Dell EMC Unity XT Review

Significant increase in boot speed of our SQL Servers has notably reduced downtime

What is our primary use case?

We use it to high-speed all of our SQL Servers.

How has it helped my organization?

It increased the boot speed on our SQL Servers. It made downtimes incredibly small compared to when we had them on normal spinning disk. Back then, it would take two or three minutes to boot up. Now, on all-flash, it's 25 to 30 seconds. So it has improved downtime, if we have to reboot a server, which is something we do a lot.

We used to have Exchange on it but we've put that in the cloud so it's no longer on a solution. When we did have it, it was faster because it wasn't on spinning disks. It helped us with that.

What is most valuable?

Being all-flash makes everything super-fast.

It's also great to manage. That's the easiest part. We also have another SAN, from Pure, and the Unity is easier to manage than the Pure.

What needs improvement?

Support and licensing are big things, in the end, that needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We have not had any issues with it since we put it in. We've had one drive fail in two years. It was easily replaced, a hot swap and done. It has been incredibly easy and been stable for two years.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support and I would rate them a massive zero. I put in a ticket, although my preferred contact method is a call. I never receive a call. I send it to my sales engineer, my sales engineer sends it to their manager, the manager tells the guy to give me a call, and he sends me an email. That's not my preferred contact method and, even when complaining, I still get an email.

Also, when I put in a ticket and say, "Here are our logs," they don't read the logs. It even says to do so in the ticket, but they skim over it. Their support has been pretty bad since they became Dell EMC. EMC used to be good. Dell has been horrible forever. I think it's going down that road.

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

We were using the VNX and the IBM V7000. We needed to move to a new solution because they were slow. There was a little bit of flash in the VNX, and some in the V7000, but the all-flash was just such an improvement that we decided we needed to go to the Unity.

When looking to work with a vendor, the important criteria we look for are nothing too pushy, and having a good relationship, and a continued relationship. It's not good when they just sell and leave. It's always good to continue that communication, make sure we have everything we need.

What was our ROI?

The fact that it reduces our downtime gives us incredible cost savings. Our industry is agriculture. We do market trading. Seconds are everything that matters. That minute, or the few minutes, that we save can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars. If that happens in the middle of the day, since we are trading constantly, reducing the amount of time that it takes, when something goes down, to get back up is cost savings.

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

Licensing is a little bit confusing. Going through everything with them, there are a lot of line items to go over. Every single thing is broken down into a line item, and it starts to get really confusing in terms of what we're actually purchasing when it comes to the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Pure. Unity beat out Pure.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have all your ducks in a row when you finish. Make sure they understand the type of support that you want, make sure the licensing is clear, make sure it has all the features you want.

The purchasing process was actually incredibly easy. We had a vendor to go through. She was able to clear everything up. When we were trying to look at it ourselves, it was a little bit convoluted. But once we had her help explain it through, it became easier.

They have a good product. It's great for what it does. The surrounding pieces are where everything gets tricky.

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