Dell EqualLogic PS series Review

This has been a stable and scalable product but has reached the end-of-life cycle

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is as shared storage for VMware virtual environments.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable parts of the solution have been the stability, which it has maintained for eight or nine years, and the scalability, which has met our needs as we grow.  

What needs improvement?

EqualLogic has room for improvement but it is not likely a lot will happen because Dell is phasing the product out for end-of-life.  

What could be improved is their replication efficiency. I forgot what the minimum block size was, but I think it was maybe 64K blocks for replication. To make the effort to get that down to something smaller — even to the bit level — will allow the replication to be more bandwidth-efficient. When it is more efficient it will not require as much time, and that is critical. Right now, the block size is generally larger than their competitors. Because of that, it takes more bandwidth to do SAN (Storage Area Network) replication than other solutions. That has been an ongoing issue.  

Of course, as data sets grow in size, your backup window — the off-production hours for the environment — stays fixed. You have to push whatever amount of data you need to have backed up to the remote DR (Disaster Recovery) site within that window. We have had some of the replication jobs on EqualLogic run into the daytime production hours and that has caused issues. That they need to concentrate on more efficient replication is a way to summarize that, I guess. It just has to get pushed faster.  

There is also no onboard, inline deduplication capability. That is probably the biggest issue. Inline deduplication is something you have to do that on the fly. The deduplication capability is key to this type of solution now.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Dell EqualLogic PS Series since 2011. We have upgraded since we started in 2011 and right now we have gotten to a point where all we have are 6210XS units as our primary storage arrays.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. I have no complaints there. It has been stable all the time that we have been using it.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For our use case, it has provided scalability. The product services our entire organization and we are using this solution on a daily basis. That means it is currently serving 330 of us. From the end-user perspective, it is serving up data for the entire court and has been since inception.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for EqualLogic has been universally outstanding. They have met our needs, resolved our issues, and answered our questions.  

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

We are actually moving away from EqualLogic. Nimble Arrays is going to replace all of our EqualLogic arrays. A single Nimble array is going to replace three EqualLogic arrays.  

One of the reasons why we are going with Nimble Arrays to replace all of our EqualLogic arrays is that EqualLogic is not in a good place. It is not really helping our survey from the perspective that they are in their end-of-life cycle and they are getting ready to go away.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation and setup in 2011 was straightforward. EqualLogic is pretty simple in that way.  

What about the implementation team?

With the initial deployment, we did use Dell Consulting Services to help. They know their own products.  

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

We always do the original acquisition with five years of maintenance. That package includes all upgrades and whatnot. There are annual maintenance costs beyond the original licensing period. So beyond year five, if we do keep an array beyond that, it is about $5,000 per array. That would be probably about $15,000 annually for arrays that we plan to keep into year six and year seven.  

What other advice do I have?

The advice that I would you give to others looking into implementing the Dell EqualLogic PS Series is a bit dependent on whether or not I ignore the end-of-life of the product. If it were still a current product line, I would maybe give it C-rating only because of what is currently available and how the current capabilities of other products have surpassed EqualLogic in technological advancement. EqualLogic is really not going to be relevant in the marketplace too much longer.  

Having something with onboard deduplication is extremely valuable and also getting the latency down makes a difference for this kind of solution. Knowing what you need as far as features to take care of your situation is important before making decisions as to what to go with.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate the Dell EqualLogic PS Series as probably a seven-out-of-ten. This would be based on current utility and ignoring that it is being phased out.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

PS6210 Series
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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