Dell EMC Unity XT Review

A unified solution, it does block and file; I can provide everything on a single array

What is our primary use case?

As a reseller, I cross many industries. I deal with a lot of state and local government, a lot of health care, and a lot of commercial and banking industries. This product fits that mold across all those spectrums, as do other EMC products, but Unity is primarily the one I go to market with.

How has it helped my organization?

Some of their recently added feature sets, like the dedupe and compression, they have been a pretty significant improvement. 

What is most valuable?

First, it's the "Unity," it's the name itself. It's unified, it does block and file, so that is pretty important to my customers who might have file servers around their environment. I can roll them all up into a single array, as well as provide block storage for them on one array. 

It's the simplicity part of it. It's the ease of management, it's the call home, the CloudIQ functionality. It's all built in. I think Dell EMC has put a lot of thought into it. That's what I push out to my customers, to bring that message to them.

What needs improvement?

They added the dynamic pools, that was the biggest improvement. They have incorporated replication, RecoverPoint for BCDR, they have a good disaster recovery, they have a good replication strategy. I think they've got their spots covered.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable, but you have to know your customer, and what the environment is. Perhaps you're going in there with a Unity 350 and then, at some point, do a data-in-place upgrade to a 450 or a 550. You have to get a good base understanding of what to initially go with for customers, so they're not coming back to you six months later saying "Hey, this thing is full."

How are customer service and technical support?

This is an interesting question; how to gingerly talk about it? I think in the past, I've always been able to call - I have the phone number memorized, I've called it hundreds of times. I know there has been a lot of work on it. Dell EMC is starting to transition back and put more thought into their support.

I would give it an okay rating. I think there is headway that needs to be made as compared to competitors out there, to be honest with you.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

It started down the Clariion route, and then we went to VNX obviously, when that transitioned over, and then we transitioned again to the Unity and we're on that side now.

How was the initial setup?

As a service provider, on the VNX side, on the Clariion side before, we make our money in services. There could be a couple of days of services to install a VNX or Clariion, as we would go through all the processes to do so. On the Unity side, it is almost "next, next, next." If you can read a big Ikea instruction manual, you can install this Unity box. I give it to them, hands down, they have done a fantastic job with that.

From the services side, I'm a little hesitant about how easy it is, so I'm glad I have other things like RecoverPoint and the like, tertiary services I can continue to install.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Other competitors in the industry, they had a "me too" box, but I don't know if as much thought went into them as went into the VNX and the Unity.

What other advice do I have?

I would give it a high nine out of 10. The only thing that makes me pull back is the continuing work on the support. To be a 10, that is asking a lot, in my opinion. But I think Unity is right up there. I think they're ahead of their game with any competitor out there. Compared to the top three or four that you could consider in this realm, I think Dell EMC has them beat, hands down.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
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