What is our primary use case?
The use case for this solution is based on VMware and that is why we chose PowerStore X. During the first period of the pandemic, we decided to use our VMware infrastructure for HPC workloads. We were looking for high-performance storage that could be inserted inside our VMware environment in an easy way. PowerStore, which had just been announced, seemed like the right solution and so we decided to buy. We have this storage environment inside the virtual HPC.
In our environment we are doing medical analysis related to genomic workloads. The data are acquired remotely from experiments and stored on the PowerStore. The PowerStore is exposed to the user through virtual machines, and the data are analyzed in this environment.
How has it helped my organization?
During the pandemic, we were looking for something that could easily increase our scientific computing capabilities. It was not for something related to our university's enterprise applications. We were looking for something that was easy to provide inside our virtual scientific computation environment. PowerStore was really the best we could buy. And it has changed things completely. Our scientific computations were traditional before, in the sense of NFS or traditional HPC. PowerStore, now, is a key factor for the virtual HPC environment that we have.
Also, the solution's Anytime Upgrade program is a key factor so that we can keep the storage upgraded without any downtime. We have experienced some software upgrades on the system over the last year, and everything has run quite smoothly and we are very happy about that. I expect the Anytime Upgrade program will save us money and it saves time, for sure. It's difficult, in our environment, to estimate how much time this program has saved us because we don't typically track the time we spend. But if you take into account the fact that the upgrade is almost automatic, almost without people intervening, that is the reason we save time. You can schedule an upgrade, so you know when you are upgrading, but you don't need people looking into it. We save the amount of time people would typically have to devote to an upgrade.
We bought the PowerStore for performance and flexibility, and we are 100 percent satisfied with both.
What is most valuable?
- Easy of use
It also has some very good compression capabilities.
We were looking for a solution that was easy to install in our VMware environment, that was flexible. PowerStore X is a type of a VMware cluster that you install inside your environment. If you have a VMware environment, like we have in production, it's easy to install and use.
It enables us to add compute or capacity independently. We have also deployed some apps on PowerStore, even though the PowerStore we have is not the biggest one you can buy. One of the main characteristics of PowerStore is that it is like another piece of VMware, so you can run applications on top, applications that have direct access to the storage. The ability to add compute or capacity independently is great because it adds more flexibility to our environment. You are not adding only storage, but you're adding some not-so-big computing capability. You have the possibility of adding some virtual machines, running NVMe storage, and that is a real plus for this solution.
In addition, PowerStore's built-in intelligence for helping to simplify IT operations is incredible. When we approached PowerStore, we had an idea that it was a normative platform, but we were impressed by the capability of the solution. It's probably one of the best pieces of storage that we have installed here.
What needs improvement?
Where the system needs to improve is by adding more enterprise features like replication on other sites. We would also like it to be much more aligned with the VMware version. For example, today we have two different versions of VMware ESXi running to keep the PowerStore online. It would be better if the software cycling was faster.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Dell EMC PowerStore for almost a year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
PowerStore is the latest and the best technology available. The design for scalability of the solution is perfect. It's something that can grow vertically and horizontally, by design. Of course, it's NVMe storage, so it's not cheap. You can expand the solution using less expensive storage upgrades in the PowerStore, so it's very good. By design, it's a wonderful machine. Of course, if you want to go all-NVMe, you have to be able to afford it.
How are customer service and technical support?
Dell EMC's customer and technical support are the best in the market, for sure. We have almost all the Dell EMC solutions here, so we know the support very well and it is absolutely the best in the market.
How was the initial setup?
The installation was quite smooth and easy. After one week, everything was up and running.
What about the implementation team?
The installation was done by Dell EMC people and us, together. Our experience with them was incredible, as usual. We have several types of Dell EMC storage here, so we know their abilities. Everything was smooth.
What was our ROI?
ROI was a key factor for us, for this infrastructure. We have seen ROI in that we have been able to give our researchers an environment that they didn't have before. It has been a complete success. It's a completely new environment. We didn't have anything similar before. Every cent spent has been worth it.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The price is not cheap, but it's worth it for the features you get from the storage. If you can afford it, you are probably buying the best solution that you can have for this virtual environment.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
For this environment, PowerStore was almost unique when we chose it, so we did not evaluate other solutions.
What other advice do I have?
We weren't concerned that PowerStore is a relatively new platform. We were not inserting it in an enterprise environment. We were inserting it in a scientific computing environment, which is where we tend to install all the latest technologies. It was not a problem.
If you have a production VMware environment, the platform is no longer new and is probably the most flexible performance storage system that you can buy today.
We are not using the solution's load balancing at the moment but it's something that we are looking into. We use PowerStore's built-in VMware hypervisor to run VMs and virtualized applications, but we are not using it at the edge. We know that is one of the capabilities of this kind of solution, but we are using it in our central computing facility.
We experienced some small issues, but the virtual machine was new. But our choice was a good one. The machine is easy to use, the performance is there, and we are happy.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?