Dell EMC Unity XT Review

Because it is virtualized, we save time to set up, warranty, and AC cooling costs

What is our primary use case?

We use it for virtualization. We have all of our servers virtualized on the entire unit.

The performance has been outstanding. It's amazing.

How has it helped my organization?

We currently have two Dell EMC Unities going. One of them at our primary on-premise DR site. They communicate with each other. If we ever have to failover, it is right there and ready.

We have integrated Dell EMC Unity XT with VMware, Exchange, Microsoft SQL, and all types of Windows servers running on it. It outperforms any other physical hardware that I have ever had. We had to purchase the licenses for the Exchange and SQL servers. We also had to purchase VMware, and that could be cheaper.

We are also using it with our Veeam solution for our backup. Everything is just integrated so seamlessly. It is great.

What is most valuable?

The ease of use. Being able to configure it was easy, which I liked. 

It is easy to manage. Managing it, I get alerts if there are any type of issues. I had a hard drive go bad, which had never caused any issues. Dell EMC contacted me, and said, "We are a shipping a new one out." My response was, "Why?" He told me that hard drive was bad. So, I went and looked, and it was. This was almost immediate. I never even knew anything had happened.

As frequently as updates come in, it has far more updates than anything else, Dell does it for you, which makes it simple to do them. I just sit back and watch them do it, so it's nice. It keeps us up-to-date and secure.

What needs improvement?

It should be lighter. It takes up a ton of rack space. It would be nice to have a smaller footprint. 

It might be nice to have more integrated features instead of having everything as a separate module, like the networking. The networking is attached separately in the back. It would be nice if that was more integrated with less ports.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is perfect and consistent. We have had no downtime. It is reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As far as hardware goes, we haven't had to scale up at all. We're staying pretty steady. 

As far as users go, I have about 1000 users on it right now, and it's not even at 50%. It's amazing as far as utilization goes.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is top-notch. I have talked to them a couple times. They definitely seem to know what they are talking about. They are pretty quick to get parts out, and getting a tech out there to replace them.

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

This is our first time that we moved into virtualization. We are largely an HPE shop.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. I had a technician do it for me, then I looked over his shoulder because I had never done it before. He told me that he would do it this one time, and next time I would set it up because it was not that hard. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible.

It was very easy to order. We went through and spec'd it out internally, then went through a Dell EMC partner and spec'd it out through them. The parts were here quickly, assembled, and all we had to do was mount it. We didn't have to do any configuring nor assembly, which was good.

What about the implementation team?

Dell EMC did setup number one. Then, they shadowed me when I did the next setup. It's not simple, but it's doable. It's doable with the right guidance.

Deployment with the product is great.

What was our ROI?

When I first got the Dell EMC Unity system, I converted all of our physical machines to virtual, which:

  • Eliminated the need for a $300,000 cost upfront to extend warranties.
  • Eliminated the electricity that was being used along with other inadvertent items, such as cooling. The AC doesn't run as much in the data center now. 
  • We went from about 45 servers down to one, which is amazing. 
  • As far as purchasing additional servers, there is no need to buy hardware. It's all right there. Since we have deployed, this has easily saved us close to about $300,000 easily.

The time to set up has definitely improved. That is ROI for us. We save time spinning up a new server. If you ask me today for a new server, I can have it ready by the end up the day. When we were using hardware, it would take us about three weeks. We would have to provision a server. We would have to spec it out, buy it, assemble it, install the OS, back it, then we were finally ready to go. Whereas now, by the end of the day, I have a very nice server.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Simplicity of ownership is a no-brainer:

  • Obtaining a warranty is easy.
  • The price is very reasonable.
  • As far as licensing goes, I love how VMware works with Dell EMC Unity. It's great. They work hand in hand. They have made it so simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at VxRail, IBM, and Nutanix. Dell EMC Unity work out financially. VxRail was nice, but a lot more expensive and robust. Price-wise, Dell EMC Unity was right where we needed it to be.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure to shop around to make absolutely 100% certain that it is what you want. You will want to come back to this particular model. 

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: 

  • Pricing
  • Knowledge: They know what they are talking about. 
  • Aggressiveness: Are they vested in the pricing and product?
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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