Dell EMC Unity XT Review

Compression performance is not good, and there have been problems with I/O modules

What is our primary use case?

We are a titanium partner. We deliver the full solution portfolio that Dell and Dell EMC have.

What is most valuable?

It can be simple to deploy, the standup time is quite quick. The interface is quite quick. The terms are simple, intuitive, it's similar what was there in the VNXE before it. It's very simple to navigate and administer from the console. 

The hardware itself, it differs from Compellent and differs from the VNX before it. It doesn't have a separate file harbor that goes with it, there are no separate NAS heads. It's 2U, you have file and block storage, so you get a quite a lot of services for a small footprint.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's not as reliable as it should be, I think it was probably released a little early. We've had production problems with customers, and there are still some challenges at scale as well.

Compression is a problem for the system. Once you enable dedupe and compression, the performance of the system, the capability, halves. Customers don't necessarily realize that, and they can't get as much out of the system as they initially thought. It has to be right-sized and sized for compression, but even with that, because there are only two storage processors, you're ending up at almost 40 percent usage.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support has taken a downturn since the acquisition, and that's not just for the Unity. The skill, the people, the engineers, some of them have been let go. Their talent has been let go, so the overall support is another challenge we're dealing with on an ongoing basis.

How was the initial setup?

It's quite easy to deploy, there is no problem there. The system itself is good as well, the offering is good. You can have file and block without any extra harbor for file.

I would like to see the new system come out very quickly - that merges Compellent and Unity - and let's get rid of these problems and focus the engineering group on one system. To me, that's the quickest route to success. They need to get off the pot for one of them and take the good. Don't necessarily discard the code. There are some good features in both, so they really need to get back to an engineering focus, like EMC of old.

What other advice do I have?

I would give the Unity a five out of 10. The offering is good. The simple console is good. The deployment is good. Support is not good. The compression performance capability is not good. Problems with I/O modules, with bugs that came out that really should have been caught before the product was released. And I have a problem with the confusion in the market between the two systems, between Compellent and Unity. The quicker a mid-range solution comes out combining the two products, the better.

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