What is our primary use case?
Most of the customers that I work with are using it for virtualization platforms. They are looking at it from a block data perspective. Most of them are leaning towards an Isilon platform for file-based data, so most of our traditional VNX customers have moved to the Unity platform, mostly for their structured block data.
How has it helped my organization?
Most customers are using it to gain some technical advantages through its simplicity and ease of use.
What is most valuable?
The benefits are the simplicity, flexibility and the ease of integration between the Unity platform and VMware, for example, and Microsoft platforms; the integration tools and the simplicity of management.
There have been big shifts, of course, in technology moving away from kind of the traditional three-tier architecture, so the Unity has gotten to the point where it's, once again, simple and optimized. Dell EMC has done a really good job of putting together a platform, one that is well supported.
What needs improvement?
There really aren't many weak spots, not many places to improve it.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability has been solid through dozens of implementations with our customers, from small to medium businesses running anywhere from 8TB to 10TB, up to some of our big enterprise customers using Unity for specialized systems running all-flash and half a petabyte type of scale. The performance and the stability of the platform have been stellar. No issues from customers.
Also, simple upgrades, stability right through the upgrade processes, they are very non-disruptive. It has been fantastic for all of our customers.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Moving away from the traditional EMC Clariion integration with the VNX, and some challenging upgrades through that process - specifically on the file side - the Unity, especially the all-block Unity platforms that we have been selling most of, are very simple, seamless, non-disruptive upgrades. Most customers are extremely happy with that. On the file side, the Unity is much easier to upgrade than it was traditionally with the VNX, so, once again, a big improvement over previous solutions.
How is customer service and technical support?
The role I'm in, I'm not directly calling EMC for support. I did, for years, but I haven't with the Unity platform. I do get to handle a lot of our customers, any kind of challenging scenarios, making sure that my resources, my technical resources are responding, are as responsive as can be to our customers.
I know from my group of technicians who support our customers, and from our customers, that the tech support has been very, very solid on the Unity platform. I won't say it's perfect across the board for all Dell EMC products, but primary storage, the traditional EMC - the VNX rolling into the Unity platforms - has been stellar.
What other advice do I have?
I would put this solution at a solid nine out of 10. I don't think there is such thing as a perfect infrastructure. There is always room for improvement, even though I can't think of any. It is a strong platform.
In terms of advice, I think there are a couple of things. One of the reasons why I lean towards the Dell EMC solutions, as an EMC guy/reseller, is because of the completeness of vision. Across the data center with the disaster recovery, the integration with tools like RecoverPoint, with VMware, with some of the VMware tools, insight into the entire stack up and down. I would push most of my customers in that direction, versus a lot of the other players that are out there in the market today. We have seen some of them go by the wayside, we see a lot of new start-ups coming up. We see a lot of pressure from some of those start-ups that have an interesting gimmick.
Ultimately, when it comes right down to it, it's the supportability, it's the completeness of vision that Dell EMC has, and the integration. Typically, I will push most of my friends, colleagues, and customers, towards that platform.