What is our primary use case?
This is an all-in-one device for a branch office. It includes servers, storage, and networking all in one box so it saves rack space. You don’t need to buy all of the components separately, so you don’t need to spec network cards, storage, or server devices.
We used it to take over a Dell cluster of servers and a Dell EMC SAN solution.
How has it helped my organization?
Using this solution has lowered costs by including SAN storage, networking, and servers all in one chassis. We used to have half a rack taken with clustered servers, storage devices, and network switches. All that is now consolidated into five U high with four Blade servers and 6 TB of SAN storage in one box.
Management is by web interface which means one place for all configuration.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the combined management in one box. It is space-saving, and in fact, you can have four Blade servers in one box, all sharing the same storage and network card.
A 10 GB network card is a must.
The Pro Support is very good and helped me with one of the servers when a network card stopped working. Re-installing the server fixed this problem.
What needs improvement?
Management of storage and networking is web-based, slow, and difficult. I would like a Windows application to manage this instead of using the web interface.
My Dell account manager promised to help me with setting it up, but after buying it, he was nowhere to be seen. Didn’t call me back, didn’t take my e-mails. So you are pretty much on your own with setup. Luckily there a lot of people who have already done the same setup, so I was able to follow their guides.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This solution is very stable. Never had a problem with stability.
The reliability is good. In five years I think only one disk has failed.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We started with two servers but you could also move to four.
Storage is pretty much full, so expanding the storage is not possible.
How are customer service and technical support?
Dell Pro Support is great, you always get through to someone who knows what they are talking about. They are helpful and they stay with your problem until it is resolved.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Previously had separate servers, storage, and networking all from different vendors, which took up a lot of rack space and three different ways of managing. We wanted something that took less space, was easier to manage, and from a single vendor. Dell had that.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was a very steep learning curve. Dell did lend us a device for a week to test out before we bought it, but then almost accused us of stealing it after we returned it! Turned out, it had gone back to a different address than they expected.
It took me about a week of reading Dell articles and other peoples' experiences before I had finished the setup. Not easy.
What about the implementation team?
I did everything myself. Dell offered help when we bought it, but that help never materialized. Our account manager was always too busy to return my calls or respond to my e-mails.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Pricing is cheaper than buying three separate devices and then managing them separately. We bought a license for seven years.
What other advice do I have?
My advice is to ask Dell consulting to set it up for you. It took me about a week to get everything working as expected.
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.