What is our primary use case?
We're running more than 40 ESX 6.5 VMs on a two-node SimpliVity system. The SimpliVity nodes are at two different locations and operate in a stretched cluster mode. This provides mirroring of the flash storage in each node. Approximately half of our VMs run on the site on one node and the other half run on the site on two nodes. In the event of a node failure, all VMs will automatically run on the one good node.
How has it helped my organization?
- Noticeably better VM performance due to all-flash storage
- Incredibly fast VM backups and restores
- Backups and restores take less than one minute.
What is most valuable?
- The ability to do frequent full VM backups in seconds
- Currently seeing data reduction ratios of 250:1 with one month of backups
- 2 PB of data reduced to 7.8 TB.
What needs improvement?
It would be nice if the storage could be expanded by simply adding additional SSD drives. There are unused drive slots but I believe you have to add more nodes if additional storage is required in the future.
SimpliVity updates are a painful and complex process that takes about two hours per node. First, the drivers on each node need to be updated which, although it's a reasonably straightforward process, takes roughly an hour per node. Next, the OmniStack software needs to be updated and this is a complex, Linux command-line process that also takes about an hour per node. Fortunately, as part of HPE product support, they offer remote update assistance but I hope HPE will simplify the update process in the near future.
For how long have I used the solution?
Less than one year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The system has been very stable and trouble-free for the six months that it has been in service and we expect it to remain this way for many years.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The scalability of the storage and memory are less than ideal. Although there are unused drive slots in the SimpliVity hosts, you can't just add additional drives. You must purchase additional nodes to increase the storage capacity. We needed to expand the RAM after putting the nodes in service, and the only option was to add another 384 GB of RAM, the same amount that the node came with.
How are customer service and technical support?
We've only placed two technical support calls, and they were very helpful.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Previously, we had a conventional architecture with three host servers and two SANs.
How was the initial setup?
The initial configuration was somewhat more complex than a conventional setup as the OmniStack controller requires additional configuration.
What about the implementation team?
A vendor team did the complete installation from the racking-and-stacking to the SimpliVity and VMware configuration. The vendor team was very knowledgeable and made what would have been a daunting task a piece of cake.
What was our ROI?
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
While SimpliVity is not inexpensive, we found it was not significantly more expensive than the cost of buying equivalent host servers and equivalent SAN storage. HPE installed and configured the equipment as part of the purchase, so that was painless.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We also evaluated VxRail, vSAN, StorMagic, Nutanix, Pivot, and others.