What is most valuable?
From a hardware perspective, it's interesting. The selling point of VRTX is that everything is built-in. For a small company that doesn't have a server room or the capabilities of hosting several servers, VRTX has four blades. The equivalent in regular server models would be four servers, which is a minimum of 4U, but it could easily be 8U, and then it would have storage. The storage is included inside the enclosure, and it would require a storage unit. It would also require connectivity, which would be ethernet or another protocol switch.
From a software perspective, it's a little bit more integrated. You have an integrated way of managing the whole thing, including storage and networking. It has an internal network that can also be useful. I know for a fact that Dell is almost fazing out the product, and it is not that available anymore because it will just cannibalize their sales. They want to sell the more expensive stuff.
What needs improvement?
VRTX is a bit simplified to the extent that it is a mainstream type of solution for small businesses. If a company needs a more complex solution or something that is a time saver or has more power or scalability, it is probably not the best solution. However, when a company grows and its needs grow, this type of environment can be definitely migrated towards a lab environment or pre-prod testing, not necessarily production. It can still have a second life for the other types of use.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for six months.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far, so good. It has been pretty stable. It is a Dell solution, and Dell is solid. It hits a good sweet spot between reliability and price. Obviously, there are more expensive solutions out there, but this is a nice solution for a cost-conscious company.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
If a company needs more scalability, it is probably not the best solution.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Fully configured, it costs about $50,000 or $55,000. I did purchase a used one or refurbished one. I have been very happy with it so far. Even if it is an older unit, it doesn't look like its age, and I would say it has been a great choice so far for me. Obviously, I would have thought twice if I had to pay for a brand new one because it is still an older technology with the risk of being discontinued. I talked to Dell, and they're still selling it, but they're not promoting it. They're promoting another line of products right now for hyper-converged, which are much more expensive.
What other advice do I have?
VRTX is pretty much an enclosure with power, storage, and other central features. The blades evolve over time because this is a model that was available almost for the last ten years. Initially, the blades were older processors, and they have evolved but not a lot. Just the components have been updated as time passed on. It is a very good solution for a small business because it is cost-effective. It is small, and it can be configured as a tower, so you don't even need a rack, although it's not the best way to use it. It is a 4U unit, so it's not that big, and it can pack a pretty good punch for that size.
For customers who want to have the best computing power available for the least cost, I would recommend it, even today. I would recommend obviously dealing as much as possible with Dell. You can also look at the secondary market, refurbished or used market, but obviously, some companies will never go there just because it is not their policy to do it. They don't want to accept the risk. It is a good, proven solution from what I've read. I'm happy with it. It is way less expensive than other alternatives out there, but it has to be the right fit for the company. The company has to make sure that they're going to be happy with it.
This was a bit of a special project for me. It was for a company that's very cost-conscious. It is a startup. Obviously, this year has been a crazy year for everybody, so they didn't want to be too courageous. It was an opportunity to buy a unit at a very good price. The risk was minimal, and we were quite surprised at the quality and what we could do with it, given the price. It was a very interesting purchase.
I would rate Dell PowerEdge VRTX a nine out of ten.