Dell EMC XtremIO Flash Review

We use it for multi-version databases. We've seen reduced DEV/UAT refresh periods.


What is most valuable?

Snapshots, deduplication, compression – We are using the XtremIO for multi-version databases, in this respect being able to snapshot a database consistency group to create DEV/UAT versions while utilizing deduplication/thin provisioning/compression allows us to maintain the numerous copies of each database we need. To go along with that, being able to refresh any snapshot set with the contents of any other snapshot set (in the same lineage) allowed us to reduce our refresh times from hours to minutes.

How has it helped my organization?

DEV/UAT refresh periods reduced from hours or longer to under five minutes.

What needs improvement?

Volume count. A hard limit of 8192 volumes per cluster. This becomes an issue with DR replication and RecoverPoint and trying to maintain the best RPO possible.

There is a limit of 8192 volumes/LUNS that can be created. This includes all volumes/LUNs presented to hosts along with all snapshots, so it becomes very easy to bump up against the limits in certain circumstances. For us, we use RecoverPoint to replication between XtremIO devices, and since RecoverPoint creates a snapshot of each volume to allow for point in time recovery that results in a lot of snapshots that have to be accounted for.

For how long have I used the solution?

One year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None, the product has been working as expect without issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None that weren’t expected. This is a scale out product, not scale up or scale up and out. You can go from 1 XIO brick to 2, 2 to 4 and then 4 to 8. If you know this up front it is very easy to plan around.

How is customer service and technical support?

Extremely good. EMC has been outstanding with support, especially when using their call-home utility ESRS.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Yes, we had a previous all flash array vendor, however we encountered many issues with support, scalability and a general lack of data efficiency services that ultimately were more important than all flash performance.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is very straightforward. There is a configuration workbook you complete to provide the basic information (IP addresses, domain names, mail, SNMP, etc.) and work with a Dell EMC project manager to get it installed. Array comes preconfigured from a storage standpoint, so once it is up and running you can start allocating storage immediately.

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

Not much to a basic XIO installation, everything is licensed initially. There is no built in replication or other business continuity features, if you need that you will need to look at products like VPLEX to sit in front of the XtremIO.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

Understand your workloads and use-cases. This is not a perfect solution for all flash workloads. If you cannot take advantage of deduplication and compression there may be better/cheaper solutions. If you want simplified replication, this is not the product for you. For us, performance wasn’t the prime driver. We wanted a scalable solution and our workloads could take advantage of deduplication extremely well so this was an obvious choice.

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