Dell EMC Unity XT Review

All-flash array gives me hope it will do a good job, but the compression algorithm has issues


What is our primary use case?

It's a replacement for a VNX, it's faster. It has its good points, and it has its bad points.

How has it helped my organization?

I don't think it's providing any great enhancements over the existing platform.

What needs improvement?

There are some features in VNX that I wish were in the Unity. Storage Groups for isolating LANs and hosts. That is a big issue.

We've also encountered an issue when it comes to migrating to compressed LANs on the Unity, and during the Storage vMotion. It appears that the compression algorithm is overwhelmed, and when it becomes overwhelmed it just stops compressing and writes the raw data to the destination. We later copied internally another Storage vMotion to another compressed LAN and achieved much higher compressions on that internal copy. It would be really nice if there was a way to automatically throttle, as a part of a Storage vMotion, to say, "I want to gain the maximum benefits from the compression algorithm, so throttle back the Storage vMotion to implement 100 percent compression."

My colleague has done most of the migration work, but he's also encountered a few other issues in terms of the integration with vCenter. 

It's a box that has a lot of promise, and it was a very shiny new "sports car" when we got it. It has a few dents and scratches in it. That "new car pride," we don't go out and wash it every weekend now. Some of that reality has kicked in. 

I still have expectations, it's an all-flash array, while our VNX, obviously, is not. So we do anticipate, once we've completed the migration and get more experienced with it and maybe with some code upgrades, improvements to some of the attributes, that it will do a good job for us.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We went from the VNX, where we had about 900 spinning disks, to 27 solid-state disks. There have been no failures in the last year.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It had better scale, it costs a lot of money. I definitely think it will. Also, my hope, being that it is solid-state, is that the ongoing maintenance costs will be reduced, on the off chance that our firm might not want to replace it after five years.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support is good. We've always had our struggles over the years with their support. I characterize their level-one support as being somewhat questionable. But if stuff hits the fan and you have to get up to level two or three, you have a priority-one, they always come through.

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