Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe Review

We were able to migrate without bringing systems down and results have been amazing


What is our primary use case?

We have used it for a long time and we have recently been upgrading it. Last month we acquired a PowerMax 2000 and we have just finished the migration. We hope it will help us with performance and through the additional features which are part of the software.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of mission-critical applications, we are running our switch, which is the most critical application that we have in our organization, on the storage box. It is because it is reliable and, in terms of performance, we do not have any issues with PowerMax.

The switch application is very sensitive to IOPs and to the speed of responding and reacting to requests. We went specifically with PowerMax to ensure that we are getting the highest performance, and it has really been exceeding our expectations. We are yet to put it into really demanding tests. We have solutions that we are implementing during the year which will be high-demand in terms of IOPs and performance. We will find out then if PowerMax meets all our requirements.

We use the solution with VMware. It made things easier for us in terms of deployment and implementation.

What is most valuable?

  • Availability
  • Reliability

We are also happy with the monitoring that Dell EMC is doing for us. They have helped us to identify many issues during the routine checks, issues which we were not aware of.

What needs improvement?

We are facing challenges with the SRDF replication which we got with the latest, new box. Overall, it has been working for us so well for the past few years. We hope that whatever bugs there are right now in the PowerMax are going to be sorted out quickly.

There is room for improvement with the enclosures. We were happier with the old VMAX enclosures which looked nicer in our data centers. The new one is dull.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is superb.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have yet to find out what the scalability is like. We recently added this new box and towards the end of the year, or next year, we are going to look at expanding it. So we don't know how easy it is to scale it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our experience with technical support was different before we got the most recent box. We are facing challenges. We were told that this is the first PowerMax box implemented in our country, so maybe these are teething issues, and hopefully, they will be sorted out quickly. But we are constantly in touch with support, and I have actually been trying to get ahold of one guy here at the Dell Technologies World conference so I can see if he can help us sort out the bugs quickly.

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

We were using the same solution. We just upgraded it.

The solution’s architecture influenced our buying decision with the new features it has, and the smoothness of the migration was also important. The last time we upgraded there was downtime, but this solution gave us the opportunity without bringing down the systems.

How was the initial setup?

We had challenges again with the initial setup. I don't know if there was a gap during the requirement-collection phase, but the box was partially delivered to us with missing parts and it delayed the implementation by about 60 days. It was not as smooth as I would have hoped.

What about the implementation team?

We used a local Dell EMC partner and they were pretty good.

What other advice do I have?

We have already recommended this product to two institutions who called. Our view of the product is positive. Our experience has been positive. As head of IT, my worry was about the migration. We believe in the technology, but how could we achieve a smooth migration? What I have seen was amazing beyond expectation. Things have been so positive, overall.

The migration process from older VMAX arrays to PowerMax is very good. The data dependency is tremendous and the results we got from the migration were amazing. They were beyond our anticipation. Things went smoothly, mostly, with the SRDF technology, and the critical systems were not taken down, so we had 24-hour continuous operation.

We have attended a couple of technical sessions which talked about how to do some analysis on the box, from the box, using the Dell EMC tools. We are exploring those tools to see how we can take advantage of them and improve productivity.

We have faith in the solution and would rate it an eight out of ten. The rating will depend on fixing the issues we are facing.

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