Dell EqualLogic PS series Review

A workhorse that is fast and impeccably reliable

What is our primary use case?

EqualLogic is part of our production database. It is fast and reliable. It is our production SAN (Storage Area Network), so we always use it. It is always on and always running 24/7.  

How has it helped my organization?

This product is valuable to our organization because it is so reliable. I think in the past five-plus years, we only had four physical drives fail. We have about 56 drives in that box. We only had four fail over the entire time we have owned them, so they are super reliable. Reporting on them is good too. It includes utilization, graphs, and things like that to help evaluate performance.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are synchronous replication for data integrity, snapshot capability for multiple reasons such as for recovery and also for cluster upgrades. Snapshots are really a key feature.  

What needs improvement?

One problem with this solution is that synchronous replication requires lots of duplicated space. I wish Dell would address that issue. It really wastes a lot of space and it does so in a way that the amendment space required is inefficient. Once it is running it does not need as much space, but to start it up you need double the space on both your source and destination chassis.  

Another issue is that I can not mix RAID technologies. On one particular box, I can only set one RAID standard and not create multiple RAID sets. That is a limitation that I could do without.  

One feature that would have been nice on the EqualLogic box is the ability to recover on a file basis. It should not be limited to a volume scale. I do not know that it should be able to recover files being that it is a block-level device for storage. File-level is a completely different animal. But it would be nice to be able to have file recovery even if it is a block-level storage device.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Dell EqualLogic for the last five years or six years, or even a little bit longer. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the product itself — the software releases and the hardware reliability — is really very stable.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is okay. It is very straightforward to implement and it is good.  

There have got to be like 10,000 people in our organization using this. Or that is the number of people within our company and including our outside clients. We have quite a wide range of clients types which is inclusive of retail stores.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Dell has got very good tech support. I would rate them as a 9-out-of-10. There is not really much room for improvement there. The response time and everything are relatively really good.  

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

We are a Dell shop and have been historically. The only thing I would have worked with that was comparable would be HP servers versus Dell servers. In any case, we have been a Dell shop and there really was not a previous solution in place.  

How was the initial setup?

The installation and setup are pretty easy. I think it is really straightforward.  

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

The price became a lot more attractive as the years went by. Initially it seemed like it was a high-priced solution, but as the years went by the price, performance, and just the cost of ownership went down a lot.  

What other advice do I have?

For people considering EqualLogic, the most useful thing I could tell them was that they should implement a demo using a piece of equipment in a proof-of-concept environment and have the vendor help with that. It is the most ideal way to test the product.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate the EqualLogic PS Series overall as definitely a nine-out-of-ten. I would give it that rating because it does what it says it is supposed to do. It has been extremely reliable and very easy to upgrade and expand. In the past when Dell announced they were going to pull the line, all the customers called up and objected. They actually wanted to buy more boxes. Because of the response from the customers, Dell postponed the end-of-life of the product a few times.  

A lot of people use the product and it is a workhorse. Reliability is key, especially in my particular usage for them. The performance is there, and they probably are over-specced. By that I mean the capacity of the product exceeds what we need it to do. As to reliability, having just four drives failing in the span of six or seven years is phenomenal. It is closer to being unheard of. If they were to fix a few of those minor issues that could possibly bring my rating of the product up closer to a 10, but I do not want to give somebody a ten because they just can not possibly do everything right. If you give them that impression they will just stop improving it.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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