Dell EMC XtremIO Review

Management, planning, and support are areas with room for improvement.

How has it helped my organization?

  • The increase in available I/O dramatically changed the responsiveness of our Windows environment.
  • SQL server limitations of tempDB and overrun were non-existent.

What is most valuable?

  • Deduplication
  • High I/O capacity
  • Thin storage allocation
  • Snapshot cost and speed

What needs improvement?

  • Management: At the time, there was no snapshot scheduler, so I had to write XSnapCourier to address it. The sad thing is that even after the newest release, which includes a native scheduler, most customers using XSnapCourier chose to stick with it due to a more feature-rich experience.
  • Planning: The VAR we went through told us we would get something like an 8 x 1 ratio between compression and inline deduplication after migration from NetApp. For this reason, we only elected for 20 TB raw. What we actually got, however, was little over 2 to 1, which was actually worse than what NetApp afforded us.
  • Support: Even though we paid for a four-hour turnaround support contract, we would have to wait up to two weeks for a response from EMC XtremIO support, because they didn’t actually have the support staff to handle new volume.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had major stability issues. Over the course of two years, three of the four storage controllers failed. It took us over two weeks to get a replacement for the first.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was the worst possible. Regardless of the fact that we paid for a four-hour turnaround, we were waiting two weeks for support calls. When we did get support calls, the engineers were up to four hours late to the datacenter. After the engineers would finally show up, we would still wait weeks for parts.

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

We previously used a large NetApp array, but the issue was storage density. We were at the point where we couldn’t add any further disk shelves to the controllers.

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

Don’t buy this array. You’re paying for loads of magic beans, since it’s mediocre at best for a platform in a rapidly growing field. Look instead at Pure Storage or something with variable block deduplication. You’ll end up spending less and getting a better product with actual support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were not given the opportunity to evaluate alternatives. Upper management made the decision without the input of the engineers.

What other advice do I have?

Don’t consider it. Look at a platform that has actual support. EMC is a big name, but their support model is terrible with an even worse model for implementation. For a platform you literally can’t touch without them, you’re stranded on a desert island with no help in sight.

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