Dell EMC SC Series Review

Fast performance, secure and reliable - no downtime


What is our primary use case?

We use it for storage. The performance is great. So far there are no issues at all.

How has it helped my organization?

The benefits are the reliability and the performance. That is what we look for and it works great for us.

What is most valuable?

It's secure and fast. There's no downtime and the HA works great. Everything is easy and their support is great. 

Mostly, during an upgrade process, there is no downtime at all. The way they do is really great. Very easy, straightforward. There is a pre-check and then, when they finish it, they do a post-check. It's great the way they do the upgrade, no downtime at all.

What needs improvement?

Something that has been needed should be coming out with the 6.7 version of vSphere: You don't need a hot spare, so that should give you more IOPS. They've figured out how to do a RAID across all the drives, rather than using a hot spare. So the hot spare can be used too. You won't need a dedicated hot spare any longer.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is fine. It's much easier. I can add more drives and just keep on adding stuff if I want to. Of course, that affects your price point.

How is customer service and technical support?

We've had great support from the Dell EMC team. I would rate their Copilot support the best that we have seen in the industry. I have used support with every vehicle we have, but their support is the best. Great engineers. Great engineering team. It's straightforward, easy, and you get the right people.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We were previously using Compellent. At the time we went with Compellent we looking for a solution which was affordable for us. We are a non-profit organization and it worked great from that point of view. They were new, they had this great solution. We looked at it and we said, "Okay, it is at our price point and it works great. Let's get it and done." Dell EMC acquired it but they continued the same support and it worked fine.

When selecting a vendor, what I look for is a good technical solution. As a technical guy, that's all I look for.

How was the initial setup?

I engineered the solution, architected it with their support. We have also upgraded several times.

What was our ROI?

I think our ROI has been good. We used Compellent for seven years and it worked great. We didn't have any major downtime or major performance issue. We're already three years into the SC Series, so I hope I can use it for four more years. That would be a good ROI.

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

So far, the solution has been affordable for us. We have a 48-drive solution and that works great for our headquarters site. Their pricing goes by the number of physical drives that you have and the drives are not cheap. Whenever you want to upgrade something there is a price issue. For example, for a 4TB SSD, they may charge you seven grand or eight grand. It's expensive. So we try to get the maximum use out of what we have, for five to seven years, and then upgrade it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at HPE, and we had looked at a product called OSNEXUS. They operate in the same town as us so we thought we could get support from them. We looked at five or six products.

We actually went with two solutions. In India, we are using OSNEXUS, which is located in the Seattle area. We use Dell EMC in our headquarters.

What other advice do I have?

It depends on your budget. What are the criteria you're looking for? And it depends on how much storage you're going to use and the cost associated with that. There a lot of solutions now, software-defined solutions, which are way cheaper, but everything has a price. It depends upon your usage. If you are going for virtualization, sure, go ahead and use it.

Performance for a regular workload is pretty great, using 3000 IOPS and, during backup at night, it goes up to the 3000 IOPS as well.

Overall, the underlying technology they are using is really great. That's the whole thing. It's how they do the data programming, the read-cache and the write-cache. That's why everyone understands it very easily. "Oh, this is the underlying technology that you're using." And the new features they are coming up with, they're constantly trying to improve the system.

I rate it an eight out of ten. It's reliable and gives us performance. It's not a ten because no product is a ten. Technology is changing so fast. I'm sure they're adapting to it but nobody can say, "That is a ten out of ten," on a technical thing. It doesn't work that way.

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