Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe Review

CloudIQ allows me to pull up my arrays on my phone and check their status at any moment


What is our primary use case?

It is for our corporate ERP systems and databases.

How has it helped my organization?

We specifically use it for our PowerHA on IBM i. We were able to move away from a middleware solution for high availability, going right to snapshots and data replication on arrays.

Managing and monitoring PowerMax arrays from a performance, capacity and health checks perspective is easy with Unisphere and CloudIQ. I have CloudIQ on my phone, so I could pull it up and see the state of my arrays right now.

What is most valuable?

  • The interface
  • Unisphere
  • SRDF
  • Deduplication
  • Compression
  • Encryption
  • The general physical footprints are pretty small compared to previous systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

We're pretty new to the product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The most reliable part of it is its redundant in frame. My impression is that it is very stable. We haven't had this solution out there for very long, but we haven't had any issues with it yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am impression with the scalability. Right now, we are implementing two three-engine PowerMaxs with about 500 terabytes of data, which will replicate to each other. 

If we need to scale up, it's easy just add another engine and some more drawers. It's non-disruptive, so that is also good.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't really had to use technical support. It is pretty much set it up and let it go, like plug and play. I'm sure if we had any issues that we could get in touch with support pretty easily. We use ESRS for our call-home, and a lot of times, Dell EMC will respond to the issue before we even know it.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We were using generation one of XtremIO, which had some limitations on number of initiators. It didn't have native support for IBM i. There were just a number of limitations with XtremIO that we don't have now with PowerMax. So, we were pretty consolidated on our previous platform XtremIO, then we migrated from XtremIO to PowerMax.

Our corporate ERP systems of databases are all mission critical. We chose to move to this platform from XtremIO because we wanted a smaller footprint with much more capacity with all of the data services that we got out of XtremIO. We also wanted the ability to use PowerMax in our PowerHA environment with its higher availability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. It was almost like set it and forget it. We were very satisfied there.

We were using a process that includes Data Domain. We are not using Open Replicator or any other tools. We are taking images of our data and putting it on Data Domain, replicating it to the new site, then rehydrating the data, which makes it easy.

What about the implementation team?

We went with Dell EMC directly for the deployment.

What was our ROI?

Our application requires five milliseconds of latency or less. We are seeing about 250 microseconds of response time, so that beats our expectations by five times.

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely give it a shot. It is so easy. Dell EMC has been so good with us in terms of evaluating the product and seeing it run side-by-side against other products and vendors. So, it has been great.

We were pretty satisfied with what we got.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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