Buyer's Guide
HCI
January 2023
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RajeshKANUMURY - PeerSpot reviewer
Chief Executive Officer at GniYes Inc.
Reseller
Top 20
Performs well, effective, and has responsive remote technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "The performance and small footprint of this solution are its most valuable features. I am able to obtain and use more than 90 percent of the physical hardware capacity."
  • "My recommendation would be to add this technology to Azure, Microsoft Azure so that we can bring it to the market, or deploy it on public clouds such as Microsoft Azure and Google. It is currently only available on Amazon's public cloud."

What is our primary use case?

We offer virtual desktops.

We use our own proprietary technology using Sunlight.

Sunlight works very well for people who require a virtual desktop. Windows performs much better, and we have VDIs for GPU machines. They specialize in high-end graphic management, and this solution enables us to effectively use it.

How has it helped my organization?

If I had to use VMware or Nutanix, the same application would take three nodes and provide 400,000 IOPS, or input-output operations. But with Sunlight, I can get four million IOPS for the same price, allowing me to run an application on much less hardware. My infrastructure costs, as well as software licensing costs, can be reduced.

What is most valuable?

It is the fastest virtualization stack that helps with the VDI.

The performance and small footprint of this solution are its most valuable features. I am able to obtain and use more than 90 percent of the physical hardware capacity.

I can also save money on infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

It lacks the bells and whistles that are typically associated with Amazon Services or Nutanix. It is still a work in progress, and all of these add-on tools are being added. 

It doesn't have many of those features, but it does allow you to use the core technology.

My recommendation would be to add this technology to Azure, Microsoft Azure so that we can bring it to the market, or deploy it on public clouds such as Microsoft Azure and Google. It is currently only available on Amazon's public cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Sunlight for the last two years.

I am guessing that they have the most recent version. I am not sure of the version number, but they have the most recent version.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sunlight has been very stable.

The initial releases were unreliable. But, for the past year, we have had these machines running for the longest time without stopping. We only had one instance where it went down, but otherwise, it has been 99 percent uptime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Sunlight is a scalable solution. It supports on-premises and distributed deployments, as well as public deployments. It has a single pane of management so I can manage all of my VM installations in a distributed manner.

It also has a footprint, that allows me to operate on Edge.

If for example, you have a retail shop with 2,000 locations and they use a networked point of sale system, or if you are Chipotle and they have so many locations and they have to use a backend system at each location.

At the moment, these are all standalone systems that operate with very little connection to the central. We could, however, connect and create a network using Sunlight. 

We can virtualize and run with Edge thanks to Sunlight.

This allows us to operate and obtain high-end computing on Edge for retail.

Sunlight is a startup. I am not sure how many users they have, but we have been using it constantly and using the technology to bring in customers.

How are customer service and support?

All technical support is provided remotely. We don't have a person who answers the phone, but everything is done remotely. They have, however, been very responsive. They respond and resolve issues within 24 hours.

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

Previously, we used a variety of solutions, including Nutanix and VMware. We switched due to the performance and cost savings.

I was able to reduce my infrastructure by 30 percent.

How was the initial setup?

It is deployed both on AWS and on a private Cloud.

We have had very few issues because there isn't much to manage and maintain.

If the deployment is well planned, it does not take long. It is just a matter of migrating the workloads. Because it allows you to manage, migration is simple with this technology.

After a one-hour training, we were able to operate on our own with the initial configuration.

What about the implementation team?

If they know how to operate the system, the deployment can be done in-house. It is simple to use. It is possible for a technical team to complete the task on their own.

What was our ROI?

We have been able to maintain our costs. Our expenses were lower, and we were able to reduce our previous costs by 30 percent.

We were able to reduce the cost of infrastructure by 30 percent.

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

The licensing fee is a one-time fee. 

This infrastructure is hyperconverged. Because it is HCI, everything is included. It is easier to compute because the pricing and patch structures are much simpler.

There is an operating cost for the VDIs, which is an additional cost. However, the licensing fee is half that of VMware or Nutanix.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were using Amazon Services public cloud. When we tested the technology we saw the value of it, and where I can reduce my cost while improving my performance by three or five times, it was an easy decision.

What other advice do I have?

We are experts, as well as partners in the use of this technology. We can assist businesses in implementing VDI, fast, high-performance computing VDIs for enterprises or mid-level businesses.

We are introducing Sunlight technology to all of our customers. Because it is a startup, it is not as widely used as it is in VMware or Nutanix. However, we hope to have a unique value proposition by utilizing this technology to provide customers with high-end computing VDIs.

We are a reseller/partner.

I would rate Sunlight a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner & reseller
Flag as inappropriate
Head of IT Infrastructure at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Low-maintenance and cost-effective solution with hyperscale features
Pros and Cons
  • "Low-maintenance solution with hyperscale feature so it has the ability to utilize the resources for the VMware cluster setup on which Citrix VDA runs."
  • "This solution needs to have the capability where even older versions of hardware can be seamlessly utilized and additional expansion becomes so much easier."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for implementing VDI solutions.

What is most valuable?

Hyperscale is the most valuable feature I found on this solution. It's the ability to utilize the resources for the VMware cluster setup on which Citrix VDA runs.

What needs improvement?

The only issue we've faced is with their Call Home Support Center. Any alert that has to be triggered, we're just currently working on to fix. Otherwise, it has been a pretty good system.

One problem we had was when we ordered the first node of cluster setup, and then we wanted to add two more nodes, we could not get the same configuration. We had to use a different configuration for the cluster setup.

Scalability becomes a problem when two or three years have passed because you don't get the same model. You get a better model and to make that model work, you need to have a different cluster setup. You tend to lose on the continuity or expansion. I would recommend having a capability where even your older versions of hardware can be seamlessly utilized and additional expansion becomes so much easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution since 2020.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of VxRail is good. We are content with its stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable. We purchased two additional units the following year.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support for this solution was very good, professional, and they had the skills to get it implemented.

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

We used Nutanix. VxRail is more economical than Nutanix. It's more cost-effective so we prefer it over Nutanix.

We used so far three different solutions. The first was not a recommended solution. It was pushed down our throats to use that particular hardware. As I was involved in that setup, I knew the first time that implementation was on the wrong hardware, against the recommendation of the partner and the implementer. We definitely did not succeed. The second was a failure again, because of not following the recommendation of the implementer or the partner. The third one, lesson learned and we had no objections to that. We got a better recommendation from someone we trusted, so we were successful with our choice.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. The engineers asked for what is required and they came with the same initial set.

What about the implementation team?

We used a partner for the deployment. My experience with them was good. They fully supported us during the pandemic situation to get this up and running.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Nutanix.

What other advice do I have?

We're quite content with this solution for the purposes it was purchased.

Deployment was completed within two weeks.

Almost all of the people in the company used this solution since the pandemic. Now it's mostly used by the task workers.

For deployment and maintenance of this solution, we require four staff where some are admins who handle multiple storages in other systems as well. They don't do this full-time. They only spend one-third or less of their time managing deployment and maintenance.

I have no plans to increase VxRail usage in the future. The only problem with it is the usage of the cloud is being promoted to its peak, so the next expansion would be on the cloud.

The cloud has always been talked about and people have been asked to venture into it. On the cloud, you don't have to wait and implement or pay upfront for the whole hardware. For some of the cloud versions, you can pay as much as you use. You can start with 50 users and then grow. If it has to be on-prem though, I'll have to at least factor a box that can cater to 200 or 300 users. You need to pre-plan and the hardware delivery might take some time, so making it market-ready is a little time-consuming.

I'm rating this solution a ten out of ten. This is because of my previous experience with other solutions where I had three failed implementations on different hardware. They failed because of one particular reason: They're not low-maintenance. This solution, on the other hand, does not need heavy system maintenance. People prefer to use the system rather than the desktop, which makes it convenient for them to work from anywhere. There are a lot of benefits. You have your data saved on a data center. The availability is there which makes it flexible for users.

After the pandemic, when people returned to the office, we utilized this solution as an agile workspace, so people can sit and work on any desk. When they come to the office, they don't have to go to a particular desk. They can choose where they want to work, so this solution provides a lot of benefits for us.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Director at SOFTLOGIC
Real User
Enables us to easily create and delete virtual servers
Pros and Cons
  • "The feature that I have found most valuable is that it is easy to deploy. It is easy to create and delete virtual servers. It is easy to create the load balancing and the clustering."
  • "The only negative point relates to the licensing. If you want multiple, different servers, it costs money, but you have all the capacity for vSAN. You do not reach the data, but the processor arrays and the current architecture."

What is most valuable?

The feature that I have found most valuable is that it is easy to deploy.

It is also easy to configure with the vCenter and the other solutions that we have. It is easy to create and delete virtual servers. It is easy to create the load balancing and the clustering, and the new version includes different features that allow us to quickly see what happened if we shut down a virtual server. It is an arrays of disks. It works like a RAID file. You shut down one server and you can start the two others that work together.

VMware vSAN is better than SimpliVity. We once tried to run SimpliVity, but it was difficult for us, because the people from HP were not easy to work with, the costs of their white papers where higher, and it was not as easy to deploy as VMware. VMware vSAN also costs for licensing, but it costs less than HPE SimpliVity and I'm not depending on the HP team. I can run it myself with my engineers.

What needs improvement?

The only negative point relates to the licensing. If you want multiple, different servers, it costs money, but you have all the capacity for vSAN. You do not reach the data, but the processor arrays and the current architecture.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using VMware vSAN for two and a half years.

We are using version 6.7 and we are processing now to switch to 7.0 because we are testing the new version.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

VMware vSAN is a stable solution.

We have made many tests, we have also shut down the servers and made an extraction of the disk and everything, and vSAN was very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

VMware vSAN is scalable, if you choose good servers at the beginning with many slots for disks, you can then add disks and extend the storage. You can add memory if you have good servers, and then you can enable your construction. But you have to choose good servers for production from the beginning.

How are customer service and technical support?

VMware has very good support. They have technical support which is divided into three areas. In each area you always have the one who can reply to you and they are really good at the technical support.

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

We previously worked with Nutanix, which HP bought. At the beginning, we were also working with a free solution called KVM. There was no licensing cost with them, but there was also no real support and the customers were afraid of that. They wanted something that is known in the market. We also worked with Dell in the past.

How was the initial setup?

If you already work with vCenter and VMware, the initial setup is easy. The process is easy to understand and easy to configure. You just have to be sure that when you connect the servers with the LAN that everything is in 10 giga, then it will be easy to configure. You have to configure the root storage of the LAN and give it a switch.

You have to configure everything from the beginning to make everything work, so you must have an expert on vSAN from your side and an expert for LAN on the other side.

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

I do think that VMware vSAN's cost could be lower.

We pay for the license every year.

The cost depends on your contract. The pricing for the government is not the best, but for each licensing, because its arrays are in your servers, it can cost $4,000 for each of the servers for a simple solution and up to $20,000 per server for vSAN solutions. It's very, very expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am also working with Microsoft and Safe Key, another solution for the clustering, and I tried HPE SimpliVity for simple cluster and for multi-cluster. When I saw the costs of HPE SimpliVity for multi-cluster, there were two points that made me not feel good about it: the price and that when we needed more than 20 or 40 terabytes of data, the HP license was such that I could not use this solution alone. We had to use the HP team at the beginning.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of one to ten I would give VMware vSAN an eight for the technology, eight for scalability, and a six for the price. Overall, I give it an eight.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Brendan - PeerSpot reviewer
Technology Manager at Tryon International Equestrian Center
User
Top 20
Easy to set up with excellent technical support and great high availability
Pros and Cons
  • "The low cost of this solution has also made a big difference in our budget, which has been very helpful."
  • "If I had to pick something to add to the product, it would be nice if you could have more than one user account on their command center VM."

What is our primary use case?

We use the StarWind HCA as the main solution for hosting all of our core VMs. 

We have about 20 Microsoft and Linux VMs that we are running on Hyper-V on the StarWind HCA. 

Our HCA is made up of two Dell servers running the StarWind VSAN software. The VMs that we have are mainly made up of general-purpose servers with a few other custom-use servers thrown in. 

We also use the HCA to host both of our domain controllers, although we don't have them in the cluster, they are still on the appliance. 

How has it helped my organization?

Having high availability has definitely improved the reliability of our infrastructure and made server maintenance much easier, which is a significant improvement for the organization. 

The low cost of this solution has also made a big difference in our budget, which has been very helpful. 

The reliability of the VSAN software has also been a big improvement in our infrastructure. 

The quality of support from StarWind has probably been the biggest improvement though as we went from having a relatively low level of support with our previous solution to having a truly top-tier support team at our disposal.

What is most valuable?

High availability with only two nodes has really been enormously valuable to us. Our infrastructure is relatively small and we really didn't need more than two nodes, however, for many reasons, we really needed to have high availability. Being able to accomplish that without extra hardware was huge. 

The ability to use whatever hypervisor that we wanted has also been very valuable to us. We were able to switch over to Hyper-V from VMWare and save on the licensing costs that we previously had with VMWare.

What needs improvement?

I really don't say this very much, however, I actually don't have many issues with this product. However, if I had to think of something, some people might not like the fact that a lot of the engineers tend to have relatively thick eastern European accents, and that might be an issue for some folks. 

If I had to pick something to add to the product, it would be nice if you could have more than one user account on their command center VM. It's not really a big deal, however, that would be a good addition.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for about six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. I haven't had any issues at all. It's one of my favorite things about this solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is extremely scalable.

How are customer service and support?

Their customer service and support are top-notch. 

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

Our previous solution was very old and not really a good comparison. 

We switched due to the fact that the hardware needed to be refreshed and we needed high availability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was extremely easy and their support team was assisting through the whole process.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented through their support team and their level of expertise was extremely high.

What was our ROI?

We've seen an ROI of 100% to 150%

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

The setup cost and support contract was significantly cheaper with StarWind than with any of the other options that I evaluated.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered just buying new server hardware and staying with VMware. We also evaluated Scale and Nutanix.

What other advice do I have?

I really can't recommend them enough. 

Their VSAN software is excellent. The ability to get a highly available setup with just two nodes is fantastic. Their support is top-notch, and from a cost perspective, they blew everybody else out of the water. Give them a call; you won't be sorry!

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Senior Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Great back up and disaster recovery capabilities with very helpful technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "We can scale the solution easily."
  • "The Omni Card consumes a lot of memory and CPU."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is used for server consolidation and, with SimpliVity and other hyper-converged solutions, we can reduce the footprint and we can give them added benefits, like backup, DR, compression, and deduplication. The main use case for SimpliVity is for backup and cloning, and rapid DR. If you take vSAN, we can say the selling point is server consolidation, and then you can start your STDC journey.

What is most valuable?

The backup is the main and most valuable aspect, followed by the rapid DR (Disaster Recovery). With a traditional network, we have to have some WAN optimizers, however, with SimpliVity, we can go with their Omni and the rapid DR software.

Technical support is great.

The solution is quite stable.

We can scale the solution easily.

The initial setup is simple. 

What needs improvement?

When we failed it, there was a hardware accelerator card, however, now HP is saying the hardware is no longer available, and it will be the end of life. Now, we have only the software. That is a shock for us. When someone is using a hardware accelerator, then he needs some upgrades. Now, we have to say there is no hardware card. Now you have to use the software. There will be a mismatch.

The Omni Card consumes a lot of memory and CPU. On the HP selling site, it says Omni Card can offload your CPU and memory, however, in reality, it consumes more memory and CPU.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with HP SimpliVity for three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable. 

We closed six deals. The largest one is a 4-node cluster, and another is a 2-node cluster and 3-node cluster. Very recently, we closed a deal with the largest private sector insurance company which is about four nodes. They are going to expand the environment. We have another five HPE SimpliVity references in Sri Lanka. Currently, we are working with a few customers on some upgrades. 

How are customer service and support?

Technical support has been great. We get direct HP support and have had no issues with the HP support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy. Nowadays, it is all very straightforward. There is no rocket science involved. We can do a simple installation.

What about the implementation team?

We are able to handle the implementation process for our clients. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We deal with a variety of products. It's case by case. We are not selling any product. We are selling solutions. If a customer prefers Nutanix, then we can go with Nutanix, however, we can tell them the features and advantages. As a product, SimpliVity is better than others due to the fact that it has its own WAN optimizer optimization technologies then dedupe and compression ratios are high, and we can get support from a single vendor. SimpliVity is the leader.

What other advice do I have?

We are an enterprise partner for HPE and we are dealing with HPE SimpliVity. We are also new Nutanix partners, so we are working with a couple of hyper-converged solutions. In addition to that, we are an advanced partner for VMware. At the moment we don't have any vSAN references, however, we are a certified VMware partner.

We might work with an older version. I'm not familiar with the latest one. Mainly, I'm a part of the pre-sales team. Our implementation guys handle the deployment. They are dealing with the versions and upgrades. I'm involved in pre-sales.

I'd advise potential new users that, if you have large volumes on backups and if you have any plans to go for DR, so you can start with SimpliVity.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Buyer's Guide
HCI
January 2023
Get our free report covering Dell Technologies, VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other competitors of Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI). Updated: January 2023.
670,080 professionals have used our research since 2012.