Dell EMC XtremIO Flash Review

For me, the valuable features are Deduplication and Compression. I have unfortunately had some bad experience with bugs and failed upgrades.


What is most valuable?

Data services: Deduplication and Compression. XtremIO performs both these data efficiencies in-line with no latency cost to the hosts. Also the APIs, using APIs you can provision an entire ESXi cluster using PowerShell and VC credentials within a few minutes.

How has it helped my organization?

I have leveraged XtremIO to reduce data center foot print significantly saving my company tens of thousands annually in floor space, power, and cooling.

What needs improvement?

Volume limits of 8192 per XMS and stability. I have unfortunately had some bad experience with bugs and failed upgrades. It has improved with the new 4.0 code but it’s still not as good as typical EMC.

XtremIO and Pure Storage have a volume limit. XtremIO is 8192 logical volumes per XMS management server. XMS can manage multiple XIO clutters, if you do that your volume count is 8192 across all the clusters XMS is managing. Pure Storage has just released code to go to 5000. A logical volume on XIO is any volume, whether it’s a snapshot or a volume presented to a host. Whereas Pure Storage only counts a snapshot that is hydrated.

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

See my comments above regarding room for improvement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not yet.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have had pretty good support including being escalated to engineering very quickly, this could be considered a good thing or a bad thing…

Which solutions did we use previously?

Mostly all VMAX, we switched for the consolidation of datacenter space.

How was the initial setup?

It’s more complicated than a VNX but easier than a VMAX. The fact the array has a separate management server and that server has its own code levels that are not in line with the array can be confusing, much like Solutions Enabler. I highly recommend always purchasing a physical XMS and only use the virtual appliance in a pinch.

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

If you plan on replicating XIO to XIO you will have to buy RecoverPoint, XIO to XIO only needs SE RecoverPoint lic but that won’t allow you to use RPA to migrate from VNX/VMAX to XIO so consider the EX lic. Remember ever snapshot counts as a logical volume so every replication snapshot counts toward your overall 8192 volume limit. I highly recommend large LUNs to keep your volume count low. We are using 4TB or larger.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I POC’d XIO, Pure Storage, and IBM SVC with TMS array. We chose XIO because of its scalable by adding bricks where as Pure Storage you have to buy more arrays creating islands and more management. Also, had some issues with PURE post processing of data services. We felt the SVC for IBM introduced significant latency to their AFA TMS. TMS alone is the fastest All Flash Array but it doesn’t have any data services, that is what SVC is used for.

What other advice do I have?

Consider your migration methods to this array and know your data. For instance, if you are running Windows 2012 you may consider disabling ODX on the entire array which is disruptable or disabling on every single 2012 host. Talk to your SE about this.

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