Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes Review

A unified support structure is an important asset; manual upgrades should be automated

What is our primary use case?

The current customer for this solution is a service provider currently using private cloud and hoping to become a public cloud provider later on. vSAN starts its customers with private cloud to give them a taste of the technology. Later on they move to implementing public cloud. I'm a pre-sales consultant and we're a partner of Dell. 

What is most valuable?

ReadyNodes is a valuable feature. I'm happy with the fact that you don't have to worry about the footprint in the data center. It takes a very small footprint when compared to other traditional solutions, like the other storage server network solutions. I like the configuration and support, you get one vendor who supports everything; for the software and the hardware, which is excellent because you don't have to worry about multi-vendors where everyone blames the other if something goes wrong. 

What needs improvement?

I think the upgrades could be improved. If you compare it to other HCI solutions, like VxRail, the upgrade process is fully automated whereas on vSAM ReadyNodes it's a bit complicated and we have to do it manually. Finding some way to automate this process to make it a smarter, more perfect solution would be an improvement, it would make the solution more flexible, easier to administer, and would make my life easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for two years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable solution. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability requires adding additional nodes but it's not a problem. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is pretty good. 

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

We previously used the old traditional type of file storage and we switched because there was almost no difference in cost but we got a product with much better features. With this product you get consolidated sales and distribution, so you don't have to worry about multi-vendors. You can open one ticket and you'll get your issue resolved. It's not vendor specific.

Everybody's moving towards this. Everybody is dumping the old infrastructure uploads and moving towards renewal solutions, because it's the basic structure for cloud in the future, for anyone planning to become a cloud provider or build a private cloud.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not particularly straightforward but it wasn't too complex either. It was definitely more complex than other HCI appliances like VxRail. I've implemented both and VxRail is simpler for implementation. It took about a week for the solution to become operational. It depends, of course, on the cluster size. I have two sites with nine nodes per site. Implementation took a week at each site. Most of the maintenance is from the vendor's side. It's only very rarely that I have to interfere directly. We have five administrators working with the solution.

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

There are two costs that you have to consider before you can compare and you'll find that the HCI is cheaper overall. In a five-year duration, it is cheaper. But when you compare license to license, it is much more expensive but when you think of it, you need to think of the total cost of ownership and your ROI. 

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest that if you don't have the hands-on experience to administer a solution like vSAN ReadyNode then you should consider other options. For example, VxRail is a bit more expensive, but if you don't have the basic knowledge required for vSan then VxRail is an internet solution that provides a much easier interface to manage and to administer.

I would rate this solution a seven out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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