What is our primary use case?
We use it for our NAS systems and our SAN systems. On the NAS side, it's used for our end-users' home directories and Departmental shares. On the block side, we use it for VMware storage and we have it integrated with VMware. There was no additional cost for that integration.
How has it helped my organization?
We just started doing a bunch of automation where, if an end-user's home directory or Departmental share gets filled, I can set certain things through a Unity API so that if it reaches 95 or 98 percent full, it will automatically expand. Now, instead of our getting a ticket and having to go in and do it manually, it does that for us.
Our end-users are happy with the product, there are no issues.
What is most valuable?
The product is pretty easy to use. The GUI is nice, really easy to use, and the performance is good.
What needs improvement?
For the upgrade from the old system to the new system, if there was a better way to integrate them so I could easily move the data without working all those nights and weekends, that would be nice.
Also, Dell EMC's competitor has a clustering technology. In the next release, it would be nice if they could build that into the product.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The product has been pretty good.
There was one minor issue where we would get these alerts every six hours, but they were fake alerts. We installed a patch a week ago and it fixed the issue. Other than that, no issues, the product has been stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have a Unity 500, which scales to 500 drives, and we're about half full. But it's like their previous systems where you can add a couple of drives or a couple of shelves. There are no issues on that end.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support has always been pretty good. Customer service includes the guys who come in and replace the drives and install the system, and those guys are good too. No issues.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had the older generation of the Unity system, it was called EMC VNX. It's similar in some ways, but they've definitely improved the GUI, the user interface, and the performance.
When selecting a vendor, a big thing is support. We really need a company that, when something goes wrong, they're there and they can respond immediately, so we don't have to wait a certain amount of time. We experience a little bit of the waiting part with Dell EMC, but we have a technical account manager, and his job is to escalate. Since we already had that with EMC, it made sense to go with Dell EMC. So support would be number one. Number two would be performance, obviously. It has to work well.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty easy. We actually have a Dell EMC service engineer who came on site and helped set it up. I had to help in terms of getting all the infrastructure ready, but he did most of the heavy work.
The upgrading experience from our previous solution to this one is definitely better than it was with the VNX product. The only thing that we wished that it had is a way to migrate the data from the old system to the new system. We had to do a manual process for that. To move the data, we had to work a lot of nights and weekends. That was the hardest part of setting it up.
But other than that, it's better in every way.
What was our ROI?
I get fewer calls at night. That's my ROI.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
NetApp and HPE were on our shortlist. HPE support is not good, so we didn't choose them. NetApp does have some good technology, but the relationship that we had with Dell EMC was the reason that we chose them.
What other advice do I have?
In terms of the purchase process, we work with a rep. We have biweekly meetings. They're always on site. We worked with the Dell EMC sales engineer, making sure we got the right kind of drives, the right kind of performance, etc.