Dell EMC Unity Review

Dynamic Pools allow us to pop in one or two drives when needed, instead of adding a whole RAID set

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Unity - we use the All-Flash, we don't use the Hybrid array - is as our go-to source for all of our virtualized Oracle Databases. We've moved about 95 percent of our Oracle Databases to Unity. There are a few extremely high-profile databases that nobody wants to move. Nobody wants to touch them. But pretty much everything else is on Unity. We're starting to branch out and put just regular, general purpose load on there. And we also recently put all of our Exchange environment on there as well.

We started going down the path of doing the vCenter integration, but we just ran out of time for testing it. That's on our bucket-list of things to do, because that'll make it even easier. But we haven't hit that yet.

As far as how it has performed, I don't think I've ever seen latencies above 10 milliseconds, unless it was something that wasn't the array that was messing up. The thing is rock-solid.

How has it helped my organization?

We've recently gone from a five-man team down to two, not because of the Unity solely, but we haven't necessarily had to replace everyone. We've been able to consolidate a lot of VNXs into just a couple of Unity's. We have less to manage and we need fewer people.

As far as the simplicity goes, adding hosts is easier. Everything is just about automatic. We're used to those old VNX1s, which are running Windows CE. Using the CLI on those is a little clunky, while logging into the CLI on the Unisphere is easy. It just makes sense, especially if you're used to Unix, because it's a Unix-based system. It's all-around easier to use.

What is most valuable?

  • Being that we are heavily invested in VNX1s, the UI itself is fantastic, and the ease of administration is far better than Unisphere or Navisphere ever were. It's very easy to manage.
  • The fact that it has built-in APIs means our automation people can help us automate a lot of tasks, and that has been helpful.
  • And, of course, it's really fast. Obviously, that doesn't hurt anything at all.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

At this point, we've only had one major issue, and we've had two of the systems in-house for a year and a half. The issue was fixed within a matter of hours by support. In that same year and a half, we've had a lot of other pieces of equipment that have had a lot of other issues, so the stability is great, at least for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We just recently started using the Dynamic Pools, so while it's scalable, we actually find it valuable that we can just pop in one or two drives when we need to, instead of having to add a whole RAID set. That has actually been very handy for us. A lot of the time, as a government organization, we don't always get all the money we ask for. Sometimes, the money that gets slated to us gets pulled out, last-minute, so we're trying to buy drives and hoard them. We always put drives in last-minute, and that's been extremely helpful.

I know that's not exactly the question in terms of scalability, but that has been more helpful to us than being able to add a zillion disks at a time. Being able to add onesies, twosies to a pool is really helpful.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy. I don't really remember any "gotchas."

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're a Dell EMC shop, we don't have any other storage vendors, so we don't really do a good job of looking into the storage vendors either. We have a good relationship with Dell EMC, we have a good sales guy and a good technical account manager. We trust them. When we told them that we had a lot of people asking for all-flash, that was the choice. We don't use enterprise-level stuff, we don't use VMAX. So we went with Unity.

When selecting a vendor, the relationship with the technical support is pretty important. We've been a Dell EMC shop for a long time, so there are some guys in the tech support whose emails I have. I don't necessarily have to open up an SR. If I just have a question I can just email them and I'll usually get a response in a day or two. That keeps me from having to do some of that paperwork. The other thing, when selecting a vendor, if I were the number-crunching guy: Obviously a vendor who's willing to work on price is always going to be helpful.

What other advice do I have?

A piece of advice when it comes to research is to try to find another company that's using what you're considering. After you talk to the salespeople, after you get the dog and pony show, have them connect you with somebody who's using it, who they trust - maybe even someone you know or have some contact with - and get their thoughts about it. You usually get a lot more truth from those kinds of conversations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 visitor found this review helpful
Add a Comment
Sign Up with Email