Dell PowerEdge VRTX Review

Easier to manage the warranty than with different vendors

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for virtualization but on the current configuration that we have, we don't have the ability of failing over virtual machines from one host to another. They are all isolated independent, they are not configured in a cluster.

What needs improvement?

We want to move from a stand-alone implementation of VM hosts and we want to migrate to hyper-converged infrastructure. We will still be using the same virtual machine that we have, but we will migrate it to hyper-converged to have a higher level of availability and resiliency.

The problem is with our configuration. We know we can use PowerEdge for hyper-convergence if we have PowerEdge and configure vSAN. We will be able to achieve what VxRail is being able to provide, but we need to migrate it to a new infrastructure instead of changing our existing. It will be much more difficult for us.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Because our server is stand-alone, we are limited with the capacity of the compute memory processed in our storage that we have on the server.

For example, if we have one server that is eight GB of memory and HR would like to expand this. We cannot expand it because the cluster in the server is already utilized and because it's not clustered we already reached the limit of the maximum capacity. The problem is with our configuration, not with the capability of the server that we provided.

We have several PowerEdge R440 which are configured as stand-alone VMHost (not in cluster) due to this we have fix configuration on our Storage.

We can expand on Memory as long as there are available slots, but not for storage as all the bays are consumed.

The problem is on our configuration, not designed for high availability and future scalability. therefore, we are looking into migrating our infrastructure to VXRail.

How are customer service and technical support?

On a previous server that we procured we bundled the protocol. But for all the servers that we have, we have only on-site support access remote diagnostic. So this access remote diagnostic means that the end-user as a customer will be doing the diagnosis based on the procedure that was provided by Dell.

But for us and customers who are not Dell experts, it's a headache to implement the procedures that Dell provided.

We just had an issue with one memory and we wanted Dell to come and replace a memory module. But they said, "No, you need to update the firmware first." We updated the firmware first and then we still had the issue. They then asked us to send the longs and then they provided another firmware for another component until eventually all diagnosis procedures were completed, and the issue is still there. Only then did Dell come and provide the memory. The amount of time we spent on performing the diagnosis for critical services is not acceptable, but that was a mistake from our side.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. 

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

We started off with a base because we started our infrastructure with Dell and we always propose or prefer Dell which is easier to manage the warranty than with different vendors.

Some other companies like IBM and HP have come to introduce their system but because we already have a lot of Dell devices we just renew with Dell. I'm not sure if the prices are lower or higher but I think it's okay.

What other advice do I have?

We are evaluating VxRail and we read some comments on the internet that the VxRail service will have only one rate controller. However, you have four nodes inside. So we expect that if any one of the four nodes fails the rest of the cluster will survive. So there's no point in asking the protocol failure on those nodes. And if that rate controller fails, then it is a single point of failure. Dell admitted that, yes, it is the single point of failure. So if that rate controller could be increased because then I think that would be a better design for the device.

I would recommend this solution and I would also recommend having a protocol because you cannot expect all engineers to have enough knowledge on how to do diagnostics. You should also bundle training for Dell so that the end-user will have the needed level of knowledge to continue using the device properly.

I would rate it a nine out of ten.

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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1 Comment

author avatarRichard Artes
Top 10Real User

"No, you need to update the firmware first."
Sometimes it's difficult to get the right balance. I had a PowerEdge 950 that wouldn't boot, called Dell and they recommended replacing the motherboard. In the end I managed to do all the firmware, DRAC, BIOS and other updates myself, and the issue went away. So the motherboard replacement was cancelled.
If you can, best to get up to-date with software fixes before resorting to replacing hardware.