Dell EMC PowerPath Review

Powerful and mature but still has bugs to work out


What is our primary use case?

Dell EMC PowerPath is a multipathing software which connects to the back-end storage. It provides a high availability and will increase the performance of any server or operating system.

What is most valuable?

They are two different multipathing softwares which come with hypervisors or operating systems, which are native multipathing software. Apart from that, we have EMC PowerPath, which comes with Dell EMC storages, EMC, VMAX, Aternity or VNX. There are different varieties of storage in the market for Dell products. This multipathing software has certain features which we normally don't have on native multipathing software, especially in terms of load balancing and the way it captures the IO metrics and boosts the performance of different operating systems. This is something very specific to it and it has the flexibility apart from this multipathing capability. 

PowerPath also acts as a PowerPath migration software. For example, if I want to migrate any OS that's currently running on a different EMC product, PowerPath has the capability to act as a centralized software to migrate the operating system from one storage to the another EMC storage, but remain in the EMC portfolio. EMC has different portfolios, like the VMAX, VNX, and Unity. So with this one single software I will be able to migrate data from one storage to another storage.

What needs improvement?

Although PowerPath is very mature and has been on the market for more than 15 years there are still a lot of bugs that have been profiled with PowerPath, specifically during any OS upgrade. In certain cases PowerPath doesn't have the capability to do an automatic scanning of discs. Also PowerPath is very specific to EMC portfolios and very few other products on the market. It is not wide open for the other vendors in the market. And EMC has competitors like HP, Hitachi, IBM, and Pure Storage. There are a lot of other competitors for EMC storages, but PowerPath doesn't have the capability to support a wide variety of storages in the market, it only works with specific products. I felt that being in the market for more than 15 years it should the capability and have matured enough to support the various products in the market. This is what I feel needs improvement.

Specifically, they have to open their compatibility with other products in the market. That is what I would see improved first.

Additionally, let's say a customer is moving towards a private cloud. How is PowerPath going to play a role? They need to educate the customers with what the product can do.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Dell EMC PowerPath for more than 10 years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From the stability point of view, yes it is stable, but not a 100%. I would rank the stability three out of five because it still needs certain improvements going forward.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't know how I can put the scalability in perspective because it depends on the license. It's based on the host-based license. For example, if you bought licensing for a hundred hosts, one single license is unlimited so you can place it on any number of operating systems. It's not license specific so it is scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is pretty good with EMC.

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

PowerPath doesn't play as a major role as in earlier times. Now, with a lot of competitors in the market PowerPath doesn't play a key role on costing because it comes along with the storages that customers buy. So it doesn't involve a huge amount of cost when the customer buys the software.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Dell EMC PowerPath a seven out of 10.

I would definitely recommend EMC PowerPath, there's no doubt. But what I would suggest is if you're going with EMC hardware, then definitely go with EMC PowerPath. If not, then I would definitely suggest to go with the native.

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.
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