scalability. There are multiple series of products in the Unity line, which are very simple to use.
It's met all of our expectations. Our users don't have any technical needs because it's up and running. Overall, we are very excited about the product.
We bought a couple of 450F and 650F to replace our ageing VNX family. The primary use case is for block storage, and VMware for our tier-2 applications.
Moving away from Java-based Unisphere to the HTML5 version of Unity is a huge improvement for our day-to-day management. We are still in the process of getting things in place, but at this stage, I can say the configuration is pretty straightforward and doesn't require additional training to learn the product.
Moving also from a hybrid to an all-flash array helped us to minimize footprints in our data centers. It's like two racks of VNX 8000 down to a quarter rack of Unity 650F.
We use this solution for our databases. We also use some of the applications provided.
It is a hassle-free storage environment that helps us manage our hardware. The upgrades are helpful and it makes our organization a more productive environment.
We like the way it integrates with our environment. These features help us use multiple soft applications. The new features of going off the grid and replicating really help us. They give us an advantage versus traditional storage resources.
We would like an AI feature that would protect the backup and minimize the consumed space so that we can maintain the quality of the backup. This would help us minimize our IT cost in terms of backup procedures.
In addition, we would like to see the solution integrate easier with any cloud provider. There is a rising demand for moving to the hybrid cloud environment and Dell EMC needs to integrate to these needs.
It is stable.
It can easily scale up to meet our requirements.
We have had good experiences with tech support.
We used VNX previously and although it was fast, the performance was poor.
It is used for deduplication and encryption.
Easy to use management.
I like that it is wizard-driven. In past iterations, it has made it easier to cross-train the team.
It is very stable.
The scalability definitely meets our businesses requirements. It is highly scalable.
The technical support is good. However, the support portal needs fixing. Accessing a service request on the support portal seems to be a bit difficult, as opposed to just calling the 800 number. I do think it has improved over time.
The initial setup is straightforward.
Go with the virtual appliance versus the hardware.
We integrate the solution with VMware. There have been some cost involved with this.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: the relationship.
We use it for mass and block storage.
We have not had issues nor performance problems with it.
It has saved us time when provisioning new storage, so we're trying to automate that process.
It's pretty easy to use compared to the older version of the product, which was called VNX. This product is way easier to use.
It performs well.
They have a Unity REST API that I use to automate some of the storage stuff. I'm just getting started with it, but it seems pretty easy to use.
Dell EMC Unity's competitor, NetApp, has a similar product. However, it has a clustering technology where you can group multiple systems together, then you can move data from one system to another seamlessly. I would like the Unity to do that.
It would be nice to have been able to easily move off our old VNX system to this system. The process is very manual.
The stability is fine.
We haven't really upgraded yet, but I know we can scale to about 500 drives with the system that we have. We are about halfway full. The scalability seems fine.
Technical support has been good and responsive. They know how to fix an issue.
Compared to our old platform, everything is more tightly integrated. I don't have to go to different sections to do something. A lot of it is wizard-driven, so it's an easy to use system.
The initial setup is straightforward and easy.
Deployment was pretty easy. We had a guy come in who did all the work.
Licensing is fine. We worked with a sales rep to purchase our Unity.
It's a good product.
We use the product with VMware, and also use it with Syft for home directory and departmental shares.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
We use it for SAN and NAS, pretty much all of our VMware and ERP systems; everything for storage. It' working out very well. We just moved into it
They've integrated NAS and SAN pretty well. It made replication very simple. Because one of our systems has a lot of LANs, for it to replicate we have Consistency Groups in there. That's something that is really helpful, making sure that everything is working, not just for replication but for backups as well. Pretty much everything we need is there.
We're probably going to be looking into vSAN just to minimize the footprint. We've already minimized the footprint going from VNX to the Unity, but as we're virtualizing more and more, once we're completely virtualized, we'd probably be looking into vSAN through either VxRail or VxRack, and go that way. The smaller the footprint at the data center, the less cost there is.
So far, we've had no issues. We've been running the Unity for about half a year now; no issues with stability at all.
We've only had it for a short time so we haven't had to scale up. We got it scaled to our needs with a little bit of growth put on there.
The team that we got to help us implement it were spot on. They really did do a great job. There were a few cases where we had to pull in some more experienced guys for the networking aspect of it, for the NAS, as there were some issues. But everything else was spot on.
The initial setup was fairly simple because they were able to take all of our information from the VNX and size it appropriately, have all the LUNs set up. The only complex part about it was how we were going to do the SAN to SAN replication, which involved getting everybody on all of the equipment on the latest code, to make sure that we could actually go ahead and replicate. That took some extra work to get that done, but in the end, it was all taken care of and we got replication going.
The pricing is reasonable. We're using the Flex on Demand pricing. It's really good for us when we pay for what we use. It made it easy to get it inside since it's an OpEx and instead of CapEx expense.
I can't say enough about the Flex on Demand because it gives you the agility you need. You can get it in there so easily. You don't have to be fighting with the CFO about how much it costs. It's a lot easier.
It's a really good buy.
We're about to replace a VNX with a Unity in our DR facility. We love that it's only taking about half a rack of space versus the rack-and-a-half that we have for the VNX. That's really good. We're going to be doing SAN to SAN replication. We currently have that going on between the Unity and the VNX using RecoverPoint Appliances, but then it's going to be Unity to Unity after we're done.
I'm very happy with the Unity right now.
We use it for post to all our data stores or virtual environment.
We have had no performance issues.
As far as benefits, Dell EMC Unity XT gives us fast access orders for everybody in accounting, and it's working. It is all-flash and is in extreme hyper-performance mode.
When there have been critical updates, we will get phone calls from Dell EMC saying, "We need to update this, and because our contract support level is here, we can do this for you." They will bug you to death until you have updated it, which is good because we are overwhelmed.
The solution is so easy to manage that I forget it is there.
Their support is now a lot better, so that is good. They are very helpful when we called in and say, "This is the project that we want to do. Which box should we go about buying? They will send us the information and go through it with us."
We have had issues with the capacity and some misunderstandings on how much compression that we should be able to see out-of-the-box. When we were originally sold the box, it was before the merger. The salesman promised us at least a 50 percent compression on the box, so we ordered it with 2TBs of storage. That was a mistake, because now we are locked into smaller drivess. When it comes down to it, we are running out of space.
We realized that were barley getting a 12 percent compression offset, not the 50 percent, and this came about the time of the merger. All of this was happening and a lot of people in the company did not return emails at the time. I guess it's because they were no longer with the company or they knew they wouldn't be, that's just speculation. However, it took us several months and almost ruined the our reputation during that time period. They did make right on it and sent us several drives to double the storage on our devises for free, so they made it right towards the end, but it took a while.
The iSCSI and the VMware integation using vSphere could be less confusing.
Three to five years.
The box has been on 24/7/365 with the exception of one day when we had to change out the batteries in our battery backup. We realized our network cord was not working in it.
When I left to come the conference, I looked, and uptime on the battery said "527 days".
You only have so many days in the storage. When you buy storage, buy more than you think you'll need, because it will come back and bite you. Because now, if we expand anymore, we will have to buy a box to piggyback on this storage. Hindsight is 20/20, but all-flash is expensive.
Technical support is much better now. They are responsive, and it is easy to get to the right person. They will blow up your inbox and voicemail if you have a critical update that needs to be applied to either the drives or the box itself, which is great.
Previously, all our servers were running one instance of Windows, and running as a particular application. Email servers were on a server unto themselves. We had a mess. We had so much hardware.
Because of Dell EMC Unity, I was able to turn off the server that I had been managing for ten years for email. This makes the server room a little quieter now!
We bought the box of all the licensing that we needed and not run into anything where we would need any additional licenses from Dell EMC Unity.
VMware is a different story, but as far as Unity goes, it's not been an issue.
Currently, we buy directly from Dell EMC. We've tried going through resellers before, but we've found that if we go directly through Dell EMC, we get a good a price from being with the government. So, we are lucky there. We have that working relationship with the folks at Dell EMC, and sometimes I even get to run into the rep or specialist at events, which is great. I don't get that with a reseller.
We also looked at iXsystems. We just purchased one of their boxes for storage. I've known iXsystems for a number of years, and they gave us a great price on an absolutely insane amount of storage because all we needed was a box set in a bunker for local backups. The Unity was just outrageously expensive for our needs, so we went with iXsystems. I've managed an iX box in the past. Those guys will bend over backwards to help you as well. So, that's why I chose to go with them.
Spec it out with bigger drives than you think you will need, because when you do expand, you're going to wish you had done that. If you buy bigger drives than what you currently have in a RAID, now you have to have a separate data storage. You can't have one continuous data store. For some people, that might be okay, but we really didn't want that but we were forced into having that.
We do integrate with vSphere. We tried Hyper-V and immediately regretted that decision and went back to vSphere. Right now, that is the only utilization and there are costs involved with the VMware integraton.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
All of our servers are Dell EMC servers. We have it integrated with SharePoint and all of our applications.
It's been a great infrastructure to build upon.
For me, the best thing is the reliability. Even some of ours that are somewhat old or out of warranty have a very solid, excellent reliability.
I love the systems management of the servers. It's easy to set up, easy to monitor.
Excellent stability. A lot of ours are older, even past what would be considered end-of-life, but they still have a very low failure rate.
Scalability is good. We use some Dell EMC blade servers, so it's easy to add another blade server without a lot of cabling or setup.
Good tech support. We can usually get a parts dispatch without too much fuss.
The initial setup was easy.
The pricing is right in line with competitors.
I always recommend Dell EMC servers in general, as far as their reliability goes and the management software built in.
I rate it at nine out of ten. Overall, we're very happy with the product. It's not perfect, there are little bits of improvement that could be made to things that we use such as Dell EMC OpenManage Essentials, minor things. It's good, just not perfect.
We use it for virtualization. We have integrated it with Exchange and VMware vSphere.
This is actually part of a delivered solution. We have a VCV block, into which the Unity is embedded. The Unity is one of three components. We've got compute and networking in there. The overall product, with Unity being a component, is fine. And individual Vblocks are fine, but the stretched vCenter that we have was complex. Their product is called VPLEX and it was expensive.
It performs as expected.
I would like to see better automation of upgrades, more seemless upgrades.
It's very stable.
It's fairly scalable. We went through a scale-up and it performed as expected.
The initial setup was moderately complex.
If it's a value for your company then I'd recommend it. For us, it was expensive, but it was of value to us.
However, I wouldn't go through that again. We are targeting hyperconverged now, as opposed to converged. It was a bit overwhelming. From the VCE perspective, the individual Vblocks were very well executed, but they didn't seem to know the VPLEX product very well, and that was nail-biting.
We were looking for an option for an all-flash array with a lower cost than the XTremIO.
It's easier to administer than some of the alternatives that we had. The teams find it easy to manage. We're a big EMC shop anyway, so for us it was just a lower-tier alternative at a good performance point for the price.
We are leveraging its integration with other applications and there were no significant costs to do so.
The most valuable feature is the performance. It's still an all-flash array at a good price point.
It needs deduplication. We'd like to have the dedupe capabilities in the Unity.
It's very stable. No issues with it.
It's been acceptable in terms of scalability as well. We've found that it's easy to expand and not too expensive.
Dell EMC, generally, is good from a technical support perspective. We really never have issues.
It's hard to say what our ROI is. We don't do a lot of hard ROI.
The pricing is competitive. We miss some of the feature functionality that we had with the XtremeIOs but it's certainly suitable for the purpose.
Weigh your options. The landscape has changed a lot since we bought it, it's been a couple of years. It's a good product but you will certainly want to survey the landscape.
The most important criteria when choosing a vendor include the longevity of the product, certainly ongoing support as well. I've got a good relationship with Dell EMC, we like the product. If I'm not mistaken it was based on the VNX platform; it's basically an all-flash version. We had some familiarity with it and the all-flash piece was very compelling.
I would rate it at eight out of ten. There are just a few features that we'd like to see at that price point. But generally, it has been pretty stable.
Our primary use case is virtualization.
It's a great product if you want something that just works, and works fairly well. It's a product that's tested, tried, and true, where a multitude of customers have depended on the product for the overall requirements of their companies' data. Typically, a company's data is the lifeline of the company. So, if you want something that's tried, tested, and true, that is relatively feature-rich, and that just works, go for it, right. It's a fantastic product.
There are a lot of things that can be done with it. It's got Cloud IQ, but I think it's not as mature as it could be, they could make it more effective. They could make it more comparable to some of the other products out there that have cloud analytics. The amount of insight that the Unity product is able to give, at this point, is okay, but not class-leading. Some of the other data-reduction technologies, like deduplication, are not to the level of other competitors and what their products provide.
I'm nitpicking here and there. Overall, it's a solid product.
It's a stable product. You look at something like Unity, which is based on several generations of product, it's built on products such as the Clariions and the VNX, etc., so it's pretty stable. It's a tried and true product.
If you build it out correctly and it's intended for the workloads that you anticipate, then it's absolutely scalable. If you start to do more with it, and it wasn't built for that particular use case, then it's not as scalable. At the same, with Unity now, you've got the ability to do data-in-place upgrades. From that aspect, it can be relatively more scalable.
I have not used the technical support myself because I'm the architect building out the solution.
The initial setup is pretty straightforward. Most arrays these days, they've made them pretty easy to set up. There's typically a management setup, and so on, that you have to follow through. But it's not overly difficult.
It's going to be hard for Dell EMC to really rebuild Unity because Unity, in my opinion, is still a more traditional array. Although they've improved the code, there's only so much they can do, because it's based on technology that's over ten years old. So, for them to make it more next-generation would be difficult. You're getting a tried and true product and you're slapping feature sets on top of it, which is good, but it's not going to be a true next-generation product. And that's okay, it's intended for a certain use case and it works well.
It's better than an average product but it's not a "godsend" product.
We have Dell EMC Unity XT in one of our branch office data centers, and we use it for a small number of users. It's a first step into the flash storage system for us. It has worked very well for us. We're very happy with how it works.
We're a VMware house, so we've integrated it into ESX and we use it as our target environment for vRA. It's worked really well.
We've had it just about over two years now, and it's performing very well. It has fulfilled all our needs. We've had none of the I/O issues that we had seen on our previous SAN. It's worked really well.
In terms of service and deployment, it was done easily. It was a big SAN beforehand, so being flash, it was configured quickly. The footprint that it left in the data center was small, so it has definitely consolidated everything that we've put in there. Across-the-board, our first step into flash went really well.
Ease of use would really be the best feature. We were easily able to get the correct performance details from it. And the configuration was great, it was relatively easy as well; that was brilliant.
In terms of managing it, the performance metrics that it gives, generic stuff, it does everything that we need it to do. We didn't have to create any custom reporting. It all went well.
It has ticked all the boxes for us so far. A fourth year of maintenance at a good price would be good.
One to three years.
From the beginning, we've had no issues. Since it's been turned on, it's worked flawlessly.
We probably overcompensated with the numbers that we put into it in the beginning, so we've not had to upscale anything yet. We're still using it two-and-a-half years later, which is proof that it works.
We have the Call Home feature, which is a kind of preemptive alert for us. So Dell EMC has been telling us when there have been issues. There really haven't been any big ones; minor things, maybe firmware needed to be upgraded. But other than that, it's been fine.
We were using something different. We were coming from the typical fiber background. We needed to get something new, so we looked at a few different options at the time. We went with Dell EMC Unity because we were seeing a higher I/O through the data center, and we thought flash would be the one for us. That's why we went with the Unity box. Also, we went from a 20U footprint down to an 8U footprint. At the time, it was a massive consolidation, space-wise. It did everything else to fill all the proper metrics that we were looking at.
The other criterion we had for vendor selection was ease of use, that was a big thing for us. We've used Dell EMC everywhere else, so we thought it would be a good model to fit in with everything that we have. Going that way was the right step for us.
From the beginning, I worked with Dell EMC on getting it set up the way we wanted it, carved out the way we needed it. It was easy. They got it done in a few hours and it's worked really well since.
The ROI comes down to the level of effort that we've had to put in to make it work, which has been relatively small. That's a massive return on investment for any team.
NetApp was one that we had, they were in contention. We had an IBM solution that they were going to put in place. EqualLogic was also on the shortlist. But we thought Dell EMC Unity would be a good choice for us.
If you're looking at a flash-based system, one that you want to work and not to have to play around with it - to be sure it's working all the time - Unity is definitely a step in the right direction for any company, going forward.
In terms of the purchasing process, we came from the EMC side. It was our first branch into flash after using EMC for so long. It's worked flawlessly, so we have no issues there.
I rate this solution at eight out of ten. Nothing's perfect. It's very hard to make something perfect. Being an eight, it's a really good model for any company to choose. It's a realistic metric to put against something, rather than saying it's perfect.
The speed and performance that we get through the SSD hard drives. That's a big factor for us.
We have a date warehouse server. Prior to being on Unity, we could get about one or two data warehouse refreshes a day. After standing that up in VMware and using Dell EMC Unity, we are able to get four data warehouse refreshes, which gives our finance and accounting group more information to react to throughout the day for inventory and purchasing.
I'm able to manage it very simply. The interface is a lot easier than the couple of VNX2s that we have. At least to me, Dell EMC Unity has a quicker responsive web GUI for management.
The quick integration with VMware. The ability to stand up a data store in one place, where you don't have to go and rescan for the data store through the vCenter Client, as well as SMB shares. This ended up being a big selling point for us.
I don't know where the hybrid cloud might be going or what connectivity there is between what was recently released as far as AWS and being able to manage both of them. Maybe there is an on-prem and an AWS instance in the same window, like a single pane, but I would like to see something along those lines, where there wouldn't be two locations to manage storage.
Stability has been 100%. We have had zero failures.
We have added one additional shelf to one of the two Unities. As far as I can tell, it went really well. It was not something I was involved with, but we may have had Dell EMC assist us with that.
In the SQL Server instances in our data warehouse, we immediately saw a great return on investment.
We purchased our Unity in September 2017. It was a simple process. We budgeted for it in the prior year. Then, we had the funds to take care of what we wanted to purchase.
I did bring up other vendors that I have worked with: NetApp and HPE SAN. Comparing them to my previous work and working with Unity now, I find Unity a lot easier to work with. For example, the NetApp seems to be more complex in just the ease of setting it up.
Do a little research into how you will create your storage groups. Ensure they have all lined out prior to going in and making one single storage group take up all the hard drives which we've seen some individuals do before and have to break it back down and start over. Definitely manage out what you want to place on the SSDs or on that Unity for your quickest response time. We've made sure that all of our high availability productions devices are on the Unity.
We have Hyper-V and VMware running on the Unity. We have moved Exchange off into Exchange Online onto the cloud. We did most of the integrations in-house. The big thing that we have done on it is running SQL Server. We have quite a few different SQL Server instances running on the SSDs.
Our primary use case for Unity - we use the All-Flash, we don't use the Hybrid array - is as our go-to source for all of our virtualized Oracle Databases. We've moved about 95 percent of our Oracle Databases to Unity. There are a few extremely high-profile databases that nobody wants to move. Nobody wants to touch them. But pretty much everything else is on Unity. We're starting to branch out and put just regular, general purpose load on there. And we also recently put all of our Exchange environment on there as well.
We started going down the path of doing the vCenter integration, but we just ran out of time for testing it. That's on our bucket-list of things to do, because that'll make it even easier. But we haven't hit that yet.
As far as how Dell EMC Unity XT has performed, I don't think I've ever seen latencies above 10 milliseconds, unless it was something that wasn't the array that was messing up. The thing is rock-solid.
We've recently gone from a five-man team down to two, not because of the Unity solely, but we haven't necessarily had to replace everyone. We've been able to consolidate a lot of VNXs into just a couple of Unity's. We have less to manage and we need fewer people.
As far as the simplicity goes, adding hosts is easier. Everything is just about automatic. We're used to those old VNX1s, which are running Windows CE. Using the CLI on those is a little clunky, while logging into the CLI on the Unisphere is easy. It just makes sense, especially if you're used to Unix, because it's a Unix-based system. It's all-around easier to use.
One to three years.
At this point, we've only had one major issue, and we've had two of the systems in-house for a year and a half. The issue was fixed within a matter of hours by support. In that same year and a half, we've had a lot of other pieces of equipment that have had a lot of other issues, so the stability is great, at least for us.
We just recently started using the Dynamic Pools, so while it's scalable, we actually find it valuable that we can just pop in one or two drives when we need to, instead of having to add a whole RAID set. That has actually been very handy for us. A lot of the time, as a government organization, we don't always get all the money we ask for. Sometimes, the money that gets slated to us gets pulled out, last-minute, so we're trying to buy drives and hoard them. We always put drives in last-minute, and that's been extremely helpful.
I know that's not exactly the question in terms of scalability, but that has been more helpful to us than being able to add a zillion disks at a time. Being able to add onesies, twosies to a pool is really helpful.
The initial setup was very easy. I don't really remember any "gotchas."
We're a Dell EMC shop, we don't have any other storage vendors, so we don't really do a good job of looking into the storage vendors either. We have a good relationship with Dell EMC, we have a good sales guy and a good technical account manager. We trust them. When we told them that we had a lot of people asking for all-flash, that was the choice. We don't use enterprise-level stuff, we don't use VMAX. So we went with Unity.
When selecting a vendor, the relationship with the technical support is pretty important. We've been a Dell EMC shop for a long time, so there are some guys in the tech support whose emails I have. I don't necessarily have to open up an SR. If I just have a question I can just email them and I'll usually get a response in a day or two. That keeps me from having to do some of that paperwork. The other thing, when selecting a vendor, if I were the number-crunching guy: Obviously a vendor who's willing to work on price is always going to be helpful.
A piece of advice when it comes to research is to try to find another company that's using what you're considering. After you talk to the salespeople, after you get the dog and pony show, have them connect you with somebody who's using it, who they trust - maybe even someone you know or have some contact with - and get their thoughts about it. You usually get a lot more truth from those kinds of conversations.
Our primary usage is for our users on our civilian side. We deal with both military and civilian, but it's mainly for our civilian users. We recently started using it, six months ago. Our customers like it a lot. It's an improvement from what we were using. We use it for our Outlook and Exchange but we haven't implemented with our VMware yet.
It gives us an easier way to manage our users. We have a lot of users, so it's better on that side of things. Compared to the HPE product we were using beforehand, it's definitely simpler. The interface is smoother too compared to the HPE product. The team that we have now prefers it, so far.
The interface is pretty easy and it didn't take too long to get trained on it.
We haven't had any issues with it, any outages. We have a lot of users and it's been able to handle our high usage rate.
We haven't increased in size much. Given the user rate we're at now, we think it will probably scale pretty easily without having any issues.
We have not had to use technical support.
We were using HPE before. It wasn't that we needed to switch, but we switched because we were having a few issues. They wanted to try something new. When we did so, the users and the IT team and the customers preferred it. They thought it was a lot smoother.
Because we work with the DoD, they have a list of devices that are approved. That's the list they go off of.
It was more our Tier 3 team that did the setup, but they didn't have any issues with it. Most of them have a lot of experience with a lot of equipment so, it was pretty smooth.
I definitely see value in it. We will probably implement it in other locations that we have as well, since we currently only use it at our main location. It has definitely been useful equipment.
If a friend or colleague was using the equipment that we were using beforehand, we'd definitely tell them to transition over because it is a lot easier to use.
I'd rate it about a nine out of ten. It's smooth, has been an easy transition, the interface is a lot easier than the one we were working with. The setup was easy and we haven't had any problems with it. Of course, it's not perfect, but it's really good equipment.
We use it for ESXi data stores and performance seems to be okay so far. We've only had it a couple months. We have it integrated with VMware.
The benefits are the stability and that we're able to contact Dell EMC support for a quick turnaround. We have a higher level of support. If we have issues, they generally get fixed quickly.
Our hope is that they stay up, online, and that we will be able to update them while the data stores are operational. That is why we picked them.
Once it is set up, it is definitely easy to manage.
We've got an ongoing issue with a Unity in which some power supply fans spin up. We've had a whole bunch of hardware changed as a result but I still have an open SR, which has been a struggle. It doesn't seem to affect performance but it's something that we're hoping the engineers can resolve.
We have also had some issues with an upgrade where we can't manage a device, after the upgrade. So we had to have a ticket in for that.
The stability has been fine so far. We're good during normal operations.
In terms of scalability, the size is fine for the environment we have. We're usually at about half the capacity, so we have quite a bit more we can expand with. It's good.
In most situations, tech support works really well. If there are technical logs that they can diagnose and actually pull something out of, fantastic. If there aren't, if it's an abstract sort of issue, like the fan issues we're having, where they cycle every six minutes, it's taken me about six weeks.
They didn't believe me that the environment was not too hot. So they sent a technician out just to make sure that I could read the thermostat, that it was 68 degrees in our office. Then, they sent someone out to reseed each component, which I had already done. I didn't appreciate that part because I did some of those basics. I did exactly what they had said on the phone. The third time, they actually replaced some components and the fourth time they just sent the components to be replaced. It appeared to work, the fan issue did appear to go away, but it came back a couple of weeks later, after an update. I'm not sure if it's update-related, but it came back.
Because I've done the setup before with the VNXe version, it was straightforward. It's very similar to the VNXe.
Licensing has been quite difficult. It doesn't always auto-license. About half the time, when I provision one, I have to contact Service to get a license, or even go to our account manager to help get it straightened out.
Study the configurations of what you need to use and ensure you understand what you're provisioning. The procurement process can be a little daunting because there are a lot of features and there are a lot of components that you'll get set up with but which you may not need.
When selecting a vendor, what's important for me are global, 24-hour support; being able to get things fixed. After that, price, because we'll probably buy a thousand of them over time.
We use it to high-speed all of our SQL Servers.
It increased the boot speed on our SQL Servers. It made downtimes incredibly small compared to when we had them on normal spinning disk. Back then, it would take two or three minutes to boot up. Now, on all-flash, it's 25 to 30 seconds. So it has improved downtime, if we have to reboot a server, which is something we do a lot.
We used to have Exchange on it but we've put that in the cloud so it's no longer on a solution. When we did have it, it was faster because it wasn't on spinning disks. It helped us with that.
Being all-flash makes everything super-fast.
It's also great to manage. That's the easiest part. We also have another SAN, from Pure, and the Unity is easier to manage than the Pure.
Support and licensing are big things, in the end, that needs improvement.
It's very stable. We have not had any issues with it since we put it in. We've had one drive fail in two years. It was easily replaced, a hot swap and done. It has been incredibly easy and been stable for two years.
We have used technical support and I would rate them a massive zero. I put in a ticket, although my preferred contact method is a call. I never receive a call. I send it to my sales engineer, my sales engineer sends it to their manager, the manager tells the guy to give me a call, and he sends me an email. That's not my preferred contact method and, even when complaining, I still get an email.
Also, when I put in a ticket and say, "Here are our logs," they don't read the logs. It even says to do so in the ticket, but they skim over it. Their support has been pretty bad since they became Dell EMC. EMC used to be good. Dell has been horrible forever. I think it's going down that road.
We were using the VNX and the IBM V7000. We needed to move to a new solution because they were slow. There was a little bit of flash in the VNX, and some in the V7000, but the all-flash was just such an improvement that we decided we needed to go to the Unity.
When looking to work with a vendor, the important criteria we look for are nothing too pushy, and having a good relationship, and a continued relationship. It's not good when they just sell and leave. It's always good to continue that communication, make sure we have everything we need.
The fact that it reduces our downtime gives us incredible cost savings. Our industry is agriculture. We do market trading. Seconds are everything that matters. That minute, or the few minutes, that we save can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars. If that happens in the middle of the day, since we are trading constantly, reducing the amount of time that it takes, when something goes down, to get back up is cost savings.
Licensing is a little bit confusing. Going through everything with them, there are a lot of line items to go over. Every single thing is broken down into a line item, and it starts to get really confusing in terms of what we're actually purchasing when it comes to the product.
We looked at Pure. Unity beat out Pure.
Make sure you have all your ducks in a row when you finish. Make sure they understand the type of support that you want, make sure the licensing is clear, make sure it has all the features you want.
The purchasing process was actually incredibly easy. We had a vendor to go through. She was able to clear everything up. When we were trying to look at it ourselves, it was a little bit convoluted. But once we had her help explain it through, it became easier.
They have a good product. It's great for what it does. The surrounding pieces are where everything gets tricky.
We use it for our NAS systems and our SAN systems. On the NAS side, it's used for our end-users' home directories and Departmental shares. On the block side, we use it for VMware storage and we have it integrated with VMware. There was no additional cost for that integration.
We just started doing a bunch of automation where, if an end-user's home directory or Departmental share gets filled, I can set certain things through a Unity API so that if it reaches 95 or 98 percent full, it will automatically expand. Now, instead of our getting a ticket and having to go in and do it manually, it does that for us.
Our end-users are happy with the product, there are no issues.
The product is pretty easy to use. The GUI is nice, really easy to use, and the performance is good.
For the upgrade from the old system to the new system, if there was a better way to integrate them so I could easily move the data without working all those nights and weekends, that would be nice.
Also, Dell EMC's competitor has a clustering technology. In the next release, it would be nice if they could build that into the product.
The product has been pretty good.
There was one minor issue where we would get these alerts every six hours, but they were fake alerts. We installed a patch a week ago and it fixed the issue. Other than that, no issues, the product has been stable.
We have a Unity 500, which scales to 500 drives, and we're about half full. But it's like their previous systems where you can add a couple of drives or a couple of shelves. There are no issues on that end.
Technical support has always been pretty good. Customer service includes the guys who come in and replace the drives and install the system, and those guys are good too. No issues.
We had the older generation of the Unity system, it was called EMC VNX. It's similar in some ways, but they've definitely improved the GUI, the user interface, and the performance.
When selecting a vendor, a big thing is support. We really need a company that, when something goes wrong, they're there and they can respond immediately, so we don't have to wait a certain amount of time. We experience a little bit of the waiting part with Dell EMC, but we have a technical account manager, and his job is to escalate. Since we already had that with EMC, it made sense to go with Dell EMC. So support would be number one. Number two would be performance, obviously. It has to work well.
The initial setup was pretty easy. We actually have a Dell EMC service engineer who came on site and helped set it up. I had to help in terms of getting all the infrastructure ready, but he did most of the heavy work.
The upgrading experience from our previous solution to this one is definitely better than it was with the VNX product. The only thing that we wished that it had is a way to migrate the data from the old system to the new system. We had to do a manual process for that. To move the data, we had to work a lot of nights and weekends. That was the hardest part of setting it up.
But other than that, it's better in every way.
I get fewer calls at night. That's my ROI.
NetApp and HPE were on our shortlist. HPE support is not good, so we didn't choose them. NetApp does have some good technology, but the relationship that we had with Dell EMC was the reason that we chose them.
In terms of the purchase process, we work with a rep. We have biweekly meetings. They're always on site. We worked with the Dell EMC sales engineer, making sure we got the right kind of drives, the right kind of performance, etc.
Primary use is mid-range storage. We have two variants, we have the hybrid version and the all-flash version. It's for general use. For high performance, we have different systems.
For the hybrid version, the benefit is that data is stored on relatively cheap storage. Hot data is on faster storage. On the all-flash version, lower energy costs help, if you want to pursue green IT.
In the hybrid version, I would say they are fast. They have fully automated storage tiering. In the all-flash version, higher performance, compression, data replication.
Stability could be better. I've had a few storage processor reboots; not as often as with VNX. And Clariion was a disaster. So, it has improved.
The scalability is less than with VNX. In the VNX, I could replicate out to more than one storage system. On Unity, it's one on one. If I could migrate one to many, that would be helpful, but that is missing now.
I'm certified myself. We have certified colleagues. But we use technical support. The problem is that some of the time we are more knowledgeable than them.
The setup is straightforward.
no clue. I'm technical, I don't do prices
No. We only use EMC
The hardware is fine, a nine or a 10 out of 10. Manageability is a seven or eight out of 10, because of the storage group and the domain absence. Overall, if I put the two together, the solution is a nine out of 10.
My advice would be to stick with VNX. If the developers come up with a solution for single sign-on for multiple Unity's, and if they bring back the storage groups, I'm fine with it. It's a good solution.
It's our primary storage array. We have a public cloud hosted internally, and it's our primary storage array for our customer virtual machines. It has performed very well. There have been no problems with it. We've had it for about nine months and it has performed well.
Obviously, our customers rely on us for uptime. We've had no problems with it so far. Migration to it went very smoothly, so in terms of value to us, it's been very good at keeping our workload and our uptime going.
Also, it has definitely provided much faster performance.
Storage Snapshots have been really nice. They allow us to do backups without impacting our production workload that much.
The scalability, the ability to add disks dynamically and adjust our workload as needed, has also been really helpful. That definitely makes my job easier.
The interface for managing Unity is very easy. The integrations between VMware Hypervisor and Dell EMC are top-notch, so it's been really easy to use and manage. We already had solutions in place, so it was more just a matter of buying the hardware and migrating workloads over to it. There was no cost other than the purchase of the hardware and software licenses.
We had a couple issues, but they were very minor, related to storage Snapshots and our backup product, which is Veeam. That turned out to be a Veeam issue.
My only complaint would be some of the CLI Help files could be a little more detailed, but that's very minor complaint. We were trying to run some commands just to see how the storage snaps were interacting with the storage array, and it was a little difficult to look up exactly what commands should be run. The Help files detailing what exactly the commands did wasn't as detailed as we would have wanted them to be. They were very limited in scope. They could have been more detailed.
More integration with VMware would always be helpful, plugins that go directly into the vSphere management. A single pane of glass is always beneficial.
It's been very good at scaling when we've needed it to. It's been a good solution so far.
We have used technical support occasionally. There really have been no issues, we haven't had it that long. But just for implementation and licensing, we did contact support a couple of times. There were no issues with it. They were helpful.
We were using a VNX array, which was fine for the time when we had it, but we've expanded. The business is growing and we decided to invest in something a little more heavy-duty to handle the kind of IOPS that we're dealing with now. We are a Dell EMC partner. Obviously, that is who we wanted to go with.
The most important criterion when selecting a vendor is their relationship with us. In addition, easy use of the product and reliability are important. We rely on uptime, so we look for redundancy and reliability.
I didn't install the hardware, but I definitely assisted in setting it up: migrating workloads to it, setting up data stores, etc. The process was pretty straightforward. It was stuff I've done a hundred times before, so it was what I expected. It was not more complicated than what I would have hoped for.
We don't have many numbers in terms of ROI because we've only had it about nine months, but we definitely see the performance value.
We looked at a couple. We looked at Rubrik a little bit and we looked at some HPE arrays, but we decided to go with Dell EMC to keep up our partnership with them.
Ownership simplicity is there. Licensing was straightforward. We've always had good support from Dell EMC, we've never had a problem with them. Their solution engineers are always very helpful. So overall, no problems with ownership.
I give the Unity a nine out of ten. The Help files and a little more integration would be nice.
We have it set up for storage for VDI. It is as advertised: Very easy to set up, very easy to manage, and the performance is great. We have integrated the solution with Horizon VDI and there was no additional cost to do so.
I don't have to spend nearly as much time getting in to manage the device on a daily basis because it functions very smoothly. We don't have any issues with it. Usually, on a daily basis, we don't mess with it. It's been hands-off since got it set up and configured. It's been great.
The ease of setup and management have been the best features.
The only thing that could improve it would be a price reduction.
It's very stable. We hardly get into the device itself to manage it on a daily basis. It's been great.
We have not had to scale it yet but, from what I have read and understand, scalability will be very easy. Adding extra bricks or nodes to it is going to be easy.
We haven't had to use technical support.
We had a previous storage device that was coming to end-of-life and we wanted to replace it. We had to do it in a very short time, last year. I liked the performance and the features that the Unity had. The cost was also a factor in our choice.
The most important criteria when selecting a vendor are that they need to be an industry leader, they need to be easy to work with, and they need to be fast. A lot of times in IT, we move fast. I need quotes fast, I need demos fast. That's one of the things that Dell EMC has always done for us. Those are a few things that we look for.
The initial setup was very straightforward. We had a Dell EMC technician on site to help us. He was very helpful, explained what he was doing, let us get hands-on when we wanted to be and could. It was a very smooth process.
Our shortlist also included Nimble.
So far, it has done everything that they say, in demos, it will do. I cannot stress enough how simple and easy it is to set up and use and manage. That's it.
Regarding simplicity of ownership, everything that we've experienced so far has been very easy to deal with. We already have a Dell EMC rep who handles all of our licensing and notifications, keeping us up to date on that. Management of it and service have been very positive, nice and simple.
It was also very easy to order. We have had a relationship with our Dell EMC reps in Kansas City for the last 12 years, so getting in touch with them, having them come out and demo the product as best they could, and then getting us the pricing, getting it delivered - everything was very simple.
I rate the Unity at eight out of ten. I don't think it's possible for it to be ten. They'd have to have someone from Dell EMC show up and do my job for me to get it to a ten.
We did a one-month exercise with EMC. We are trying to replace several systems, like NAS and some file shares, put them into one consolidated system. We do have VDI. We're going to re-use it for VDI, so this is the perspective we're trying to evolve toward.
We're replacing legacy hardware and hardware that is going out of support, and we are consolidating two or three systems into one. We also do have some special security requirements that Unity can meet.
The NAS capability is mainly what we're looking for from this product, and being able to recover fast in DR.
I don't think at this stage we have a specific concern. They have answered most of our concerns in terms of scalability and being future-proof.
We actually haven't tested it yet.
I believe it is scalable.
Dell EMC is actually one of the strategic vendors we work with, so they have quite a big presence at our bank. We meet with them at least once every two weeks.
I believe the setup is going to be straightforward because they have this tool that migrates the data seamlessly, and you don't have any system downtime. I believe it is called Datadobi. It takes out all your data from one system to another and makes it seamless.
Most of the infrastructure we have is from Dell EMC, so we're locked in with Dell but that's fine. If you're happy with the specific product and vendor, why change?
We use it for enterprise SAN. We have multiple units. We just started getting them in and the performance has been good. It back-ends our enterprise Oracle, which is for our financials. We have some Mission-Support applications that it supports as well. We have both structured and unstructured data.
The most valuable feature is the ease of integrating it into our current environment. It works within our enterprise management application. The NAS is also extremely easy to set up.
On the data domains - for the Unity product, but specifically for data domains - I would like a much easier interface for managing, for actually going in and having one place where I could get all of the different parts of the overall unit. And I would also like to be able to identify individual disks a lot more easily.
In terms of stability, so far everything has been fine.
The scalability has been pretty easy too, as opposed to some other vendors that we've had in the past.
We have only used tech support to replace drives that have gone bad. But our experience has not been so good. The biggest problem has been having the right equipment in the right category that our support people can have access to. We have multiple accounts, and unfortunately, equipment is across them. So we'll call it in and they'll say, "Well, that's not under your account," so they can't actually go in online and put an SR against it. We're working on fixing that, but that's been extremely frustrating. Once we get past it, and if they understand that, yes, we do own it, and where the site is, etc., getting the part is easy.
We are replacing our VNX2s with the Unity storage. The VNXs were end-of-life and it was our normal tech refresh. We also had new requirements come in for larger storage so we bought the Unity.
The initial set up was more difficult than the original VNX2s. My Storage Admin said that it was just different.
Three years is probably the best that we get for the return on our investment. It takes three years to actually get it back.
Regarding the licensing, that was easy. As far as recurring costs go, all that is understood, what we need to keep in place. If we grow and scale, we also understand a license comes with that, too. In terms of integrating it with our existing apps, there was no additional cost, nothing we didn't expect.
Primarily we're Dell EMC. We do have NetApp and they're pretty big, they're petabyte systems and they're primarily for a business-level project, not for enterprise storage. After using them, we definitely wanted to stick with Dell EMC.
It's a good product and you should definitely evaluate it. We're concerned about standardization, so even if a product has something that's better - one item, one capability that's better - we probably wouldn't go with it and would rather standardize across, for support and everything else. That's important to us.
For the purchasing process, we'll go to the vendor, we'll give them our requirements, and we'll work out the final design. They'll give us a quote and then we'll get two more quotes from two other vendors. We're required to get three quotes. I then put that in through my finance and then it goes through contracting. Contracting goes out and they get the true quote. And then, once the equipment is purchased, it comes directly to me onsite.
I rate the solution an eight out of ten. Improving the interface for managing it would help make it a ten.
Primarily we use it for our file side storage. It's pretty solid. It's tied into our VMware environment for the virtual storage, but Exchange doesn't run on it. It's mostly just Windows File Servers at this point.
We had some issues with it in the beginning, but Dell EMC took care of them and it has just been sitting there running ever since. We haven't had any real problems since then.
For us, it is cheap and deep. That's really why we wanted it, to get an expanded amount of storage. We also run Xtremes, but they're a lot more expensive. Really, it was the cost-benefit for longterm storage.
The most valuable feature is the ability to provision storage from the CLI, versus having to go in and use the GUI every time. I can just script it out and it will create what I need. That makes it super-easy to manage.
Also, for us, it's a set-and-forget. Since we provisioned it out, we haven't had to mess with it.
It could always use native replication. Then I could get rid of RecoverPoint.
We had some problems in the beginning, but since they did the code upgrade and the bug fix, it has been solid for the last eight months. We haven't had any issues.
Scaling is easy. If we need more, we just buy another shelf. It's probably not as easy as the Isilon, but it scales well.
Our local SE guy is awesome. Everything we have is set to call home, so that's the set-and-forget for us. If there's an issue that pops up, they immediately send equipment to our SE, and he comes in and replaces it. I never have to mess with it.
Our old arrays, the VNXs - we had a 5400 and a 5700 - were reaching the end of their days, and we wanted to go to the next step up, but not quite to the Xtreme level. Unity was the obvious choice.
When selecting a vendor, support has to be rock solid. And then, ease of use: Do they have all the features we need? Are there any outstanding issues that are going to clash with our onsite stuff (which usually ends up being with AIX)? As far as Dell EMC goes, we've been pretty good with them for a while.
The setup process was pretty straightforward, similar to any other storage device. I don't think there were any special considerations we had.
We've only had it running for not quite a year yet. I can't say, versus our other arrays, if the ROI is better or worse at this point.
We only use Dell EMC and Pure for storage. We went with Dell EMC because of cost. We have an aging Isilon that we're also replacing. We do have Pure, we do the flash array there, but that's quite expensive compared to the Unity. What we needed was dependable cheap and deep storage.
It really depends on your specific needs: if it's speed or if it's longterm storage. Dell EMC has a whole array of products. I would say go for it. We used to push the Isilon a lot, that's super cheap and deep, and that's been rock solid as well, but you lose that block functionality. You really need to go to the Unity. I would definitely do the Unity over the SC.
It was pretty easy to order. We got rezoned when Dell took over, so our sales rep is out of a different state. But, as far as going through our partner, it was perfectly fine, like any other normal purchase.
I would rate the Unity at about seven out of ten, once the bugs were fixed. To be a ten it would need native replication.
We primarily use Dell EMC Unity XT for SAN storage for ESX data stores. It has been performing okay. We have integrated it with VMware. We do have iSCSI LUNs for some Microsoft Windows servers as well, but not many.
It allows junior engineers to administer it a lot, so senior engineers, like myself, don't have to do hands-on stuff. It's less complex.
The most valuable feature is the interface. It is really usable, easy to manage.
Looking at that ease of management, for LUN creation, I like the integration into VirtualCenter. I used to have to add LUNs manually, then scan them in and format them. It does that all for you, all in one, immediate deployment of LUNs. Also, for replication, we use RecoverPoint. It's a little clunky but, overall, the Unity part of that product works in a very simplistic manner. It's easy to manage.
I would like better integration with RecoverPoint. My major issue with the solution, all around, has been RecoverPoint more than Unity. While I like the easy user interface, I would like some more advanced features for troubleshooting built into the product, so that we can do more in-depth problem-solving.
The issue we're having right now is that we can't really see much in the interface. Support can see more, but we can't see what's going on, so we have to rely on support to send us things. I would like something that a power user, an advanced user, a subject matter expert, could actually look at and say, "Okay, this is what's going on here," to make troubleshooting easier, instead of just the happy, bubbly alerts.
One to three years.
Stability is the problem. We've had stability issues with it. We've had problems with the iSCSI interface. We've had it for two years now and for two years we've had problems where a service processor will drop, we'll lose connectivity to LUNs, we'll lose connectivity to the storage, issues like that. No matter how we've tried to chase it down, everybody just points fingers at each other. The only thing that changed in our environment was that the Unity solution was installed. It's the "least common factor."
The scalability is great. If we need to expand, it's very easy to expand.
Aside from the finger-pointing, they're generally pretty easy to work with. But in my opinion, it's hard to get up to higher levels of support. For a complex problem like we've had, it's been very difficult for us to get ahold of the right type of people. We almost need engineers or someone at a higher level. When you call in, you get the base-level people. What I always say whenever it comes to tech support is, if I'm calling you, it's not a problem that's easily solved. Because if it was easy, I would have fixed it myself. So getting to those higher levels of support has been very problematic for us. They just want to say, "It's not our issue," instead of someone actually tackling the problem.
We had a VNX before and the one that we were using was starting to be phased out. We needed to keep on support and we need to stay with a solution, for our clients, that is newer and cutting edge. We were aimed towards Unity.
When selecting a vendor, the most important criterion is interoperability. It has to be able to integrate really well.
Deployment was complicated when we did it initially and we still have problems with it. We had a VAR come out to do the initial install.
As far as cost is concerned, it does great deduplication. From a storage perspective, we save money being able to dedupe right on the disk. It's easy to manage, which saves us time. Overall, that time is money; it saves us money. It has a pretty good ROI.
As far as simplicity of ownership goes, I don't think there is anything aside from the maintenance licensing.
We were aiming more towards Dell EMC because that's what we had previously.
Test it really well first, and get somebody who knows what they're doing to set it up. The VAR that we were referred to was terrible. That was the root of a lot of our problems.
If we didn't have the problems that we had with it - all the problems that I highlighted above - it would be definitely a ten out of ten. But given those problems, and the fact that one of them has been going on for two years and we still don't have a solution, and the Unity is the only factor that changed in the environment...
For most of our general-purpose cluster, we are using a Unity as Tier 2 and Tier 3 storage. Earlier, we were using a VNX box. Compared to VNX we are getting better performance.
We are looking for a lot of automation from the Unity. For example, if I want to create one LUN from the Unity box, I have to do multiple clicks. I create zoning and there are a lot of steps involved. But, looking forward, we can reduce the steps, automate things so they are done more easily, deploying LUNs.
The deployment is very easy. Via a click, we can deploy a data store or LUN to the ESX host. We can also deploy VVOLs to the ESX server.
I'm looking for more automation, not only for VVOLs, but for NFS and RDM disk.
The stability is good. I don't see any issues with the Unity boxes.
Scaling is easy. If there is future growth I am able to call Dell EMC to provide additional capacity.
When it arrived at our data center I was there, but the installation and configuration services were done by EMC. I sat with them, watched what they were doing. It was pretty simple.
I would definitely recommend Unity because, compared to VNX and other storage solutions, it is the easiest way to deploy for VMware and physical operating system services.
Regarding ownership, it is very easy. It's a single point of contact. We have the type of support from Dell EMC where, in case of any failure, we get an immediate response from them. For the purchasing process, we just validate the bill of materials and then we reach out to the Dell EMC salesperson to get it delivered to our data center.
We are working on the vSphere integration. Once that integration is done we will easily be able to do everything on the vSphere console.
The primary use case is mid-tier processing for our hospitals. We have a lot of VM infrastructure on the Unity, but not our most mission-critical. The performance has been great.
The biggest benefit is where it fits in the cost profile. It's for VMs that, again, aren't mission-critical but do need some performance. It fits really well there for that. We get exactly what we want from it, what we expected.
The replication is big for us.
We use file services on Unity and it has a really nice file services interface.
It's also easy to manage. It's really easy in terms of provisioning, replication. There are no real tricks to it. It's just easy.
The biggest one for us, and the reason we don't use it more, is that we can't throttle the replication speed. If it's on, it's on. So we have to be a little more WAN-sensitive, in some applications, which means we can't put it everywhere. That's the biggest issue for us, by far.
The stability has been very good. We've had it for a couple years, really like it.
Scalability is also really easy. There are lots of options.
Our experience with technical support depends. That mid-range is probably not the strong suit in terms of Dell EMC support. They don't have the depth of technical experience in that area like they do with some of the other products. But we haven't had any serious issues with it.
This was a VNX replacement. We had an older VNX that was off the depreciation tables and maintenance costs were a little higher, as the equipment aged. We just replaced it, pretty much one-for-one.
When selecting a vendor, a big factor for us is the quality of support.
The initial setup was really straightforward. I've been doing this for a long time so there were no real surprises in terms of the Unity.
The ROI is right where we need it to be. It's a reasonably priced array. It performs a function that we absolutely need, and it definitely fits where we want it to be. We wouldn't use it for everything but, where we use it appropriately, it makes a lot of sense.
This one came down to either Dell EMC or Pure. We had a NetApp as well, but we weren't considering that. Pure doesn't really have the depth of product offering, so this was an easy choice for us.
I would definitely recommend it and have recommended it. We're pretty large, but I think for most companies it probably is the array that's going to work the best, especially for a VM workload. If you don't want to invest in a VMAX, this makes a lot of sense.
It fits that price profile really well. It's an entry-level, all-flash array for us. So stuff that we don't want to go on VMAX or XtremIO, we can put right on the Unity and feel pretty comfortable that it's going to do what we need it to do, as far as performance goes. Unity falls right in, with it being the successor to the VNX line. It works great, has a very simple interface that we're comfortable with, so it's a good product for us.
In terms of the purchasing process, we have a pretty good sized environment, so we work with our dedicated team. They knew that this was going to perform the way we wanted. We had a spot where we needed some VNX replacement and this was the logical choice. It was very easy.
My rating of eight out of ten would get to a ten if it had throttled replication.
The primary use case is for our reporting environment, business intelligence and analytics. We run our Oracle and SAS-based applications on it right now. The performance is sufficient and we don't have any complaints about it.
It runs our business analytics environment, so it improves reporting performance, how they pull data.
For our environment just having a solid, running box is really sufficient.
The administration of it is fine. For the most part, it is easy to manage. There is not a lot that you really need to change, there is not that much you really need to do.
The Active Directory integration isn't very good, it is kind of limiting. It's okay.
When you get into more advanced storage administration, it's really hard to find that stuff, but those situations are few and far between, so it's not that relevant.
Also, I called about an issue where I couldn't get VVOLs registered. It turns out it is a bug in the code and that there is no information about when it will be fixed. It's just not going to work. I was a little miffed about that, especially getting more into VVOLs with Pure Storage, but it is what it is.
I would like to see better support for VVOLs and a less hokey AD-integrated login. Those are probably the two things that bug me the most.
I haven't had any issues with stability.
We did an upgrade not that long ago and that was a little rough. They uploaded the firmware and it seems it was corrupted. When they went to go live with the upgrade process they had to re-download it, which took a while. I didn't have any issues personally but I saw some of the trials that the support and then the engineering teams went through. It made me a little anxious, watching that process.
The scalability is fine. There's not much for me to really say about scalability. Adding disk is really the scalability factor, for right now. We only have two shelves of storage disks so I don't have any concerns about or needs for scalability.
Support was responsive.
I am not sure we've gotten to the point of getting a return because we've spent three years investing in trying to build out our SAS platform. I'm not sure we're there yet.
Vet out your use case sufficiently, make sure you understand what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to achieve it. Do your best to leverage the gambit of functionality, as opposed to focusing on one area.
I rate it at eight out of ten. The best would be no issues, no concerns. I can't imagine I'd give anyone a ten, to be honest. To achieve that is pretty hard.
I wouldn't not recommend Unity.
Our Unity arrays are our primary storage arrays for both of our data centers. We run all our VMs on there, they're all-flash. They've been running great. We've had no problems with them. Fantastic.
The fact it's all-flash is why we chose it. The speed increase, therefore, that we've experienced from it has been great.
Obviously its speed is the main reason why we got it but we've really loved being able to use the interface. We've been able to create LUNs easily. We're able to get in there and create what we need, do everything we need to do, configure it the way it needed to be configured.
In terms of simplicity of ownership, it was almost plug-and-go. We did have some help getting it set up but, as for licensing and being able to get support through Dell EMC's site, it has been really easy. The interface makes it really easy to manage.
There could always be improvements to the UI. For what we've been using it for it's been great, but there are always little tweaks that could happen there.
It's been very stable. We haven't had any issues. I think we had a drive go out and it was quick to alert us and they made sure that we got it replaced without any failures. Everything has been great.
We haven't had to do any expansion on it yet, but I've heard that it's very easy and that, if we ever need it, it shouldn't be a problem.
We've used the technical support. They've been great. They have a good system to alert you when there's an issue. They've been quick to get us the drives that we need.
The initial setup wasn't too bad. They delivered it. We got the software installed, the OS installed, and got it all configured. It was just a matter of setting up the LUNs. We had a little bit of help with that but it was not difficult.
My advice is, obviously, to go with something tailored to your needs. For what this has been, a full flash array and ease of setup, from what I've had experience with, I would probably recommend the Unity array.
We plan to eventually use the VMware integration. There is a little bit that we're using right now but it's not the whole vSAN setup. I don't believe there will be a cost involved with that. It's just a matter of taking the time and getting it set up. Right now, we just have it set up as a simple SAN array.
Nothing is ever perfect. It would have to be perfect to be a ten out of ten, but this is probably as close as we've been to perfect, so that's good.
We're using it for block storage in a lab, supporting Fortune 500 customers, testing out solutions. We have a number of other competitive solutions in the lab and we try out upgrades for customers, we test out all the different features and functions.
Performance of the system is fine, I really don't have any issues with the actual raw IO of the system, but the competitors are pushing a lot of all-flash solutions in front of us.
We're not doing any integrated Snapshotting of the applications. Some of our team is working on being able to Snapshot Oracle RAC clusters but, for the most part, we're focusing on doing mostly backup solutions, data protection software.
It is completely reliable. The plugins for it are quite mature. I don't really have any issues with the interactions with vSphere, they all work as intended. There is a level of reliance and a maturity in the product, whereas the other ones are a little more cutting edge and the bugs can come out of the blue.
It still has the same implementation headaches of the VNX that came before it. It's still the same Unisphere, it's all the same tools from the VNX, nothing has really changed, from my perspective. It's still all the same stuff we're used to seeing. The management of it just isn't very strong, whereas a lot of the tasks I do day-to-day on some of the newer competitors, like Pure and Kaminario - we're talking three to five seconds to get something done rather than 15-20 minutes. It's a big time saver on the other systems. With the Unity, once it's installed, raw performance works fine.
In future releases, I would like to see automatic upgrades from one to the next, when this system is coming out and the next one is coming in; more akin to what Pure Storage is doing. That would be really helpful.
I don't know that I can really address the issue of scalability with the units we have. We have mostly a test box, a small one. We haven't had to add disk shelves or do any scaling of the system.
Unity is a lot like "no one gets fired for buying IBM." I think you will get what you pay for, but a lot of competitors have better efficiencies, better programs, easier installations. I'd be looking elsewhere. I don't feel the product is the leader in the market anymore.
I rate the Unity at eight out of ten. It gets the job done, it does it well, I can rely on it. It's just not cutting-edge in any way right now. To get to a ten, as I said, the upgrade process needs improvement. I should be able to swap it out, with zero downtime, with another array, down the road. I don't think Dell EMC has anything in the roadmap for this product line. I just don't want to have to deal with that anymore, and all of our customers feel pretty much the same.
We're using Dell EMC Unity as our primary storage for our production and for our DR site. We've had no performance issues with it, whatsoever.
We're using it for our data storage, for our virtual machines. It's the only array that we have, so we're not doing tiering at all. Everything is on the unit. We're using it for the data storage that we replicate to our DR site, for the ones that just stay local. We're using it for allocating raw disk-mapping, for mapping storage from the SAN directly to virtual machines for super-clusters and the like. We're using it for everything
The fact that it's all-flash has really helped our overall performance.
It's easy to manage. We access it and manage it through Unisphere and have had no issues. We're able to provision storage, create consistency groups, create RDMs for our virtual machines. Creating it through Unisphere, it automatically adds the data store on the VMware side and rescans the LUNs. We just have to add and configure the storage in one place and it takes care of everything, which is very handy.
Unity only does compression. It would be nice if there was a deduplication feature as well. At my previous job, we used XtremIO and that had deduplication and not compression, and I think we got more out of it because the more OSs you have that are the same, the fewer copies it needs to keep of all that data. So, the deduplication would be a nice feature to have.
We've had almost no stability issues.
We had an issue once and it turned out to be a bug. There was a memory leak and we had an issue in our DR site where one controller would reboot and then come back up and then, later on, the other controller would reboot and come back up. Then it happened once on our production site where both controllers went down at the same time. We worked with Dell Support and they found a memory leak and they recommended we upgrade to the latest code version.
They have a script you run, a utility to gather the logs, etc., and then they analyze. The hardest problem was that, because they're analyzing logs, they have a certain SLA in which to do that. Even though we had a production issue and we wanted it resolved right away, it took them a few days to analyze the logs and get back to us.
We've added more and more on to it, and had no issues with it. When we started there, they had just deployed Unity. It was used in a few places, but not all that much. We've been migrating more and more over to it to get off of and retire the VNX, and we've had no issues. The compression has been working well.
We came from a VNX platform and we had lots of performance issues on the VNX, especially when we were doing OS patching. When all the reboots happened at the same time, we had performance hits on the VNX, systems crashed, and so on. And with the Unity, we have no issues. It's much easier to manage than the VNX. I've been managing both, but I've found the Unity is a bit easier to manage and to deploy.
From what I understand, the VNX was coming off of support and our company worked directly with our Dell EMC rep to see what was out there, what we could use, which storage arrays have which features, and they went with Unity.
To go with all-flash with Dell EMC, you've got XtremIO and you've got Unity. Unity is the type of array that you can size yourself and say, "This is how much storage I want," and you can add on in the future. With XtremIO, you're buying a set package and you get what you get.
Each solution is dependent on the use case so it's really hard to give advice without knowing the exact use case the person is trying to fill. But we're very happy with Unity.
I rate it at nine out of ten. If they added dedupe, that would get me to a ten.
It is for our production. We also have a second one for disaster recovery. We use it for our VMware storage.
It's done everything we need and we have had no issues.
Since we have gone virtual, we've been using the SAN and the speed on our servers has increased along with the time to reboot and time for maintenance. We have built in our company's backup redundancies and the SANs both have Unities with replication, which has benefited with speed and reliability.
It is easy to manage overall. It is all web-based. It has a an easy, nice dashboard. I receive emails if there are issues. When there are any updates, I receive emails. I can either do them on my own, but normally I schedule them with Dell EMC and they remote in, then it's done.
If there's anything Dell EMC could do to get the same performance for a cheaper price, that would be great.
It's awesome. It hasn't missed a beat. We haven't had any issues with it whatsoever. Speed has been great. It does everything we need.
There has been no downtime. It has built-in redundancy upon redundancy, so I feel very confident with it.
I'm using 25% of the available space for that drive. I can scale it as far as money could spend, as far as I can tell.
Their support cases are all handed through the portal. The support contacts me when they need to do upgrades. It has been great. It's all very well-handled, scheduled, and performed.
It's all been email-based portal cases. When they schedule remote sessions, they're on time. They get the job done and have been helpful every time I've needed them. I give them an A+ for support.
We were not using anything previously. We had 15 physical servers previously, so we knew it was time to change. This was part of a VMware virtualization project with SAN for the storage, so it made sense for us to go physical to virtual and use EMC Dell.
The initial setup is straightforward.
The vendor implemented it and is knowledgeable.
By doing virtual and reducing our footprint of servers, we're definitely not pulling as much power as we were. The time savings of not having to do virtual reboots rather than physical reboots of boxes.
ROI probably has been more in time and uptime than in dollars saved. We have definitely had more uptime in the past year since we've been on this than we've had in previous years.
Dell EMC has a great portal for the licensing. It's very logical and easy to license.
We integrated it with VMware vSphere at no additional cost. As we moved into VMware vSphere, this is what we bought to go with it for our storage performance.
When we were purchasing the product, we didn't have a capital budget for it. I sat down with my boss (the COO), and went over upcoming projects. We looked over the dollar values and if they fit. If it does fit, we do it. We went with the VAR that sold Dell EMC in our city and from there it was done. This made it very easy.
If it fits your budget, do it.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: brand and support reputation.
We primarily use it for backup.
It is a good backup product.
It is pretty reliable.
You can just add nodes and shelves to it.
The remote support is excellent.
We had a case automatically opened last night, and it is being handled.
Dell EMC has been around for a long time. Owning VMware is a big plus.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
We use our Dell EMC Unities to store the bank's data. We have one Unity in our production environment and another Unity at our disaster recovery site.
We use it in conjunction with VMware. We store all our virtual machines on Unity.
The Dell EMC unity interface is simple to manage. We manage it by ourselves. We create logs to store data. It's also easy for us to use because we use other solutions which are built for Unity, like VMware, which are recovery points. They work with the Dell EMC Unity system, as these products integrate well in our environment.
All our applications have been migrated to VMware.
It's very reliable. I have not had an issue with Dell EMC Unity.
Their service is good. If there is an issue with our Unity, Dell will sometimes call me before I even know I received a notification. They will tell me that some disks are bad and needed replacement. Whenever we have issues, they respond very quickly.
We are using all-flash disk, so the speed is very good.
The solution is stable.
We are a small bank. It is very scalable whenever we want to expand the disk storage.
Dell EMC technical support is very good. I would rate them a 10 out of 10. They take you by the hand and walk you through every issue. They explain the issue and follow up on it.
Whenever we need help to service the system or apply any upgrades, their customer service is good.
We used Dell EMC for the setup. We had a Dell EMC engineer and a third-party engineer come in. The Dell EMC engineer came and set up what he had for the disk. He took away the complexity from us, so I didn't see it. We had a third-party help us as well during the installation.
My part was mainly just administering the system. If I had an issue, I just made a short phone call to Dell EMC.
In the past, we used to have a physical server dedicated for Exchange or SQL. We have been able to virtualize those systems. Therefore, we cut our costs on the hardware and the backup is simpler in a VM environment. With Unity, we can easily replicate all our data to our production.
For DR, the solution is very efficient for us. It has also allowed us to centralize our data repository.
While Dell EMC is costly, I don't have any complaints about their licensing model.
We have also used Dell EMC CLARiiON and Symmetrix within the Dell EMC shop. What attracted to us to Dell EMC Unity was its flash disk technology.
Outside of Dell EMC, we looked at IBM and HPE. However, we have VMware as a recovery point for replication, and those VMware solutions work together well with Unity.
The purchasing process was uncomplicated. We went through a third-party reseller who has a relationship with Dell. They know the product well, so they specialize in it. We gave them our needs and they were able to recommend the appropriate solution to Dell, the sizing, etc. This helped us out.
We can sleep at night because the support is great.
We use it as block storage for a couple sites.
The performance is fine for what it does. It is flash and spinning media.
For sites that we use it on, it gives us more flexibility and high availability solutions. It is easier to expand the site, if needed.
It is simple to use and easy to manage. We don't touch it after we set it up. It is not something you constantly have to go in everyday and tweak, which makes it beneficial.
I would like the UI to look better.
Stability is very good. It has been running for over a year now without problems. We haven't had any dropped layers.
The growth is difficult to forecast, but it's easy for the unit to grow when needed. It is very scalable.
The technical support does alright.
We didn't have a solution in place for the size that we needed to have a high availability solution. Dell EMC is our preferred storage provider, so we went out and worked with them to get a solution where we have a cluster environment to VMware and a failover with the other node along with shared storage.
The initial setup was very straightforward. This was not our first SAN array, so I just racked and stacked it, and they gave us the IPs and turned it over to us.
The purchasing has been simple. When you do need storage, you spec it out. Then, you receive a quote back and make a decision from there.
The last purchase was in China, so I was more on the config, less on the purchase side.
The solution should be cheaper.
We evaluated NetApp. We decided on Dell EMC because we are more familiar with them.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
We use it for virtualization. We have all of our servers virtualized on the entire unit.
The performance has been outstanding. It's amazing.
We currently have two Dell EMC Unities going. One of them at our primary on-premise DR site. They communicate with each other. If we ever have to failover, it is right there and ready.
We have integrated Dell EMC Unity XT with VMware, Exchange, Microsoft SQL, and all types of Windows servers running on it. It outperforms any other physical hardware that I have ever had. We had to purchase the licenses for the Exchange and SQL servers. We also had to purchase VMware, and that could be cheaper.
We are also using it with our Veeam solution for our backup. Everything is just integrated so seamlessly. It is great.
The ease of use. Being able to configure it was easy, which I liked.
It is easy to manage. Managing it, I get alerts if there are any type of issues. I had a hard drive go bad, which had never caused any issues. Dell EMC contacted me, and said, "We are a shipping a new one out." My response was, "Why?" He told me that hard drive was bad. So, I went and looked, and it was. This was almost immediate. I never even knew anything had happened.
As frequently as updates come in, it has far more updates than anything else, Dell does it for you, which makes it simple to do them. I just sit back and watch them do it, so it's nice. It keeps us up-to-date and secure.
It should be lighter. It takes up a ton of rack space. It would be nice to have a smaller footprint.
It might be nice to have more integrated features instead of having everything as a separate module, like the networking. The networking is attached separately in the back. It would be nice if that was more integrated with less ports.
One to three years.
Stability is perfect and consistent. We have had no downtime. It is reliable.
As far as hardware goes, we haven't had to scale up at all. We're staying pretty steady.
As far as users go, I have about 1000 users on it right now, and it's not even at 50%. It's amazing as far as utilization goes.
Technical support is top-notch. I have talked to them a couple times. They definitely seem to know what they are talking about. They are pretty quick to get parts out, and getting a tech out there to replace them.
This is our first time that we moved into virtualization. We are largely an HPE shop.
The initial setup is pretty straightforward. I had a technician do it for me, then I looked over his shoulder because I had never done it before. He told me that he would do it this one time, and next time I would set it up because it was not that hard. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible.
It was very easy to order. We went through and spec'd it out internally, then went through a Dell EMC partner and spec'd it out through them. The parts were here quickly, assembled, and all we had to do was mount it. We didn't have to do any configuring nor assembly, which was good.
Dell EMC did setup number one. Then, they shadowed me when I did the next setup. It's not simple, but it's doable. It's doable with the right guidance.
Deployment with the product is great.
When I first got the Dell EMC Unity system, I converted all of our physical machines to virtual, which:
The time to set up has definitely improved. That is ROI for us. We save time spinning up a new server. If you ask me today for a new server, I can have it ready by the end up the day. When we were using hardware, it would take us about three weeks. We would have to provision a server. We would have to spec it out, buy it, assemble it, install the OS, back it, then we were finally ready to go. Whereas now, by the end of the day, I have a very nice server.
Simplicity of ownership is a no-brainer:
We looked at VxRail, IBM, and Nutanix. Dell EMC Unity work out financially. VxRail was nice, but a lot more expensive and robust. Price-wise, Dell EMC Unity was right where we needed it to be.
Make sure to shop around to make absolutely 100% certain that it is what you want. You will want to come back to this particular model.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
We are a medical center, so we have a very diverse ecosystem. We do a lot of imaging, which is our primary use case.
It is performing very well.
It has helped us be able to use less administrators per device or system. Therefore,we are more streamlined.
The management is key. This is where we see the functionality and ease of use. To be programmatically administered is huge, it is one of the key features that we like about it. My team finds it easy to manage.
We have integrated it with vSphere.
It needs more functionality and the ability to move across more landscapes.
Stability is rock solid.
We haven't found a scale that we can't go to yet.
Historically, we are a Dell shop. We actually asked Dell's solution experts to come in and give us a suggestion of where we needed to go before purchasing this solution.
Our big return of investment is the ability to scale and not add FTE counts nor extra administration.
It was easy to order. We are a big Dell shop, so it was easy to purchase and get it in place, then up and running.
Find out what your use case is. Look at it across the board. Dell EMC has been good to us as a customer.
It is for users of VDI solutions.
I would like to see more compression and deduplication added to the solution. Today, our compression is about 2:1 and other solutions give us about 4:1 or 5:1.
Technical support is good.
The initial setup is good.
Ordering is easy, but the processing site and working with those companies was difficult.
The primary use case is to replace stream I/O and other VNX traditional spinning disks with a less expensive all flash. However, it should have the same five nines availability.
It's easier to carve out months and present them to hosts as opposed to some of the older Dell EMC solutions.
The majority of our vSphere environment is running on Dell EMC Unity. Exchange is also running on it. Most of our environment is split-up. Only really mission critical applications are on stream I/O. Unity has ended up being our main storage platform.
It is all cost-based. It's as good as a VMAX All Flash with stream I/O. In terms of our use case, we're not thinking of deduplication. However, looking at it based on cost per gigabyte, it's certainly very effective.
Dell EMC Unity is not sexy. It doesn't have all the flash and pizzazz of some of the other storage vendors.
We've had no issues with it.
The performance is great. We have four or five different Unity arrays, and they have all run flawlessly.
I haven't used technical support.
Dell EMC did the entirety of the setup.
We have seen tremendous ROI.
Because of the attractive price, we were able to get rid of more expensive arrays, standardize, and get rid of a lot of spinning disks. We also got rid of more expensive flash that we weren't properly utilizing.
I've had so many nightmares with so many other arrays, but I have no complaints with Dell EMC Unity at this time.
It is a workhorse and will run even demanding workloads.
We are using it as a storage unit. We also using it at my customer site.
It is the storage provider that the company is using. The product is easy to manage.
It provides SAN capabilities and storage replication.
It is very stable.
It is very scalable.
The technical support is very professional and provides quick responses.
When using the callback function, we found it to be good. It is also good for creating cases.
I haven't experienced anything bad with the support yet.
I was not involved with the initial setup. I haven't worked with it that long.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: good support and fair price.
We use Dell EMC Unity XT as our primary storage, mostly for VMware, the tier-one storage of our VMs. We use it for SaaS and corporate. We do replications with it. I hate to call Unity your standard, basic storage, but it's your standard, basic, old-school, tried and true, reliable, classic storage. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done, has all the features you need, and is easy to use.
Performance-wise, we actually use ScaleIO for the high-performance stuff. But Unity, as your classic storage, does a fairly good job.
We actually use it just about everywhere because, in the majority of the use cases in our company, there is a need for a lot of storage but they don't have a lot of IOPS. Unity fits that use case well. For the areas that need high performance, the high IOPS, it doesn't fit. But that's okay. That's why you have multiple SAN solutions.
One of the benefits it brings is the value for its price. It has saved us a lot of money. It does the job. It just works. We just bought a bunch of new Unity's that allowed us to do a lot of consolidation. Those four Unity's replaced 13 VNXs and older Unity's.
In terms of simplicity of ownership, I think we still have somewhere in the neighborhood 20 Unity's and they're managed by four storage guys. So, from a simplicity perspective, you can manage a lot of Unity's across a lot of data centers with a very small staff.
In addition to the price point, you factor in all the features, like replication, and that it works great.
Like most newer SANs, the interface is very simplistic. I'm still used to the old-school SAN where you need a PhD to be able to configure it. I'll pick on NetApp as an example. To work on a NetApp, needing a certification isn't a recommendation, it's a requirement. You don't want someone who hasn't had all the required training working on NetApp. On a Unity, you can throw it in a remote office and tell whoever is there, "Hey, go click on these buttons." And you really don't have to worry about them clicking on the wrong thing.
Or if I even need them to rack and install the Unity, it's a handful of cables here and there, where it's called out and easy to follow. There is just no complexity to it. A lot of SANs are easy to use these days. Unity was - if I recall correctly, especially on the VNX line, before they changed the name to Unity - one of the first to really lead in having that simplistic interface; the "why make this hard?" mindset.
We have had some downtime. Nothing is perfect. Unity’s have had some code-release problems, versions that, from a compatibility perspective, had some glitches which caused an outage. But, given the amount of Unity’s we run, that has been fairly minor and it hasn't happened at scale or across all of our Unity’s.
It's more like, "Hey, we have a new code. Let's deploy it," and we have a situation where we can deploy it in a given location first. So we deploy in that location. Oops, it has an issue. Roll back and get Dell EMC engaged and resolve it and move on.
It hasn't really been that big of a deal. As a great "for instance," with ExtremeIO - which we bought starting about two years ago, and deployed in one of our divisions as their primary storage because we needed performance there - it's had so many issues that upper management has essentially banned us from ever buying an ExtremeIO again, because of the downtime. Either because of compatibility or just straight up code problems, it's just not a stable SAN. And the one thing you want out of a SAN is that it has to be stable.
So as long as Unity remains good and stable, that will be a primary reason that we use it.
It scales decently to 100,000 IOPS, maybe 150,000. But as long as your IOPS requirements are below that, it does a great job.
With the nature of the architecture, there's a limitation to its total, possible throughput. So if you need IOPS above that 150,000 mark, your Unity engineer will say something like, "Oh, we just need to cluster it and do that." That's a very old-school approach. If you need more IOPS than what Unity SAN can provide, clustering is not a great option. The better option is to go with a SAN with better IOPS. Unity is good at what Unity does, so don't try to make it do what it doesn't do. It's great for bulk storage, up to a certain performance level. If you use it for that, it works great.
On a per-SAN basis we could have 3,000 to 6,000 VMs connecting to it.
Technical support is responsive, of course. If it's obviously a Unity issue, it's usually a pretty simple and straightforward fix.
It's when they say, "Well, no, the Unity's fine. It must be an issue with the host. Or it must be an issue with the VM," where you get a little bit of that finger-pointing going on. Then it becomes that struggle of stopping the finger-pointing. It's all one company so let's all get on the same phone call and figure out where the problem is.
That is usually something we have to start, whereas from a Dell EMC/VMWare/whatever-else-is-involved perspective, they're not the ones to start that bridge or that conversation.
Especially if it's a production outage, I don't care about finger-pointing. I don't want to hear about it. No one does within the organization. They want it fixed. If you don't think it's a SAN problem but it's clearly an issue with the SAN, let's get everyone involved who needs to be involved and fix the problem.
So it would be great, in terms of future support calls that fall under that finger-pointing category, to have them say, "Okay, we need to now engage so and so. Let's get them on the call."
We had a lot of VNXs that we retired and we moved over to Unity. But that's just a natural progression of the product line. We also replaced a lot of old VMAXs with Unity. It might not be the sexiest box but its performance has grown through the generations to the point where it can do the job we used to have to buy VMAXs for.
We replaced the VNXs due to multiple factors. End-of-life was a big aspect; end of service contracts. It's cheaper to install a Unity than to renew the maintenance on an old SAN. That's where it's at.
We were able to reduce our monthly spend significantly enough by doing that consolidation that we were actually able to buy the ScaleIO's we needed for another division.
When I look for a vendor to work with, I care more about the product than the vendor. Personally, I am most happy with a mixed environment. A mixed environment tends to be typically configured to best practices more frequently, with fewer proprietary aspects. Those proprietary aspects are typically what box you in or prevent you from doing something as technology changes. By running a mixed environment, you have more flexibility and ability. With that being said, I run all things VMWare. So it's a relative thing.
From a SAN perspective, storage-wise, I look at storage as a commodity. That's really what it is. Give me a server. I don't care what it is. Give me a SAN. I don't care what it is. Make it cheap, let it hit the performance marks I need, and make it reliable. If it's those three things, what it is doesn't matter to me. Whether it's a Unity or something else, I don't care. I'm not buying the brand, I'm not buying the vendor. I'm buying a commodity.
Like I said, Unity wins on ROI. As long as it wins on ROI, as long as it wins on uptime, as long as it does the job it's doing, it will continue to be the one that gets installed. When it fails to meet those, we'll switch.
We used to have a lot of NetApp. We've always bought BMC. But we have had no problem changing vendors. We buy a lot of Cisco. We don't care what the server is. The Dell EMC servers are cheaper, so that's what we go with. It's all about satisfying the base requirements and getting the job done.
I've installed Unity’s, but it's been a few years. The setup is a piece of cake. It's super easy: click, click, click, done.
Regarding upgrades, the guys who take care of that do so on a very regular basis with no real issues. They do it through maintenance windows. But at the end of the day, they really haven't had too many problems; a few of those minor problems I've mentioned, but overall, it works well.
From an ROI perspective, I'll put it this way: When we've tried to buy other SANs, the Unity ROI makes it impossible to buy them. So usually, the only time we buy another SAN is when the ROI isn't a factor, when Unity can't do the job. From an ROI perspective, it's great because it beats out everything else.
We've tried to look at other options but, at the end of the day, when you price it out, the Unity wins.
Its biggest valuable feature is its price point for the amount of storage and performance you get. It's a sweet spot. It's cheaper than the other SANs out there, but performs well enough. It fits that nice, middle-ground portfolio.
If your small office or data center needs a couple petabytes, or just lots and lots of storage, it works great. Or if you need just a couple of hundred terabytes worth of storage, it works great. The price point hits that right spot.
As for advice to someone who is interested in this type of solution, I would simply say, "Talk to so and so, because that's what they do, and have fun." We use it across the board. So if someone needs a Unity for their project and they want their own SAN for some reason, they just have to go through the approval process. There's no fight to buying a Unity, because again, from an ROI perspective, no one argues.
In terms of the buying process, I'll start with getting a quote. I find it's pretty easy, mainly because I worked as a consultant, so I actually would build those BOMs (bills of materials); the pre-quote build. For me, it's super easy - because I've done that career-wise - to build a BOM for a SAN, Unity, or otherwise. Typically you have your BOM. And from the BOM you get your quote. From the quote you get your invoice. The BOM is the first step. You get your approvals, that this is the configuration I want.
So it is easy for me but not necessarily for your "Joe Average" person, for the rest of the storage guys. Their typical response is, "Okay, I need a new Unity with these IOPs and this capacity. Go." And they just have our partner, through whom we buy this stuff, build the BOM. The partner sends it to us and says, "Hey, this is what we're doing for you." We say, "Okay, it looks great." And it moves forward. The struggle is after you get past that point, on our side, where it goes through our approval, what we call the CAR process. That's where it takes some time. That's not necessarily a Dell EMC issue or even an issue with our partner. That's an internal logistics and political issue.
I would rate this solution at eight out of 10 because, at the end of the day, it is an old-school SAN. It really doesn't take advantage of any of the modern-day advances in SAN technology.
We're using it to host development workloads and it's performing as expected.
Dell EMC Unity XT is cheap and deep storage. It fits the business need that we had. I'm sure there are a number of other products out on the market that compete just as well.
One of the most valuable features is its cost. It was inexpensive compared to other arrays that we were looking at.
It's also easy to manage. I have 20 years of managing EMC storage and it has been the same from day one, pretty much.
We have also integrated it with vSphere and SQL. There were no costs involved outside of our normal workload licensing, no costs that were specific to the Unity platform.
It does what we bought it for. I don't know that there's anything else that it needs to do that we're not leveraging from it already. From a product perspective, I don't see any room for improvement.
From a service perspective, they can do nothing but go uphill.
One to three years.
It runs. It operates. Developers can do their development work. It's not screaming-fast, but it doesn't fall down when you bring up a workload. So it's performing as expected.
We did encounter a firmware bug which actually caused loss of data. There was some heartburn around that. But in general, it has operated as expected, except for that bug. Fortunately, we found the bug in pre-production, so we didn't lose anything that we needed. However, had it been in production, we'd be having a very different conversation about Unity.
I can't really comment on scalability. We bought the frame fully loaded. I don't know whether it scales or not. I suppose if I bought a unit that had half the capacity, it would scale to the max capacity. That wasn't my need.
Technical support has gotten progressively worse. In the past 24 months, give or take, the amount of attention from Dell EMC support for flagship products, both the Unity platform - which replaced VNX - and their VMAX platform: Their support teams and R&D have gone down under the Dell regime.
Our customer service, our support, the engineers that we get on the phone, the hassles that we put up with at level-one and level-two, didn't exist three or four years ago with EMC. We paid a premium for EMC products and you got a premium service as part of that investment. We don't get that anymore.
Set up went flawlessly.
Generally, with these types of products, there is not really much documentation from the build and configure perspective. There's a config sheet that you work on with your SE team. But it's not like going out and getting a packaged product from a Best Buy and implementing. There is an expectation from the config sheet for fiber connections, network connections, speeds and feeds, and the like. That is enterprise-class architecture. That's out-of-the-box.
Dell EMC came in and did the implementation. They were knowledgeable.
I didn't put together an ROI for this product. We had a fixed budget that we wanted to invest in storage for development teams. This fit the bill.
Pricing was competitive compared to other products on the market. Among the ones we considered, Unity came in with the best price.
Compared to other EMC platforms, Unity is nice because it is all-inclusive, in terms of the licensing model. That's unique for them, compared to other manufacturers. It is beneficial. We could use replication, native, right out-of-the-box.
We looked at NetApp, Infinidat, Pure.
My advice is: Stay up to date on code.
Regarding the purchasing process, we went through a VAR and it was easy. Once pricing was established, the bill of materials was defined, we paid for the product, and it showed up.
In terms of important criteria when selecting a vendor, from an executive perspective, it's partnership. From my team's perspective, it's probably
I want it up, I want it to stay up, and I don't want to have to manage it.
I would rate the solution at eight out of 10. It's not an all-flash array so it's not the fastest thing on the market. But the stability has been good, minus the initial bug. It does what we ask of it.
Our use case is very unique. We just need it in our offices.
It used to be a complex product. Now, it is becoming simpler.
Overall, the feedback from my team has definitely been positive.
I would like to see a more seamless virtual box integration with the physical box which can replicate, because the setup of the replication is very difficult right now. We tried it multiple times, and while the physical box is easy, when we mixed it with a virtual edition and it seemed very complex. We been trying this for several months, even with the cabling included. We are still working on it.
No issues so far. It is very stable.
It is scalable. We can always add additional tools if we need to expand it.
We had been using VNX for a long time that it is now a part of our lifecycle. We introduced Dell EMC Unity into our environment to replace the VNX.
We contact our VAR, get a quote, and order all the hardware. Then, they ship and install it with a Dell EMC engineer. It is very straightforward.
We can see improvement since moving to the inclusive licensing.
The Dell EMC Data Protection license covers everything, like a one stop shop. All our options are covered.
We have worked with different vendors. However, right now, we are sticking with Dell EMC Unity as it seems like it is a very solid, mature product.
Do your homework. Obtain all the use cases. See what license you need and purchase the license as part of your preparation. Then, the process will be smooth.
We do integration with vSphere, but it is very limited because we outsource with IBM.
We use it for storage for our ESXi hosts at our smaller sites.
It increased our uptime because we switched from physical stuff to virtual stuff, and being able to have that we could do the high-availability and failover.
I like the ease of configuration, the quick setup, and the fact that it seems to be hardened. We haven't had any issues with them. In terms of simplicity of ownership, once they're running you don't have to touch them.
They're also simple to manage. We came from the VNXe 3200s so it's very similar.
We integrated it with vSphere but that integration was "iffy". It was okay but we had a few challenges with it.
It's very solid. No issues at all. The only issue we have is that the power supply ramps up and down and makes some noise on SPA. But other than that being a nuisance, we haven't had any reliability issues at all.
Scaling is easy. Just add drives, extend the space. It's super simple.
We called them and put in a service ticket on the power supply issue. We tried a few things and then they sent us another one, but other than that we haven't had any issues. They've been easy to work with.
The initial setup was straightforward. Coming from the VNXe's, it was almost identical, just has a different GUI platform. It was very easy.
The price is up a little bit from what we used to pay so I'm hoping that it's a little bit of a better system than the VNXe was. But I still think it's a good value. It's new, so I'm sure there's room for the pricing to drop.
We did have an issue with licensing once but we were able to reach out to the licensing group and do an online chat. They helped instantly, so that was nice.
My advice is to follow the installation guide, it's pretty straightforward, step-by-step.
In terms of the purchasing process, after we had figured out what we wanted, it became easy. But we had to get into our first set of standards. The first one that we ordered had the SFP module cards in it, which we didn't need. We just use the 10-gigabit copper. After figuring out our standard template, it has become super simple every time.
What I look for when selecting a vendor to work with is somebody who
So far, I rate the Unity a nine out of 10. It has been easy to set up, we've only had a few small issues. Once they're set up, they're running, you don't have to touch them. The one point I held back is because we're new to them. The version we're using is the 300 and it's also new out there so there has been a little bit of a struggle here and there with some small things; for example, the fans ramping up and we have one right now that's not responding after updates.
It fits what we're trying to do. It has everything and more. There are some features that we're not even using yet.
It's our storage solution. We have a Dell EMC Unity 400. The performance is great.
The fact that it's hybrid is the most valuable feature. We have the SSD so we put our SharePoint on there and some of the stuff that requires a little more speed. For SharePoint, we want the pages to respond a little more quickly. And it's nice to be able to use the slower storage for stuff that we don't need as quickly, like file servers. If they're a little slow, it's okay, nobody really complains. Overall, the hybrid is what we really like about it.
I like that when you log in it gives you a dashboard of what your storage looks like. Pretty cool with that.
In the dashboard there could be notification of duplicate files and the like, so we don't have to rely on Windows to do that. They have all the files in the Dell EMC so that would help us out.
I haven't had any issues with it at all. The stability has been very good.
Dell EMC is one of the best in terms of scalability. They can just add another component to it. It's so modular so it's super easy. The scalability is very nice.
We had a year's worth of support from them when we first bought it. They were very responsive, whether via email or phone calls. We could get a tech onsite if we wanted to, to help us with the installation.
We had Tintri before. It was good, it's also a very simple solution. The problem was that they got too expensive, once you tried to scale up with them. They quoted us something like $800,000. We said to ourselves, "Um, let's go to Dell EMC. We know Dell, we know EMC, so let's just switch."
In the industry in which we work, a lot of people use Dell EMC and there weren't a lot of Tintri users. Being able to reach out to somebody in another company who uses Dell EMC makes that partnership with everyone a lot easier too.
Setting it up was super easy, as is the management of it. We used the same thing for setting up a disaster site and it was pretty seamless.
I don't know an actual number for ROI but, especially because we are a small IT shop, having something that is easy, that doesn't take a lot of time to set up, monitor, and manage helps us a ton. We can focus on other things.
When you look at what Dell EMC is compared to, like NetApp, they're all priced pretty similarly. I think the pricing of the hybrid model is good. Obviously, we would want cheaper prices but you can't get everything.
My advice would be to use their support. If you bought it, have them come onsite, have them help you set it up, make sure you get comfortable with it. If you bought the support have someone come onsite. It's like free training. Don't wing it.
Primary use case is block and file. It's like a combo device. It has performed well, except for the migration process.
It requires a lot less management.
It's good. It has a lot of good features.
I think there are a couple of things on the file side that we're lacking from the VNX world. It would be nice if we got some of those back. I think there are limitations on how many file systems you can back up at a time. Whereas you can do, I believe, eight continuous per data mover on the file side on the VNX, you can only do something like two or four on Unity. If they could step up to that, that would be good.
It was difficult at first. It wasn't very stable. It was crashing a lot. I think we were early adopters and, during the file side of migration, it crashed a number of times.
Scalability is good, although we only have a 400F. I think we missed out on getting the 450, but it seems to be fairly scalable.
Tech support is good. Just like most of the EMC products, there is a knowledgeable staff.
Setup was fairly straightforward, although we had EMC onsite to give us a hand.
The important criteria for us when selecting a vendor are
I would rate the Unity between seven and eight out of 10. It's not quite at the level of what the VNX was, but it's one of those products that is improving with time.
I would definitely recommend you look at Unity.
It's a tier-two storage array. The performance is okay.
The all-flash array and the compression ratio are benefiting us. We still have to migrate a couple of systems. We are still in the process of doing it and we'll know better afterward. But, we've seen some good improvements. For example, we put it on one of the file servers and the backup performance improved quite a lot.
It has the same operating system for both file and block, and it actually simplifies everything. It's much smaller compared to VNX.
I have just been to one of the briefing sessions, here at the Dell EMC World 2018 conference, and they released a very cool feature, Snapshot replication, which is very interesting. I'm excited about that.
Stability seems to be good but we had some issues recently because of a bug in the system. We were presenting LANs to the Unity array but I think it caused a disruption to the host. EMC did acknowledge it and provided an alternative way to do it. We felt that this could have been avoided. It caused downtime to the host on two occasions.
Scalability for the 650F is good, but I was expecting a little bit more than that.
Technical support was helpful. I would have appreciated it if it were a lot faster, but we got a resolution for our issue.
We come from VNX, and we also have VMAXs.
When selecting a vendor we look at the
First of all, it should meet the business requirements such as performance, and it should be compatible with all applications. Then we will look at the third factor which is the price.
Regarding advice, it depends on the size of the business. Unity, price per Gig, is actually a good system. In fact, I'm thinking of moving some of the old VMAX arrays to Unity because of the price performance per Gig. If the stability makes sense, then I'm actually going to move it.
We had a stand-alone storage system and we wanted to purchase a Metro Cluster system. We looked at other companies and we found EMC was the best of them. That's why we choose them.
At the moment it's a cluster, we use it in different data centers. In case of any interruption, a power cut or something, our data will be continuously available.
At the moment we are using it with VPLEX. VPLEX is a very big advantage for us. We don't use very many of the Unity's functions. But it does provide good provisioning, allowing us to save space. We use all-flash systems and they are quite fast.
The monitoring part could be better. With EMC storage systems - or Unity and VPLEX, because I'm using them, for the moment - the monitoring part is very difficult. They should improve this to have a better reporting system.
The stability is quite okay. We have not had any downtime with the Unity. We have only been using it for three months. We have just finished the migrations, but so far it is working quite well.
For us, it's scalable.
Setup was very easy.
When selecting a vendor, as a technical guy, it's the power or bandwidth, the technical details, that are more important to me.
I would definitely tell a colleague to go for Unity.
The main use case for my clients is for mid-range storage performance. It's primarily all-flash arrays. It's always with two sides replicated. It's working well.
The architecture is robust. I know that it has changed a lot with the advent of the all-flash. But it was the good, old-fashioned storage array, block array for customers. It's reliable.
The feedback I have is it's quite stable. We have a configuration with VPLEX. The issues are not coming from the Unity itself, in general. It's more about the SAN or the VPLEX, the virtualization layer. On that specific point, I'd say the Unity is doing well. It's reliable.
The market I'm working, in Switzerland, is quite small. The Unity, in terms of scalability, covers 90% of our use cases.
Replication with VMware - it's called the vSphere Metro Storage Cluster - is lacking in the Unity and is present in Compellent. In general, that's a key decision metric. If we need to have synchronous replication... That's why we had to use VPLEX, because it's not in the Unity. Look out for this. If that kind of setup is not required, you should always go for Unity.
We use the Unity as the SAN for our data center. It's where all of our data lives right now, for our main office. It has exceeded our expectations.
We have simplified it down to where we're using one storage pool inside the Unity, whereas on the VNX, we had multiple storage pools. This has simplified that aspect for us. It would depend on each organization. We're heavy into VMware and this ties into it so simply. It's made it a lot easier for us.
We're very familiar with the VNX series, we were using VNX before Unity. The features sets are very similar but what I like is the way it ties into VMware. When I create a datastore inside Unity, it just shows up in VMware. I love that tie-in.
Stability is excellent. We have never had downtime with Unity.
Scalability is great. We haven't scaled up very much, but it's definitely easy to do.
We have only had to use technical support for firmware upgrades. They are helpful.
We were using VNX. Our Dell rep stays in touch with us fairly often. He keeps us knowledgeable about things that are up and coming and what might be a good fit for us. The business makes the decision.
When looking at a vendor what's important are
Price is definitely going to be a factor. More than that, you want something that's solid. You're going to pay a little bit more for something that performs better and is more efficient at what it does, makes your life easier.
The initial setup was fairly straightforward.
We're probably going to go away from the Unity and end up using VxRail and vSan. Hyperconvergence is all the rage, that is where everything is going, so that's where we're headed. We need the hyperconverged, we need the elasticity - that we can spin things up and spin them down quickly and easily. We can't do that right now.
I would definitely steer a colleague towards Unity if they were looking at that versus NetApp, for example.
We had old systems - CX4-960 and Celerra - and we wanted to consolidate the systems to the Unity platform for the customer because the old systems were very expensive for maintenance.
The only reason we made this move was to save costs, to be honest.
It's easy to handle for administrators and it's a unified system. It's not as complex as Celerra systems or CX4 Clariions to administrate. You can do everything with one GUI.
In the next release, I would like to see stable performance on AIX. AIX are mostly mission-critical systems, so the support has to be there.
We have had a lot of issues. We've got massive issues at the moment with IBM AIX. It's not stable. We have a lot of disk errors, production crashes sometimes, and that's not good for a retailer.
Also, we still have to administer the Celerra because we have massive issues with the filer system of Unity. We hope it gets better with the 4.2 or 4.3 release. We do not have the integration for connection to Centara. This means we have to keep the data on Celerra and cannot migrate to Unity.
Scalability is not good. We have a Unity 300, now we have to do a data-in-place conversion for the next upgrade because only 150 slots are supported, not drives, only slots. So my job next week is to do an in-place upgrade from 300 to 400.
The setup was complex but it was one of the first Unity systems in Germany. We sold it in August two years ago.
If you plan to use Unity as a filer system take a bigger controller because with the 300 and 400 you have performance issues compared with other filer systems. For pure filer systems, I would recommend an Isilon or NetApp, or something like that. Unity is a unified solution, if you have to do unified, but it's better to separate if you have more data.
Primary use case is mid-range to low-end storage, and it performs very well for that type of operation.
We just recently put together a large customer deal. They're going to use Unity's for applications at remote sites, so it's essentially a robo operation. Its main advantage over vSAN was the rebuild, the intelligence of the restoration in the event of a hardware drive failure and, of course, the all-flash solution.
The flexibility of the paradigm and, obviously, its price point.
I'd like to see more of the NVMe back-end for the flash. And the big deal with the PowerMax is that they've used all U2 drives so that they can avoid having to take it down. I see using M.2 and modular sections as being a real nice alternative that could be implemented in Unity at a fairly low cost.
Obviously, we haven't had it in the field for years, but we haven't had any problems with it and we've deployed close to 150 of them.
It's not really scalable. Up to mid-range requirements, it's just fine. But scalability takes you to the enterprise-class, and that's more high-end VNX or low-end Symmetrix.
We've used technical support but it wasn't Unity's fault, it was the customer's. The tech support is very good.
Setup is simple.
For our applications, we'd rate Unity at eight out of 10. It would be a 10 if it had a lower cost. That's really the issue. The value point is, once you get into the Unity spectrum, you're looking at a lot of competitive offerings, and they're appealing to a limited class requirement, so the demands are not as stringent.
In terms of advice, find out what your storage group's expertise level is and their background, and then see if they don't already have experience with Unity or one of the others in the family. It seems to be a natural fit that way.
Right now, we're using it as overflow storage. We initially had a VNX and an Isilon. We needed to grow out further, and we thought that Unity would be a good way to do that. Right now, we're using it a secondary storage platform, VVols across it, and using it directly for VMware storage.
The flash aspects of the Unity make it incredibly fast. The fact that you get that much storage directly on what is basically a 3U box to us, that density has been really useful.
We haven't gotten that deep into it yet to suggest improvements, but based on what we've been seeing here at the Dell EMC World 2018 conference, we'll be looking to make sure CloudIQ is set up for it.
We haven't seen an issue with it since the day we installed. It has been only two months but it's good.
We really enjoy the scalability, absolutely. We're running one box right now, but the fact that we can add additional compartments as needed is extremely useful, and we will probably go that way in the future.
We've had to use very little tech support, but so far it has been fine. Mostly we had some assistance with it during setup and haven't needed it since. When we needed them they were there for us, helpful, on schedule.
We've been using Isilon and VNX. We heard about Unity here, at the conference, two years ago, and had started to look into it. Obviously, as flash has continued to get cheaper compared to spinning disk, it makes a natural choice.
When selecting a vendor, responsiveness and accountability are incredibly useful. A really important part was the support we got out of EMC for Isilon. Often, we'll hear from them that disks are ready to be replaced. They're getting to us, setting their pace, getting out there without much interference from us.
In terms of price, I would say that the support you're getting with it is probably an underestimated value that comes with the box you're buying.
I would tell a colleague this makes a very sound investment. It's very reasonable density for space. The extendability is extremely useful. It's hard to choose a competitor at that level that would do it better.
Most of our customers buy it for data storage for the ERP that they use in their businesses. Most of them have a preference for the flash model.
All of them are very satisfied with the performance. It's very good equipment. Our customers give us very good feedback about it, they are very satisfied.
It's very easy to manage the whole system. We can put all the virtualized servers in one place, so they can share and manage the devices very easily.
It is very high-speed. The compression is also a very good feature, and the deduplication as well.
No complaints about the stability. Our customers are very happy with it.
Most of our customers are medium-sized businesses. My market, my targets, they don't need high-scale performance. But I know the scalability is very good and you can scale very easily.
The TCO is very good. Our customers invest and they get a good return.
When selecting a vendor, I choose the storage to fit the value and budget that the customer can afford. I can set most of them up with Unity, but sometimes I need to give them something with a lower cost. Sometimes, the price point is a little bit high in our market.
Unity is equipment that, if you sell it, you don't have any headaches with it. It's very good, its performance is very good. We are very satisfied.
Our primary use case is for our product, Oracle Database, and it's performing very well.
The benefit of the solution is that it allows us to maintain an Oracle Database for our product, for our customers. Given the performance of the Unity array, we've been able to do more with less.
It's just a solid platform.
I would like to see better compression, better dedupe. It's not nearly as good as what is built into the XtremIO. I understand why that is the case, but if they can take some of that technology and leverage that a little bit better in the Unity array, that would be great. That would be the first improvement.
It's rock solid. All of the EMC arrays are rock solid. I wouldn't expect anything less.
Scalability is phenomenal.
Technical support is typically very good. The only issue is, where our products are located. it's hard to get technical support in there. Only certain individuals can go in there, so finding that right, cleared person is sometimes a challenge.
This is just the next generation. We started with the CX models, we went to the Celerra, and now we're only blocks. We've used the 5300, the 5400s. We've used them all for years and years.
When selecting a vendor what's important are
I need to know that I've got a device that's running and it's not going to go down; that has rock-solid stability. That's the issue.
The initial setup is different from the VNX arrays and the CX arrays, which we have played with and used for years. The interface is just different.
Previously, we manually did all of our RAID groups. We didn't use the pools in the VNX2, we just went down to RAID groups because that would give us the best performance. We could maintain that performance, we could control that. With Unity, that went away, so that was a little bit of a learning curve. We had to understand and learn to trust that it was going to do what it needed to do.
Compared to XtremeIO, the unity is a two out of 10. Compared to other products, like Compellent, which is a Dell product, I think it's better than the Compellent. I think it's better than the 3PAR, I think it's better than the Netapp. The whole VNX/Unity line has been the industry leader, as far as I'm concerned. if I were to rank the Unity against all of its equivalent competitors, I would say it's probably a nine out of 10.
I would give a colleague the advice that he needs to look at what his product does, or what the use case is for that device. The Unity array is, by design, block, with unified on top of it. NetApp is, by default, file, with a block added on, which is kind of a hybrid; it's not really block at all. It depends on what you're doing. If you're looking for a filer, NetApp is the way to go. But if you're looking for block storage, by far EMC Unity is the way to go. That is its design.
The primary use case is block storage for ESX and structured data, SQL Database primarily.
We have adopted the all-flash array. It eliminates all the overhead of tiering and a lot of the data structuring overhead involved. It gives us a lot of operational efficiencies.
Being able to bring those multiple groups into a central solution. From a storage perspective, that is a bit of a challenge.
There are also DR and data protection functions that we found in the new Unity, now that we are stepping up from VNX and other storage appliances, that we've started implementing.
The one thing that we would look at would be if they were to expand the file level features, just to give us a balance or a tier between it and Isilon options out there, for unstructured data.
We have never had any problem beyond that which you would assume you might get out of a storage system.
It will scale as much as we want or need. Scalability is not a concern.
We have not had to use tech support often, beyond the normal occasional drive, standard part replacement. The support has been good.
We've been a long time EMC customer. For us, though, it's been a journey of modernization and standardization. We took a couple different storage platforms and then centralized it on the Unity.
When selecting a vendor, from my perspective, I like to come up with the technically best solution possible, and then work retroactively into the price. Then, obviously, the business will make that decision based on price point and other things. But we try not make that one of the deciding factors.
My advice would be, if you're looking for this kind of solution, one of the challenges we had was clearly defining the use case. There is a lot of preparation in clearly identifying the workloads that you're going to put on it.
We're running virtual machines and we're using the NAS filer for file shares.
It has reduced the latency in application and database reads and writes, which is of benefit to the business.
All-flash, it's fast. We have the 650 model which is all-flash, upgraded from VNX. It just flies.
I can't think of any improvements, other than bringing down the price point. That would help.
It seems rock solid so far.
At this point, we're at the high end. I don't know that we have a lot of room to scale up, but I think it's going to meet our needs for a while.
My colleague did a firmware upgrade recently and that went well. I would say that was a good experience with tech support.
We were running out of disk space, and there was some latency that we wanted to improve on. We had the VNX previously.
When selecting a vendor, the price is always important, but we need a product that supports our business, It's both those factors.
The setup went relatively well. It was straightforward. We got migrated over quickly, so I have been very pleased with all of it.
It's working well for us so far. We haven't had it long enough to have a full-term answer, but I am very pleased with it so far.
In terms of advice to a colleague, if it's a mid-size company that has a similar needs to ours, I think the Unity is a good option.
It is primarily for block storage for VMware in our Americas data centers, and it is also used for block storage and file storage in our European data centers.
It's a much smaller footprint than our older storage arrays, which take up some six tiles, a lot of space in the data center. The Unity's are a lot smaller, and they're a lot faster.
We use the all-flash arrays so the performance is probably the most valuable feature. As features go, deduplication and compression are important too.
I would like to see them add Storage Groups, like we have had in Clariions and VNXs. Storage Groups would be a great addition.
We've had no issues with it whatsoever, as far as stability goes.
We have not had to add capacity to them. I would imagine it's going to scale well, we just haven't had to add capacity.
The support is very good.
It was just a refresh.
When selecting a vendor, the criteria for us would be
I work for a rather large law firm and they're not typically that price sensitive but, obviously, we need to be good stewards of the firm's money as well.
The setup was pretty quick, pretty easy.
At this point, I would give the Unity an eight out of 10. I think it's a little bit early on in the development of features. But overall, it has performed well.
There are some alternatives, but what we've found, working with our partners, for mid-range storage it's probably the best one you could choose. There are other offerings from other vendors, but it's a good choice.
We added it to our Vblock 740 as a storage extension, basically a tech extension for a capacity upgrade. We set it up about three weeks ago. I haven't seen any issues so far.
What we noticed was that the SP utilization is quite high, although the main load is on a VMAX. We'll need to dig into it with EMC and see if there are any issues that might pop up.
The setup was quite easy, straightforward.
Compression, it's an all-flash Unity, so with that compression feature, it's comparable to a hybrid. That is one thing that we definitely like.
It runs. No stability issues.
If those SP utilization things, noted above, get to be an issue, I think scalability might be an issue too. But we need to confirm that. I don't know yet.
We had a licensing issue to do with encryption but, other than that, we have not had to use tech support. It took a little bit, support had to get it into our ELA. It worked out in the end.
Obviously, it is the successor of the VNX. We wanted to add some mid-range capabilities to that Vblock 740 and it was the logical choice.
In terms of selecting a vendor, we're a big EMC partner, so we don't usually look at other vendors. We have very good experiences with EMC support so far. We are currently not looking at other vendors.
It is definitely worth having a look at. The price-point for all-flash is certainly quite interesting. It has NAS capabilities too, if you need it. It's an interesting product, at least for mid-range.
Most of the systems are replacements for ancient VNXs. For most of the customers, we suggest they be replaced by Unity.
For our customers, the benefits are that it's not too expensive and it has almost all of the features from the beginning.
I can't really think of any improvements for the next release.
The ease of installation, sometimes, for the customers, is not that positive because the customers think they can do it themselves. Sometimes that is a bit of an issue.
Very stable. Sometimes you can have issues, but they are usually solved with an upgrade of the system.
We have had two issues: replication between two Unity's, and when running several Snapshots on the Unity.
Scalability for us is not yet much of an issue because most of our customers are running on rather small systems.
Sometimes our customers use tech support but, generally, tech support is in order.
Setup is very straightforward. Compared to the VNXs, it's rather easy.
I would rate the Unity at eight out of 10, because of the ease of management compared to the ancient systems. For us, in Belgium, it is more small and medium businesses, so Unity is a good solution.
My advice is to choose the Unity.
Most of our customers are using it for Microsoft workloads, like SQL Server, Exchange, on-premise use. We have one customer running Oracle on it, all-flash.
They find the performance amazing from what they're coming from. Some of them say it's blazingly fast. They've switched to all-flash.
The whole cycle of provisioning and acquisition has been simplified for our customers. Also, the deployment and general maintenance of it has been greatly simplified. It has cut into our professional services quite a bit.
For our customers, it's the simplicity of it. They find it easy to use, along with the added features, the dynamic volumes. Things like that have been a big improvement over past generations.
The features they have added have been great, they've greatly simplified it. Bigger, faster. They're always leap-frogging, so the next generation, I'm sure, will have newer processors in it. They have improved leaps and bounds on the interface and ease of use, and I would like to see them keep doing that.
They should have more wizards for customers so they can do more of the self-service types of functions, in terms of upgrades and patching, although it's pretty easy right now.
Also, I would like to see more migration tools. When we're putting the Unity in, I would like to see more capability to migrate from third-party storage platforms, competitive platforms. Migrating from their own platforms is pretty straightforward.
We've had no issues. The customers talk to us before they do an upgrade and we say, "Yeah, it should be no problem." They go ahead and do it themselves now, and there have been no outages or unplanned downtime.
There have been no scalability issues with our customer base. Our customers are maybe, at most, a few hundred terabytes, so scalability is not an issue.
Before they do an upgrade, our customers will talk to us and they will also talk to Dell EMC support. From what I know, our customers are very happy with the support they receive from Dell EMC.
The initial setup is straightforward.
I can't give any product a 10 out of 10. But I'm happy with it, I'd give it an eight out of 10. It has been a good product for us in terms of selling it, keeping the customer community happy.
My advice would be, download the virtual edition of Unity and try it out. Get used to the interface and ease of use. Also, take a look at the cloud-based analytics and the other pieces that go with it, to round out the solution.
Most of our customers use it on-premise, 90 percent of our customers use VMware vSphere on top of it, and a little more than half of them use Fibre Channel to connect to the Unity. They use it for most of their workloads.
Our customers have a competitive edge when compared to the other solutions in the market. Most of our customers don't just look at the value per Gig, they put a great value on the after-sales support and the stability of the appliances.
It's the simplicity, and most of all it's backed up by Dell EMC support, which is very valuable.
There aren't any improvements that come to mind, none that are obvious. After what I've seen today, here at the Dell EMC World 2018 conference, they pretty much have the next couple of years covered. For example, the current buzzword is the Cloud Tiering Appliance which allows you to tier data from your on-premise to the cloud or on-premise cloud.
To me, the stability is impeccable.
Scalability is good.
Tech support is very good, very efficient.
Setup is straightforward. Once you do it once, it's a walk in the park.
The backing of the vendor is important. In Dell EMC's case, we know that there is always someone backing us, just in case we get stuck.
A rating out of 10 out of 10 is a bit too much because, obviously, no product is super perfect, but I would rate the unity a good nine. What might make it a 10 is a better price.
I would vouch for this solution, I would definitely say go for it.
It helps our customers save money because it's at a price point where a lot of our customers can easily bring it in for different projects and it will also provide for DR. I find that the cost has really enabled them to do a little bit more with it.
It performs great. Customers really like it. I've had a lot of customers go from the previous platforms up to Unity. They've noticed better performance with it.
What they really like is the easy licensing now - Dell EMC has caught up to a lot of their competitors - based on not having to charge for everything, and they can get everything in one bundle.
Ease of management is one thing I get a lot of good feedback regarding as well.
The flexibility is also important. We still have a lot of customers that have a use case for non-flash, yet you can also build the flash version as well.
I would love to see more compatibility between the different platforms within Dell EMC's portfolio.
Stability is great. It has been very rock solid.
Now that they can do the controller upgrades, it's really helped them out a lot, and it'll help to be able to scale more. They're not just trapped into one model and, instead of having to do a lift and shift of all the data, they can now do head upgrades.
The support is still going through its growing pains right now, with the merger of the two organizations.
I rate it an eight out of 10. It's very frustrating that it's not backward-compatible with the previous platforms, so it's a struggle for a lot of our customers. We can overcome it, but it's a hard conversation to have with them sometimes.
Go in open-minded. If you're used to the old VNX platforms you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Our primary use case is branch office. It has performed adequately well.
Performance is the key factor within the branch offices and this platform, because it is a small form factor, definitely helps address our power-space constraint problems, within this facility. It also provides overall performance improvement of our business applications which are critical to our regional offices.
There is nothing needed at this time.
It's very stable. The current firmware version we're on is the latest and greatest, so we've been pretty happy with the overall performance and availability of the platform.
Again, it's a branch office, small, so there's no need to scale it, we haven't crossed that path yet. This is our first implementation of Unity within our environment, we are primarily a VMAX shop, so our venture into the mid-range arrays was something that was brought on because we needed better performance within our regional offices.
Based upon my experience working with previous EMC platforms, the GUI is a vast improvement over the previous GUI's, the elimination of Java, the use of HTML5 was a substantial improvement, and the ease of use of the GUI made it very, very intuitive for my team and myself.
Here, we were using local Dell servers with local, attached storage, and we needed something that could provide a high level of availability for our customers in the branch, and that also fit into a small cabinet within our closet. The solution presented itself as a viable platform for what we needed in our space. The whole goal - high-availability, capacity, performance - all three were met by the Unity 450F storage platform.
It was straightforward to a point. There were some minor hiccups with the registration piece. It's something I shared with my account team, but overall, once we got past those hurdles, everything else was a simple install, configure.
When selecting a vendor, support is the key thing.
Do your research. There are a lot of vendors out there but if you're looking for performance, price-point, ease of use, I recommend looking at Unity as a platform. It's a great platform, for mid-range businesses.
It's our production SAN. In terms of performance, I've had a few issues, a lot of error messages that they haven't been able to figure out yet.
I do like to be able, in a DR scenario, to use it to failover if we have to. That was our original use case, but we've actually gotten away from that for now, because it was just too cumbersome to do a failover, a data center failover, using Unity.
We can get to our applications faster. That's the biggest plus that we've seen with it.
The reason we purchased it was for dual data centers. We have one in each data center so that we can have that redundancy, that failover if needed.
Obviously, flash, everything's quicker. We did notice a lot of speed difference.
We actually started out with XtremIO, and we were running our SQL servers off XtremIO, but our application servers couldn't keep up. So now, our application servers are all on flash, SQL Servers are all on XtremIO, and the two work together well.
One of the issues we've had is that controllers have crashed several times. Just today I received a message that a dump file was detected. We've had a lot of problems with the storage processor, SPBs. We've actually had them crash. Luckily, nothing went down.
We purchased big enough that we haven't had to worry about scalability yet.
Tech support is knowledgeable. We get the answers when we need them, they get us back up.
Originally we had the EMC VNX, and support was up on it. So it was either going to be: buy support for the VNX or move to Unity. The money came out the same, so our decision was to move to Unity.
I would rate the unity at six out of 10 because of the errors that we are receiving.
If I were advising a colleague, right now I'd probably have them move to another solution. There are other flash arrays. They may not have the Dell EMC name, but they are performing just as well at a lower cost point.
General storage for virtual machines. The virtual machines have different roles, essential roles; and, of course, mission-critical servers running financial services, or engineering programs, etc.
I have a client that jumped from the stone age to hybrid. They do enjoy the hybrid storage, the fast cache, etc. It has greatly improved their performance, absolutely. The customer is really happy about it.
It is the performance combined with the Gig-per-dollar value. That combination is superior to other storage options.
All the features that the client has, the client has really enjoyed them.
One thing they could do is lower the price point. There are other storage products that are available from Dell, the SE series for example. The client is comparing the Unity and the SE3000 for example, the SE is cheaper.
So far so good. No issues with stability.
I'm sure scalability will be fine. It will be great. But the client has not reached the point of needing to increase the capacity, or other features, yet.
So far technical support is very reliable, it's very good that way. We haven't engaged tech support so far, but when did the deployment we did have Dell EMC come in and provide deployment services, and that went through pretty well.
We picked Dell deployment services, so it was very straightforward. The Dell technician came in on time and then, according to the survey that the client filled out earlier - it was great. The client was impressed.
I give it an eight out of 10 and the two missing points are because of the price tag.
In terms of advice, I would definitely recommend Dell solutions. As for Unity, it depends on the budget. I definitely recommend Unity, because I do have clients that are currently using it, and they don't have any issues, they're happy with the product.
As a partner, we are able to deploy it across multiple industries: healthcare, government, small business. We install Unity everywhere. There is really no one, set, niche customer that we do it for.
The code revisions. I think that they could do a better job of testing on the back-end, for the code revisions. I've heard of some issues down the line where people have upgraded to the latest code and there were bugs in it, and they had to release a subsequent code fix. More testing on the Dell EMC side, for when they release those code revisions, would be a good idea.
It is stable. I have not personally seen any issues when deploying in a customer environment.
Technical support has gotten worse since the merger, for example, response time to SR creation. And mainly, if I ask for a solution, they'll send me a white paper and say, "Here, just do it, here's a KB article." They seem to be more hands-off, and they just want to let the customer or the partner deal with it.
Another big thing that is somewhat upsetting is that they got rid of partner support, installation support. We really liked that. Being a partner and installing, if we run into issues while on site, with doing any type of work, we don't have a number to call anymore, a direct line. We have to go through the same process, and that process is terrible, still.
Most of the customers that I have are old VNX customers, and they want to replace their VNX with the latest and greatest, so they go to Unity. The Unity is a VNXE but on steroids. That's the main use that I see, just part of a refresh cycle, and they want to refresh with the Unity's.
It's very simple to set up. No issues with the setup.
Nothing is ever a perfect 10 in my book, so I would say this solution is a seven. I think there is room for improvement, there is always going to be room for improvement, especially in IT. Having a perfect 10 in any IT hardware platform, I don't it think that exists right now.
It's a replacement for a VNX, it's faster. It has its good points, and it has its bad points.
I don't think it's providing any great enhancements over the existing platform.
There are some features in VNX that I wish were in the Unity. Storage Groups for isolating LANs and hosts. That is a big issue.
We've also encountered an issue when it comes to migrating to compressed LANs on the Unity, and during the Storage vMotion. It appears that the compression algorithm is overwhelmed, and when it becomes overwhelmed it just stops compressing and writes the raw data to the destination. We later copied internally another Storage vMotion to another compressed LAN and achieved much higher compressions on that internal copy. It would be really nice if there was a way to automatically throttle, as a part of a Storage vMotion, to say, "I want to gain the maximum benefits from the compression algorithm, so throttle back the Storage vMotion to implement 100 percent compression."
My colleague has done most of the migration work, but he's also encountered a few other issues in terms of the integration with vCenter.
It's a box that has a lot of promise, and it was a very shiny new "sports car" when we got it. It has a few dents and scratches in it. That "new car pride," we don't go out and wash it every weekend now. Some of that reality has kicked in.
I still have expectations, it's an all-flash array, while our VNX, obviously, is not. So we do anticipate, once we've completed the migration and get more experienced with it and maybe with some code upgrades, improvements to some of the attributes, that it will do a good job for us.
We went from the VNX, where we had about 900 spinning disks, to 27 solid-state disks. There have been no failures in the last year.
It had better scale, it costs a lot of money. I definitely think it will. Also, my hope, being that it is solid-state, is that the ongoing maintenance costs will be reduced, on the off chance that our firm might not want to replace it after five years.
Tech support is good. We've always had our struggles over the years with their support. I characterize their level-one support as being somewhat questionable. But if stuff hits the fan and you have to get up to level two or three, you have a priority-one, they always come through.
We are a titanium partner. We deliver the full solution portfolio that Dell and Dell EMC have.
It can be simple to deploy, the standup time is quite quick. The interface is quite quick. The terms are simple, intuitive, it's similar what was there in the VNXE before it. It's very simple to navigate and administer from the console.
The hardware itself, it differs from Compellent and differs from the VNX before it. It doesn't have a separate file harbor that goes with it, there are no separate NAS heads. It's 2U, you have file and block storage, so you get a quite a lot of services for a small footprint.
It's not as reliable as it should be, I think it was probably released a little early. We've had production problems with customers, and there are still some challenges at scale as well.
Compression is a problem for the system. Once you enable dedupe and compression, the performance of the system, the capability, halves. Customers don't necessarily realize that, and they can't get as much out of the system as they initially thought. It has to be right-sized and sized for compression, but even with that, because there are only two storage processors, you're ending up at almost 40 percent usage.
Tech support has taken a downturn since the acquisition, and that's not just for the Unity. The skill, the people, the engineers, some of them have been let go. Their talent has been let go, so the overall support is another challenge we're dealing with on an ongoing basis.
It's quite easy to deploy, there is no problem there. The system itself is good as well, the offering is good. You can have file and block without any extra harbor for file.
I would like to see the new system come out very quickly - that merges Compellent and Unity - and let's get rid of these problems and focus the engineering group on one system. To me, that's the quickest route to success. They need to get off the pot for one of them and take the good. Don't necessarily discard the code. There are some good features in both, so they really need to get back to an engineering focus, like EMC of old.
I would give the Unity a five out of 10. The offering is good. The simple console is good. The deployment is good. Support is not good. The compression performance capability is not good. Problems with I/O modules, with bugs that came out that really should have been caught before the product was released. And I have a problem with the confusion in the market between the two systems, between Compellent and Unity. The quicker a mid-range solution comes out combining the two products, the better.
The biggest improvement is the data reduction for the organization. That is where they see the better TCO and improved ROI for their existing footprint. That's the biggest advantage for the businesses that are using the Unity platform.
The features that customers are looking for, because I do a lot of architecture work, is the management simplicity. The provisioning is very simple in the Unity platform, as well as the reporting structure back to the customer. They get to know end-to-end visibility in the system environment.
Inline dedup compression security is coming up as an issue, encryption is key for our customers. If we could have more ways to do software-based encryption, those are the features customers are asking us for, as well as replication.
The maturity level of the Unity is getting better and better as we speak. The latest and greatest cores are becoming more stable than the previous one. EMC is doing a lot of investment in research and development. They're getting better and better.
It is scalable. Customers are going more into distributed architecture, so the Unity definitely has a scalable architecture built into that. Scale-out architecture, scale-up architecture.
There is a lot of room for improvement on the support side, because of the response time. I'm giving the customer feedback. Customers are coming to me as their architect, as a level-1, level-2, they're asking me. The response from the EMC is not there yet. We are sending the same feedback back to EMC, to improve the support line.
We started with the VNX platform. I have a very good understanding of the EMC portfolio from Centera, from NS, VNX, VNXE, and then VMAX.
Setup is very easy. Absolutely. It's easy to build the environment. That has improved a lot.
At the end of the day, the licensing cost is key, because every customer has a pain point, that the cost of each piece is high. So if we can bundle everything in a package, that is how the competitors are selling their footprint. For example, Pure, if you buy a box, everything comes with the box. So, in a similar fashion, if we can do anything along those lines, it will be better for the customer.
I give it an eight out of 10, because there is definitely room for improvement, for EMC to invest in it.
For Unity, our use case is mostly test and dev.
Compared to older generations of arrays there is quite an improvement, compared to the older VNXs, for example. It depends on you use it, but for our purposes, we find Unity simple to use.
It's simple, easy to manage.
At the moment, we are pretty satisfied with it. Perhaps the user interface could be better.
It's more stable than the old generation of arrays. We had a lot of issues with the VNX, for example, but they got better over time. The VNX2 was better, and the Unity has been even more stable.
For our use cases, I believe it will meet our needs moving forward.
Tech support is very good. We haven't had many of serious issues, and the issues we have had have been dealt with very well.
The setup was straightforward. We set most of the configuration ourselves. If you have basic knowledge then it's pretty straightforward.
We did compare it to others at the time, but they have a wide selection of tools and products to meet our use cases. Good support as well.
It can improve your TCO. When you buy a Unity box, you can consolidate a lot in a very small frame. You can save energy and, if you're arranging a room for your equipment, it can help you reduce costs in tiles and flooring, energy, and so on. It is pretty easy to use, so your storage admins don't have to put a lot of effort into managing it. It's easy and practical to use.
I like the idea that it can compress and dedupe inline. That is quite a stunning feature for mid-range customers. That is something that is much better than the expectation that we have with VNX, which does that post-processing, and is not recommended for databases. So it's a big step for Unity. When we position Unity, that is one of the first things we say, that it is prepared to work things inline with dedupe and compress.
I believe this product lacks some things that are extremely valuable for customers, especially VNX customers. The NAS capabilities of Unity - I have to say there are a lot of things I miss. For example, deduplication for hybrid. I have tons of customers with VNX and dedupe. These customers achieve around 50% dedupe efficiency and they mostly use them for archive. If you're talking about 50TB of NAS, which is stored in a 25TB repository, which is very economical, and you can not provide that in a Unity hybrid box, you have problems. That has caused us a lot of problems.
The other problem I have with the NAS capabilities in Unity is the WORM feature. We were working with a government company that has a public bid and they were buying storage for 13 remote sites. All of them required WORM. Since this is a government customer they took two years or so to establish the project. And they required the WORM feature to securely store records, and they had to be unmodified records. They bought that the idea and they implemented a NAS solution that was going to be consulted by an Oracle Database. They had to buy VMX because Unity didn't have WORM. That would be the most important thing. It's very problematic.
Migrating from VNX to Unity was not so straightforward in the beginning. You could not migrate NAS servers from CIFs. They began with NFS. they recently added CIF support. So, lots of problems there.
I would say it is stable now. Of course, the first releases had some issues but I believe it is fine now.
Peru is a very different market from the U.S. or Europe. A company that is mid-range in the U.S., for instance, could be using an enterprise solution in Peru. For Latin America in general, it is a perfect product for mid-range and for some enterprise-grade, big, transactional businesses.
Technical support is pretty good. It always has been. In Peru, we have a senior engineer that has been with the company for 32 years. He has a lot of knowledge. We have three field engineers. For a small business, like the Peruvian one, it's more than enough, because these machines never fail. You just turn it on and that's it.
We had some issues installing these machines at the beginning, but overall it is really easy. It's done exactly the way the manual says.
I would rate Unity a seven out of 10. I know these products since Clariion, and I believe they hit a great peak with VNX2. It was a product customers loved. When Unity arrived, the ability to consolidate NAS and SAN in a 2U box was pretty cool. But the NAS part didn't follow. That's why I give it a seven.
I think that EMC has a good name in the market. VNX was a great product, and Unity is seen as the natural replacement. Customers see that as an advantage of the Unity.
VNX used to have some features that Unity still doesn't have. From that perspective, the progress is not that advanced, at least compared to what customers might expect.
We hear from our customers that it is stable. The other thing that customers say is that it's easy to manage. But, as I previously said, I think it has some things that are not ready yet and they are being announced for the next releases, such as inline compression and deduplication, IP replication, synchronous replication. VNX used to have these but Unity, not yet so. But we have good feedback about the product.
For our market, in Argentina, Unity is, most of the time, a good product, a big product. It is unlikely our customers would be short of on the number of drives or IOPS with the Unity. We don't have huge enterprises compared to the American market, for example. Unity is enough for our market's scalability. With the biggest products in the Unity line, we cover pretty much every customer and, if not, we start talking about VNX; but only for a couple of the biggest companies in Argentina. We are a small market.
Sometimes our customers are switching from an installed base of a competitors' solution, for example, IBM, or HPE. Some are users of VNX and are migrating to Unity.
EMC is the leader in the storage market so our customers see that, of course. Maybe they trust more in Unity than, for example, Compellent, because it is a product that comes from EMC. At least in Argentina, it is seen that way. Maybe Compellent products are good, but Dell's storage name is not the best.
I don't do setups myself. But I've heard that it's standard, it's not that complex. In a couple of weeks, the program is fully configured.
I would rate it a seven out of 10, mostly because of what I mentioned already, the features that aren't ready yet that previous products had. I think it is seen as not that mature. That's why it could be better. Maybe they should have stayed with the VNX until Unity was ready to be the natural replacement, and seen as the next step. I don't think that they can show big improvements in the Unity compared to what the VNX was.
All of the IT devices help production time. They make time "faster." But this device, in general, it is a money maker. It makes us a lot of money. That is what I like most about it. It is critical to the business.
The Snapshot feature.
Recently, they released products, sometimes without proper testing, it seems. I guess the way the market is going, the way technology is going, they are saying, "Hey, let's get it out there."
It was pretty buggy when we first got it, but they have improved it with some updates. They worked with us and addressed our concerns.
It will definitely meet our needs going forward. With all-flash it should be able to scale. You probably just need one 4U device and you have terabytes of space.
Technical support has dropped off over the years. It is what it is. It is probably a seven or eight out of 10. It is difficult to find the right person.
It was straightforward. I cabled it up myself and racked it myself. Someone came out to help with the front-end side, the software side. That was it.
I rate it an eight out of 10, only because it started out buggy. Other than that, it has worked well for our company.
As a reseller, I cross many industries. I deal with a lot of state and local government, a lot of health care, and a lot of commercial and banking industries. This product fits that mold across all those spectrums, as do other EMC products, but Unity is primarily the one I go to market with.
Some of their recently added feature sets, like the dedupe and compression, they have been a pretty significant improvement.
First, it's the "Unity," it's the name itself. It's unified, it does block and file, so that is pretty important to my customers who might have file servers around their environment. I can roll them all up into a single array, as well as provide block storage for them on one array.
It's the simplicity part of it. It's the ease of management, it's the call home, the CloudIQ functionality. It's all built in. I think Dell EMC has put a lot of thought into it. That's what I push out to my customers, to bring that message to them.
They added the dynamic pools, that was the biggest improvement. They have incorporated replication, RecoverPoint for BCDR, they have a good disaster recovery, they have a good replication strategy. I think they've got their spots covered.
It is scalable, but you have to know your customer, and what the environment is. Perhaps you're going in there with a Unity 350 and then, at some point, do a data-in-place upgrade to a 450 or a 550. You have to get a good base understanding of what to initially go with for customers, so they're not coming back to you six months later saying "Hey, this thing is full."
This is an interesting question; how to gingerly talk about it? I think in the past, I've always been able to call - I have the phone number memorized, I've called it hundreds of times. I know there has been a lot of work on it. Dell EMC is starting to transition back and put more thought into their support.
I would give it an okay rating. I think there is headway that needs to be made as compared to competitors out there, to be honest with you.
It started down the Clariion route, and then we went to VNX obviously, when that transitioned over, and then we transitioned again to the Unity and we're on that side now.
As a service provider, on the VNX side, on the Clariion side before, we make our money in services. There could be a couple of days of services to install a VNX or Clariion, as we would go through all the processes to do so. On the Unity side, it is almost "next, next, next." If you can read a big Ikea instruction manual, you can install this Unity box. I give it to them, hands down, they have done a fantastic job with that.
From the services side, I'm a little hesitant about how easy it is, so I'm glad I have other things like RecoverPoint and the like, tertiary services I can continue to install.
Other competitors in the industry, they had a "me too" box, but I don't know if as much thought went into them as went into the VNX and the Unity.
I would give it a high nine out of 10. The only thing that makes me pull back is the continuing work on the support. To be a 10, that is asking a lot, in my opinion. But I think Unity is right up there. I think they're ahead of their game with any competitor out there. Compared to the top three or four that you could consider in this realm, I think Dell EMC has them beat, hands down.
We're actually in the first stages of getting it implemented. One of the ways it is really going to help in our organization is that we had to rely on VPLEX to do our replication for X-IO. We're going to be able to take several products out, which, I'm sure, Dell doesn't like too much. But being able to take some of those pieces out is just going to make it simpler for us to administer.
One of the things that I like the most about it is how they have changed the Unisphere GUI, and how it is now HTML5. It is so easy to use.
The array itself is so simple, easy to set up and easy to use, but it still has that great Dell EMC technology behind it.
I haven't found anything that has jumped out at me that they need to improve on. I have been very impressed with how it has gone out, because we use RecoverPoint in our environment and we're 99 percent VMware. Things just seem to show up, with very minimal setup on our side to get it to work.
I haven't run across any bugs in it yet, even from the implementation I did previously. We have had it in place in our environment for approximately three months now. I did an upgrade - the project manager wasn't happy that I did it - but the upgrade was very simple. It has performed like it is supposed to.
I think it will meet our needs going forward. I don't think we would ever max out the Unity that we bought, based on our business model.
I think the support from Dell EMC has improved greatly from what I received from EMC before they were purchased. They have been very responsive and very helpful.
I used to be on the VAR side, so I did an implementation in Texas, and then I went to Farm Bureau Health Plans. They were in the first stages of purchasing Unity to replace VNX, X-IO, and VPLEX.
It is very straightforward. It is like the old Geico commercial: "Even a caveman could do it."
I hardly ever rate anything perfect and best, so I would have to give this is a 9.9 out of 10. Nothing is absolutely perfect, but it's very high up there. I would recommend it to anyone.
Lately, the biggest use I've seen is around VDI and data migrations - migrating from the old VNX platform onto a new Unity.
So far so good. Everybody has been very happy with it. It has been a very seamless transition. The performance, from a VDI perspective, has been very good. They are very happy with it.
I don't see a lot of room for improvement. Perhaps if they added more 10GB ports to the back of the system, so you have more IOPS out of the box itself to the network, that would help. But other than that it's a great platform.
The stability is awesome. It is very stable. No issues.
No issues with scalability. It is very good.
Our customers have only had to use technical support for replacing drives and things like that. When they do, they are able to get through to the right people and get the help they need.
The initial setup is very straightforward. Very easy.
Definitely do it.
The first time we got a Unity was last year. We started deploying some of our file system data into it. We have been seeing a significant improvement, not just the way that we take Snaps, but with the recoveries as well. We're also using it for block storage.
The way it takes the Snaps, that is one of the best features. Snapshot performance is what is key in the Unity, compared to a traditional VNX.
The reporting, I'm comparing the VNX with Unity. The VNX reporting is much more granular. The information that we need in terms of the IOPS, for example, and things like what my compression value is, that kind of information is pretty straightforward and you can just go to the dashboard and look for the information.
Unity is a pretty stable product.
I know there are new, scalable versions of Unity that are out there. We recently have been getting more because our data is increasing. Recently we got the latest Unity model, and we are planning to convert most of our VNX data over to the Unity at some point.
Technical support is five stars out of five. Every time it has dialed home for any of the issues that we have, so far we have seen very good support from EMC.
The new upgrades, the processors get changed, a new box comes in, there are new security vulnerabilities that the security team will ask us to analyze; those are the issues where we ask support for that information. We get a response pretty quickly.
The setup is straightforward.
We did not evaluate other solutions. We have been an EMC shop for a very long time and we will continue to use it.
We have certainly received a performance boost by moving to Unity.
We weren't looking at specific features. We needed to the additional storage and the performance.
No issues with stability so far, but it's early days. We have only been using it a few weeks.
It will certainly help us scale bigger. If I look at the footprint, the VNX's was multi-rack. Now, all of a sudden, we're only at a portion of a rack. And, obviously, if we can scale within the same rack - we can certainly see that by the number of hard drives we've had to put in - we can scale a lot more easily.
Support has always been good. Support, service, all of that, has been good. The guys have been knowledgeable, they know what they're doing. No issues.
We were on the VNX before and we needed to do storage upgrades, we ran out of storage. We decided it would be better to refresh the entire architecture. Went to Unity, which obviously gave us the flash storage as well.
The transition was pretty seamless. There were no issues in the migration. It is early days. We have not yet gotten to the point of looking at advanced features.
When looking at selecting a vendor, it will be reputation, market share. It will be support, the pricing of the product; a roll-up of all of that is what counts at the end of the day.
I give it a 10 out of 10 for now, because we haven't had anything go wrong.
Most of the customers that I work with are using it for virtualization platforms. They are looking at it from a block data perspective. Most of them are leaning towards an Isilon platform for file-based data, so most of our traditional VNX customers have moved to the Unity platform, mostly for their structured block data.
Most customers are using it to gain some technical advantages through its simplicity and ease of use.
The benefits are the simplicity, flexibility and the ease of integration between the Unity platform and VMware, for example, and Microsoft platforms; the integration tools and the simplicity of management.
There have been big shifts, of course, in technology moving away from kind of the traditional three-tier architecture, so the Unity has gotten to the point where it's, once again, simple and optimized. Dell EMC has done a really good job of putting together a platform, one that is well supported.
There really aren't many weak spots, not many places to improve it.
The stability has been solid through dozens of implementations with our customers, from small to medium businesses running anywhere from 8TB to 10TB, up to some of our big enterprise customers using Unity for specialized systems running all-flash and half a petabyte type of scale. The performance and the stability of the platform have been stellar. No issues from customers.
Also, simple upgrades, stability right through the upgrade processes, they are very non-disruptive. It has been fantastic for all of our customers.
Moving away from the traditional EMC Clariion integration with the VNX, and some challenging upgrades through that process - specifically on the file side - the Unity, especially the all-block Unity platforms that we have been selling most of, are very simple, seamless, non-disruptive upgrades. Most customers are extremely happy with that. On the file side, the Unity is much easier to upgrade than it was traditionally with the VNX, so, once again, a big improvement over previous solutions.
The role I'm in, I'm not directly calling EMC for support. I did, for years, but I haven't with the Unity platform. I do get to handle a lot of our customers, any kind of challenging scenarios, making sure that my resources, my technical resources are responding, are as responsive as can be to our customers.
I know from my group of technicians who support our customers, and from our customers, that the tech support has been very, very solid on the Unity platform. I won't say it's perfect across the board for all Dell EMC products, but primary storage, the traditional EMC - the VNX rolling into the Unity platforms - has been stellar.
I would put this solution at a solid nine out of 10. I don't think there is such thing as a perfect infrastructure. There is always room for improvement, even though I can't think of any. It is a strong platform.
In terms of advice, I think there are a couple of things. One of the reasons why I lean towards the Dell EMC solutions, as an EMC guy/reseller, is because of the completeness of vision. Across the data center with the disaster recovery, the integration with tools like RecoverPoint, with VMware, with some of the VMware tools, insight into the entire stack up and down. I would push most of my customers in that direction, versus a lot of the other players that are out there in the market today. We have seen some of them go by the wayside, we see a lot of new start-ups coming up. We see a lot of pressure from some of those start-ups that have an interesting gimmick.
Ultimately, when it comes right down to it, it's the supportability, it's the completeness of vision that Dell EMC has, and the integration. Typically, I will push most of my friends, colleagues, and customers, towards that platform.
The simplicity of the technology means it is easier for my team to do administration, to deliver.
The technology is simple and it is efficient.
The product is reliable.
It is scalable. For example, at this moment I have a large customer, a government ministry in Costa Rica. We have two Unity's with services for transactions on different scales. It has grown over the course of six months.
From my experience, EMC provides good support, and Dell's service is very good. It is simple to call technical support and they immediately respond.
With EMC technology, you don't really need support. We have been dealing with EMC for 14 years. We were the first company in Costa Rica to use EMC. We have 14 or 15 devices and we no have problems with this technology.
My technical personnel have implemented different fixes or upgrades. I have good internal technical support in my company.
We have two all-flash Unity's and their primary use case is for VMware. We have two VMware's and the Unity's are the data storage back-end for them. We also have some 20 servers that boot from SAN, Fibre Channel. We also provide storage disks for the servers.
It helps because the all-flash feature is really boosting up the VMware. It is helping our virtual machines to perform better.
It's very simple to use. I really love the new Unisphere.
In a Fiber Channel world, things aren't really evolving, they're pretty stable. The VVols will be something that we'll look into later on. Now, we use very traditional LUNs that are attached to VMware as data storage, so we're not yet using VASA or VVol stuff. But maybe that will be something that, in the near future, when we update VMware to the next operating system version, we'll look into.
There is an ESRS problem that we're facing where, for some reason, the other Unity has not been able to register to EMC. The support information is not upgrading and nobody can tell me what is wrong with it. It's a minor issue, the ESRS is still working, but it is something that is very confusing and nobody seems to know what to do about it.
I think it is really stable. We have had one Unity for two years and the second one was bought this year. I have roughly two years' experience and we have had no problems at all. Then again, we are only using Fibre Channels, so I don't know if the file side or the iSCSI side has issues. But the FC side is working very, very well.
The scalability is really good now that they have the Dynamic Pools. We don't always have the money to buy complete write sets when we have to expand the storage, so now with the Dynamic Pools we can add disks on the go. It's an easier process to order them and to get more storage when we need.
We only used technical support during the installation. When we installed it, we had to fix some things with support. But after that, we have not needed to use it. DELL EMC support works really well with EMC storage systems.
Setup was very straightforward but, then again, I have a lot of experience with Fibre Channel. I've been working with two VNX machines, and with one Clariion before that. I've been doing this job for seven or eight years, so I knew exactly what I wanted. Our technical guy came and installed it and it was very, very simple.
When selecting a vendor, I really just want the product to work and the support to work. Every computer fails at some point. Every computer breaks down occasionally, and when that happens I need the support to act quickly and be as useful as possible.
I would give Unity a definite nine out of 10 at the moment. I really like the storage system. It's really good.
If you are using a fully virtual environment, I would suggest you check into an HC, a hyper-converged environment instead. But if you do need traditional storage and a SAN network, I would really recommend Unity as your back-end, if you're not too big to use Unity systems. They are mid-range storage. If you have a mid-range environment and you need to use Fibre Channel, I would really recommend a Unity All-Flash system.
Mostly, it is used for the storage of a fertilization environment. It performs fine.
All the features are okay, but not all of our customers are using all the features.
The features are nice, but you can't use every feature, because it costs in performance. Therefore, you have to choose which features to use to achieve a better environment. That is why customers do not use every feature in Unity.
It is very stable. While I have had downtime, it has mostly been due to a bug in the MCX version.
Scalability is good.
Since Dell took over EMC, the support has been very bad. Before, the support was fine. Now, the support is slow or they don't react.
As a partner company, if EMC does not react immediately, it is not good. Because if there are any issues with the customer, then we need assistance. However, it is getting better and could be better.
Just use EMC.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
It saves us time, it does not require a lot of admin from us. We are looking for things that we don't have to spend a lot of time managing. This solution falls into that category.
It is easy to use. Setting up replication is pretty simple. We just set it and forget it.
I'm not sure if it has a single pane of glass management console. That would be something we would like to see. Managing as many platforms as we do, as many physical devices as we have, anything that can provide a single pane of glass would be a huge benefit.
We're happy with the stability. We have not had any issues with it. We run all-flash on two of them and, so far, we have not had any complaints about performance issues.
Other than upgrades, I have not had to use tech support. When I have had to do upgrades, they have been responsive, and easy to get to.
We are replacing our VNXs with it. Performance-wise, it has been pretty stable. The code upgrades are fairly simple and straightforward. I can't say it has had any issues so far.
When selecting a vendor, product stability is the big thing, but support is probably right up there with it.
I would use this solution over most VNX solutions. It is right up there. We have some Pure Storage, so it is somewhat in contention with that. We are mostly an EMC shop, so that's probably our biggest deciding factor. If you're an EMC shop, I would definitely go with Unity. If not, which you go for will probably be in the middle. Pure probably has the ease of use down a little bit better than Unity, but I would ding their support much more than anything I've done with EMC.
Primary use case is block storage for healthcare IT.
It has performed very well.
It has allowed us to be more scalable on the solution that we are buying, not having to overbuy a solution that we can't scale out.
The compression and deduplication which will be coming in version 4.3. With just those features, we will be reducing the amount of data and footprint on our hardware.
Among the biggest features that I wanted was deduplication, looking at the zeros coming in, in-line, and those will be available in version 4.3. There is nothing else I can think of at the moment.
Stability has been pretty rock solid for us. We actually did have one outage that was due to a bug in the code which caused the kernel to just run off on itself. It was a known bug. We probably should have been up on the newer code. We were a level behind. Although that bug was known, it caught us off guard.
Since then, we have had no issues with the stability. We have had 100 percent uptime.
Scalability is great, anywhere from upgrading the SPs to adding disks.
I would evaluate the technical support as doing pretty well. I have never really had an issue with Unity's support.
We were using a VNX solution, and the reinvestment was partially due to its age as well as support contract renewals.
When selecting a vendor, it often comes down to price, but we have been pretty much a Dell EMC customer for years. We look for their products, and it is traditionally pretty easy to move from product to product.
Very straightforward; simple. No Professional Services were needed on our install.
I give it a 10 out of 10. I like it for what our application does.
I would recommend it.
Storage for high I/O databases.
Most of our systems had their respective performance bound to how fast the DBs were responding. After migration to Unity 300F, we were able to put more DBs on flash, reducing latency. The results were visible in the front-end systems, and all users noticed the improvement. The change impacted not only end-user satisfaction but also productivity, as users were able to perform more in the same amount of time.
These features are important for us for two reasons. The first two features - performance and low latency - are customer-facing and have direct impact on the user experience. This way, our work is more visible and we are able to improve not only user perception but business processes overall as well. VMware integration makes the life of our engineers easier, as we are almost 100% virtualized and this feature is used on a daily basis.
I have three suggestions:
Improve the administrative user interface so it is easier to work with. Currently, a simple task, such as removing a host from 100 LUNS, takes a lot of time. If they could improve LUN to host model to be more like the EMC VPLEX, for example, it would be great.
Additionally we had one incident with a memory leak that led to controller reboot. Although it had no impact, when such things happens the storage should be more aware of it, send alerts, and propose corrective actions.
Last (and I understand that it has a low chance of being implemented) the copy services currently are redirect on write. It would be great if the administrator could choose between redirect on write and copy on write, when configuring copy job.
No issues with stability.
No issues with scalability.
We were using EMC VNX, and it was a natural upgrade from tiered to all-flash storage.
The initial setup was very straightforward. Migration was smooth and configuration of the storage was quick and simple. The time needed to put it into production was less than expected, and data migration itself went without a glitch.
We always do a business case, so I recommend that to others too. If the business case sums well, go forward.
We evaluated options from other vendors and, although there were some other very good propositions, we chose DELL/EMC as we have the knowledge and we trust the partner.
All-flash is a game changer. If you need performance, simple operations, and you plan to use it with VMware, it is a good choice.
It did not. Simpler interfaces mean less capabilities for managing. Inexplicable rules of configuration contribute to inefficient disk allocation. The Unity units are an okay upgrade from VNXe, but are a poor substitute for a VNX2 model. It limits the management, distribution, monitoring, and implementation of our storage LUNs.
None. Having used EMC products for more than 15 years, this is the first product in that time that I could find nothing to like.
Dell is far worse at support than EMC was. It headed downhill fast.
EMC for more than 15 years. Prior solutions were VNX and VNX2.
Setup is simple, but at the expense of key management features.
Pricing is as high as it has ever been for EMC.
Compared IBM Storwize and some Dell storage options.
Software updates have to be downloaded to the root of the device. This pushes the available space to 95% utilization. Poor design.
It takes a lot less time to manage. Setting up new storage for virtualization is really easy, so it saves a lot of time creating file shares. So, it does save us time, and cost when compared to any other storage solutions.
Ease of use is probably number one, compared to the previous storage that we've had. Easy scalability, easy set up. Compared to everything else, the Unity is, well, you could call it child's play. As long as you know what you're doing storage-wise, Unity is really easy to use.
Maybe deduplication would be something that would be better to have. Also, it's a fairly new management interface, so work is still being done on that. But compared to other vendors and previous EMC storage, the Unity is really good.
At the moment actually, it does everything it needs to do; I don't have any improvement requests.
No stability issues. Absolutely none.
For our needs, it's more than capable. We run about 100 virtual servers on it. We have about 100 users accessing the file shares from there, and I've seen no problem with that. We have about a 10GB backbone. Whatever we throw at it, it hasn't shown any sign of weakness or anything. It's been really good.
On a scale from one to 10, I'd probably give EMC customer support an 11. It's been really good. We do have premium support, which means if we have a problem, it gets solved really quickly.
At one time, we had an issue with multi-protocol storage which was solved in about two days. It wasn't even that critical. It was something that was in testing, and for testing purposes I got it solved in two days. So, customer support has been just marvelous, splendid.
We used VNX previously. This was an upgrade from VNX. We've also used EqualLogic which, of course, is part of the same company today. But EqualLogic was just for simple file storage and more of a scratch storage because it was really cheap and we needed more storage quickly at one time. The EqualLogic was the easiest to get access to at that time.
Compared to VNX, the Unity is a lot easier to use. I could have kept on going with the VNX, but since the Unity was more or less the replacement for this size of storage, the Unity was the logical next step.
Dead simple. Comparing both EqualLogic and VNX, which basically are fairly simple themselves also, the Unity - as long as you know something about storage and what kind of storage or what kind of hardware you have below - it was just "Next, next, next," because it just uses the drives that you have. It sets them up automatically, creates everything more or less without almost knowing anything. It was very easy.
Perhaps I could have gotten some instruction online. The thing was that when I set it up, it had just entered the market. It was just about one week old when we got it. So, I don't think I would have found that much online, but then again, having worked with storage for the last 15 years, in essence I took a 15-year-long course before I got the Unity. But it was so simple, I didn't need any help setting it up.
More or less, I am the team. I do have three other guys, but yes, I was the one who decided to get this. The pricing was quite okay compared to others. We probably got it cheaper because we were the first ones out of the gate, but I would say that it's good value for the money.
I wouldn't say that I actually did look at anything else because I'm familiar with EMC and have been really satisfied with them.
It's really simple to use, set up, manage. Just be sure to know something about storage before you start, but that goes for any kind of storage solution that you use.
I actually want to give it a 10 out of 10 because it's been really easy to manage. It just does what it's supposed to do and it doesn't bother me.
I didn't choose this solution. My boss picked the solution. I actually suggested something else from a different vendor. Personally, my opinion of it is there aren't a lot of great features with it.
There are plenty of areas for improvement.
They can improve on the speed.
They can improve on the dedupe features, because right now, if you're using certain functionalities, certain criteria, it doesn't dedupe. It's very limited in one sense, while other vendors dedupe on primary, on critical tier-1 data.
You get support, but sometimes you have to sit there and try to fight through tier-1 just to get to tier-2, to get the correct support, to get particular items corrected. Sometimes it's a battle just to fight through support to get the right people. Most of the time, their first-level support is not very technical, so they tend to give you a page number out of their administration guide, which they call their instruction booklet, and they have you read it. I already have the admin guide. I don't need to read it. I need someone to help me because my system is down. I have a production environment that's very critical.
It is stable. I give it that. I have had no issues such as where it just decides to take a vacation or drop dead. I've never had that happen. It's pretty stable.
It is limited to a certain amount of terabytes. We haven't reached that threshold yet.
As I said above, when you call, their support is a little light on the "tech. Sometimes you get the correct people. Sometimes you don't. I'd give tech support a four out of 10.
Basically, we used the same company's storage. They kind of revamped the same model and gave it a different name. They rebranded it because they supposedly restructured the whole code, redesigned the code. But basically, it's the same model, but rebranded.
I think they advertise that configuring this model takes less than an hour. But we had an integration firm that came in to do the install. It took some four to five hours just to rack it and configure it. I wouldn't say it was too complicated, and I wouldn't say it was extremely quick compared to what they advertise, that, "You can get the box running within an hour."
I personally had other options that I would have liked to explore, but my boss chose this, so I had no choice.
It's basically the same unit as a VNX, as the predecessor, so it was not that much of a change besides a redesign in code.
My advice would be do your due diligence in research. Ask a lot of questions. If you can go to the vendor - they have these offices where they have lab environments - go there. Check it out. Test it. Look at it. Do everything before you make the purchase, because once you buy it you're stuck with it. There's no money-back guarantee. Once you buy it, you're stuck with it for the next three to five years. You're spending a quarter million dollars all the way to maybe $5 -$6 million. It's not like you go into a retail store, "The shirt doesn't fit. Can I get my money back, or something else?" You can't do that.
They're slow to implement new innovation with their product. They look at other vendors, I'm guessing, use other vendors as a "guinea pig." If another vendor came out with something new and innovative in their product, they would probably sit there, wait three years to see how the market reacts to that special design, the functionality that they implemented. EMC doesn't really innovate. They just sit there and wait for other people to innovate, and then they just copy.
Their product is stable. That's why people just buy it. Their company is big, and that's why they buy it, because they know EMC has been around for ages. It's one of the very first SAN vendors, since the 1970s. It's that old. It's an ancient company, so people buy for stability.
The Unity 400 Hybrid has enable us to better utilise our storage resources and make adjustments dynamically without having to shut down our hosts.
Yes, we had an issue in January with a Service Processor rebooting unexpectedly. Dell EMC resolved this quickly with a special build of the OE and a permanent fix was included in the next public release.
No, the Unity 400 hybrid is highly scalable. It adds extra storage or connectivity can be done while it is online.
10 out of 10. One of the most important criteria in our purchasing decisions is the technical support. DELL EMC set the benchmark for us by which all other vendors are compared.
They have always met their stated service levels and have never let us down. They always follow up to make sure everything is OK.
Yes, we had a CX4-480, which had reached the end of its service life.
The setup was extremely straightforward, As long as you follow the initial config guide, your first LUNs can be available in a couple of hours.
Dell EMC is very competitive on its storage pricing, and from our experience, is not only the superior solution, but the best priced.
Yes, we also looked at IBM and NetApp.
The Unity 400 is one of the easiest to manage and the most reliable storage systems that I have managed in my 22 years in IT. Performance-wise it has met or exceeded all our expectations. If you do run into a problem, the support is second to none.
The storage solution has all our data from all systems, including our new ERP; the whole organization depends on the storage to work. All data is in one location.
Real Unified Storage (Block, File, VVols) in a unique 2U hardware.
LUN mask. The Host LUN ID is sequential by access in the hosts. When one LUN needs access by many hosts (for cluster purposes), in some cases the Host LUN ID remains different on each host. Storage groups or global IDs for LUNs could be a good solution for this.
No stablility issues.
No scalability issues.
The initial setup was very simple.
The licensing process is very simple and it has many features. I can't talk about pricing because I'm in a technical position and I do not have access to costs.
Yes, we still have a VNX5400 (block), before it was at a production storage site, today it is at a disaster recovery site. The change from VNX to Unity was because of the build of the DR site, a new ERP implementation, and to update the storage technology.
Other storage solutions need additional hardware to support file storage and the integration sometimes fails; or they offer fewer features.
We were EMC partners for some time, now Dell EMC partners. Our choices are based in Dell EMC products because we understand that the EMC technology is better when it comes to storage solutions. Among the EMC storage options, the Unity is the best choice when we analyze price, scalability, performance and features.
The Dell EMC Unity is a small but powerful storage solution. With the "unified" concept it is possible get many features for less.
Replication: Disaster Recovery (DR) plans, RPO and RTO. Replication and ease of storage setup for block LUN’s and VMware.
Same answer as most valuable features.
GUI updates. I had several hours helping support troubleshoot the difference in what the system was doing compared to what the GUI said.
Less than a year.
Automatically, the cool data downgrades to slower disks and no human needs to intervene. The FAST Cache helps to have a large quantity of data in memory and speed up the presentation of new storage.
The reports could possibly export all the data at once.
Yes, we previously used EMC VNX. We switched to upgrade.
The initial setup was very easy and intuitive.
It is a good value given the benefits it provides.
Yes, HPE 3PAR.
Before the product went in, we did not have any centralized storage. All our service storage was supported separately. We had multiple machines which added administration and maintenance costs. Whereas now, it is a single source of knowledge and repository for all our data. It has made our lives a lot easier. It also has improved our disaster recovery because we have two of them in place replicating.
We started using it last November, so going on just about 12 months.
No issues. A very stable product. In previous roles, I have also used the earlier models. The VNX Series and EMC do a really good job.
No issues. It has been a year, and at the moment, I am having a schedule of work put together to increase the capacity. It will be a very easy job. A matter of adding extra disks to existing slots. Very easy to do. So, a very scalable product.
I have not personally worked with the tech support, but the engineers who installed it have worked with EMC's support. It has been very good. EMC has at times reached out to us, flagging that they have noticed a problem with some of the array configurations. That level of support has been very good.
No, as there was no central storage solution beforehand. We went to market straight away.
I got professional services in to do the initial installation. If you get the right people to do the installation, they make it a lot easier.
Pay for the training. At least negotiate with EMC to get the training done, because it is a good product and it is even better once you are shown how to use it properly.
I was debating between the Unity 300 and a NetApp Solution. We ended up picking the Unity only because the administration is a lot easier.
Also, I had used the earlier model in the past, and it was recommended by the supplier as well.
It is absolutely a good solution. It does have the ability for expansion into Cloud services, which I would like to use one day, but we have not tried that yet.
Alert notification via SMS. If the product could only send alert notification via SMS, it would be much better. This is needed mostly when you are not in the office and have no access to email. Therefore, you could check immediately if there was an issue.
100%. They are very accommodating, and it is easy to contact them.
This solution is much better than the previous one.
The initial setup is straightforward. All I need to do is to configure the LUN and host.
This device is worth it.
The product is easy to use and configure. The support is also superb.
The ease of use, which makes it very good.
We use it to backup our storage, and also positioning LANs by using the file option, then the block. It is very easy and convenient.
The payment account area.
For approximately a year.
At the moment, there are no issues.
We once had an issue where one LAN was full, and because it was full it was making the SP reboot. But with the upgrade, we decide it was a non-issue, and with the upgrade, it was fixed. The upgrade fixed it.
There are no issues with the scalability.
They have been helpful and knowledgeable.
We used DNX, but we needed to buy something for the backup solution. That is why we went for Unity.
The initial setup is simple, okay, and easy.
The pricing is fine and licensing is okay.
Yes, we looked at Hitachi.
We are partners with this vendor.
By having ease of management in central management, this means that our company no longer needs to hire a dedicated storage engineer. The administration of it can be passed over to existing team members without us spending on additional resources.
On the capacity side, by having compression available from the All-Flash storage, we are in a position where we are no longer running out of space, so if we are, we are notified well in advance, and the ease of expansion means that it can be done remotely without an engineer configuring it on site. So, the disk can just be inserted, and we can support it all remotely.
Cost-effectiveness means we are actually able to provide the sums in pairs to have disaster recovery (DR) as opposed to buying one single larger solution. We can have multiples.
The uses of tools to communicate with EMC directly. With EMC, I am not able to connect and resolve issues without assistance, so they can't do unattended maintenance on devices, which would be a massive benefit if they could.
They need a resource available to like grant them access or privileges onto the devices, so it can delay upgrades and fixes being put in places because we might not have a resource available who can assist them at that time.
If they could manage it remotely as they were, completely remotely without off-switching it, that would be a massive asset.
It is very stable. We have never had an issue with it.
The scalability is exceeding expectations.
I would give them an eight out of 10. They are knowledgeable and solve my issues in a timely manner.
We used an older EMC product, and we switched over because this was a newer model that they had released. We moved from a VNXe to the Unity devices.
It was straightforward. It was very easy to set up. Every single step of the process was well documented, intuitive, and easy to follow. There were no caveats or any extra things we had to do to get it to work. It worked out-of-the-box.
From a functionality perspective on cost-effectiveness, it is exceeding all expectations.
For costing, you have to have a budget in mind because SANs can be fairly expensive and EMC offers a wide range of products. It is important that you know your requirements exactly before you go ahead and purchase one of those devices. Because it could be either under or over your requirements.
We checked out Nimble Storage and HPE MSL.
We evaluated based on performance, scalability, availability, security options, and costs. The Unity was either equal to or better than the other products in all those areas, plus the staff already had previous familiarity with using EMC products, which is why we kept using it.
For someone researching whether to implement Unity: If they have familiarity using EMC devices previously, then it is really a no-brainer. You would use this because you will be able to install, setup, and configure it without any additional training required for your current staff. If you're a new customer, and you have another product, the Unity offers several features that other products do not. I would advise just looking at the technical specifications or ask EMC to give you a preview because they are very helpful over the phone, and they can do a live demo for you.
It's flexible and we've been doing a decentralization exercise for the last number of years, so we've used the Unity 300 for our remote sites as a storage box.
The multiprotocol support. It's supporting NFS, fiber channel, CIFS, and these kinds of things. The multiprotocol is very attractive.
There is something that comes to mind. We've deployed these systems in a virtualized environment. We are running VMware, and with the VNXe it was possible to restore. We're using Veeam for VMware backups and with the predecessor, it was possible to mount a backup or restore a backup from a storage snapshot. With the Unity 300, this is not possible.
So far it's proven very reliable and very flexible.
So far we have no issues. But we are currently doing disaster recovery tests so we've deployed the Unity 300 with an expansion in our disaster recovery sites. Now we're going to do some serious tests, so we'll be able to tell you that in a few weeks, whether or not it holds its own.
I think I called once, when I deployed the first box myself, to validate whether the setup was correct.
And also with some call-back issues, the ESRS. We had some issues with that, the call-back support. Whenever a box encounters an issue, we automatically contact Dell EMC and log a call automatically. This function has proven somewhat problematic. But it doesn't affect any of the normal day to day operations of it.
As I said, we'd been using its predecessor, the VNXe. It's because the VNXe is being phased out that we switched to the successor, the Unity 300. But apart from that, we've been using EMC solutions for the last four years now. That's why we've stuck with EMC, ever since.
Some points are frustrating. There's no quick setup guides included with the box itself on paper, so you have to connect to EMC support for that. But apart from that, it's very straightforward, quite easy, intuitive. It's proven fairly easy.
As I mentioned before, we've used this product to deploy in remote sites, so as an alternative we were contemplating VMware vSAN. But in the end we didn't choose that option. We chose the shared storage option using the Unity 300.
My experiences are generally positive with this product. I would definitely recommend to others to go for it unless they choose an alternative.
The VNX5300 was a good all-around device, which we used for our VMware-based workloads along with CIFS-based file access. After our transition to HCI, we needed a dedicated, non-virtual machine-based CIFS solution that was easily scalable to fit our needs. The Unity 300 fit that and has not caused any issues since being in production.
We currently deploy the Unitys for CIFS-based file access to supplement our VxRail deployment, which was installed around the same time.
I would like the device to have the ability to pull down its own firmware. That would be a great thing.
We have had no stability issues with the product, including when adding replication on the fly, customer installed code updates, and customer installed DAEs.
We have had no issues of scalability with the product. The product has been upgraded with additional drives and enclosures multiple times without incident.
The best improvement will happen in the future. We will hopefully not be replacing the HDD with failure.
The price has room for improvement.
I have used this product since May 2017.
Not at all. No issues with stability.
I will need to see in the future. I do not have time for scalability for the time being to determine whether it can scale out.
With a such a simple configuration you can add datastores on VMFS5 to any clusters on your vSphere organization.
Compression and block deduplication on non-all-flash solutions. I know it should not be easy to reach flash-like compression on mechanical disks, but it would bring this array to the top of the charts. And, of course, the block deduplication in mechanical pools. As I said above, everybody likes the "more space for less money" formula.
There were issues with the earlier releases, not now.
For the integration of the VPLEX function for Cross IDC structure, they should integrate the function into the SP controller.
Yes, sometimes the DNS does not work out properly.
No, there have not been issues with the scalability.
It has improved the environments for many customers who have transitioned from other vendors storage platforms to Unity, due to technical proposals and offerings defined by us.
There are features still to come, like compression and deduplication on hybrid platforms, VDM improvements to be developed for NAS environments, and also improvements in the “self-migration” tools to push or pool information (to assist the migrations to and mostly from third-party arrays).
It has evolved from what it was one year and a half ago, but there are more features incoming with the scheduled “UnityOS” updates (planned on roadmap) that will provide the product with new features only available in VNX2, but most important, all newly added features will have no additional cost for the customers, because the platform is fully-licensed from the base configuration.
Very few (some NAS related issues with early “UnityOS” versions, prior to 4.1).
None. Data-in-Place Conversions are available, for “scaling-up”. This feature may be driven online, in the next “UnityOS” release (4.2 SP1).
With the new support options offered with Unity, this support is always offered on a 24/7 basis (if the customer allows it, the system will be permanently monitored for issues). In this case, the system will be “two-way” connected remotely to Dell EMC proactive support via an ESRS gateway. Now, with the option to add a feature called “CloudIQ” that consists of an online portal offering (totally free, without additional fees) to access online and watch the system health and behaviour (in real time, from a customer point of view).
This does not apply directly to us. I had a very close contact with all “EMC legacy” storage platforms from the times of Clariion and Celerra. Thus, I have experienced the evolution and consolidation of these products, first on VNX, and later on in Unity, that is the pinnacle of this unification.
The initial configuration is guided by an “Initial Configuration Wizard” that is completely straightforward.
Absolutely. We offer Dell EMC solutions to partners who always work with several offerings from various manufacturers, targeting the same scenario (mostly NetApp, Huawei, HPE and IBM).
When implementing this product, be careful while configuring “Virtual Pools” (on hybrid platforms), in order to assure optimum performance. The proper disk raid choice is critical and may impact directly in the performance of a “Storage Pool” dedicated for a specific purpose or environment.
Dell EMC Unity is actually one of my market focuses, from the understanding that Dell EMC has redefined the core of their mid-range storage portfolio, focusing on two main products: Dell EMC SC (Dell legacy Compellent) and Dell EMC Unity (the last mid-range storage solution developed by the former EMC, just prior to committing the fusion with Dell).
In the Spanish market (which is totally different compared with US), it is considered the “premium” Dell EMC mid-range storage choice for those SMB customers who wish to acquire a full integrated solution, combining “multi-protocol” physical topologies (FC/10GbE) but also combining multipurpose storage (SAN/NAS and “Virtualization Optimized Storage”).
From this point of view, I consider it a “well-thought out” solution who was born from the principles that EMC established with the development of the VNXe Storage Series (considering that VNXe3200 is, in many aspects, the mother on Unity). It has inherited a full refresh regarding the “microcode” that characterized the VNX Series, while retaining all the benefits developed in the VNX MCx codes (optimized for true multi-core processing) and foremost developed (is the case of Unity AFA solutions) as a true “All Flash” solution, from their very foundations.
It’s helped with the overall stability of our VMware environment.
We use it to provide VMware VMFS to our VMware environment. Also, we use it for replication of data stores to another EMC Unity 300. This works fantastically.
The only improvement would be a lower cost per unit/disks, however on the whole we are very pleased with this product.
None whatsoever. A big update was released in which Dell contacted us and did the upgrade.
None whatsoever. We expanded both our EMC Unity disks by 10TB without any disruption or issues. Simply added the disks, then created further data stores.
We moved away from NetApp FAS storage and really like EMC Unity.
Delivers High IOPS, but more important, low latency as this is the most important part for our usage.
I’d say better VMware integration. Currently, EMC relies on an additional VM (virtual machine) for integration with vCenter, whereas Nimble interfaces directly without the need of an additional virtual machine.
Both products are fully HTML5 compliant, which makes me very happy. We have been able to fully eliminate Adobe Flash thanks to this.
Firmware Upgrades in EMC Unity require you to manually download OS and Drive firmware, this should be integrated (Nimble does this). When you order an EMC Unity, you have to specify the block size. This is weird for me and even weirder that you cannot change this afterwards, you should be able to specify per LUN/datastore (Nimble does this as well).
Decreased administration efforts, improved manageability.
Thick provisioning of LUNs.
Firmware management form EMC. Strange way to populate firmware based on spread ratio among the customers of EMC Unity.
Yes, but did not affect systems which relay on it. Firmware patch was released by EMC.
Not for now.
Easy to use. For beginners, it is very interactive.
The company migrated data from an older NetApp storage. The entire environment is virtualized. The amount of fast cache is great for meeting all demands.
All areas, since the entire environment is virtualized. In Brazil, price and native unity migration tools are not very good yet.
No, but I found some articles about a code upgrade that solved some issues.
No problem. During installation, I added more disks and this activity ran without problem.
EMC technical support is great. With support, chat works well to talk with someone about any kind of problem. The only problem is some support agents take a lot of time to understand your issue.
I have worked implementing storage for at least 10 years. So yes, I used a huge number of solutions before. In this case, the customer changed because the warranty of his older storage expired.
The implementation went smoothly. The startup tool is very easy to use.
I believe there are other cheaper options, but you are not paying just for the "iron". The support in storage environment is a crucial thing to consider. Also, consider buying more flash disks for fast cache.
Implement views using consistency groups. It is easier to replicate LUNs, take snapshots, etc. Also, you can't use fast cache with SSD storage pools.
It has increased the reliability in our organization and it is cost effective.
The EMC VNX Virtual Data Mover (VDM) software needs more improvement.
There were no stability issues.
We did not encounter any scalability issues.
I would give technical support a rating of 9/10.
Previously, we were using the EMC VNX solution and I am still using it.
The setup was straightforward. It is just simple clicks. You just need to follow the manuals and the instructions.
This product is cheaper than the EMC VNX solution. It is good for small businesses.
We evaluated other solutions, namely Nutanix and NetApp.